Ford dealers attended the company's first UK technology conference, showcasing and explaining industry trends and the latest features in Ford vehicles.
Over 130 Ford dealer senior managers and IT experts were at Henry Ford College in Loughborough to meet automotive and consumer technology suppliers plus industry professionals such as Google and Microsoft. They heard about the latest technology from Ford partners including CAP, ADP, Gemini Systems and GForces.
One of the latest advancements is Ford SYNC - an easy-to-use in-car connectivity program that allows hands-free calls and control of music and other functions with simple voice commands.
Daniel Sumner, Microsoft platform developer who worked on the Ford SYNC project, said: "The future of relationships with customers revolves around trends including natural rather than forced interaction and the rise of social networking. As a result, information needs to be distributed via real-time, enjoyable experiences."
Anthony Ireson, Ford Britain dealer operations director, said: "Ford's first dealer technology conference proved a great success.
The theatre presentations and supplier interaction were inspiring and very well received by our dealer network - enlightening many of them in the latest automotive and consumer technology."
Brian Hendy, chairman, Hendy Group said: "This unique event was fascinating - there are advantages for us all to structure our sales and marketing strategies around new technology in years to come."
Speakers included Gregory Roekens, Wunderman chief technical officer: "It is important that dealers concentrate on providing an enjoyable experience as well as good customer service. Technology is the most exciting way to manage a customer's experience."
The all-new Ford Focus, on sale from March 2011, includes Torque Vectoring Control to balance engine torque between the driven wheels, digital radio (DAB), Bluetooth, USB connectivity and voice control of key features as standard on every vehicle.
Over 20 additional hi-tech features will be available on the car including the Ford SYNC connectivity package.Published 11 January 2011