Home » Ford Will Save $10 Million A Year Just By Ditching Its Slow Parallel Parking Assist System

Ford Will Save $10 Million A Year Just By Ditching Its Slow Parallel Parking Assist System

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Ford is looking to find $2 billion in savings, and one of the ways it will attempt to achieve this goal is by culling features from new vehicles. First up on the chopping block? Active Park Assist, a way to guide a car into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot that required very little driver skill but much patience for anyone waiting behind the car using it.

The way you use it in a Ford is fairly simple. You press a button, flick on your indicator so the system knows which side of the car you’re looking for a spot on, then stop when it detects a spot. From there, pop it into neutral, cover the brake because this is a semi-autonomous system, hold the button, and it should attempt to guide the car into a parking spot. It can also help in getting something massive like an Expedition out of a tight parallel parking spot, operating much the same to exit a spot as it does to enter one.

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Bloomberg reports that Ford COO Kumar Galhotra spoke at an investor conference about using connected car data to decide which features to cull, specifically citing Active Park Assist.

So one example is an auto-park feature that lets the customer parallel park automatically. Very, very few people are using it so we can remove that feature. It’s about $60 per vehicle.

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While we don’t have data on how many customers use Active Park Assist, the claim of infrequent use seems plausible from what we’ve seen in press cars. The last time I used Active Park Assist, it didn’t actually work. By that, I mean that the car didn’t exactly end up in a spot per se, but instead halfway between two spots, which isn’t excellent. Add in the slow movements of the vehicle while using Active Park Assist, and it’s generally just easier to park the damn car yourself.

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It’s astonishing to think that all the hardware and software needed to guide an F-150 into a parallel parking spot at the press of a button costs just $60 or so per car. You can’t even get a copy of Gran Turismo 5 for the PS5 for that money, although once you amortize that $60 per car across millions of vehicles sold per year, the costs add up. Galhotra reportedly claimed savings of $10 Million per year just by ditching this feature, as part of a larger push to find $2 Billion per year in savings across Ford.

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So, will any of these cost reductions from feature cuts actually be passed onto the consumer? Given the language of “savings” used, don’t hold your breath. This is about Ford trying to find efficiencies, and one method for that is decontenting. On the one hand, fewer features for the same money may mean less stuff that can possibly break. On the other, it may mean getting less for your money.

(Photo credits: Ford)

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06dak
06dak
15 days ago

Comparing the $60 of cost to Ford with a $60 game isn’t really a fair comparison. It’s $60 of hardware vs the $0.10 for the game to download (and even that is just an assumption on the computing power/internet needed to get the game to you). People forget the cost of R&D is really the expense for most things, not the actual part cost.

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