Ford Sees Progress With In-car Technology Systems, Hinrichs Says

Apr 15, 2014 3:09 pm ET

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April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. is making progress improving the functionality of the automaker’s in-car technology systems, including MyFord Touch, said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas.

Testing data now shows that the MyFord Touch system has “dramatically improved” and is better than the industry average. That’s still not enough, Hinrichs said today.

“We want to be industry leading and we’re not yet,” Hinrichs told reporters ahead of the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the media tomorrow.

Ford has slumped in surveys by J.D. Power & Associates and Consumer Reports, with customers citing malfunctioning technology systems and touch screens. The second-largest U.S. automaker has said the quality of its vehicles has been “mixed” in each of the past three years and fell short of its plan to improve those results in 2013.

Hinrichs talked to reporters after speaking at the 2014 Automotive Forum held by J.D. Power and the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Ford will base its next-generation Sync system on BlackBerry Ltd.’s QNX and no longer use Microsoft Corp.’s Windows, according to people briefed on the matter. Hinrichs declined to comment on that switch today.

Improving in-car technology such as MyFord Touch and Sync is crucial for Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford to draw car shoppers who are increasingly looking to be connected at all times. In-vehicle technology is the top selling point for 39 percent of auto buyers, more than twice the 14 percent who say their first consideration is traditional performance measures such as power and speed, according to a study by the consulting firm Accenture released in December.

--With assistance from Craig Trudell in Tokyo and Jeff Green in Southfield, Michigan.