Editor's note: In an earlier version of this story, the name of Ed Jolliffe, owner of Gorno Ford in Woodhaven, Mich., was misspelled.
DETROIT -- The Ford brand is phasing out the technology allowance it pays dealers to teach customers to use Sync and MyFord Touch, the communication systems that have triggered widespread owner complaints and eroded quality ratings.
The allowance, which a company spokeswoman said was meant to be temporary, will disappear in two phases:
1. Ford pays dealers $50 per vehicle equipped with its Sync voice recognition system. That money will go away at the end of this year.
2. Ford pays dealers $75 per vehicle equipped with the MyFord Touch touchscreen interface that complements Sync. That allowance will be eliminated for 2015 models.
What, if anything, will replace the allowance is not clear. Ford said it will share future plans with dealers. The Lincoln brand is not affected.
But with Ford still getting complaints from consumers about the systems, some dealers feel that it's too early to drop the allowance. Many dealers have used the money to hire technology experts who spend all their time tutoring customers after sales.
Jim Seavitt, owner of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich., hired such a specialist, who, he said, is busy constantly. Seavitt does not want to see the allowance end.
"That pays his salary," he said.
Despite Ford's modifications, the MyFord Touch system glitches haven't abated and customers continue to stream into his showroom with questions and problems, Seavitt said. Village Ford even attracts customers from other dealerships that don't have such a specialist.
Seavitt estimates that he receives about $7,500 a month in allowance money, or about $90,000 a year. He would not say how much the specialist is paid.
"And there's more technology to come," Seavitt said. "Eventually, we'll have modems in cars. My thinking is the same as other dealers. I would say the timing is not correct."