Ford missing quality targets due to new gadgets, such as MyFord Touch

MyFord Touch

A little while ago, the egmCarTech crew had the chance to first-handedly get a glimpse of Ford’s new MyFord Touch center console control system that relies solely on the occupant’s touch for action. Needless to say, despite the cars being preproduction samples, we found the system to be rather glitchy. We were hoping Ford would iron the kinks out for its production models to keep its J.D. Power & Associate’s title for being the top mainstream brand with fewest defects. Unfortunately however, this time around Ford received a “mixed” performance rating, which didn’t fly kindly with CEO Alan Mulally.

“We have just a few issues with some of the newer technologies associated with Sync and MyFord Touch,” Mulally told reporters, referring to the voice-activated and touch-screen communication system found in examples like the new Edge and Explorer. “It’ll be a lot like consumer electronics where we’ll rapidly bring innovation, but also continue to improve it.

The biggest culprit to the “mixed” performance review was towards Ford’s touch controls. Not surprised here. Consumer Reports in the June issue ranked the completely new Explorer 17th out of 19 ranked mid-sized SUVs and called the touch controls “complicated and distracting.

“We’ve heard of screens blanking out,” said the vice president of research at J.D. Power, David Sargent. “Ford has a concern about how they will perform based on their own data. They’re making an early warning to the market that this may be a problem.” Sargent is also responsible for the Initial Quality Survey.

Another comment made towards the Dearborn make was against the cars’ rather high wind-noise levels. Ford said that they’re responding with a $100 million investment in laser-guided robots to help improve assembly and thus, reduce the noise levels.

It should be noted however that Ford has been aiming to be a technology leader ever since the introduction of their Microsoft Sync and Sony-based MyTouch system debuted a couple years ago. And as a result, new technology in their first renditions can be a little problematic. This was exactly seen nearly a decade ago when BMW introduced their iDrive system in the E65 7er. So Ford should’ve expected the same. But because it has been around for nearly 10 years and many other manufacturers have adopted the concept, BMW and other companies has been able to and continues to iron out the functionality of its iDrive. And I have no doubt Ford will either as Mulally said that these issues are critical.

– By: Chris Chin

Source: Bloomberg