SHANGHAI, China — Ford is preparing for an unprecedented rollout of its connected services in China, with six global One Ford vehicles to be equipped with its award-winning SYNC by early 2013.
“SYNC has truly become the ‘people's platform of connectivity’," Ed Pleet, director, Connected Services, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, and Europe, told an audience of 300 people at the Telematics@ChinaConference in Shanghai. The two day international conference was a platform to discuss the convergence of automobile and mobile ecosystem to an audience comprising key vehicle OEMs in China.
From early next year, Chinese customers will have a choice of six Ford vehicles which will be fitted with SYNC – the new Ford Focus, the new Ford Kuga, the all-new EcoSport, the Focus ST, the Ford Edge, and the Ford Explorer.
Using the hands-free technology of SYNC, powered by Microsoft, Chinese customers can connect almost any mobile phone or digital media player to one of these six vehicles via Bluetooth® and USB connection respectively.
“SYNC is our unique solution to the challenge that all vehicle manufacturers face when it comes to keeping pace with the consumer electronics industry,” Pleet said. “Based on a powerful platform and linked to the vehicle owner's personal mobile devices, SYNC helps make the vehicle an integral part of the driver's lifestyle.”
Pleet outlined how Ford is delivering a rich, personalized and connected in-car experience to customers in China. He also discussed how Ford is adding additional features that deliver an even better connected experience for customers, such as the announcement last week that Emergency Assistance will be introduced in the new Ford Kuga and all-new EcoSport in China.
Emergency Assistance will automatically inform the emergency services in the event of a serious accident with an air bag deployment or fuel pump shut-off – all at no additional cost to the customer.
“We are working with partners around the globe in order to take advantage of the very best ideas for delivering superior consumer experiences in every market where we do business,” he said. “This is part of our One Ford strategy which is aimed at taking advantage of our global resources to deliver global products that excel in four areas, Quality, Green, Safe and Smart.”
Ford estimates that the number of cars on the road today, around one billion, will jump to more than four billion by mid-century, with much of that growth in China.
China is also home to the greatest growth in mobile devices. As of March 2012, there were over six billion mobile phone subscriptions around the world - including over 1 billion from China alone.
“These consumers do not want to sacrifice their totally connected lifestyles in order to have the freedom and economic opportunity that comes from owning a vehicle,” Pleet said. “That's why our strategy at Ford for delivering driver connectivity is different from others in our industry.”
Pleet told the audience that instead of acting as if the car is at the center of our customer's world, which some of Ford’s competitors do by embedding their technology into the vehicle, Ford makes the car an integral part of a driver's continuous, connected life style.
Since it was launched in 2007, more than five million Ford cars are now equipped with SYNC. This number is expected to swell to 13 million vehicles in the next three years.
“Looking ahead, SYNC allows Ford to update and upgrade its cars with far greater regularity than has ever been possible in the auto industry. These updates to the in-car platform can have a huge effect on the driving experience – and it can be something genuinely akin to upgrading the entire car,” he said.
Ford is preparing for an unprecedented rollout of its connected services in China, with six global One Ford vehicles to be equipped with its award-winning SYNC by early 2013.