An off-duty cop voices some Ford dealers’ worst nightmares

My driver was an off-duty police officer hired by Ford Motor Co. to shuttle reporters to various events.

The cop was playing around with MyFord Touch as he drove us.

MyFord Touch is Ford’s new interior and technology that has an 8-inch center console touch screen for music, phone, navigation and climate control. Voice commands can be used for those controls too.

Currently, MyFord Touch is only available on the 2011 Edge and the 2011 Lincoln MKX crossovers.

I asked the cop what he thought of the technology.

He answered sheepishly at first saying he has the hang of using it and it’s “cool.” Then, he more boldly said he finds it a bit distracting though. He noted too many icons in the instrument cluster -- two on each side of the speedometer alone. He also had to frequently take his eyes off the road to use the touch screen because voice commands weren’t an option for one reason or another.

This cop’s reaction echoed what some Ford dealers’ fear many consumers will have to MyFord Touch.

Ford dealers, on average, spend an extra 40 minutes now delivering a new vehicle because salespeople must teach so much new technology to buyers. MyFord Touch will be an additional technology to teach already impatient buyers, dealers tell me.

And some dealers worry MyFord Touch might turn out to be a tough sell.

While it can do a lot of neat things, noted one dealer, he worries it might be too much distraction and too intimidating to appeal to many consumers.

He added, “I sure hope not.”

Ford has said MyFord Touch is the leading edge of technology. It’s what buyers want and it will decrease driver distraction because of the voice command options.

Only time will tell if Ford is right.

Or if an off-duty cop just confirmed some dealers’ deepest fears.