• Mar 24, 2010
When Ford's Sync infotainment system went live in late 2007, the technology looked promising to us but we weren't ready to bet the farm that customers were going to adopt it in large numbers. Two and a half years later, Ford and partner Microsoft are celebrating the two millionth Sync system installed, which happened to go into a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The rate of Sync adoption is increasing over time too, as the two millionth unit was installed less than one year after Ford hit one million Sync-equipped vehicles sold.

While Ford has increased the availability of Sync in its vehicles at a torrid pace, the big question is whether customers really like the tech. The automaker says feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with 80 percent of potential customers saying Sync improves their overall image of the company, while 70 percent say it makes them more likely to purchase a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury. Further, Ford says 87 percent of customers who use Sync are satisfied with how the system works and 88 percent would recommend the purchase of a vehicle with SYNC to others.

Sync is also making a difference on the used car lot, as Ford claims one-year-old vehicles equipped with the technology sell for $240 more than Ford without it. After two years, Sync-equipped vehicles are still worth $200 more. Part of the reason Sync is helping residual values is that Ford and Microsoft continue to improve the system. Upgrades like 911 Assist, Vehicle Health Report, iTunes tagging for HD radio and Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) make Sync a great deal at $395. Hit the jump to read over Ford's understandably brag-infested press release.

[Source: Ford]
Show full PR text
FORD SYNC HITS 2 MILLION MARK; BOOSTS RESALE VALUE, PURCHASE CONSIDERATION AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION

• Ford SYNC® voice-controlled communications and infotainment system installed on
2-millionth vehicle less than a year after hitting the 1 million unit milestone

• Ford data show the system boosts resale value of SYNC-equipped vehicles by more than $200 over vehicles without the option

• After receiving SYNC demonstrations, 80 percent of potential customers report it improves their opinion of Ford and 70 percent are more likely to consider purchase

DEARBORN, Mich., March 24, 2010 – The popular Ford SYNC voice-controlled communications and infotainment system has been winning over buyers at its fastest pace ever, with Ford announcing SYNC has now been installed on more than 2 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.

"The success of SYNC proves that customers want to be connected," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "The speed with which we've hit the 2 million mark, the premium SYNC adds at auction, and the improvements in purchase consideration show that it is a true differentiator for us, adding real value for the customer."

SYNC, built on the Microsoft Windows Embedded Automotive software platform, hit 2 million units only 10 months after Ford delivered its 1-millionth SYNC-equipped vehicle, a 2010 Fusion Hybrid, to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. The first SYNC systems were delivered in fall 2007.

"Microsoft and Ford share a common vision when it comes to connecting drivers and passengers to their digital lifestyles," said Kevin Dallas, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Embedded Business. "The beauty of building on the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform is that its flexibility has enabled Ford to create new, engaging in-vehicle experiences over the past three years for their consumers to enjoy behind the wheel. We're excited to see what new roads SYNC explores in the future."

SYNC boosts resale values
In addition to providing customers with voice control of most entertainment and communications systems in the vehicle, SYNC also pays dividends at resale time.

Ford data analysis shows that SYNC-equipped models of the 2008 Focus are worth more than those without SYNC. After one year in service, the SYNC-equipped models sell for a $240 premium on average. With another year in service added, the SYNC premium is still a significant $200. Ford's ability to isolate SYNC and attach a resale value to the optional system is based on a company-exclusive statistical VIN-decoding vehicle option residual impact modeling strategy.

The increased transaction price for pre-owned vehicles equipped with SYNC reflects market demand for the feature. In a recent study of Ford SYNC-equipped vehicle owners, one-third of respondents indicated that SYNC played an important role in their purchase decision.

Another reason for the added value is likely due to Ford continuously improving SYNC, year after year, without raising the option price of $395. First launched on 2008 models, including the Focus, Ford has added valuable new capabilities each model year since. For 2009 models, Ford added the 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report applications, at no added cost for the life of the vehicle.

• 911 Assist can place a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an accident involving the activation of an air bag or, on certain vehicles, the emergency fuel pump shutoff. If an occupant cannot respond, SYNC can deliver a recorded message to the 911 service to alert an operator that a crash has occurred.

• Vehicle Health Report gives customers the ability to monitor and manage their vehicle's health in a single, easy-to-read report and receive important notifications. The report includes diagnostic systems' statuses, scheduled maintenance, needed repairs from the last dealership visit, and will even alert owners of any open recalls.

