Ford CEO Mark Fields May Have Hated MyFord Touch Enough to Smash the Screen

It was one of several incidents Ford bigwigs reportedly had with the “polished turd” of an infotainment system. 

mark fields myford touch the drive ford
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A class-action lawsuit against Ford over the carmaker’s much-maligned MyFord Touch infotainment system has revealed that customers weren’t the only ones frustrated by it. Ford’s own executive and engineers, it turns out, weren’t big fans of it either—possibly leading Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields to hit the infotainment screen hard enough to crack it.

Among the tales of infotainment woe made public in the court filings comes the tale of woe concerning Fields, who was serving as Ford’s president of the Americas when the system launched in 2011.

“I think Mark Fields may have been a little aggravated with the system,” Ford engineer Kevin Williams said in one email, accompanied by a picture a mechanic sent to Williams of a cracked infotainment screen—purportedly from Fields’s vehicle, according to Forbes.  

That was hardly Fields’s sole incident grappling with MyFord Touch. The court documents reveal the executive also sent a series of emails complaining that he couldn’t sync his phone with the system; another time, he reportedly revealed in a meeting with other executives that his Edge had given him the “‘dreaded black screen”—suggesting the system had shut down entirely.

And Fields was hardly the only Ford bigwig to vocally register his beefs with the MyFord Touch, according to the court documents. Chairman Bill Ford was forced to deal with the system’s flaws on several occasions; at one point, he had to pull off to the side of the road when his car’s MyFord Touch-run navigation system went down, stranding him in an area he didn’t know.

“Tonight in particular it was especially burdensome. He had to wait five minutes for the reset, by the side of the road in an unfamiliar area,” a Ford employee said in a memo summarizing the incident. “He could not continue because of the lack of navigation directions and he was late.”

Engineers, too, loathed the system, according to the court-released documents. One engineer referred to MyFord Touch as a “polished turd;” another referred to the buyers forced to use the system as “those poor customers.”

“Ford’s quality reputation is completely on the line,” another employee commented in regards to the attempts to fix the system. “Another model year with the same crap is not acceptable."

The class-action lawsuit against Ford was filed in 2013, and could go to trial in April, lead plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Berman told Forbes.