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Ford developed its SYNC system with Microsoft and has an 18-month exclusive license to sell the system, which is something we weren't aware of until recently. It turns out, however, that the exclusive rights aren't being wasted: Ford reports that SYNC-equipped cars are finding twice as many buyers as cars without SYNC. One dealer said "People who won't spend a dollar more for power door locks have to have SYNC." Keep in mind this news is coming from Ford, but clearly SYNC is appealing to the common customer.

The multi-media controlling option appears to have won so many over by being easy to learn, genuinely useful for different age groups, and cheap at only $395. Scott Burgess of The Detroit News, when building his dream car, called it "the best $395 option of 2007." It also appears to be inverting the car buying decision for some, with people knowing that they want a car with SYNC then choosing among the available models.

SYNC is still young, though. If the kinds of things that PC owners and Microsoft critics have bemoaned for ages begin to creep in, then the fortunes of SYNC could sink just as quickly. But for now it's good times, and if you've been checking out SYNC from the sidelines, you might be interested to know that v2.0 will be on display at the Consumer Electronics Show in a couple weeks.

[Source: Ford]



DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 2, 2008 -- In 26 years of selling cars and trucks, Ken Venema says he has never seen a feature impress customers like Ford's SYNC.

"I must have a half-dozen sales because of SYNC. I strongly believe that," said Venema, a sales consultant at Pfeiffer Lincoln Mercury in Grand Rapids, Mich. "I'm sold on it. And I'm sure glad Ford's got it."

The dealership even switched its radio spots recently from advertising price to promoting SYNC.

"I am using (SYNC) as a showroom builder. I am pumped on it because it's something that we can offer the market that doesn't focus on price, and it's something we have that our competitors don't," said Kim Winkler, new car sales manager, Pfeiffer Lincoln Mercury.

SYNC, Ford's industry-exclusive technology that provides customers in-vehicle voice command compatibility with portable digital media players and most Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones, is helping drive vehicles sales across the country.

SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles were moving more than twice as fast off dealer lots in November than those same vehicles without SYNC. And customer satisfaction is high.

According to a Ford survey of SYNC customers, nearly 80 percent of respondents "definitely would" recommend it to a friend. Microsoft, which collaborated with Ford on the technology, was very encouraged.

"It's early in SYNC's launch -- we'll know more about its impact in a few months -- but so far all indicators are extraordinarily positive," explained John Emmert, SYNC marketing manager, Ford Motor Company.

The survey also revealed that most customers thought SYNC was easy to use, and that dealers were helpful in explaining and demonstrating the new technology.

Sales consultant Everton McLeod of Manhattan (N.Y.) Ford says extensive in-dealership training prior to SYNC'S launch was very beneficial.

"It wasn't like they just told us about it. Everybody had to do something -- pair a phone, dial a number -- so the instructor could see that we actually grasped what he taught us," said McLeod.

SYNC is also hitting its targeted customers, which include a savvy, tech-toting younger demographic as well as an older group that likes the convenience of hands-free mobile phone operation.

Emmert says Ford employees frequently stop him at work to relate stories about SYNC's ability to raise awareness and purchase consideration for the company's products among relatives and friends who swore off domestic vehicles years ago.

"When you think about a feature having the power to put Ford back on customers' shopping lists, it's pretty impressive," he said.

SYNC currently is offered on 12 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. The first SYNC-equipped vehicles, including the redesigned 2008 Ford Focus, began reaching customers in late September. When offered as an option, the system is priced at $395.


DEARBORN, Mich., Jan.3, 2008 – Ford Motor Company's award-winning SYNC system is one of the rising stars in the auto industry today, and it is on track to reach 1 million sales in early 2009, the company is announcing today.

Ford SYNC™ – developed with Microsoft – connects people and their favorite portable devices while in the vehicle, including media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. It is a hot new technology exclusive to Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, with sales in the final quarter of 2007 averaging approximately 10,000 units per month.

Ford confirmed today that new features are coming this year and that nearly every new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle will be available with Ford's award-winning SYNC system by year end, when approximately 85 percent of company's retail volume will be offered with SYNC connectivity

Ford is now confirming that during calendar year 2008, SYNC will become offered on even more products, including the all-new 2009 Ford Flex and F-150; the 2009 Ford Escape; Escape Hybrid; and 2009 Ford Expedition. The 2009 Lincoln MKS will be launched later this year with SYNC as standard equipment, and SYNC will be added to the 2009 Lincoln Navigator. For Mercury, SYNC will be added to 2009 Mariner and Mariner Hybrid.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was thinking the exact same thing!
      • 7 Years Ago
      The appeal of Sync escapes me. $400 for a jukebox?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Just because you can't see the value in voice activated control of your iPod/Zune, hands free audible text messaging, and phone control/display through your radio (among other things) doesn't mean the rest of the world can't either. If Ford vehicles were at least somewhat competitive it would definitely be a tiebreaker for me.
        • 7 Years Ago
        A jukebox that can read your text messages, do hands free calling, and play music from iPods/Zunes/etc, yes. I've used it briefly, and wouldn't buy a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury vehicle without it. I hope Mazda gets it after the 18 months are up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Must be all non-iPod owners.

