After registering a 33% increase in sales for December 2009 (albeit with a rumored 35 percent fleet mix), Ford aren’t letting the grass grow under their feet. industry.bnet.com reports that GM and Ford are to announce the updated versions of their in-car communications systems. Ford announced first that their “Sync” system is turning more towards Apple for new applications, despite the system being developed with Microsoft. Naturally, Microsoft is free to develop Sync-like features for others car makers. Doug Vandagens, director of Ford’s Connected Services Solutions Organisation justified this move at a press conference by saying that many Apple iPhone customers are customising their phones with Apple, therefore, Ford had to follow that trend. A clear indication of Ford marketing to towards younger customers, with the Fiesta being pushed at young, trendy types. GM will have an announcement tonight about their updated GM OnStar.
Meanwhile, Chrysler doesn’t have a system of its own, however, Fiat does. Fiat also worked with Microsoft to develop the “Blue & Me” system. Now with the exclusivity between Ford and Microsoft over and Fiat now present in America (via Chrysler), Ford may have some more competition in the market. Jim Farley was cagey on the whole affair, “We have exclusivity in the sense that we started a long time ago,” Farley said,“We have a lot of resources invested in it, and no one else can say that. We also have exclusive use of the name, of course, and the relationship with Microsoft has gotten to be very fundamental. You don’t just wake up and duplicate all that.” Whilst these communication systems are great additions to one’s car, are they really necessary? Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia (for now), don’t have in car communication systems and they’re selling pretty well.