With Ford stepping up to become the first automaker to support the Safe Drivers Act of 2011, the Blue Oval is putting its money where its mouth is by dropping the price of its Sync system from $395 to $295.
The updated pricing will extend first to the 2012 Explorer and Edge, and will be available on all trim levels of the Edge, with the SEL, Limited and Sport models coming standard with the system and the SE now available with Sync as an option. The pricing will later extend to the 2013 Escape, Flex, Focus and Taurus.
In addition to the standard infotainment and navigation functions, Ford is touting the hands-free capabilities of Sync as a safety feature, along with 911 Assist and the Sync Services subscription plan which includes turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports and business searches, all of which can be performed without ever taking your eyes off the road.
Ford plans to make Sync and the new pricing strategy available on every North American model by 2014, and expect a host of upgrades and refinements to happen in the process. Hit the jump for the full details.
Ford Drops Price of SYNC by $100, Making Hands-Free, Voice-Activated In-Car Connectivity More Affordable, Available to All
- Ford initiates new pricing strategy for SYNC®, making the hands-free, voice-activated connectivity system more affordable for customers; dropping option price to $295 makes SYNC the most capable and most affordable system on the market
- Launching first on the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge, SYNC will now be available as optional equipment on base trim levels, marking broader availability and more choice for customers
- Making hands-free technology more affordable and available comes on the heels of Ford becoming the first automaker to announce its support for a nationwide ban on the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving
DEARBORN, Mich., August 1, 2011 – Ford is making hands-free, voice-controlled in-car connectivity even more affordable, announcing both a $100 price drop for Ford SYNC® along with expanded availability by offering it as an option on base trim levels for the first time.
"Ford SYNC is making a difference. Our customers love it and recommend it, and our dealers want it on more products," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. "SYNC already has brought hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity to millions, helping keep drivers' eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Now, Ford is making it even easier for customers to afford exactly what they want."
The move marks the company's latest push to make voice control the primary and safest way for customers to access their favorite mobile devices while driving – a capability more and more drivers are clamoring for, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
In a 2010 study, the CEA found that 55 percent of smartphone owners, for example, prefer voice commands as their primary in-car user interface. SYNC users agree, with internal Ford research showing more than 85 percent say they use voice controls while driving, up from 60 percent in previous studies.
This month, Ford became the first automaker to openly support the Safe Drivers Act of 2011, proposed federal legislation for a nationwide ban on the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving. To date, 10 states, including California and New York, have legally banned talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving, with many local municipalities also following suit enacting their own set of restrictions. Text messaging while driving is banned in 34 states.
The new SYNC pricing and choice strategy for 2012 ups the ante on how Ford is translating this trend into real-world actions that offer smarter in-vehicle connectivity solutions for customers.
"As the list of states banning hand-held calls and texting while driving continues to grow and legislators ponder a nationwide ban, Ford is strengthening its leadership position as the only full-line automaker with plans to offer available hands-free mobile device connectivity on 100 percent of its passenger vehicle lineup," said Czubay.
SYNC has been installed already on more than 3 million vehicles since its debut in 2007.
The new pricing strategy makes SYNC the most capable and most affordable in-car connectivity system in the industry. The new pricing will be available first on the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge base models. Customers who opt for SYNC will pay only $295 for the award-winning in-car connectivity system, previously priced at $395. In addition, SYNC will now be available on all trim levels, as the availability chart of the 2012 Ford Edge shows:
Ford Edge Trim Level 2011 Model SYNC Availability 2012 Model SYNC Availability
SE Not available Optional
SEL Optional Standard
Limited Standard Standard
Sport Standard Standard
With the base SYNC package, customers will enjoy the core hands-free features and services that have quickly established SYNC as a must-have technology, with more than 76 percent of current SYNC users saying they would recommend the system to other customers. Those features include:
- Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a Bluetooth®-connected mobile phone
- Hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected digital music player
- 911 Assist™, the automated emergency calling service that is free for the life of the vehicle
- Vehicle Health Report, the on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service
In addition, customers who choose the base package will have the option to purchase a SYNC Services subscription, which expands voice-controlled features to include a cloud-based network of services. These include turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports, and business search information with available live operator assistance if needed. A SYNC Services subscription costs only $60 a year, besting the telematics services offered by the competition.
Ford dealers are excited about the prospect of being able to offer SYNC to a larger population of their customers.
James T. Seavitt, president of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich., says he wouldn't be surprised to see those rates soar even higher with the new SYNC pricing and base model availability. Seavitt admits that approximately 75 percent of the vehicles he currently sells have SYNC.
"Customers frequently ask about SYNC in our dealership as they continue to hear more about the benefits and convenience of hands-free connectivity while driving," said Seavitt. "This move from Ford will help dealers put more customers in SYNC-equipped vehicles so they can experience why using their voice to control their favorite mobile devices in the car is a smarter choice."
On Edge and Explorer alone, SYNC has already been a big hit on the showroom floor, with current take rates above 80 percent. With the new pricing strategy, SYNC is now expected to be installed on more than 95 percent of models sold.
During the next three years, Ford will introduce the new SYNC pricing and choice strategy across the entire North American Ford vehicle lineup.
Vehicles next in line after the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge include the 2013 Ford Taurus, Focus, Escape and Flex.