Ford, Microsoft Introduce SYNC at Beijing Auto Show

BEIJING — May 11, 2012 — Ford and Microsoft celebrated their partnership at Auto China 2012 with the historic unveiling of multilanguage functionality in Ford SYNC, an in-car infotainment system powered by the Windows Embedded Automotive software platform.

Multilanguage functionality in Ford SYNC was unveiled with the all-new Focus available now in China. With the introduction of the Focus, SYNC will feature Mandarin as its interfacing language, recognizing wide-ranging accents from 13 provinces, while also responding to English commands. Spoken by more than 1.2 billion people, the Mandarin language has subtleties that necessitated extensive research to allow for the differences in the pronunciation of the same word.

New Focus With Ford SYNC New Focus With Ford SYNC

May 10, 2012
The new Focus with Ford SYNC in China features Mandarin as its interfacing language, recognizing voice commands in a wide range of regional accents while also responding to English.

Ford’s Expansion in China

China is known as the center of all nations, and it makes an ideal location for Ford to devote efforts to its largest expansion in a half-century. On the heels of its recent investment of $760 million to build new manufacturing facilities that will double capacity to over 1.2 million cars annually, Ford also announced plans to introduce 15 new vehicles to China by 2015. Each one of those new models will feature the Microsoft-powered SYNC system. This aggressive launch strategy demonstrates Ford’s commitment to the Chinese market and has the industry — and Chinese consumers — taking notice.

“These are incredibly exciting times for Ford in Asia,” said Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa. “So far, Ford’s investments in China and across Asia represent its largest and most rapid global expansion in 50 years. This expansion will help us realize an increase in global sales by about 50 percent from 2010 to about 8 million vehicles annually by mid-decade. Building new manufacturing plants in China helps lay the foundation for that growth and reconfirms our commitment to China, and we expect to have sales of about 30 million vehicles by 2020 as a result.”

Automakers from across the globe are establishing roots in China to take advantage of this growing market as witnessed by all the major car companies exhibiting at the most recent Beijing auto show. And Ford is taking steps to ensure it offers something the automaker likes to call a “connected car experience” to the Chinese consumer with an expanded and fresh lineup of new vehicles.

“The Chinese auto market remains one of the most vibrant in the world,” said Dave Schoch, chairman and CEO of Ford China. “This expansion will allow Ford to deliver on our aggressive plan to bring 15 new vehicles and 20 new powertrains to China by 2015, giving Chinese consumers more choice in Ford’s next generation of high-quality, fuel-efficient, fun-to-drive vehicles.”

Auto China 2012 Auto China 2012

May 10, 2012
Ford joined several automakers in showing off its newest models at Auto China 2012. Amid great expansion in the region, Ford expects to realize 8 million vehicle sales annually by 2015, with each new car featuring the Microsoft-powered SYNC system. Beijing, April 24, 2012

Understanding Purchasing Decisions of Chinese Consumers

Car ownership is a relatively new experience for many Chinese citizens but embracing new technology is not. In China, more than 500 million people use the Internet,1 more than 1 billion cell phones are in the market, and 38 percent of the people who access the Internet do so from their cell phone.2

With the availability of Mandarin in the latest version of SYNC, Ford is helping consumers with their car ownership experience by enhancing a technology they already are comfortable using — the cell phone. Having dealers demonstrate how the SYNC platform extends the connected capabilities in a safe manner helps the consumer understand the value of their purchase.

Ford is excited about how its partnership with Microsoft will help the company keep a competitive edge in China. SYNC is viewed by Ford as an opportunity to tell its story in a compelling fashion, giving consumers a connection to their vehicle and the road ahead.

1- eMarketer, “China’s Massive Web Audience Turns to Social, Mobile, Video”, March 6, 2012
2- Techwireasia, “38% of Internet Users in China Get Online Exclusively From Mobile Devices”, March 15, 2012