Ford announced today that its SYNC in-car connectivity system can now be found in over 3 million vehicles in North America. For those who don’t know, Ford’s SYNC was launched back in 2007, when it made its debut on the 2008 Ford Focus with an option price of $395.
Today, the SYNC is available on all Ford and Lincoln products (excepting those that are largely commercial or fleet use). Moreover, the manufacturer said that the option price will remain at $395 for most vehicles, but now the system includes new features offered as standard such as 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report, and SYNC Services.
According to Ford, the SYNC system is now considered a must-have technology.
Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, remarked that the Ford SYNC is making a difference in the carmaker’s customer experience as it doesn’t only differentiate its products from its rivals, but is also becoming a key point of satisfaction.
Ford SYNC had its debut on the 2008 Ford Focus at an optional price of $395, in the fall 2007. Since then, Ford SYNC has become available widely across the carmaker’s Ford's product lines and is now available on all Ford and Lincoln products, aside from those that are for fleet use or for commercial purposes.
While the price of Ford SYNC is still pegged at $395 for most Ford vehicles, it now comes with more standard features like 911 Assist, SYNC Services and Vehicle Health Report. SYNC is featured as standard on Lincoln vehicles. Around 80 percent of buyers of Ford vehicles for the 2011 model year avail of Ford SYNC, seeing it as a must-have technology.
In fact, four-percent more customers availed of Ford SYNC on 2011 models than on 2010 vehicles. According to a recent internal research, over 80 percent of Ford SYNC users are likely to recommend the system to others, a five-percentage point hike over the data on the previous year.
Ford SYNC high satisfaction ratings and purchase power has been considerably boosted by its voice recognition system, a feature that many drivers want as part of in-car connectivity systems. According to the internal research, almost 70 percent of SYNC owners use SYNC voice controls while driving, representing a hike of five-plus percentage point.
Jim Buczkowski, a Henry Ford Technical Fellow and director of Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering, Research and Advanced Engineering, quipped that when the carmaker launched SYNC, it has a commitment to make voice recognition a valuable tool for the driver – a matter confirmed by the recent research.
He noted that Ford is still committed to being the carmaker that continues to develop voice recognition as the main user interface, thereby allowing customers to stay connected without taking their eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel.
As per the 2010 survey dubbed "Staying Connected on the Go: A Look at In-Vehicle Smartphone Integration Systems" and conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association, around 55 percent of smartphone users prefer voice commands as their main in-car user interface.