Archive for Ford Focus

MyFord Touch Upgrade Coming Soon

Ford customers said MyFord Touch could be faster and feature simpler graphics that are easier to use and that’s exactly what Ford plans to deliver with a broad set of performance upgrades to the system – launching first on the new 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus.

Available early next year – and offered at no charge to existing MyFord Touch owners – the software upgrade enhances the ownership experience as it was developed by listening and responding to customer feedback.

 “SYNC has clearly been a game-changing technology and now we’re changing the game again, showing how quickly we can deliver more of what customers really want,” said Graydon Reitz, director, Ford Global Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Our strategy to create the SYNC software platform and add the customizable screens of MyFord Touch gives us a level of flexibility and speed to respond to customer input like never before seen in the auto industry.”

 The new touch-screen interface features simpler graphics and controls that are easier to use. Customers will also experience significantly faster touch-screen response times, one of the top requests from owners.

 New features include support for tablet devices and Audible.com audiobooks, improved navigation maps and enhanced voice recognition interaction.

 For a video demonstration of the improvements, please visit: http://youtu.be/c3k4iDZyhYE

 Listening to customers

Since MyFord launched last fall, Ford has held four customer clinics in which hundreds of owners talked directly to Ford engineers about their experiences with the new technology. Owner feedback was clear and consistent, revealing that MyFord Touch was a key purchase reason.

 A survey of 2011 Ford Edge owners shows that four of the top seven purchase reasons were elements of the MyFord Touch system: the touch screen, steering wheel controls, voice recognition and dashboard styling.  While owners reported that they love the system, there were distinct areas where they wanted improvements. Earlier this year, Ford started delivering on their requests, beginning with more instructions and information on how to best utilize the capabilities of the system.

Ford launched two programs modeled after what consumers experience when purchasing a new electronic device. First, the company added a new MyFord Touch owner support website featuring how-to videos at www.syncmyride.com. Second, free “SYNC My Ride” personalized training sessions for new owners are now offered through Ford dealers – scheduled at customers’ convenience.

 “The keys to continuous improvement are simple: Listen, learn and respond. That’s how we’re going to keep our customers happy,” said Gary Jablonski, manager, SYNC Platform Development. “Evolving the software with meaningful enhanced features was part of our plan from the very beginning. It’s no different than the experience with our smartphones and laptop computers – except now, it’s your car that gets better.”

 Upgrade your ride

All of the new improvements will be offered to existing owners of MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles, including the 2011 and 2012 models of Ford Explorer and Edge and the 2012 Focus.  

“We’re seizing the opportunity to continuously improve the Ford ownership experience, and revolutionize what it means to own a car,” said Reitz. “Introducing new technology is only one step in our journey to become known as a technology company. Consistently improving it based on what our customers are telling us marks another milestone in that journey.”

 Early next year, owners located in the U.S. will be mailed a USB flash drive with the software upgrade for installation that they can do at their own convenience. If they prefer, owners may also visit their local Ford dealer for the software installation. The upgrade mailing will include instructions informing owners how to simply plug the USB flash drive into the MyFord Touch Media Hub’s USB port in order for installation to automatically begin.

 New look

The visual enhancements to MyFord Touch are based on simplifying the graphics with larger, bolder fonts, removing low-priority visual content, and designing screens based on a consistent pattern. More than 1,000 screens in total have been updated with the improved look.

 “Our goal when designing the upgrade was to simplify the screens and give customers a fast and easy way to get information at any given moment,” said Jennifer Brace, User Interface Design engineer for Ford. “That meant removing buttons, relocating high-use controls closer to the driver’s reach, simplifying tasks and improving font size.”  The new fonts are as much as 40 percent larger on some redesigned screens. The fonts also are wider and bolder to provide easier legibility, particularly among the rapidly increasing number of drivers age 60 and older.

 New features

Ford also took the opportunity to update the performance of the system and add new features for customers to help them keep pace with the fast-moving consumer electronics market.

Faster touch-screen response time, for example, was a key request from owners. Initial testing shows that touch and voice response is at least two times faster than the current system.

