Nearly Three-quarters of Tech-savvy Ford Owners Don't Trust Their Kids

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Once upon a time, a kid who’d been handed the keys to the family car only stopped accelerating when a stop sign or red light approached, the vehicle ran out of gas, a speed trap appeared in the distance, or they hit the governor.

Today, technology allows parents to pry into their kids’ lives like never before. Moms and dads can harass their offspring remotely with phone calls and text messages, keep tabs on their behavior via social media posts, and even follow their minute-by-minute travels via phone tracker apps. Childhood is dead and parents are the new KGB. With its MyKey system, Ford seized on the modern parent’s growing paranoia and offered these human helicopters the opportunity to lock their crossover into “sedate” mode before tossing junior the keys. Well, fob.

But how many people actually use the feature? As it turns out, plenty. But to use it, they first need to know it exists.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety survey of 1,500 parents of driving-age teens revealed there’s more than a few people who don’t realize the power they have over their kid’s night out.

By programming the vehicle’s top speed, audio volume limit, and ensuring the system’s Do Not Disturb feature remains operational, parents can be assured that Brayden or Caiden or Bryanna or Ashleigh’s evening more closely resembles Driving Miss Daisy than Days of Thunder. According to the survey, some 57 percent of MyKey-equipped Ford owners know about the feature. However, some 39 percent were clueless. There could be numerous reasons for this, from buyers not doing their homework before the purchase, to an untalkative or unknowledgeable salesperson who didn’t probe into their personal life to help seal that deal.

MyKey isn’t a new thing. It first appeared in Ford vehicles for the 2010 model year. Interestingly, the majority of respondents who did know about the feature claim they heard about it at the dealership. Ford employees working the floor might do well to tap into potentially profitable parental paranoia (sorry) and mention the peace of mind such a system brings.

Let’s be clear, though — just because parents know about the system, doesn’t mean they use it. Still, a great many do. Of the 57 percent of respondents who were hip to MyKey, 61 percent said they use it and 12 percent said they plan to. Assuming they’re not lying, that’s a 73 percent utilization rate. (The rest claim their kid doesn’t take the car out enough to warrant it, or that they’re sure their little angel would never behave in a reckless manner. Probably true!)

However, factor in the missing 43 percent and the actual utilization rate among parents of teens drops to 34.8 percent. Not as shiny a figure. If Ford can bring the parents who didn’t know MyKey existed on board, and that’s a lot of kids who’ll have to explain to their passengers why they can’t pull alongside Kayleigh’s RAV4 after she blasts past them on the interstate on the way to the party.

[Images: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Wait, so they dont use it but they use it, but they dont use it...? And damn you Ford to hell for making available a system that can curb idiot teens and their stupid driving behaviors while making parents feel a little safer about how their kids are driving. DAMN YOU I say!

  • PwrdbyM PwrdbyM on Sep 20, 2018

    I'm not one for big "gubment" oversight and the like but I honestly see no issue with this feature. I can think back to all the stupid shit my friends and I did in high school in cars and this could have prevented much of it. And hell, I only had an 88hp 4cyl pickup. Sounds like the author still has some lingering mommy issues.

    • See 1 previous
    • Arach Arach on Sep 21, 2018

      haha... only 88 HP. I was a lot cooler than you. I had 92 HP in my 1988 2.5L I4 Iron Duke. Wanna race? (TiC)

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.
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