Stung by plummeting quality ratings, Ford to upgrade glitch-prone Microsoft-designed ‘MyFord Touch’ systems

“Early next year, Ford is sending flash drives with a software upgrade to approximately 250,000 U.S. customers with MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch, the equivalent system in Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand. Owners can do the upgrade themselves in about 45 minutes, or dealers will do it for free. Ford is still deciding how it will offer the upgrade to 200,000 buyers outside of the U.S.,” Dee-Ann Durbin reports for The Associated Press.

“Ford knows of no other car company that has given owners the option of upgrading their own software on this scale. The unprecedented step underscores the urgency of the problem for Ford, which last month fell from 10th place to 20th place in Consumer Reports’ annual reliability rankings largely because of MyFord Touch. Ford also plummeted in a J.D. Power quality survey earlier this year,” Durbin reports. “Sync, a four-year-old voice command system that Ford designed with Microsoft Corp., serves as the platform for the more advanced MyFord Touch.”

Durbin reports, “Forrest Brown, a Ford dealer in Dyersville, Iowa, got a barrage of complaints last winter when customers were unable to defrost their windshields or turn up the heat because their screens were going blank.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: When crap collides.

Related articles:
Microsoft’s confusing, buggy Sync sinks Ford’s J.D. Power quality ratings – June 23, 2011
Ford: Apple iPhone compatibility coming to SYNC AppLink-capable vehicles in early 2011 – December 23, 2010
When crap collides: Ford and Microsoft team up for in-vehicle operating system – December 29, 2006

67 Comments

    1. They were thinking just like Boeing, which is where Ford’s current CEO, Alan Mulally, came from. The close proximity of Redmond to Seattle has resulted in Boeing drinking the Kool-aid.

          1. lol. I remember that story. It was a warship wasn’t it? running NT4 if I remember right.

            I doubt MS ever came up in any manner during discussions about avionics control systems. That is not a function that can be taken lightly.

            I have no clue about the 787 but the 777 Avionics were designed by Honeywell.

            they have never had a crash in a 777 that has resulted in a lose of life. The last time I checked it ranked 2nd in air safety right behind the Airbus A340.

  1. Interesting that my 2006 MDX has all the controls in the touch screen and it’s never frozen up, never rebooted, and all the other crap happening with the Ford/MS system. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Too bad that an Explorer costs about the same as an MDX and there is no comparison in the quality.

    1. Basic touch screen functions are easy to produce. Nothing exotic. It is the same as a switch with a screen as it primary source switch. Much as a cell phone blown up in oversize manner. Generally they function as well as any switch. Ford decided to use “Microsoft” and the underpinnings. Ford can easily build the electronics that drive the system as Honda would. But, they trusted the blue screw and. Virus probe Microsoft to drive the system. Hence the update. Not an electronic hardware recall. Thus indicating, at this time, that there system is as Honda’s, reliable. But the. Operating system and code, Microsoft, needing a fix. As any Mac user knows, by a PC with Windows and have a boatload of issues. Or, buy a Mac and far fewer. Ford would be better advised to put iPads as the interface and be done with Windowz. It is. Ot a Honda vs Ford. It is Microsoft.

      1. I see that you’ve disabled spelling and grammar checking on your system. When you pontificate about the superiority of our chosen system, do us all a favour and proof your writing before posting.

    2. True your NAV may not go blank but thats a first gen MDX so hopefully yours is not among the ones with faulty torque converters that can cause a sudden loss of power or destroy the $4000 transmission with little warning.

      Nice rigs regardless and id still take one but anything can have issues.

      Too bad Ford and MS slacked on QC. The first release of sync got high marks.

  2. Integrating lots of electronic screens and gizmos in a car has always seemed very dicey to me for multiple reasons, not the least of which are the extreme temperature changes when a vehicle sits out in the open in the winter and summer. Especially in the south.

    Also the dealers charge out the wazoo to fix that stuff.

