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MyFord Touch Complaints Reach Absurd Levels

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Ford has been criticized for the problem-plagued MyFord Touch infotainment system, and rightly so, but lawsuits and drops in quality rankings are unwarranted.

Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system was bombarded with criticisms shortly following its debut in 2011 on the Ford Edge cross/utility vehicle.

Complaints about the system’s complexity, slow response times and tendency to crash at inopportune moments poured into Ford’s world headquarters and the auto maker quickly began offering upgrades to correct the issues.

Problem solved, right? Wrong. Ford, which took a bold step in offering such an advanced technology in even its base models, saw the system’s shortcomings negatively impact its quality ratings in the influential publication Consumer Reports and J.D. Power, a marketing firm that reviews and ranks autos.

Back in the day, quality was about how well a vehicle was bolted together and whether or not it would leave you stranded on the side of the road. Today not being able to seamlessly sync the latest smartphone on the first attempt lands you at the bottom of the quality rankings.

And the hits keep on coming, most recently in the form of a class-action lawsuit filed against Ford by consumer-protection law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro on behalf of the nonprofit Center for Defensive Driving.

The complaint against MyFord Touch, filed in the U.S. District Court for Central California, states: “In reality, the system is fundamentally flawed, failing to reliably provide functionality, amounting to an inconvenience at best, and a serious safety issue at worst.”

Wait a second. A malfunctioning infotainment system is now considered “a serious safety issue?” The suit claims it is, in part because it would force users to manually use their handheld devices rather than via the system. Following that logic, those who own cars without infotainment systems are at serious risk every time they get behind the wheel.

There’s a simple solution to this “serious safety issue.” Namely, leave your handheld device in your pocket while driving and concentrate on the road.

No, that’s too simple a solution in today’s litigious society. If Ford was a small company producing an electronic device that didn’t work as advertised, it likely would go unpunished. But lawyers’ eyes grow big when they see the opportunity to target a company the size of Ford. The way the law firms figure it, what’s there to lose? At worse you go home with nothing, no worse for the wear. At best it’s a big paycheck from Ford hoping to make the whole issue just go away.

I’m not saying Ford shouldn’t catch some flak for introducing a flawed system, but it has acknowledged the problems and is taking steps to address them. And the take rate for the system keeps going up, so whatever problems it might have aren’t slowing sales.

Ironically, the Center for Defensive Driving was partially founded by funds from the auto maker’s philanthropic arm.

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. 

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

on Jul 31, 2013

I think the point missed in this article is that the MyFord Touch system is not just about a phone interface. It is the radio and climate control too. When people are used to using it and it fails it is distracting. Music stops for no reason, you are unable to control A/C when it is 90°, and when you can't turn on defrost in the winter you start messing with things to figure out why. That is the problem. Additionally, take rates are not just rising because people want the system. They are rising because Ford is making it standard on many trim levels. I could not purchase my trim line without it (I tired)! Don't forget, most people don't order vehicles, they buy what is on the lot. Guess who picks the content! Ford pushing the system and dealers looking to increase margins!

on Jul 31, 2013

You are correct, it's not just about a phone interface. That was just one example of what the system does. I agree the system is flawed, as has Ford, and is taking steps to correct it. I've used the system numerous times and have had few problems. I am simply saying that even though the system has issues it doesn't warrant class-action lawsuits and drops in quality rankings. As for Ford pushing the system, I don't doubt what you say, even though I've spoken to people at Ford who argue there are plenty of vehicles available without the system.

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