Ford Drops The Price Of SYNC To End Distracted Driving

August 2, 2011

A string of new studies have shown that when it comes to cars, shoppers love high-tech options -- particularly those involving navigation and infotainment features. That may explain why Ford has decided to cut the price of its popular SYNC telematics system.

The $100 discount will make SYNC a $295 option for models on which it doesn't already come as standard equipment. What's more, Ford will now make SYNC available on base models -- something that hasn't even been an option before.

The new SYNC pricing and availability will roll out in phases. It'll first appear on the 2012 Ford Explorer and Ford Edge, for which SYNC will come standard on all packages other than the base "SE". The discount will then hit the 2013 Ford Escape, Flex, Focus, and Taurus. Within three years, Ford expects the new pricing and availability to reach all models in its North American lineup.

According to a press release, Ford says that the SYNC price cut is part of its efforts to curtail distracted driving. (You might recall that Ford recently became the first automaker to endorse the Safe Drivers Act of 2011, which would create a nationwide ban on using handheld mobile phone while driving.) We're certain that Ford is sincere about its work to end distracted driving, but it always seems a bit convenient when a company pushes for new rules that would, essentially, require consumers to purchase additional products from said company. In this case, a band on handheld mobile phones would make SYNC -- which offers drivers the ability to make handsfree calls, among other things -- even more attractive than it already is.

Unfortunately, studies have repeatedly shown that hands-free calling isn't the answer to the problem of distracted driving. Even worse, SYNC (along with its sister technology, MyFord Touch) was one of the reasons behind Ford's recent tumble in J.D. Power's Initial Quality rankings. Perhaps that helps explain why the roll out of the SYNC discount is fairly gradual -- so that Ford can make the admittedly great system a little more user-friendly.

For complete details about the SYNC price drop, feel free to scan the press release on the next page.

* * * * *

Ford Drops Price of SYNC by $100, Making Hands-Free, Voice-Activated In-Car Connectivity More Affordable, Available to All
  • Ford initiates new pricing strategy for SYNC®, making the hands-free, voice-activated connectivity system more affordable for customers; dropping option price to $295 makes SYNC the most capable and most affordable system on the market
  • Launching first on the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge, SYNC will now be available as optional equipment on base trim levels, marking broader availability and more choice for customers
  • Making hands-free technology more affordable and available comes on the heels of Ford becoming the first automaker to announce its support for a nationwide ban on the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving
“Ford SYNC is making a difference. Our customers love it and recommend it, and our dealers want it on more products,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “SYNC already has brought hands-free, voice-activated in-car connectivity to millions, helping keep drivers’ eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Now, Ford is making it even easier for customers to afford exactly what they want.”

DEARBORN, Mich., August 1, 2011 – Ford is making hands-free, voice-controlled in-car connectivity even more affordable, announcing both a $100 price drop for Ford SYNC® along with expanded availability by offering it as an option on base trim levels for the first time. 

The move marks the company’s latest push to make voice control the primary and safest way for customers to access their favorite mobile devices while driving – a capability more and more drivers are clamoring for, according to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).

In a 2010 study, the CEA found that 55 percent of smartphone owners, for example, prefer voice commands as their primary in-car user interface. SYNC users agree, with internal Ford research showing more than 85 percent say they use voice controls while driving, up from 60 percent in previous studies. 

This month, Ford became the first automaker to openly support the Safe Drivers Act of 2011, proposed federal legislation for a nationwide ban on the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving. To date, 10 states, including California and New York, have legally banned talking on a hand-held cellphone while driving, with many local municipalities also following suit enacting their own set of restrictions. Text messaging while driving is banned in 34 states.  

The new SYNC pricing and choice strategy for 2012 ups the ante on how Ford is translating this trend into real-world actions that offer smarter in-vehicle connectivity solutions for customers.

“As the list of states banning hand-held calls and texting while driving continues to grow and legislators ponder a nationwide ban, Ford is strengthening its leadership position as the only full-line automaker with plans to offer available hands-free mobile device connectivity on 100 percent of its passenger vehicle lineup,” said Czubay.

SYNC has been installed already on more than 3 million vehicles since its debut in 2007.

The new pricing strategy makes SYNC the most capable and most affordable in-car connectivity system in the industry. The new pricing will be available first on the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge base models. Customers who opt for SYNC will pay only $295 for the award-winning in-car connectivity system, previously priced at $395. In addition, SYNC will now be available on all trim levels, as the availability chart of the 2012 Ford Edge shows:

Ford Edge Trim Level

2011 Model SYNC Availability

2012 Model SYNC Availability


Not available











With the base SYNC package, customers will enjoy the core hands-free features and services that have quickly established SYNC as a must-have technology, with more than 76 percent of current SYNC users saying they would recommend the system to other customers. Those features include: 

  • Hands-free, voice-activated calling via a Bluetooth®-connected mobile phone
  • Hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected digital music player  
  • 911 Assist™, the automated emergency calling service that is free for the life of the vehicle
  • Vehicle Health Report, the on-demand diagnostic and maintenance information service

In addition, customers who choose the base package will have the option to purchase a SYNC Services subscription, which expands voice-controlled features to include a cloud-based network of services. These include turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports, and business search information with available live operator assistance if needed. A SYNC Services subscription costs only $60 a year, besting the telematics services offered by the competition.

Ford dealers are excited about the prospect of being able to offer SYNC to a larger population of their customers.

James T. Seavitt, president of Village Ford in Dearborn, Mich., says he wouldn’t be surprised to see those rates soar even higher with the new SYNC pricing and base model availability. Seavitt admits that approximately 75 percent of the vehicles he currently sells have SYNC.

“Customers frequently ask about SYNC in our dealership as they continue to hear more about the benefits and convenience of hands-free connectivity while driving,” said Seavitt. “This move from Ford will help dealers put more customers in SYNC-equipped vehicles so they can experience why using their voice to control their favorite mobile devices in the car is a smarter choice.”  
On Edge and Explorer alone, SYNC has already been a big hit on the showroom floor, with current take rates above 80 percent. With the new pricing strategy, SYNC is now expected to be installed on more than 95 percent of models sold.

During the next three years, Ford will introduce the new SYNC pricing and choice strategy across the entire North American Ford vehicle lineup.

Vehicles next in line after the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge include the 2013 Ford Taurus, Focus, Escape and Flex.

The Car Connection
See the winners »
The Car Connection
Commenting is closed for this article
Ratings and Reviews
Rate and review your car for The Car Connection
Review your car
The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from The Car Connection. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.