Ford Motor Company and Sony Electronics are showing the first fruits of their new relationship in North America in the form of the new Ford Flex with a Sony audio system. The Flex will appear at the flagship Sony Style store on Madison Avenue between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, where the first 150 customers will have the chance to get their hands on a SONY BMG MusicPass digital download card sampler.
The Ford Flex will be the first Ford North American vehicle to receive the Sony audio system under the new relationship. The Flex, which is due for launch in summer 2008, is a daring new vehicle in the full-size crossover segment and continues Ford’s assault on the crossover market which began with the Escape and Edge.
The Flex will feature a host of new technologies in addition to the Sony audio system. These include SIRIUS Satellite Radio with Travel Link™ as well as the award-winning SYNC system which has been further enhanced for the Ford Flex.
“Ford and Sony are two of the world’s most well known brands,” said Don Courvisier, vice president and general manager for the Automotive Entertainment Solutions Group at Sony Electronics in the United States and Europe. “This arrangement is a natural fit given our success together in Europe.”
This is the third collaboration between Sony and Ford in North America. Ford and Sony offered a limited-edition Focus Sedan in 2000, outfitted with Sony Xplod® audio equipment. More recently, Ford offered “Sound Designed by Sony” in the Ford Focus in North America.
In Europe, Sony-branded audio systems are offered in the Mondeo, Focus, C-Max, S-Max and Galaxy models.
Ford signed a long-term agreement with Sony in part because of the strong connection American consumers have with the Sony brand, Kuzak said. Sony continues to rank as the top consumer brand in the United States when consumers were asked to name the brands they consider the best, according to the annual Harris Interactive® consumer brand survey.
SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT has recently launched their Platinum MusicPass, a digital album card that delivers a full album’s worth of music plus bonus material in high quality files that are compatible with all MP3 players. The SYNC system in the Ford Flex will play these files as well as show the artwork and album information on the high quality 8-inch LCD information screen.
Part of Broader Electronics Effort at Ford
Offering branded audio with Sony for Ford and Mercury products is another example of Ford’s effort to deploy new consumer-driven electronic features in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. In January 2007, Ford and Microsoft announced Ford SYNC™, an industry leading, voice-activated in-car communications and entertainment system for mobile phones and digital music players, and on vehicles equipped with Sony branded audio systems.
Since 2002, the Lincoln brand has offered THX Certified audio systems in its vehicles. THX Certified Car Audio Systems produce sound quality comparable to a THX Certified Home Theater. More recently, SIRIUS satellite radio became available in most Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. DVD