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.
SYNC SPARKING SALES, SATISFYING CUSTOMERS
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.
FORD SYNC SALES REACH 30,000 IN 2007; ONE MILLION SYNC VEHICLES TO BE ON THE ROAD IN EARLY 2009
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.