    1. Exactly.

      If they want true ‘reliability’ then they need to go back to a system that can never fail.. like the windshield wiper control system on the WWII era Willy’s Overland Jeeps…

      A HAND CRANK… Now that is RELIABILITY … well until the passenger gets shot or something…

      😉

    2. Totally agree, Synth. When I had my XLR a couple of years back, I came out to it one morning and nothing worked; wouldn’t turn over even, and every electric function was haywire. Called Cadillac, they sent out roadside assistance: the tech pops the hood, disconnects the battery, waits thirty seconds and reconnects it. Everything ran perfectly. Tech said it happened all the time, and I had to repeat the procedure myself half a dozen times. I had to reboot my car! Reminded me of the old joke about “if Microsoft built cars”. And now Ford is more or less letting them do that. At least it didn’t need a firmware upgrade!

  3. OK, it has to be said:

    If Ford had worked with Apple, not only would the controls work, they would have a simple GI so anyone could use it without reaching for the manuel.
    No one wants to have a system that breaks down be it an engine, Transmission, or their “sync” system, but when you cut corners like Microsoft does, you have to expect it.

    1. Ford is currently not classy enough to work with Apple. Mercedes could be more appropriate variant, but, anyway, none of the parties are very interested in each other since both do their own voice assistant service.

    1. I was thinking maybe of treating like a dell laptop… disconnect the battery for a few minutes and it will probably boot back up and work for awhile.

      At least our service center at work tells me this is a good fix for dull’s that wont init the display during boot lol

      1. Actually that is a Microsoft update. Every other month Microsoft adds a bit of software in the monthly update that prevents the “init the display during boot” for all computers using an early version of XP. Even if the early version of XP has been updated all the way to SP 3 you get this problem that indicates a bogus HD failure.

        Someone wants to sell more Windows 7 computers.

  4. If the system controls central functions then it should work perfectly all the time.
    Ford are blaming the phone manufacturers for sync problems. Should have thought about that before releasing the system.

  5. As you’re flying through the windscreen as a result of your Ford coming to a screeching halt due to the brakes being applied inadvertently due to failure in Microsoft designed software, the last thing on your mind will be, “Oh my God, it’s the blue screen of death.”

    1. Wouldn’t that be the “Windscreen” of death?

      My Canadian Fusion has the older Sync system with only the LED screen, so it has been straightforward to use. But it doesn’t do much. As per my dealers instructions, I’ve tried to use the online tool in the past to update it with a flash drive, but there is no indication that anything has actually happened when it is finished.

  6. I’ve driven many FORD vehicle for work and many other Japanese based cars. All within the same milage range. Every single FORD was a POS. Shakes, rattles, vibrates at high speed, creaks, squeaks and never drives smoothly… The idiot that decided to use MS for their FORD vehicles made the right decision. POS couple with POS = The Best POS money can buy.

    1. Generally that has been my experience with American cars going up to the late 90s (the last time I bought a Chevy).

      I still have an 88′ Chevy truck that I keep around for hauling and while the truck is well made mechanically, the interior fit and finish is total crap.

      My friend’s 2003 Chevy Blazer feels exactly the same, panels rattle at random, the doors start to sag after a few years.

      My 96′ isuzu trooper (not a well liked vehicle due to rollover incidents) in contrast feels as tight as the day we got it. Doors close nice and tight, weather stripping is still sealing out cabin nose and the interior does not rattle and feel cheap.

      My wife seems to be happy with her 2008 VW Beetle so I’ll probably get another VW when its time to upgrade her.

      I’ve heard US manufacturers have improved but I’m hesitant to test that with my hard earned dollars.

  7. How any auto manufacturer allowed a company with a “blue screen of death” history into their cars still amazes me. I recall the story of some rich European whose BMW 7 Series, whose electronics were controlled by Microsoft software, refused to unlock the door. (“Open the car door, HAL!” “I can’t do that, Dave.”) Fire and rescue services finally got him out.

    Ford should consider replacing Sync with iOS and Siri.

  8. “when crap collides”? that’s a lame comment. Love my Ford trucks. Of course it would be better with a differently designed “sync” system, but Ford makes the best trucks.

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