HONG KONG (Nov. 17 2011) – Ford is helping keep its customers connected in Asia.
Ford Motor Company announced today it will accelerate plans to develop and deliver best-in-world in-car technology to customers across Asia, as it is establishing connected services group in its Asia Pacific and Africa region.
The broad range of new vehicles Ford is introducing in Asia will have increasingly sophisticated and intuitive technology that enables customers to more easily and safely access entertainment, navigation, emergency and other services – increasingly through their phones.
As part of the expansion, Ford has appointed Ed Pleet as director of the group, which will be based at the company’s Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) headquarters in Shanghai, China.
“In today’s world, people want to be connected at all times, and that includes when they are in their car. So Ford developed SYNC, a class-leading system which offers a smarter, safer and simpler way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives,” Pleet said. “SYNC has already proven to be a stunning success in North America, which is why we are working hard to bring it to more customers in Asia Pacific and Africa.”
The connected services team will build partnerships with world-class technology service providers across Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe to ensure customers have seamless access to affordable, best-in-world data and information services, further enhancing the driving experience.
The team will also tap into the local expertise of Ford’s vast network across Asia Pacific and Africa, helping to understand customer needs and wants for in-car technology.
SYNC, which was first launched in North America in 2007 and showcased Ford as a pioneer in vehicle connectivity, is already equipped in more than 3.5 million vehicles globally.
SYNC is the world’s best voice-activated connectivity system, providing a seamless integration of multiple electronic devices, allowing drivers to make hands-free calls via Bluetooth, and control in-car entertainment options such as music through voice control, allowing the driver to keep their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
In Asia Pacific and Africa, SYNC is currently available in China in the Ford Edge, and in the Ford Explorer in the Philippines and Japan, and will eventually be available in the new Ford Focus and other Ford models in the region, as part of the continued global roll out.
SYNC will be able understand 19 languages including different dialects and accents. As Ford expands on this, it will add Mandarin Chinese (traditional and simplified Chinese character interface), Australian English, Japanese and Korean. Ford is currently testing the Mandarin functionality in preparation for delivery to Chinese customers. SYNC also recognizes over 10,000 different voice commands.
Ford believes SYNC will prove enormously popular in Asia Pacific and Africa markets. A recent survey showed that more than 60% of mid to large size car owners in China own a smart phone. In addition, more than 70% of smart phone owners in China have instant messaging, music and search apps on their phone, and they are also the most used applications.
The decision to base the connected services group in Shanghai reflects Ford’s strategy to support growth in China and across Asia Pacific and Africa, a region where 60-70 percent of Ford’s sales growth will come from over the next ten years. Today, one in every six vehicles Ford sells globally is in Asia Pacific and Africa. By 2020, it will be one in three.
It also echoes Ford’s plan to add 3,000 new jobs throughout the Asia Pacific and Africa region by 2015, mostly in China, India and ASEAN to support expansion in those growth markets.
Ford announced earlier this year that it will bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains to Asia Pacific and Africa by 2015, including 15 new vehicles to China, eight new vehicles to India and eight new vehicles to ASEAN.