Ford and SIRIUS Sync up to offer Aftermarket Goodies

By Automotive Staff | January 24, 2008
One might think, at least wwe did, that the most innovative navigation systems being offered in the market today is coming from the aftermarket side. But we’ve been proven wrong with the latest navigation system from Ford. The new Travel Link navigation system from SIRIUS Satellite Radio -- and exclusive to Ford -- is slated to appear in the Lincoln MKS sedan next summer, and it is full of features. For example, there is real time traffic data. Perhaps you would be expecting that. But what about weather forecasts, sports scores and movie listings? You may think that is enough. But wait, wouldn’t you want your system to guide you to the gas stations in the area with the cheapest gas prices? It can do that, too. In other news, XM Satellite Radio is releasing a navigation system in 2009 model year cars but will not name the auto manufacturer who will get it. And Garmin will be offering two navigation systems that can access to MSN Direct. via USA Today
FORD SYNC SALES REACH 30,000 IN 2007; ONE MILLION SYNC VEHICLES TO BE ON THE ROAD IN EARLY 2009 DEARBORN, Mich., Jan.3, 2008 – Ford Motor Company’s award-winning SYNC system is one of the rising stars in the auto industry today, and it is on track to reach 1 million sales in early 2009, the company is announcing today. Ford SYNC™ – developed with Microsoft – connects people and their favorite portable devices while in the vehicle, including media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones. It is a hot new technology exclusive to Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, with sales in the final quarter of 2007 averaging approximately 10,000 units per month. Ford confirmed today that new features are coming this year and that nearly every new Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicle will be available with Ford’s award-winning SYNC system by year end, when approximately 85 percent of company’s retail volume will be offered with SYNC connectivity Ford is now confirming that during calendar year 2008, SYNC will become offered on even more products, including the all-new 2009 Ford Flex and F-150; the 2009 Ford Escape; Escape Hybrid; and 2009 Ford Expedition. The 2009 Lincoln MKS will be launched later this year with SYNC as standard equipment, and SYNC will be added to the 2009 Lincoln Navigator. For Mercury, SYNC will be added to 2009 Mariner and Mariner Hybrid. Ford to lead industry with SIRIUS Travel Link Ford also announced it will lead in-car connectivity even further forward with the launch of a next-generation navigation system available for the first time ever with SIRIUS Travel Link, a system that connects vehicle occupants to the information they need, right when they need it. “SYNC is already a hit among customers for its exceptional Bluetooth-connectivity for mobile phones and full voice control of media devices including MP3 players on the road, but we’re not stopping there,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “Ford is answering customers’ calls for even greater connectivity with the best technology solutions from companies like Microsoft and SIRIUS, connecting customers with mobile devices, important information they need on the road and bringing the experience to life with the latest in navigation technology and branded audio,” Kuzak said. SIRIUS Travel Link will provide up-to-the-minute information and entertainment content including current gas prices from an estimated 120,000 filling stations, local, real-time traffic information for 78 markets, coast-to-coast weather conditions with five-day forecasts, as well as sports scores and movie listings details for some 4,500 theaters. “Consumers are increasingly demanding seamless connectivity in every part of their lives,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford Global Trends and Futuring manager. “They want access to information ‘just in time’ or on-demand; it’s important for them to feel connected and informed.” A 2007 J.D. Power Automotive Emerging Technologies Study indicated that a third of U.S. consumers are very interested in having internet access in their vehicles, and the number is close to 50 percent for survey respondents between the ages of 16 and 25. Approximately 243 million Americans have mobile phones now, and according to a recent Harris Poll, four out of every five adults have regular access to the internet. Ford launched SIRIUS satellite radio in vehicles during the summer 2005 and, to date, more than 1 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles have been shipped with factory-installed SIRIUS satellite radios. The addition of the 2008 Ford Focus brings to 23 the number of Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles offering SIRIUS as factory-installed equipment. Starting this year, Ford will begin pioneering a new era of satellite communications, aggressively moving beyond music and into data delivery. With the launch of Ford’s next-generation navigation systems, the company will become the first automaker to offer SIRIUS Travel Link. “Customers today have been trained to expect 24/7 access to up-to-the-minute information: exactly what they need, right when they want it,” said Jim Buczkowski, director of Electrical Systems Engineering at Ford. “This service from SIRIUS feeds important data right into our vehicles. It is easy to access and always available.” SIRIUS Travel Link is a suite of data services broadcast through SIRIUS’s existing satellite and repeater infrastructure, offering uninterrupted, coast-to-coast coverage which includes: Traffic Data: SIRIUS Travel Link combines real-time traffic speed and flow data with accident and incident information to allow the user to navigate around congested areas. Weather: SIRIUS Travel Link shows coast-to-coast weather data, current conditions and five-day forecasts, detailed storm cell information, hurricane and tropical storm tracking, local wind speeds, and even ski resort conditions. Fuel Prices: Drawing on information from more than 120,000 gas stations, SIRIUS Travel Link sorts fuel options by price, distance or alphabetically. If requested, the navigation system can route users to the gasoline station with the lowest fuel price. Sports: No matter your passion – NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Motor Sports (including NASCAR), NCAAF, NCAAB and golf – SIRIUS Travel Link provides scores and schedules and can be personalized for the user’s selected teams. Movies: With listings from more than 4,500 movie theaters, SIRIUS Travel Link helps consumers plan ahead by providing movie times, theater addresses, ratings and run lengths. Using the Ford navigation system, the data can be sorted by distance. If requested, the navigation system can route users to the selected movie theater. “Having this information in a car is game-changing,” said Doug Wilsterman, SIRIUS senior vice president and general manager for automotive OEMs. “This is technology that drivers will use everyday.” “The average commute in America is now 30 minutes, and people want to maximize the time they spend behind in the car,” Buczkowski said. “Ford has delivered the plans and technologies to accommodate customers’ entertainment and infotainment needs while allowing them to stay focused on driving.” Press release via Ford