Wednesday, July 27, 2011

J.D. Power: Ford’s Quality Vehicles Earn High APEAL Rankings from Customers for Fuel Efficiency

  • All of Ford’s newer retail vehicles earned fuel efficiency ratings above their segment average, according to the J.D. Power 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study
  • Eight Ford vehicles, including Fiesta, Explorer and F-150, ranked in the top three in their respective segments
  • Ford F-150 is the only large pickupto receive an award for both Initial Quality and APEAL in 2011
DEARBORN, Mich., July 27, 2011 – Customers increasingly are demanding top fuel efficiency, and they are rating Ford highly for delivering, according to the J.D. Power 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study released today.
All of Ford’s newer retail vehicles earned fuel efficiency ratings above their segment averages, according to the J.D. Power 2011 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study.
“Ford is an industry leader in fuel efficiency, and customers are pleased with the way we are helping them at the pump,” said Bennie Fowler, group vice president, Global Quality and New Model Launches. “Ford also is absolutely committed to the highest vehicle quality, delivering vehicles that surprise and delight customers while eliminating defects.”
The new Ford Fiesta and F-150 were first-place segment winners in the survey, which measures customer satisfaction in design, content and vehicle performance. The 2011 Ford Taurus and Flex were rated second in their segments. The new Ford Explorer, F-Series Super Duty, Expedition and Mustang scored third-place segment rankings.
Ford vehicles excelled in many areas of the study, particularly fuel efficiency. Specifically:
  • All of Ford’s newer retail vehicles earned fuel efficiency ratings above their segment averages
  • Fiesta performs particularly well in the area of fuel efficiency in the subcompact car segment
  • New F-150 outperforms industry average for fuel efficiency
APEAL surveys customers on what they like about the performance, execution and layout of their new vehicle after the first three months in service.
Customers rate their level of “gratification” on a variety of vehicle attributes, including safety, fuel efficiency, cargo space, roominess and exterior styling.
“Customers are falling in love with Ford vehicles at first sight and growing even fonder of them over time,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “Customers increasingly are saying our fuel efficiency leadership is a reason to buy a Ford vehicle.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Ford Motor Company today has 12 vehicles that lead their sales segments in fuel efficiency – including four vehicles with EPA-certified 40 mpg or higher ratings – a claim no other full-line automaker can match.
The company also is introducing five new electrified vehicles in North America by the end of next year.
Smart technology

The study also ranked customers’ happiness with smart new technologies and features, including MyFord Touch™, multicontour massaging seats, changeable ambient interior lighting and refined sound quality.
“MyFord Touch is helping to define the future of automotive interiors, and Explorer and Edge customers rank this new technology very highly,” said Kuzak. “Customers also told us where they have questions, and we have been improving the ownership experience with software upgrades, dealer training and even more support to address their concerns.”

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Ford Trials Complimentary Live Operator Assistance for SYNC Services; Free Business Search and Address Entry Support

  • Ford is beta testing an Operator Assist feature for the cloud-based network of SYNC® Services, giving all registered Services users complimentary access to a live operator for help with business searches and address entry for turn-by-turn directions
  • About 70 percent of calls to SYNC Services are for business searches and/or directions
  • SYNC Services provides access to more than 14 million business listings

DEARBORN, Mich., June 11, 2011 – Getting directions or finding a business using SYNC® Services has become even easier thanks to a new feature called Operator Assist that allows users to instantly connect with a live person.
Operator Assist is only a voice command away, making it part of the growing list of cloud-based driver aids offered by Ford Motor Company. The new feature provides customers with the ability to safely connect with a live person who can quickly access information databases to help drivers get where they’re going.
Operator Assist is currently in a beta test trial phase and being offered as a complimentary feature for registered users of SYNC Services. No additional software or hardware is needed.
“Ford is committed to continuously improving the ownership experience and delivering the level of connectivity that customers want,” said Doug VanDagens, director, Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization. “By leveraging what’s available in the cloud, we continue to innovate and improve our customers’ experience without having to touch the vehicle or inconvenience the owner.”
How it works
Cloud-based, on-demand, voice-activated SYNC Services provides access to information about traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes, and movie listings along with business searches and turn-by-turn directions.
Operator Assist is available for the directions and business search functions of SYNC Services. Seventy percent of all SYNC Services calls are for business search and directions, said David Gersabeck, product manager, SYNC Services.
Using advanced vehicle sensors, integrated GPS technology and comprehensive map and traffic data, the SYNC Services automated system delivers turn-by-turn directions to the user. Further, with access to more than 14 million business listings, SYNC Services’ automated system directs users to the businesses they seek.
Now, with Operator Assist, at any time during a business search or directions interaction between the user and the SYNC Services automated system, the user can say, “Operator,” confirm his or her request to speak with an operator, and connect to a live operator. This system gives Ford customers the choice of interfacing with a live operator or utilizing the interactive voice recognition system.
“Our customers asked for additional assistance in situations where their voice request was not understood,” said Gersabeck. “If you want the most reliable user experience, enabling alternative methods for customers to access information will increase success, which is where Operator Assist factors into the equation.”
In the event a user says an address or business that the automated system can’t identify, the user will be prompted with the option to connect to a live operator. If the user confirms he or she would like to speak with an operator for further assistance, the system automatically connects the user to the live operator.
When a live operator assists with a business search, the user can choose to receive turn-by-turn directions to the business, receive a text message with name, address and phone number information about the business (applies to certain phone carrier networks), or be directly connected to the phone number of the business.
When a live operator assists with address entry, the user can have the directions sent directly to the vehicle.
“We want Ford SYNC Services customers to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can get where they’re going or want to go,” said Gersabeck. “Being able to connect with a live person at any time contributes to that peace of mind.”
The live operator services are provided by MyAssist, a leading live assistance and telematics service company for individuals and businesses based in Stevens Point, Wis.

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