By on February 7, 2011

Ford brought two pieces of good news for their dealers at this year’s NADA meeting: The dealers will get more cars. And they will get more cash. But wait, there will be less …

Ford will increase its production targeted at its U.S. dealers by 13 percent this quarter. If the market wants more, Ford will make more. They will even lay on more shifts, says the Wall Street Journal.

What usually makes dealers much happier: Ford will dole out extra spiffs. Ford dealers will get $50 for every vehicle they order with Sync and $75 if they order cars equipped with Sync and MyFord Touch. This “technology allowance” is meant to reimburse the dealers for the extra time it takes to teach customers how to use the in-vehicle technology.

Dealers had been complaining that the new technology eats up their precious time. Automotive News [sub] wrote recently that “delivering a new vehicle used to take a dealer 45 minutes. It now could take up to two hours for some. That’s productivity time lost by the salesperson who could be making another sale instead of teaching a customer three different ways to turn on or adjust the air conditioning.”

So that was the good news. “Later Sunday, Czubay and Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing chief, told Lincoln dealers that Ford wants to reduce the retail network from 434 showrooms to about 325 in the country’s 130 largest markets,” writes the Freep. There had to be a catch.

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11 Comments on “Get An All Expense Paid Sync And MyFord Touch Course. At Your Ford Dealer...”

  • avatar

    As an old fart in training I have no need for this krap. 

  • avatar

    When I took delivery of my 2011 Mustang in September, the salesman asked me to set aside a little extra time.  The car has Sync (not myFord Touch, obviously) and he walked my wife and me through most of the major functions and talked us through pairing both our phones, loading contacts, etc.  I’m fairly tech-savvy but the tutoring was still very helpful and allowed me to hit the ground running once I left the lot.
    Given the additional complexity of myFord Touch and the criticism it has received from some circles, it’s only reasonable for Ford to give dealers a little extra consideration for  the additional time they will have to devote to training customers.  Let’s hope that they actually DO spend extra time with the customers and not just pocket the money.

  • avatar

    If these systems from Ford were remotely intuitive, easy to use, and well designed, there wouldn’t b this problem.  Fact is, Ford half-assed these systems, rushed them ti market, and now you need HOURS of training just to increase the temperature in the appliance.

    • 0 avatar

      Very true. If you need training on how to set the temp for the A/C the “system” is flawed.

    • 0 avatar

      Bet you can’t guess how I know you haven’t used them.

    • 0 avatar

      Setting the temperature, radio station, and other basic adjustments is still easy and intuitive with the new system. The Sync and MyFord Touch systems are only as complicated as you want to make them. A lot of customers will likely never use the extended features like the turn by turn directions, real time traffic, or real time fuel price information, but Ford wants the dealers to make sure they show the customers how to do it just in case the customer ever does want to use those features. 
      There was a learning curve going from sliderules to calculators, and from basic phones to new smartphones, but I don’t think anyone could argue that the newer products aren’t much better overall. 
      One of the biggest lessons with the new MyFord Touch systems is getting comfortable operating the vehicle features primarily through voice commands. Most people are suspicious of it, and don’t expect it to work, so they need some prompting and education to comfortable enough to start trying out the voice commands instead of falling back to using the hard buttons. Ford is pushing a new paradigm for interacting with your vehicle, and it is better, faster, and safer than previous systems. It just takes time to get people to make the leap,’but once they do, they love it.

    • 0 avatar

      NulloModo:  Thank you for bringing up turn-by-turn navigation and real time traffic.  I’ve used both of these features on my Mustang’s Sync system and they work as advertised and are extremely useful.  I would also agree that the learning curve here is no steeper than that of a smart phone.

    • 0 avatar

      There are still physical buttons for temperature adjustment apart from the touch screen. Choose room temperature (~72 degF) and press auto. Simple. There’s also an off button and a defroster button too.
      I wasn’t too keen on the touch-sensitive hazard light switch in the Edge Limited though. I kept bumping into it when experimenting with the touch screen controls for audio (at a stop and parked of course). It took me a little while to learn that the big Home button wasn’t the same as the menu button.

  • avatar

    GM had the same problem when they first introduced OnStar. The sales person had to activate it upon delivery without any compensation for the time spent doing so. It was a royal pain and cost me more than I can calculate in lost sales because I was unable to wait on a new customer, instead sitting in the vehicle being delivered for an extra 30 minutes on average activating and explaining OnStar. The problem was eliminated after three or four years when GM started activating the OnStar system at the factory.

    Will be interesting to see how many dealers pocket the money vs. those that pass it on to their sales staff, the ones who are losing money sitting in the deliveries explaining how the system works.

  • avatar

    All I want are simple, easy-to-use knobs and buttons and sliders. What a concept! If I have to make a call, I’ll just use my cell phone when it is safe to do so. I’ll plug in my own GPS if need be, too. Keep it simple, OEMs, keep it simple. “Old ‘fart’ in training”? Not me. I am an “O.F.”, but do my best to stay young at heart.

  • avatar

    We need to stop catering to people too lazy to read their owner’s manual. I get alot of people at work who have no idea how to use something as simple as their trip computers or how to turn on or off their automatic headlights. Hell, I get people who can’t use options they paid for like nav systems or foglights.

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