MyTouch Could Sink Ford - On The J.D. Power Ranking
On Thursday, the J.D. Power and Associates’ initial quality study will be published. If you pay the hefty fees J.D. Power charges, you get an advance copy, along with much more data than just the list J.D. Power releases to the public. Last year, Ford ranked highest among all non-luxury brands. It looks like someone is softening the blow that could come from a big drop down the rankings.
According to a report in the Freep, customers have voiced their frustrations with Ford’s MyTouch in-car technology system. Some call it distracting and complicated. A new PowerShift transmission, available on the Fiesta and Focus, is sometimes called “jerky and unpredictable,” especially at low speeds. Some customers have voiced their frustration with NTHSA.
“I have taken my 2011 Fiesta in at least six times,” one Fiesta owner complained to NHTSA. “On the freeway, the car will shift up and down randomly, to the point that it sounds like the engine will explode.”
Ford spokesman Richard Truett admitted “a few minor teething problems that affected shift quality. But those have long been rectified.”
Major revisions are also under development for Ford MyTouch.
What could help Ford maintain its lofty ranking: “All automakers are struggling with rising consumer expectations as all the connectivity consumers use at home or in offices now migrates into the car,” says the Freep. “Solving their problems with in-vehicle wireless service requires working with phone makers, software companies and social network businesses whose products have quality challenges of their own.”
I enjoy the irony that Mercedes marketing is targeting people who know they're incompetent and distracted drivers while Ford is trying to make unhappy customers feel that they're to blame for Ford's interfaces requiring a higher technical aptitude than a meaningful percentage of their customers possess. If you don't like your new Ford it is because you're a dummy!
I've had a few rentals with My Ford Touch in it. Until recently Ford products were my vehicle of choice at the rental counter because of driving dynamics (compared to other typical rental fare available) and Sync - which I adore. My Ford Touch visual interface is way over complicated. The text and graphics on the touch interface are too small to provide a micro second of a glance to get information; I shouldn't have to study a screen to get the information I need. There is an intuitive level on the way the categories are broken into four sections, but latency in the system makes taking a quick glance impossible. Things like having a delay measured in seconds, not fractions of a second to change Sirius radio stations is just unacceptable. On longer term rentals I've experienced complete system crashes. The screen goes black, I get a message on the screen about doing "maintenance and updates" or something of the sort and about 90 seconds later I'm back in business - sort of. Driving on an interstate; annoying. Using the navigation system in urban corridors - out right frustrating. On one model it tried over and over and over and over again to Sync with a Microsoft based MP3 player; come on, the underlying technology is from Microsoft and all the goodness that was Sync is buried under an overly complicated and overly taxed system. I'm under the impression that Sync can be updated via a number of input sources; if that is the case there certainly is hope. I have not had a career in developing automotive human interfaces. But I have had a career in developing human interfaces for PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. Small print, excessive buttons, unclear information boundaries, deep navigational menus, and worst of all latency are all the kiss of death to a usable interface. Ford has committed all of these sins. Worst, the redundant manual controls on the upper end vehicles are an equal abomination. If the cars I had were my own I would likely be more familiar with the voice commands; but I found that not even those were very intuitive.
I finally had the opportunity to test drive a Focus Titanium with the handling package a few days ago, and before I took it out on the road I had a chance to play with MyTouch for at least 15 minutes...... .....the version I laid my hands on worked flawlessly. I paired my iPhone with it, streamed bluetooth music with it, called up commands that the vehicle actually understood and was able to find items that weren't buried in some god awfully confusing menu. All of that without lag or delay! This was the first time I actually had the opportunity to play around with the system and I was impressed. If you want something that is downright infuriating I strongly suggest some of you take a trip over to your local Audi dealer and behold the latest iteration of MMI. It's awful! I-Drive is no better. Our '11 535 has run into several issues where we've had a glowing orange screen that displays absolutely nothing, a navigation system that doesn't like to be rushed to figure out which way it wants to go, it freezes, voice commands are a joke and important things are buried deep in an abyss that only someone with OCD would care to locate. Ford's system may not be perfect, but I can't think of any system from any other automaker that's any better. Back to the Focus......my only complaint was the seating position, but even that wasn't all that bad. Powershift seemed to work just fine IMO. This really struck me as a no compromise vehicle for the masses, with feature content and build quality that is basically unrivaled.
Ford has clearly lost FOCUS on quality. With MyTouch review to rash of recalls for engine fire, customer is running like MUSTANG to other makes. The FUSION of technologies rushed to market is making EXPLORERs out of customer. No wonder Ford is losing its EDGE to other competitors. Qality is definitely not job 1. I'd give it a F 150 times. Ford = Frying Or Roasting Deathtrap. Regards, TAURUS