In fact, those first 2008 models can be upgraded with these applications with a quick visit to their local dealers, thus adding unexpected value to the vehicle.

For 2010 models, Ford improved SYNC even further with the addition of a GPS receiver integrated into the vehicle, thus creating the opportunity to offer location-based services through the Traffic, Directions & Information (TDI) app. TDI can deliver personalized traffic reports, precise turn-by-turn driving directions and up-to-date information including business listings, news, sports and weather – without the need for a built-in or aftermarket navigation system.

SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information services are free for the first three years of vehicle ownership, and only $60 per year after that, delivering capabilities, features and affordability that rival competitors' embedded telematics and navigation systems.

SYNC satisfaction remains high

Among Ford customers who have SYNC on their vehicles – and use its voice command features – 87 percent are satisfied with how the system operates, and 88 percent would recommend the purchase of a vehicle with SYNC to others.

So what do SYNC users take advantage of most? Hands-free calling is used daily by two-thirds of study respondents, with 89 percent using the feature at least once a week. More than half use the voice-activated dialing features available through SYNC, helping drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the steering wheel.

Use of the Traffic, Directions & Information application is also on the increase. Among users aware of the feature, up to 39 percent are taking advantage of the turn-by-turn directions, local business search and real-time traffic services.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since Sync is shown above with a Zune, and both are Microsoft, i'm assuming they work well together, but are there any other factory systems that offer Zune integration?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm proud of Ford for all their accomplishments but this post needs to read: Ford unveils simple, uncluttered center stack for people who actually love driving.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I had the same problem when I rented an Escape Hybrid (that was a hoot to drive, btw).

        I hit the Sync button and that friendly voice come on 'Please say a command' - I had no idea, so I just screamed, 'Do something!!!!" She didn't understand that.

        After realizing I had no idea, I hit the button again and said, "Help" - she then asked questions in various categories like, 'Would you like to .....?' Here is where I learned how to use it.

        My sister later bought a car with Sync, and the dealer was nice enough to assist her with the set up on her devices - so overall, there are several ways to learn the system - and once you do, it is very, very nice.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't know about SYNC. I rented a 2010 Ford Flex with SYNC the other day and I couldn't quickly figure out how to use it. I'm guessing that if I spent time with it, I'd figure it out - but it should still be more intuitive ... I was disappointed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        David:
        Sounds more like shortcomings with the iPhone, to me. My Blackberry connects via USB and doesn't lose any functionality.


        Sync-equipped cars also have a line-in port that you could have used like you do in your current car. Or (if the iPhone supports it) Bluetooth Audio if you don't feel like running wires. Neither of those will give you control-by-voice, although the steering wheel buttons work with B.A. for play/pause, next track, and prev track.
        • 4 Years Ago
        30 seconds max with the quickstart guide and it's big pictures and you would've been a pro. It's super intuitive once you learn a couple key commands.
        • 4 Years Ago
        1. Plug in MP3 device.
        2. Push Sync button.
        3. Speak
        4. Done
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sync Sucks -- at least with my iPhone. When I do as suggested above,

        1) it does nothing for 20 minutes while it "catalogs my files"
        2) finally, announces it couldn't catalog them "all".
        3) locks my phone into this "sync only" screen that you cannot escape from.

        P.O.S. system, in my opinion. I would not pay for it.

        I'm much happier with my simple set-up in my non-Ford car: charge-and-sync + aux-in. Works great, and allows me to do what I want, when I want, with not voice to constantly argue with me about it.

        I also cannot play Wonderradio through SYNC. Give me a break!

        Maybe SYNC Touch or whatever it's callled will iron out the many bugs of SYNC 1.0?

        Fords are attractive, but not even 0.5% for the fact that I can have SYNC.

        D.
        • 4 Years Ago
        David,

        Your iPhone is broken. I've had the first gen iPhone and now have the 3gS and they have both worked flawlessly. I know of one other person who had an issue exactly like what you describe, at the end of the day, the car was fine, the phone wasn't right, Apple exchanged it for another and it works fine for him now.

        Leave it to people to always blame the more expensive gadget of the two for the problem and not research it before spouting off hate.

      • 4 Years Ago


      Let me see, my car is worth $240 more at trade-in time and all I have to do is get the $395 option? Sounds too good to be true.