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Two Big Challenges Facing Ford Motor Company (F)

Ford is taking steps to fix that, working more carefully with suppliers and changing procedures to ensure that their next big product launches — which are expected to be the F-150 pickup and the Mustang, next year — go much more smoothly.

But there’s another problem that’s costing Ford big in these quality rankings: Buyers are having a lot of trouble with the popular MyFord Touch system. This is a touchscreen add-on to Ford’s acclaimed SYNC “infotainment” system that allows voice commands and links with your smartphone. MyFord Touch was supposed to take SYNC to the next level, and it includes touchscreen controls for a lot of functions that were traditionally controlled with conventional knobs and switches.

But the user interface isn’t great, and the system is prone to glitches. The good news is that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) is able to quickly update the software, so it has gotten a lot better, but the bad news is that it still isn’t as good as it should be. This may sound like just a nuisance, but it counts as a quality problem. It’s interfering with owners’ ability to use their cars, and it’s leading customers to bring their cars to dealers to try to get help.

Consumer Reports has also complained that it’s a safety issue, because it distracts drivers from the road, and Ford definitely doesn’t want that kind of feedback. So there are changes on the way, and not just more software updates (though those are coming, too).

Ford’s full-sized pickups, like this Super Duty Platinum, have already received MyFord Touch upgrades. Photo credit: Ford Motor Co.

Ford has already added back in some knobs in its F-Series pickups that have MyFord Touch, to accommodate drivers wearing work gloves, it has said. It’s probably not a coincidence that F-Series owners are happier with MyFord Touch than other Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) owners. Those knobs will be added to all Ford models that offer MyFord Touch as they’re redesigned or updated over the next couple of years.

That should help — at least, it should be enough to make MyFord Touch more competitive with rival systems. It should help Ford’s standings in the quality rankings as well.

The article 2 Big Challenges Facing Ford originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by John Rosevear.

Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. Follow him on Twitter at @jrosevear. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford.

Copyright © 1995 – 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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