Technology in your car …is it going too far?

There is a quiet revolution going on in the dashboard of your car. You may not realize it, but in the past five years there have been many technological advances made in new vehicles. Many of us are not aware of all of the advances in gadgetry, and the question is, has technology gone too far?
Recently Consumer Reports, a widely read consumer magazine, actually gave a negative review of the new Ford 2011 Edge with the new MyFord Touch technology because, in their opinion, the vehicle’s technology was not “user friendly.” Their complaint is based on their belief that auto makers are forcing technology down the throats of consumers. But are they? Could it be that consumers are already demanding more and more sophisticated technology to ensure more driving excitement?
Nowadays almost everyone is using a cellphone — and it’s not just for talking to someone. They use a phone for texting, sending e-mail, checking FaceBook status, surfing the internet and more. Consumers are bombarded with dozens of ads for cellphones every night on TV. Consumers are embracing the technologies. They use it in everyday life. There are “apps” for everything. Cell phone technology is taking a computer from your desktop and putting in your pocket. Now we’re starting to demand it in our dashboards as well.
Ford is on the forefront with it’s SYNC hands-free communications systems. Introduced in early 2007, this system uses voice commands and steering wheel mounted controls to make it easy for a driver to keep their concentration on the road and still make and receive phone calls. Some drivers can even hear their text messages read to them while driving.
In just four short years, these systems have evolved into the MyFord Touch systems found on the 2011 Edge and the 2011 Explorer. A similar scaled-down version is found on the 2011 Fiesta. The new 2012 Focus will bring even more connectivity when it arrives in showrooms in just another month. Drivers now have the option of voice-activated control, touch screen access, use five-way steering wheel mounted controls, even a few touch-activated buttons and knobs for the “old schoolers.” The SYNC hands-free communications system is found on the Ford Mustang, Ford Taurus, Ford Escape, Ford Expedition, the Ford F-150 and the F-Series Super Duty trucks. Even now, some of Ford’s vehicles can create a Wi-Fi zone so passengers can surf the internet on devices linked to a host.
Consumers don’t really need to “kick the tires” on a new vehicle any more. They want to know what technology they can access in their vehicle. The internet has become a required tool for car shopping. Once they find a vehicle, then the customers have to learn how to use those features.
One Tulsa, Oklahoma automotive dealer, Bob Hurley Ford, now offers a Personal Technology Consultant to its customers. The consultant, Vincent Hennigan, takes the time to discover each customer’s technology “comfort level.” He determines the best way to help them discover and get to know all of the technology in their vehicle. And, the support is on-going. Who knows, customers may change cell phones, change their cell phone carrier or find the need for new gadgets during their vehicle ownership. They may need to come back for more demonstrations and explanations. New Apps are being made for vehicles every day. It used to be that car dealers sold cars and had a service department to handle care and maintenance. Technology support now fills a new niche to help consumers.
Hennigan said rather than fearing evolving technologies, maybe the consumer just needs to know how to embrace those technologies. So it’s time for consumer to jump into this high tech world and have fun with it. Auto magazine critics already miss the day when you could just talk about horsepower and handling. Maybe it’s time for them to take on more technological issues and learn something new. It sure seems that the automobile buyers are already moving in that direction…
For more information, please contact Vincent Hennigan at 918-445-6081, or send e-mail to: fordtechlane@gmail.com

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