DEARBORN, Mich., March 28– Ford Motor Company [NYSE: F] and Sony Electronics today announced they have signed an agreement to offer Sony-branded audio systems across the lineup of Ford and Mercury branded vehicles in North America starting in 2008. The first vehicle to be equipped with Sony-branded audio will be unveiled April 4 at the New York Auto Show. “We have enjoyed a very successful partnership at Ford of Europe with Sony-branded audio,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “Customers tell us that good audio systems are high on their list of priorities. Sony-branded audio and a host of other signature technologies will help differentiate Ford products in the marketplace.”
“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. For the seventh year consecutive year, and the ninth time in the last 11 years, Sony was rated No. 1. The latest survey results were released July 12, 2006.
Part of Broader Electronics Effort at Ford
Offering branded audio with Sony is another example of Ford’s effort to deploy new consumer-driven electronic features in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. In January, Ford and Microsoft announced Ford Sync™, an industry leading, voice-activated in-car communications and entertainment system for mobile phones and digital music players that will be available later this year, 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-based satellite navigation systems became available in most vehicles beginning in 2005.
Press release via Ford