The Ford Motor Co. is reducing the price of its in-car communications system, which allows drivers to make hands-free calls, in order to boost sales of this device as many states are banning the use of mobile phones while driving a car. Specifically, the price of the Sync system will drop to $295 on 2012 Ford models, which is $100 lower than the option's cost on current model year vehicles, according to the company’s statement.
The company further stated that the 2012 Explorer and the 2012 Edge crossover will be first to offer Sync at the lower price. According to Ford, the Sync system is an essential consideration in 50 percent of purchases. The system is also available on almost all vehicle models.
Ford has sold more than 3 million cars with the Sync system, which features an automated emergency calling service, voice-activated control of the vehicle’s music player, and the capability to make hands-free calls.
The company also stated that it supports proposed U.S. legislation for a ban on the use of hand-held phones while driving. New York and California, among ten states, already implemented the ban. While in 34 states, drivers are not allowed to send text messages while driving.
Even with the basic package, Ford customers will be able to access a number of hands-free features and services that allowed SYNC to become one of the must-have technologies. In fact, over 76 percent of current SYNC users say they would recommend this communication system to others. As a starter, SYNC basically includes hands-free, voice-activated calling through a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone as well as hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected music player. Moreover, the base package includes the 911 Assist automated emergency calling service that comes free of charge through the vehicle’s lifetime.
The base package of the SYNC also includes Vehicle Health Report on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service. Interestingly, those who availed of the base package may optionally purchase a SYNC Services subscription -- for $60 a year – to add a cloud-based network of services. These services cover turn-by-turn directions and traffic reports, as well as business search information with available live operator assistance. Ford dealers themselves are thrilled to offer SYNC to their clients and customers.
One of these dealers is James T. Seavitt, president of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich. Seavitt quipped that the subscription may go higher with the new SYNC pricing and base model availability, admitting that around 75 percent of Ford vehicles in his dealership feature SYNC.
He remarked that customers usually inquire about SYNC as they learn more about the advantages and convenience of hands-free connectivity while driving. Seavitt commented that the SYNC price drop should allow dealers to persuade customer to purchase SYNC-equipped vehicles. The effect should be easily felt with the Ford Edge and Explorer, with its SYNC-enabled versions accounting for over 80 percent of units sold.
With the price drop, SYNC-enabled versions of the Edge and Explorer should account for over 95 percent of the models sold. Ford is planning to launch the new SYNC pricing and choice strategy across its entire vehicle lineup in North America in the next three years. Following the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge, the strategy should include the 2013 Ford Taurus, Focus, Escape and Flex.