DEARBORN, MI - Innovation, mobility and connectivity were words used several times during Ford's annual executive briefing. The 'Blue Oval' has always been an automotive leader when it comes to looking into the future to better its overall product and the customer experience.
To many, those are just words. But in this case, Ford has been pushing the envelope with 3,000 new employees mostly in the technological arena. This has helped in releasing the brand-new next-generation Sync 3. But before you get all excited, it's not out yet and we were told that it will be coming at some point in 2015.
You wouldn't think it, but Ford's Sync has been around before the first Apple iPhone was introduced. As a historical leader and pioneer, it meant a lot to Ford to create a leading system that's more intuitive, easier and faster to use, and sleek.
After the testing the new system, I think Ford has accomplished that goal. The Microsoft Auto platform is gone, replaced by a QNX operating system. A difficult decision as the old models with previous Sync-versions cannot be updated, but after you test out the new system, you can see why Ford made the move.
Sync 3 has the look and feel of a smartphone with swipe and pinch motions. Furthermore, it operates with simpler menus, quick one-line address inputs, as well as predictive text. It even has a built-in Wi-Fi receiver that can access the Wi-Fi from your surrounding area to perform updates and app uploads.
As I scrolled through and tested the system, each input was super fast without lag. It's the combination of quick-actions without complication or distraction that makes it a top-of-the-line unit. And you also won't see the name “My Ford Touch” associated with it either, as Ford turns to one global name that syncs (no pun intended) with its “One Ford” strategy.
Outside of new innovative technology, there was still more buzz around Ford.
“2015 has the potential to be a breakthrough year for us,” proclaimed Mark Fields, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford Motor Company.
Ford are expected to make 16 global launches in the new year with a focus on SUVs and compact cars that includes the all-new Focus. But there was another type of Focus that had the media's attention and that was the news of the Focus RS being made available globally at some point in 2015.
The Focus RS hatch will be one of 12 new performance vehicles introduced by 2020, all part of a new “Ford Performance” umbrella that merges Ford racing and its performance line-up throughout in order to further production and information, as well as quick distribution. The Ford Performance team will focus their attention solely on performance vehicles such as the new Focus RS, Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Shelby GT350 Mustang, and F-150 Raptor, to name a few.
“Ford remains committed to innovation through performance,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president.
This is big news for performance-minded compact lovers, as the last RS was introduced in 2009 with a heritage that dates back to 1968. It will slot itself above the ST and most likely use one of Ford's EcoBoost engines. I would expect an output of over 300 hp, considering the ST currently runs off of a turbocharged 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that produces 252 hp and 270 lb.-ft. of torque.
It was a big day for Ford, and one that gets them closer to a complete “One Ford” plan. The new Sync 3 system will be a welcome addition for many who disliked the outgoing model. And for the Focus RS – it's a great start of hopefully more to come from the performance side of things at Ford.