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11:32 am
Mon November 12, 2012

Ford will improve MyFordTouch, not abandon it

Vehicles made by Ford Motor Company dropped to next to last in Consumer Reports' latest reliability survey - in large part, due to problems with the company's MyFordTouch communication system.

But the company has no plans to drop the system.

Consumer Reports is a harsh critic of the company's decision to almost completely abandon traditional dials, buttons and knobs to control many basic functions like heat, air conditioning, and radio. 

Instead, the customer has three choices:  a touchscreen, voice activation, or steering wheel-mounted controllers.  Critics say none of them work perfectly and all of them can be confusing.

Automotive News recently interviewed Ford CEO Alan Mulally about the problems.  He says Ford will improve the MyFordTouch system, but won't abandon it. 

One misstep, he said, may have been the company's decision to give Ford buyers multiple ways of controlling the increasingly complex electronics in their cars.

Some consumers, he said, prefer touch-screen controls. Some prefer voice activation, while others like controllers such as those used in consumer electronics and video games.

Ford built all three into its systems. But in doing so, it underestimated the progress that was coming in voice-activated commands, Mulally said.

When Ford started developing the system, he said: "We only had like 100 voice commands. Today we have 10,000 voice commands. In hindsight, we probably would've focused more on the voice activation and maybe a little bit less on the touch screen and then brought that technology along a little slower.