Posted by Dale Buss on September 15, 2011 11:51 AM
Ford has quickly and successfully built a major sub-brand out of its Sync infotainment systems featured in Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The trailblazing, industry-leading approach to mobile connectivity has picked up in just four years a cachet that GM's OnStar brand hasn't achieved in 20 years.
So, could Ford's surging EcoBoost powertrain sub-brand be next to get the star treatment from Ford? A company executive pondered the possibility for brandchannel.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 1, 2011 03:59 PM
Ford is trying to wow European auto consumers with its onboard-technology prowess just as it has impressed American car buyers, in part by demonstrating that its high-tech capabilities are suited for local markets across the continent.
In Germany, for instance, Ford is adapting its SYNC in-car connectivity system to cope with the famously high speeds on German autobahns. To get SYNC ready for its European debut next year, Ford had to make was to make sure that the smart navigation system could give sufficient advance warning of upcoming exits, considering how fast German drivers motor on their highways.
Some reprogramming has done the trick. Ford also had to tweak the technology so that SYNC systems sold on the continent could understand multiple European languages. What Ford has been able to do (so far) with the European version of SYNC is on display at the IFA consumer-electronics trade show in Berlin this week.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 31, 2011 09:58 AM
Arguably, Ford is leading the U.S. auto industry when it comes to understanding the behavior and buying preferences of the Millennial generation. That's one big reason Ford was able to steal a march on all of its competitors with the Sync infotainment system — by making it available in the first place, to work with most smart phones, and then by promoting it heavily as a must-have "accessory" in small vehicles aimed at twentysomethings, including the Focus and Fiesta.
That obviously is the type of insight also underlying a deal with Zipcar that Ford announced today (a deal previewed in the New York Times). Just in time for back to school, Ford will supply the car-sharing service with up to 1,000 Focus sedans and Explorer SUVs to Zipcar locations on 250 college and university campuses in the United States.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 2, 2011 03:00 PM
Americans would agree that they don’t want carmakers in the bedroom or their accountant’s office. But what about their doctor’s office?
Ford, Toyota and General Motors are among auto companies developing and demonstrating new technologies that could turn their vehicles into rolling health clinics, with various types of telematics (electronic systems) able to monitor heart rates, blood-sugar readings, air quality for asthmatics and other safety criteria and medical conditions.
The technology is relatively "easy" because modern cars already are highly advanced electronic environments full of sensors, digital readouts, wireless-communications devices and other essential building blocks of medical-monitoring systems. And automakers argue that the need is a crying one: About 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day, and 26 million Americans have diabetes.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 1, 2011 09:00 AM
Markets rally as Sunday night's U.S. debt limit deal goes before Congress for a vote today as Twitter explodes over deal.
Airbnb investor suggests ransacked woman is lying.
Al Jazeera English launches in New York.
Ambassador Coffee brand changes hands.
Apple wins dispute over iPods.com domain.
Bank of America hit with new Countrywide lawsuit.
Bloomberg Businessweek to hike paid circulation.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 26, 2011 04:00 PM
Yes, Ford’s second-quarter profits slipped from a year earlier. But the automaker beat Wall Street expectations, and Ford executives are happy today because of one strong characteristic of their financial report: Ford buyers are loading up their vehicles with “content” at an unprecedented pace, boosting the average prices paid for Ford vehicles and helping both the company’s top and bottom lines.
Look at how this plays out with three of Ford’s newest and most popular vehicles: the Explorer SUV, the Focus compact sedan and the Fiesta subcompact. Consumers are snapping up Sync, heated seats and other expensive options for these nameplates at much higher rates than for thie predecessors (and for current competitors). And they are a younger cohort than Ford has enjoyed in decades, boding well for the company’s future.Continue reading...
stuck in neutral
Posted by Dale Buss on June 23, 2011 05:00 PM
The influential annual Initial Quality Survey of U.S. auto manufacturers by J.D. Power & Associates is out this afternoon, and it’s got some crisp verdicts for specific brands: Ford is stunningly in the dog house, while Toyota has drawn some relief.
Ford swooned to 23rd place in the 2011 rankings of brands, as graded by consumers for quality issues within three months of ownership, from a heady 5th-place finish last year. Interestingly, the main culprits in Ford’s fall were two technology sub-brands that it has been promoting vigorously over the last year: Sync and EcoBoost.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 23, 2011 09:30 AM
Positioning itself as a digital-technology leader “has been a journey,” Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, told automotive and technology journalists gathered at the Ford design headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., this week for the Forward with Ford 2011 conference.
The effort appears to be paying off. Fields said that Ford’s “relentless focus” on boosting its credibility as a purveyor of smart, green, safe, high-quality vehicles “has helped improve our brand health. Consumer perceptions of the brand reached an all-time high at the end of the first quarter, up 41%” since late 2008. He didn’t say how those perceptions were measured.Continue reading...