 Also, the software upgrade includes the following enhancements:

  •  Improved voice recognition experience
  • Quicker voice recognition and faster command prompt when the voice button is pushed
  • Voice commands used in conjunction with navigation are simplified through elimination of the need to provide street direction, e.g., “Main Street” instead of “North Main Street”
  • Music requests are simpler by removing the need to include the additional song, album or artist information
  • Customers can find their favorite sports team in action via new Sirius Game Finder simply by saying a command such as “Tune to Detroit Lions game”
  • Tablet device compatibility
  • Music and other media content from most popular tablet computers like the Apple iPad can now be accessed through a simple USB connection
  • Audible.com audiobook support
  • Listen to Audible.com content using voice commands or the easy-to-use touch-screen controls
  • Connected navigation powered by TeleNav features new map data by NAVTEQ
  • Updated map views are richer and feature more 3D landmarks
  • Views of freeway junctions and signs are enhanced through photorealistic screen images
  • Smart routing options are provided based onhistorical traffic patterns
  • Phone compatibility
  • Automatic Bluetooth connection upon vehicle entry has been improved
  • Noise and echo cancellation during phone calls has been improved
  • Gracenote® album cover art database
  • Inclusion of the latest music metadata available enhancing the music playback experience
  • Improved voice recognition for music search allowing drivers to pinpoint artists with hard-to-pronounce names or nicknames

Ford Teams Up With CBS to run “The Amazing Race”

This fall, Ford will again sponsor CBS’ global adventure show, “The Amazing Race.” Ford’s sponsorship includes on-air components featuring four of its top models – Explorer, Fiesta, Focus, and Mustang.

During the season premiere, teams will start their race in a new Ford Explorer and drive to the L.A. airport before departing on their first leg to Taipei, Taiwan. Ford Fiesta, Focus, and Mustang vehicles will make their way across the globe in additional episodes throughout the season. One lucky team will win two new Ford Mustangs for finishing in first place in an upcoming leg. The winners will also be given the opportunity to customize their Mustangs using Ford’s new Mustang Customizer Website.

“As the exclusive automotive partner, we are proud to be providing vehicles that play a vital role in helping the contestants navigate and accomplish their near-impossible tasks,” said Crystal Worthem, Ford Brand Content and Alliance Manager.

“The Amazing Race” sends 11 teams on a trek around the world with the first team to arrive at the final destination winning $1 million.

2012 Ford Focus is Perfect for Students Heading Back to School

Kelley Blue Book has released its annual “Back to School Cars” selection, naming the top vehicles for students heading back to school. The list names 5 new cars and 5 used cars that are safe and inexpensive.  One of the five new cars to make the list for 2011 is the 2012 Ford Focus.

The experts at KBB.com use a wide variety of factors, including vehicle cost, fuel efficiency, versatility, safety, style, and how fun it is to drive when making the list.  According to the experts, “The 2012 Ford Focus is the kind of car young drivers love: It looks cool on the outside, modern on the inside, handles with more than a hint of sportiness, and offers advanced audio and information technology. Parents of young drivers will appreciate the cost-savings afforded by the Ford’s excellent fuel economy, along with the peace of mind offered by MyKey.”

The MyKey system was one of the Ford Focus’ big selling points.  This technology offers features such as Ford’s Belt-Minder system, which chimes and mutes the audio system until seat belts are buckled, a low fuel warning system that engages when the driving range is reduced to 75 miles, limits on the top speed of the car and volume of the audio system, and removing the ability to turn off certain safety features, such as traction control, park aid, and BLIS, the Blind Spot Information System.

Focus ST-R is Coming

Ford just announced the reace-prepped 2012 Focus ST-R will soon be available in North America.  It was introduced at the Frankfurt Auto Show.  Read all about it here- http://www.thefordstory.com/our-articles/cars/focussedan/ford-focus-st-r-racecar-availability-to-begin-in-north-america/

Ford and Zipcar Bring the Focus and Escape to College Students Nationwide

Ford has joined Zipcar to bring 1,000 Ford Focuses and Escapes to college campuses around the country over the next 2 years. These Ford vehicles will be used in Zipcar’s car-sharing service to help college students get around and to introduce Ford cars to a new generation of drivers.

The Focus and Escape will be available to students at over 250 colleges. 650 Focus SEL Hatchbacks and Escape Limiteds will be purchased this year, with 1,000 going out over the course of the next two years.

