Ford Motor Co. said it plans to introduce its MyFord Touch infotainment system, the subject of criticism in U.S. quality surveys, to its vehicle lineup in Europe starting next year.

The system will debut in the recently announced S-Max concept van that will make its debut at next month’s Frankfurt auto show, said Jim Buczkowski, director of Ford’s electronics and electrical systems engineering and research. MyFord Touch eventually will be available in all its models in Europe, he told reporters in a briefing on Tuesday.

“We’ve made huge improvements and we’ve learned a lot along the way,” Buczkowski said. ”Customer feedback has been really important, both likes and dislikes, as well as maybe things that we didn’t explain very well for customers.”

Ford already offers Sync, a voice-command software system, on some models in Europe as part of an audio package. Sync usually is a $295 option in the U.S. In Europe, MyFord Touch will be an option or included as standard in premium packages, Buczkowski said. He declined to give specific pricing. In the United States, the automaker typically charges $1,000 for the system.

Ford will market Sync and MyFord Touch similar to the way it sells the two in the U.S., Buczkowski said. A technology package with just Sync will start in the Fiesta small car and the EcoSport compact SUV and also will include Applink, which synchronizes applications on smartphones with the vehicle infotainment system. Another package will offer both Sync and MyFord Touch.

On the other hand, this technology contributed to Ford’s drop in rankings of surveys such as J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study. The Ford brand fell to 27th in the latest study, released in June, from fifth in 2010. It ranked second-to-last in Consumer Reports’ annual auto-reliability survey in October.


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