      as for power, I wish everyone that commented on a car had to first DRIVE the f'n thing. The base engine and manual tranny does very good at putting power down. The suspension does a less than adequate job from there on out, however. Overall, I do not like this car. It just does not work as a whole. But at $9,999 deals inevitable this summer, they will be 'good enoug' (just like Microsoft stuff) for some folks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Kudos to Ford's marketing department. They managed to make Sync look like a desirable new technology. Luxury manufacturers have been offering similar systems as standard equipment for years, but the marketing for the systems was mundane at best.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Honda/Acura navigation system utilizes voice control for nearly all vehicle functions (moreso than the Sync), including iPod integration should you choose. It's standard on the Acura TL-S and RL, and on certain trims of most of the companies' vehicles. The same goes for the systems from Mercedes, Audi, and BMW, among others. Each of those also offer these systems as standard on their higher-end models, and optional throughout their product lines.

        Again: the Sync is nothing revolutionary. It's just marketed well.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Lincoln IS Ford.

        The only other option like this in the market is bluetooth phone systems in higher end vehicle lines, like Lexus and Audi, and it only gives you access to use the phone (like a blue-tooth headset) and songs you may have on that device. Sync not only gives you these capabilities, but also is the ONLY device capable of using voice commands for your Ipod (or other mps device), a USB stick and of course your phone or a cd. V2 will be out this year with significant upgrades and V3 will be out at the end of the year and will integrate voice activated navigation (where you tell the car where you want to go), and will allow you to speak text-messages and a ton of other cool features like alerting police of accidents, emergency services, etc... better than ONSTAR without the monthly fees...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Lincoln does
        • 7 Years Ago
        What car has this on it standard? I'm not aware of anything even remotely similar to the SYNC system out there. I've heard of voice activated systems that will activate radio stations and playlists, but not artists and song and especially not being fully integrated with the iPod and Zune.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Acura system does NOT include voice recognition for iPod integration. Neither does the BMW or Mercedes systems. I have no idea where you're getting your information.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Another home run for Microsoft. Simple, intuitive, powerful software that brings hi tech to the automotive world.
      Out with IDrive and the Dinosaurs. Let's get some more data synced into the sync for hi performance cars.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I am a speech engineer and I can tell you that this Sync technology is very last-generation. The idea of making people remember distinct system commands is not a very user-centered design. If you don't know the proper command to say, the system is not robust to figure out what you want. The new direction is natural language VR systems. Say basically whatever you want, whenever you want and the system will give you what you want. Also, I've used this Sync system and its voice recognition kept coming back with strange interpretations of what I said.
      • 7 Years Ago
      While I'd love to have Sync, it's FAR from enough to get me to purchase ANY Ford product.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "It can read your text messages, do hands free calling..." It's a cubicle on wheels! Have fun dorks.
      • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        This is a total press release con job ala Microsoft.

        You ask the ordinary person out there what Sync is and they'll look at you with a blank stare.

        If you ask people who know about Sync what it does, I bet you won't get the same answer.

        A voice activated MP3 player? is that what Sync is?

        And your telling me that people are going to give up the reliability of a Honda/Toyota for a Ford because of a stereo system? Yah, OK.
      • 7 Years Ago
      maybe microsoft can make cars for ford couldnt be any worse. when you're done with the gimmicks, start making cars people want. this is just going to make ford think they need more gimmicks and dont have to worry about design.
      • 7 Years Ago
      what kinda brother listens to celine dion?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Have you seen that commercial? Good stuff. Wouldn't make me buy a Ford, but pretty neat.

        And actually the one that played (and the other guy responded right away with Korn for) was "play artist Michael Bolton."
      • 7 Years Ago
      I love the naysayers...it is MS so it sucks or what about the blue screen of death?

      You idiots fail to realize that this is a simplified harware/software device, not unlike the Palm device which works great. This is not something that has to work with 10,000,000 different motherboards and graphics cards and software versions, etc, etc...effen etc.

      Get a clue and get back with reality.

      Ford has nailed it by offering a very cool and desirable and very affordable feature that people will use CONSTANTLY. And they have much more planned for upgrades.

      The rest is either ignorance or jealousy.

      Kudos to Ford.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I just finished 650 miles in a rental Focus, what a piece of crap! That car is so noisy at highway speed, you wouldn't be able to hear the music you tried to call up with SYNC. I have rented other econo-boxes, such as a PT Cruiser and a Neon and none were as bad as the Focus. No wonder Ford is in trouble.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I wonder if your tires were horribly out of alignment or something. One of the reasons we got a Focus (2006, so if you're talking about the 2008 I can't really comment) was that it had significantly less road noise than the Civic. I think the Corolla was pretty comparable in this department, but I couldn't stand the numb steering.

        Anyways, back on topic, I'm not thrilled that we're turning our cars into mobile offices, but I suppose that if we are, we may as well make them voice-activated. I nearly avoided being sideswiped by someone texting while driving yesterday.
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