Ford's SYNC Sells Cars. Allegedly.
Would a new car buyer opt for a Ford just to get a $350 voice recognition system for their iPod (or similar) and Bluetooth-enabled phone? When Ford launched the national ad campaign for their in-dash Microsoft gizmo– selling the "new" Ford Focus entirely on its SYNCopation– the automaker revealed their faith 'n SYNC's ability to move the metal. Cynical observers might say the strategy is a desperate eHail Mary (lousy cars? syncing sales?). But credit where credit's due: it's a welcome move away from selling Fords based on price. And guess what? It's working! At least according to Cars.com. "Ford insists the 12 SYNC-equipped Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles now offering it are moving off dealer lots twice as fast as those without it." Hang on. That assertion doesn't mean Ford sales are improving; it simply says Ford customers want a SNYC-equipped FoMoCo product rather than one without. Question: do Ford dealers have enough SNYC-equipped models? Are they having to discount non-SYNC models? Cars.com ignores these and any other interesting issues. But if it's hard numbers you want… "Ford says a survey of SYNC buyers found 80% say it was easy to learn and use and 90% would recommend it to others." That's not necessarily a good thing. Ford's got an 18-month exclusive on the system. After that, it's anybody's game.
" From what I’ve heard about Sync, it’s everything that iDrive isn’t, like intuitive and easy to use." Yeah, but no matter how much you yell, you can't unleash the 500 horsepower in the Focus. It looks SYNC is the ONLY reason to buy a new Ford these days...
SYNC’s voice recognition is better integrated than current competition – for example, one could request a particular song by title or artist from an MP3 player attached to the vehicle. Remembering and then thumbing your way through hundreds of songs across multitude of playlists via steering wheel isn’t practical (or even feasible). SYNC itself isn’t enough to get me into a Ford vehicle, but I am certain I wouldn’t get one without SYNC.
You seem to forget this enables you to do things WITHOUT your hands leaving the wheel. Even after 500k miles without an accident in a car or on a bike(with hardly a mile below the speed limit outside of traffic), I still keep my hands in the 10-2 even in regular driving in traffic. With SYNC, I put a few thousand songs on a USB thumb drive, and make my entire 35 minute commute without ever touching the stereo. The SYNC, volume, and phone are all handled by my right thumb on the wheel….
[...] to deal with what has thus far been a largely rhetorical government assault on its new(ish) cash cow. But if Strickland keeps suggesting specific action, the OEMs (who are pledging cooperation) will [...]