10 Questions About Your Ideas and Future Ford Features

By Ford Social Member

When we launched the Your Ideas section on theFordStory.com in April 2010, we suspected that quite a few of you had an idea for a future feature or technology that you would like to share with Ford. Boy, were we right – more than 2,800 ideas have been posted since then!

This section is about more than just posting an idea, though. It allows you to develop the idea with comments from others. Visitors can participate in a community-based setting online where they can review and rate the idea with a thumbs-up or -down.

The most popular category to date is Performance/Driving Dynamics, with Comfort/Convenience running a close second.

We thought you might be interested in what Ford thinks about all of these ideas that you’re posting. And, what happens with the ideas that are posted. We talked to Rick Novak, who heads up the Global Vehicle Marketing Strategy Group for Ford. His team regularly reviews the ideas posted and ultimately makes recommendations on what features are incorporated into future Ford vehicles.

theFordStory: What does your group do at Ford?

Rick: Our job is to try and keep our finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the marketplace in terms of what people want for new features. We work to better understand the consumer; trying to anticipate future features based on market trends, unmet needs and customer factors, wants, etc. We work to enhance the driver experience and attempt to figure out the crystal ball at Ford.

Why get input from theFordStory visitors?

This is one of many consumer touch points that we want to use to try to capture unmet needs and get customer feedback on solutions that they are looking for. This specific effort through theFordStory helps generate ideas as well as validate other ideas indirectly that we may be considering.

What is an indication that an idea is good for future consideration?

We look at which of the posted ideas are resonating and which ones aren’t. The great thing about this tool is getting votes and comments posted as an immediate source of feedback from a lot of people. It’s a great first-glance look at which ideas are good and building momentum with people. The immediacy of people being able to view ideas, vote on them and comment on them is very valuable.

Where else does your group gather ideas from?

We do a significant amount of research. Some is vehicle specific and some is cross-vehicle and cross segment. We review studies from outside groups that focus on customer unmet needs and wants as well as technology and social trend studies that help indicate a need or desire. And of course we listen to our current Ford and Lincoln owner base.

Does your group only look at the automotive space?

We evaluate non-auto consumer behavior as well. For example, cell phones and other technology innovations rule our lives these days, not just our lives in the vehicle. SYNC® came out of this process. No one said that they wanted SYNC, but they did say that they’d love to have their iPod and phone work through their vehicle. These are signature technologies that are exclusive to Ford. MyKey®, EasyFuel™, and Blind Spot Mirror all came out of this process as well. The next big innovation idea is MyFord Touch™ that will launch in the 2011 Ford Edge and Ford Explorer, and MyLincoln Touch™ in the 2011 Lincoln MKX.

What can people do to improve the chance of having their idea used by Ford?

People can focus on telling us what Ford can do to improve their automotive experience. Something that enriches their driving experience, addresses a need, personalizes a vehicle or helps keep them stay connected or makes their life easier.  Something they always thought would be cool.  And be as specific as possible.

What are the most interesting and useful types of ideas?

We really want input on a broad variety of topics. We want to put as much safety features into the vehicles as we can, as well as entertainment, customization, convenience, etc.

How are the ideas that are posted on theFordStory reviewed by Ford?

We collect all of the ideas posted. They are prioritized and then the top performing ideas are discussed, and they go out to market-research. We consider the ideas that can best fit on multiple vehicles and we go to multiple locations around the world to conduct consumer clinics and get feedback from a variety of customer groups. This process helps validate the ideas that are a genuine need for a majority of customers and helps identify a solution.

Any general advice that you would give to people interested in posting an idea?

Tell us what your want is. Tell us how you function in your vehicle and how you want to interact with the vehicle. Maybe you just need a fob or a key card. Someone might say I don’t want to carry keys.

You don’t necessarily need to come with the solution, but more of a want. Do you want a five-speed manual transmission because it’s more fun, not cheaper than an auto? Do you want your windows to go down with voice control? How do you want to interact with the vehicle and its technology? Maybe using voice commands over pushing buttons? We’ll work on the execution. You just keep posting needs and wants.

What specific area is Ford interested in hearing ideas on?

We’re interested in a variety of ideas, but for the next month, we’d like to focus ideas posted on theFordStory around entertainment and connectivity.

