DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. gained a lot of technological insight from consumer reaction to its bug-ridden touch screens. It also learned a hard lesson about promising a specific rollout date before an important new feature has been fully tested.
In announcing Sync 3, the replacement for MyFord Touch, last month, Ford said only that it would come to market starting in the 2016 model year, without saying exactly when or in what vehicle. That's a change from five years ago, when it unveiled MyFord Touch and promised it would debut on the 2011 Ford Edge.
Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president for the Americas, said the company won't make that mistake again. It now realizes the importance of "having a backup plan if the technology's not ready at the time of launch," Hinrichs said at the Automotive News World Congress.
That's why Ford isn't linking the release of Sync 3 to a particular nameplate, even though Hinrichs said he's confident the new system is ready to go.
"Every product or technology launch that you have has some inherent -- hopefully very small -- risk to it, because there's no way possible to have the same type of feedback that you get from millions [of customers] from all your testing," he told reporters after his speech. "If you have a backup plan, you can wait until whenever you think the right time to launch that technology is as opposed to tying it to a product program specifically, and that's something that we incorporate into all of our technology programs going forward."