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More Traditional Knobs and Buttons Coming Back to Ford

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On: Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 2:45PM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

More Traditional Knobs and Buttons Coming Back to Ford

Over the last decade, everything has slowly but surely changed about the way we operate controls inside vehicles. What once was done with a series of manual controls—like changing the pitch and bass of the radio & sound volume, air conditioning & climate adjustments, and turning lights on & off have almost become a thing of the past. Surprisingly, the Ford Motor Company is making one of the boldest moves in controls in vehicles that’s been done in many years—they’re bringing back more traditional buttons and knobs to be integrated into their fleet’s MyFord Touch infotainment system and controls.

Ford has seen a significant drop in ranking since introducing their MyFord Touch in 2010. They went from Number Four automaker and Number One in non-luxury brands to 23rd of 32 in the same 2011 study, and even worse in 2012 at 27th of 34.

Ford’s MyFord Touch system has actually been bringing down Ford’s approval ratings in the quality areas in many surveys of both experts and consumers. Drivers are put off by the complicated MyFord Touch setup and complain that this infotainment system is too bulky, complicated to use, and even distracting. Ford has previously attempted to win back the approval of users with many software updates. The automaker also made a change in the layout and voice recognition earlier in the year, but the design is just still too flawed to please drivers.

The flaws in the MyFord Touch system aren’t going unnoticed by professional reviewers either. Some major consumer research sites have highlighted the problems for their readers. These outlets cite the problems with not having easy to use knobs and buttons, difficult to use touch screens—and problems with voice-operated commands, steering wheel controls, flush buttons for the navigational controls, climate adjustment, and radio.

Almost 80% of the vehicles in the current lineup are sold with Sync and MyFord Touch. Oddly, even though the introduction coincides with a major drop in approval by consumers, drivers actually have higher satisfaction with models equipped with this system than without.

A press release earlier this week by Ford touched on the company’s plans to improve the quality of the system with improvements they hope will please consumers.

For a look at the new MyFord Touch systems and what new Ford owners might expect after the change, turn to the Ford F-Series pickup trucks for clues. The F-Series models already have a MyFord Touch design with more traditional buttons and knobs. The press release hinted towards a standard MyFord Touch that had a design close to the trucks.

This change is set to happen over the summer to the MyFord Touch and Sync. The new design will likely include a blend of touch screen features with added buttons which will be closer to the ones used on vehicles prior to touch screen technology.


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