Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, said more buyers are opting for the voice-command and touch-screen technology packages that boost the profitability of its cars and trucks.
Vehicles with the Sync or MyFord Touch systems climbed to 79 percent of Ford’s 2013 car and truck sales, from 68 percent for year-earlier models, the company said today in a statement. Ford typically charges $1,000 for MyFord Touch and $295 for Sync on models that don’t offer them as standard features.
Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally has pushed Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford to make unique technology one of the pillars that underpin new models. The strategy, while boosting profit margins, has hurt the automaker in quality surveys by firms such as J.D. Power & Associates because audio, entertainment and navigation features tend to draw more complaints from buyers.
Ford plans to offer a downloadable upgrade to its Sync and MyFord Touch systems in the coming months, according to today’s statement. The systems contributed to Ford’s drop in rankings of J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study for a second year in 2012. The Ford brand fell to 27th, from fifth two years earlier, and its Lincoln luxury marque remained below-average at 18th.
Results of this year’s study are scheduled for release on June 19. Automakers have sought to improve their technology offerings after complaints about them increased 45 percent since 2006, while other categories improved 24 percent on average, J.D. Power said last year.