Ford has made the deal a little sweeter for Zipcar’s college consumers as well.  The automaker will knock $10 off of the $35 annual membership fee for the first 100,000 new University program members, and lower the hourly rate by $1 for the first one million hours of use on any of the new Fords.

This deal makes Ford Zipcar’s largest OEM partner in the university program.

Car Show Season Starting

 

Car show season is getting revved up in Phoenix finally.  When the weather starts to cool off and you can actually stand to be in your garage again, it’s time to pull the car covers and start polishing! 

Sanderson Ford has several shows to offer this coming season.  In October, we’ll have 2 big ones.  On the 1st, we are bringing back the All Ford Show.  It will be a judged event and all Ford (and sister makes) are invited to enter.  We are also providing the venue for the Arizona Deuce Day 5 show on the 29th.

We have moved the location for all shows to the north side (Maryland Ave) of the dealership.  We will have our 50’s stainless steel diner open for all events.  Just like the Fonz, you’ll be able to get a cheeseburger and a real malt right here.  Depending on the spaces needed, we can accomodate up to 300 show vehicles in a secure environment.  Spectator parking is provided for free, on the north side of Maryland Ave. by the Valley Pentecostal Church. 

We are also sponsoring 2 big shows in February and March.  The Arizona Hobbyist Council is still unsure of the Feb. date and we’ll let you know as soon as it is firmed up.

The Wild West Mustangs of Arizona are having their big show here on March 24th, 2012.  This will be their 3rd event and they keep getting better each time.

Registration and info for the All Ford Show can be found HERE.  See you there.

Ford Reveals Buyer’s Tastes

Ford data reveals   about buyers around the US.  Who would think, looking around, that white was NOT the favorite Ford color in Arizona.  Would you guess Molten Orange?  Gold, silver, and finally, white round out the top colors. 

Seattle and San Francisco must have problems getting lost and parking their cars because they are tops in; BLIS, rear view cameras, active park assist, and navigation. 

You would think us Arizonans would own the air conditioned seat category, but we didn’t even rank in the top 5.  Would you have guessed Seattle, Denver, and San Francisco.  How about heated seats?  Can you believe Atlanta and Charlotte are in the top 5. 

Rainy and cold Seattle is also tops in moon roofs.  I guess better for watching the storm clouds!

Hybrid vehicles are #1 and #2 in Seattle and San Francisco, but Phoenix is #5 on this list.  Thanks 43 mpg with AC Fusion Hybrid.

In Arizona, we prefer diesels, hybrids,and  manual transmissions, but have no preference on gas engine size.

Those areas of the country looking for V-8 power include; Orlando, Memphis, Charlotte, Houston, and Seattle.  The economically minded (4 cylinder) people live in Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Detroit, Boston, and Denver. 

Coastal cities like muted colors while the Midwest has an affinity for red.  The east coast is definately green. 

New Yorkers consume the most vehicles with rear seat DVD systems.  Turns out Sponge pants Bob really is an effective babysitter.

The national pick-up truck capital is still shared by Dallas and Houston.  This is also the area with the highest demand for tow packages.  95% of Super Duty customers tow with their trucks. 

Using the data Ford collects allows it to maximize the model mix and deliver vehicles that actually meet customers need regionally.  The imports should try to figure this out.

Of course, if you want an east coast color, with Seattle options, Denver seats, and Texas towing capability, all you need to do is drop by Sanderson Ford.  If we don’t have it, we’ll be happy to order it for you!

Ford SYNC Adds Live Operators

  • Ford is beta testing an Operator Assist feature for the cloud-based network of SYNC Services, giving all registered Services users complimentary access to a live operator for help with business searches and address entry for turn-by-turn directions.  About 70 percent of calls to SYNC Services are for business searches and/or directions
  • SYNC Services provides access to more than 14 million business listings.  
  • Getting directions or finding a business using SYNC Services has become even easier thanks to a new feature called Operator Assist that allows users to instantly connect with a live person. 
  • Operator Assist is only a voice command away, making it part of the growing list of cloud-based driver aids offered by Ford Motor Company. The new feature provides customers with the ability to safely connect with a live person who can quickly access information databases to help drivers get where they’re going.  

Operator Assist is currently in a beta test trial phase and being offered as a complimentary feature for registered users of SYNC Services. No additional software or hardware is needed.   