People used to bring VCRs and TVs into a vehicle before the market started outfitting vehicles with DVD players and a screen. What’s the next thing that you want to use in your vehicle to function or entertain yourself and rear-seat passengers?

We’re looking to address customer demands for their want to have technology that can be built in, brought in and/or beamed in. How do we help you connect your life better with the vehicle?

Want to post your idea and join the conversation? Click here to learn more.
Glenn 09/16/2010
Comfortable and easy to enter/exit back seats for the older passenger. Because of the rear wheel and other design considerations, back seats are very difficult for older passengers to get in and out of on most cars. Long haul riding is uncomfortable for them to say the least. What are the odds of making back doors open the other direction for easier in and out?
Lowell 09/13/2010
I would like to be able to pick and choose the exact options/features I want on a car instead of being forced into a "trim level." Using the Ford Focus as an example, I'd like to select things like heated mirrors, fog lights, cruise control, etc. without being forced into the SEL package with 16" wheels, leather seats, and ambient lighting--things I don't want. A car with 15" wheels/tires rides better, handles potholes better, and goes through the snow better. Those low profile tires might handle corners great, but they don't ride cushy or go through the snow well. It's almost impossible for me to walk onto a dealer's lot and find exactly the car I want with the equipment I want without being forced to take options that are a waste of money, in my opinion. After all, the cars--even the base and mid trim levels--are already pre-wired at the factory for most of those options. Same for tire/wheel combinations; I should be able to select the size I want instead of being told that a certain size comes with a certain trim level. And if I take a lower trim level, then I have to give up options that are valuable to me because it doesn't appear that those options can be ordered individually. All the car companies are guilty of this; not just Ford. And please, please, please bring back the Ford Focus station wagon in the United States. The European model is a beauty.
Ponyguy 08/12/2010
Another plug for a freshened Ranger...
I love my Ranger, and I fear for what I would consider purchasing if/when the Ranger is discontinued. The fuel economy and utility of a "compact" pickup truck can't possibly be approached by some vehicle the size and weight of an F-series pickup. Maneuverability, handling and agility are all part of the Ranger, as is the eye-popping fuel mileage of the Duratec four-cylinder engine, particularly when paired with the manual transmission, like mine is.
A small Diesel engine, like some in Ford's foreign-market offerings, would also be quite an addition to add another fuel-economy champion to Ford's line-up. At the opposing end of the Ranger spectrum, the 3.5/3.7 V-6 would certainly bring some welcome muscle and towing capability to Ford's compact pickup truck, too.
Well, let's just wait and see what's coming...
John Patterson 08/09/2010
We keep hearing rumors,about Ford installing the Cummins engine, into all F-250's and up. Is this a possibility? Also if this is true, what transmission would be used?
edvard 08/06/2010
I know for fact that one of the more common requests on that site was for Ford to consider a new replacement of the tired old Ranger as well as the possibility for a small diesel truck. There is a HUGE demand for such a truck and nobody has such a product on the market as we speak.

Seriously- if you all can get such a truck on the road I would definitely put it in the running as the vehicle for my next purchase.
Dean Carter 07/29/2010
Many Americans, me included, are proud of Ford for not taking Federal assistance. I asked the question several weeks ago as to why Ford doesn' increase warranty to at least 100,000 miles. A great sales gimmick that cost little to implement as Ford vehicles are reliable. In fact I believe you should take advantage of the F-150 and F-250 reliability with a one upmanship on GM with a limited warranty in the 125,000 mile range. . Bet increased sales will more than offset the additional cost. Just think what could be done with this announcement using the Ford Tough slogan.

If you dig into your archives you will find a suggestion to use larger and standard size tires on all Mustangs as those that can't afford the middle to upper end models feel better about themselves and their cars when it is not obvious that they have the less expensive models. Conversely people who buy the upscale models don't like to see the skinny tire models as it degrades what they are driving. As we all know perception is the name of the game.


Dean Carter
Glenn 07/24/2010
Vehicle internet hotspot. Every Ford should be an internet hotspot. All of the items in a Ford that are software related should be updating through the internet link. Music, news, all sorts of entertainment should flow through the Ford Internet Experience.
Glenn 07/24/2010
Roomy hybrid cars. There should be hybrid cars that have plenty of shoulder and leg room for longer haul driving. Why does a hybrid car have to be small?
10 Questions About Your Ideas and Future Ford Features
Related articles