Ford to Aggressively Expand Vehicle to Smartphone Connectivity

Ford wants to make its vehicles “smarter.” That’s according to the venerable auto maker, which is pledging to aggressively expand the number of Ford automobiles that sport on-board smartphone applications.

This week, Ford said the 2012 model year will heavily focus on the safety and entertainment features made possible by fusing vehicles with smartphones.

The Ford Sync communications and entertainment system will connect smartphones with such models as the Fusion sedan, F-150 pickup trucks, and the Expedition SUV, the company announced on Tuesday.

The option, called Sync AppLink, is now available in the Ford Fiesta. Additionally, as Reuters reported, the Sync system (sans the Synch Applink option), is even available “across the Ford and Lincoln lineup as a $400 option on some models and is standard on others.”

The company says that the Sync application to link smartphones will “eventually be a factory option on all Ford and Lincoln vehicles.”

“Mobile app growth is literally skyrocketing,” says Mark Fields, president of Ford operations in North America and South America. “This is a trend that we cannot ignore, especially as a Nationwide Insurance study shows that one in four Americans who download apps admits to using them while driving.”

Ford is also working with Nuance Communications to improve voice-control systems in Ford and Lincoln vehicles.