“Ford is committed to continuously improving the ownership experience and delivering the level of connectivity that customers want,” said Doug VanDagens, director, Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization. “By leveraging what’s available in the cloud, we continue to innovate and improve our customers’ experience without having to touch the vehicle or inconvenience the owner.”
 
How it works
Cloud-based, on-demand, voice-activated SYNC Services provides access to information about traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes, and movie listings along with business searches and turn-by-turn directions.
 
Operator Assist is available for the directions and business search functions of SYNC Services. Seventy percent of all SYNC Services calls are for business search and directions, said David Gersabeck, product manager, SYNC Services.
 
Using advanced vehicle sensors, integrated GPS technology and comprehensive map and traffic data, the SYNC Services automated system delivers turn-by-turn directions to the user. Further, with access to more than 14 million business listings, SYNC Services’ automated system directs users to the businesses they seek.
 
Now, with Operator Assist, at any time during a business search or directions interaction between the user and the SYNC Services automated system, the user can say, “Operator,” confirm his or her request to speak with an operator, and connect to a live operator. This system gives Ford customers the choice of interfacing with a live operator or utilizing the interactive voice recognition system.
 
“Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood,” said Gersabeck. “If you want the most reliable user experience, enabling alternative methods for customers to access information will increase success, which is where Operator Assist factors into the equation.”
 
In the event a user says an address or business that the automated system can’t identify, the user will be prompted with the option to connect to a live operator. If the user confirms he or she would like to speak with an operator for further assistance, the system automatically connects the user to the live operator.
 
When a live operator assists with a business search, the user can choose to receive turn-by-turn directions to the business, receive a text message with name, address and phone number information about the business (applies to certain phone carrier networks), or be directly connected to the phone number of the business.
 
When a live operator assists with address entry, the user can have the directions sent directly to the vehicle.
 
“We want Ford SYNC Services customers to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can get where they’re going or want to go,” said Gersabeck. “Being able to connect with a live person at any time contributes to that peace of mind.”
 
The live operator services are provided by MyAssist, a leading live assistance and telematics service company for individuals and businesses based in Stevens Point, Wis.
 
Provided by Ford Media

Ford Makes Cool, Affordable Cars

The editors at kbb.com recently released the 2011 edition of the top 10 “Coolest Cars Under $18,000.”  Vehicles are first chosen based on their availability for purchase at $18,000 or less, according to the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price.  Then, all qualifying vehicles are judged on just two factors: fun-to-drive and fun-to-own.  This year, two Ford models made the cut.

The 2012 Focus was noted for its sporty handling, head-turning looks, and an impressive standard equipment list, while also being efficient and affordable.  Voters also liked that for a little bit extra, leather seats, MyFord Touch, and a quick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission can be added.

The 2011 Fiesta made the list for the second year in a row.  Features that helped land the Fiesta on the list once again include its European looks, well-crafted interior, nimble handling, and sharp driving dynamics.  But the experts were ultimately sold thanks to the available SYNC infotainment center and remarkable fuel economy.

These days, everyone seems to be looking for a bargain, especially when it comes to cars.  Fortunately, Ford is one of the few automakers to produce vehicles that are fun and exciting, yet affordable.

Ford Focus and Fusion Hybrid are Top Green Cars for 2011

The all-new 2012 Ford Focus and the 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid were named as two of the “Top 10 Green Cars for 2011” according to KBB.com.  The 2012 Ford Focus can achieve 28 mp city and 38 mpg highway with an automatic transmission.  Kelley Blue Book also mentioned that there are many other things to like about the Ford Focus, such as “excellent handling, impressively outfitted interior, sweet Euro styling and the availability of cool features like Ford’s SYNC entertainment and communications system.”  The impressive auto-park feature was also noted.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid is just as exciting, with an EPA rating of 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.  KBB.com mentioned that it was an easy pick and that it helped that “it delivers the driving dynamics and comfort that make the conventional Fusion so enduring, including SYNC and navigation, with the addition of a really cool LCD gauge cluster.”  The Ford Fusion includes Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide that uses real-time feedback to tell the driver how to achieve better fuel efficiency.  The technology alone in the car is impressive, not to mention the incredible fuel efficiency.

It’s easy to see why the 2012 Ford Focus and 2011 Ford Fusion easily made their way onto the list of the Top 10 Green Cars of 2011.

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