Ford to stop paying dealers for infotainment training
By Drew Johnson
Ford is doing away with a per-vehicle subsidy that it pays its dealers to teach customers how to use its Sync and MyFord Touch infotainment systems. Known as the Technology Delivery Allowance, the cash payment system was first launched in 2011.
Ford's program current pays dealers $50 for every vehicle sold with Sync and $75 for every vehicle equipped with MyFord Touch, but those incentives will disappear for the 2015 model year. Dealers often use that cash to pay a specialist to train customers on how to use the systems, which have been panned for being overly complicated and difficult to use.
"We have an individual, and that's all their job is. We've used that money to pay that individual," Ed Joliffe, owner of Gorno Ford in Woodhaven, Michigan, told Automotive News. "That individual's job is to show customers everything. If that goes away, that position may go away."
MyFord Touch has been lambasted by Consumer Reports and was cited as one of the main reasons for Ford's recent plunge in J.D. Power and Associates' Initial Quality Study.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, will replace the program, but Ford says it will continue to support dealer training.
"We will share our future plans for this program directly with dealers," Ford spokeswoman Elizabeth Weigandt said. "Ford remains committed to providing valuable dealer-focused programs, such as training, digital customer tools and our In-Vehicle Technology Call Center."
Weigandt added that the Technology Delivery Allowance was setup in 2011 as "a temporary resource".
The end of the Technology Delivery Allowance program won't affect the Lincoln brand.