Ford ratings drop — Ford ships extensive fix for Microsoft software


 
The Ford Motor Company began adding touch-screen control systems to some of its most popular models two years ago as a way to stand out from the rest of the industry and draw in new customers. But after many buyers grew frustrated with flaws in the system, known as MyFord Touch and developed with Microsoft, Ford’s quality ratings plunged and a feature meant to increase loyalty instead damaged perceptions of the company.

MyFord Touch replaces many of the traditional knobs and buttons in a vehicle with touch screens, steering wheel-mounted controls and spoken commands…

Now Ford has issued a major upgrade that redesigns much of what customers see on the screen and tries to resolve complaints about the system crashing or rebooting while the vehicle is being driven. Ford said on Monday that the upgrade made the touch screens respond to commands more quickly, improved voice recognition capabilities and simplified a design that some say had the potential to create more distractions for drivers who tried to use it on the road. Fonts and buttons on the screen have been enlarged, and the layouts of more than 1,000 screens have been revamped.

“We expect that these improvements will put us back on track in the quality ratings,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president for global product development. “It’s more than just an update. This is a substantial upgrade.”

Ford is taking the unusual step of sending the upgrade directly to customers, who can install the new software in about an hour by plugging in a USB flash drive.

Dealers, which can perform the procedure if customers prefer, received the upgrade kits Monday, and the more than 300,000 customers with MyFord Touch in their vehicles can expect their USB drive in the mail later this week, Ford said.

Irritation with MyFord Touch was cited last week by Consumer Reports as a big reason that Ford fell to 10th place on this year’s Automaker Report Card, from fifth in 2011.

Lots of details in the article. Read ’em and make believe you’re surprised that version 1.0 of software from Microsoft sucks big time!

Make a face like that little kid in the eTrade commercial.

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