The latest JD Power Initial Quality Survey is a stomach punch for Ford, knocking them down from 5th place to 23rd. The survey of drivers for the first 90 days of ownership has been a major trophy for Ford in the past few years as they have worked hard to improve their rankings to the levels of Honda and Toyota.
The root cause of the drop is attributed to the new MyFord Touch infotainment system found in the 2011 Ford Edge, Ford Explorer and some Lincoln models. The new MyFord Touch screen based control system replaces a number of previously simple to use controls for stereo, hvac and in addition to all of the SYNC and Bluetooth capabilities.
The problem is it sucks. We recently panned the system heavily in our 2011 Ford Explorer long term test as being too difficult to use, confusing and prone to cause more driving safety problems than texting on your phone. Trying to make routine adjustments for the air-conditioning that once were achieved with a button, took paging through menus and taking your eyes off the road for unacceptable lengths of time.
They system is combined with touch sensitive printed buttons on a panel that are easily triggered by accident and have no tactile response when you do intend to touch them. Learning the system takes time and effort that most owners don’t have the patience for. It’s BMW’s iDrive all over again.
Customers of vehicles complained so loudly about the MyFord Touch that it almost alone has caused Ford’s JD Power ranking to plummet. Ford has planned to roll the MyFord Touch out into other vehicles company wide, but they are now rethinking the move. Additionally, Ford announced the day ahead of the JD Power Survey release, that they would be reworking the system for existing models. They have not announced the system for the Mustang yet, thank God.
Other quality problems arose on some of Ford’s new redesigned models too, raising questions about whether they were rushed to market or not. One could also conclude as we did with our 2011 Explorer review that more priority was spent designing this new MyFord Touch system than was spent making sure that interior panels line up with one another and that trim doesn’t fall off.