DEARBORN - J.D. Power yesterday released its annual Initial Quality Study showing automakers received 22 percent more complaints for infotainment issues than reported in the 2012 study, with voice recognition driving most of the reports. In the study brand rankings, Lincoln moved up one position to the industry average and Ford in 27th position, the same as last year.
Ford customers are more satisfied with our vehicles with MyFord Touch compared to most vehicles without the advanced technology on most vehicles. However, 80 percent of Ford vehicles are sold with SYNC or MyFord Touch – twice the rate of Toyota and Honda – which off-set some of the significant quality progress
J.D. Power highlighted our progress and industry infotainment quality issues in yesterday’s Detroit Free Press Story:
[J.D. Power’s Dave] Sargent said improvements to MyTouch have made it better, but as Ford adds the touch-screen system to more vehicles, it has garnered more complaints from new owners struggling with its touch or voice commands. Sargent said he expects Ford results to improve as MyTouch improves and consumers grow more comfortable with it. He noted that no one automaker is doing particularly well with their voice-recognition and Bluetooth systems.
According to Ford’s internal data comparing system to system, SYNC is nearing best-in-class levels for lower complaints and MyFord Touch complaints are now lower than several key competitors.
The study also does not show Ford customers’ high satisfaction with vehicles with MyFord Touch, a measure J.D. Power will report in July as part of their annual Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study.
Importantly, the technology is driving purchases as customers cite touchscreen and voice-control technologies as top purchase drivers for Ford vehicles at much higher rate than competitors. For example, Ford Escape owners cite touchscreen and voice control as leading purchase reasons twice the rate of the segment average.
Quality on Focus
In the recent employee program, Focus on Quality, there was a major focus on the MyFord Touch infotainment system.
“Customers really just want us to keep improving MyFord Touch,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development. “They can live with minor frustrations because overall it makes their lives better.”
Many issues with MyFord Touch are individual user issues, which could be prevented with better communication and instructions.
“This is where we are looking to make our biggest strides to help educate our customers before their questions turn into complaints,” he said.
MyFord Touch also will continue to improve with on-going software updates. Each update for MyFord Touch has increased customer satisfaction – with a 25 percent increase since the last update.
Customers can expect another software improvement later this summer, which will make MyFord Touch performance and experience even better.
“I know that there are some who view software updates as a concern – and even maybe a failure of some kind,” said Nair. “Unlike the mechanical quality of our vehicle systems, software is continuously evolving and improving. Software upgrades to MyFord Touch are really no different than those upgrades that we receive for our smartphones, tablets, laptops and GPS.”
And the updates to MyFord Touch are just as seamless. They can easily be performed when customers want from the convenience of their garage or driveway. There’s no need to go to the dealership.
“But we know software isn’t the whole story, there’s hardware issues as well,” he said. “We heard you and our customers loud and clear – going forward I’m happy to say buttons are on their way back. The two most requested are the volume and a tune knob. And they’re being added back to our vehicle lineup over several years.”
Take a look at the 2013 Ford F-150 for a good indication of the future of MyFord Touch.
Even though MyFord Touch is now standard across the F-150 lineup, it has the highest overall satisfaction rate and one of the lowest levels of MyFord Touch TGWs.
“We believe just adding the volume and tuning controls back it will provide a major improvement in customer quality and satisfaction,” said Nair. “This is our way going forward with MyFord Touch – listening, continuously improving our software and strengthening our focus on helping customers get the best experience possible from the vehicle connectivity technology.”