Ford winter-weather options image

Ford is heating up its vehicle lineup with winter-weather options including a factory-installed remote start system and heated steering wheel.

The remote start system will debut on the 2011 Ford Super Duty next spring and eventually will be offered across the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup. Also next year, Lincoln will begin offering customers a heated steering wheel option, which will be available first on the new 2011 Lincoln MKX.

Ford has been offering a dealer-installed remote start kit since the late 1990s that has proven popular with customers. The kits rank as one of the top three Genuine Ford Accessories sold nationally for the past five years. In the past year, sales have increased 40 percent since Ford started installing the dealer remote starter kits at modification centers located near assembly plants.

The new factory option comes in response to strong customer demand. A recent J.D. Power Emerging Technology Study found 90 percent of customers would prefer remote start systems be factory-installed.

The heated steering wheel option coming to the Lincoln lineup is also about responding to customer needs, said Cole Buccafurri, Ford’s feature and branding manager. “Market research told us that a heated steering wheel was something our target Lincoln customer was definitely interested in,” he noted.

Throw aside the market research, the biological fact is that the human body functions better when it’s warm. The body’s initial response to cold is to preserve heat by reducing the blood flow to the hands and feet. For those who live in a winter-weather area, it’s that familiar tingle or numbness felt when hands and feet start getting cold.