ford fiesta 14 myfordtouch.automotiveIT

Ford upgrades infotainment for smaller cars (Photo: Ford)

Ford's 2014 Fiesta model, which will be available in the US next year, will feature a new 6.5 inch LCD touchscreen designed to appeal to tech-savvy younger buyers of smaller cars.

The screen is part of the MyFordTouch infotainment system the US carmaker is rolling out across all its models.

Citing the growing importance of technology features for today's and tomorrow's car buyers, Ford said MyFordTouch is an integral part of its selling proposition.

"MyFord Touch is appealing to customers, as it consistently ranks among the top 10 purchase considerations with new owners," said Michelle Moody, cross-vehicle marketing manager at Ford. She added that the system should help the Fiesta small car "stand out from the crowd."

Ford is committed to boost infotainment and safety technologies in its product offerings to lower fuel consumption, battle traffic congestion and make cars more appealing to younger buyers. Ford CEO Alan Mulally told Automotive News earlier this month that, despite initial mixed reviews for MyFordTouch, the company is sticking to its guns when it comes to pushing high-tech in its cars.

Expensive infotainment systems have in recent years been moving from the premium segments to volume cars as automakers increasingly see them as decisive features in the purchase of a car. Ford's Moody said the company's research shows that for two-thirds of all potential car buyers Sync "definitely" plays a role in their purchase decision. She also said take rates for MyFordTouch have exceeded internal expectations.

Ford started development of its Sync in-vehicle connectivity system jointly with software maker Microsoft five years ago. More than 5 million Sync-equipped cars and trucks have so far been sold. MyFordTouch provides the interface to the system.

The Fiesta is the second small car to get Sync, following the Ford Focus. The carmaker said the move underlines "Ford's commitment to making technology affordable and accessible to everyone."

The latest Sync software will also have simplified Bluetooth phone pairing, improved voice recognition and simplified and improved navigation and entertainment controls, Ford said.