Technology can be a fickle thing for automotive companies. Done right, tech can help sell cars. Done badly, and tech can sink a whole company's image.
Ford is battling just that problem. Its Sync tech has certainly contributed to healthy sales recently, but customers started to complain with the buggy advent of the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch systems.
An update for the system back in March promised to fix the annoying restarts, the slow responses and the underwhelming voice control. The user interface also got cleaner, easier to read menus and iPad compatibility was improved.
Unfortunately, Ford is now saying the improvements probably came too late to be reflected in the J.D. Power quality survey to be announced today.
"We'll be about the same or slightly better," Bennie Fowler, Ford's group vice president of global quality, told Automotive News Tuesday. "The dramatic improvement we're expecting will come in the third quarter..."
Ford fell from fifth place to 23rd place in last year's new-car quality survey. At least part of the reason, if not most, was due to customer dissatisfaction with the two Touch systems. That ranked Ford and Lincoln below the industry average for the number of problems per new vehicle.
Consumer Reports told Automotive News that since the Touch upgrades, complaints about Ford products are down. The magazine's auto-test chief David Champion says "Ford's basic quality remains good."