If you’re someone who takes audio quality seriously, one of the first things you look at when buying a car is what kind of audio system comes standard, or how long you’ll be sleeping on the couch when the wife realizes you opted for the $4,000 audio upgrade. And if not, chances are it’s the first modification you make to your new ride. Seriously, most of the time, stock audio systems in entry-level vehicles are crap. But, Ford is looking to change all that through a partnership with Harman that will bring B&O Play into the mix starting as early as next year.

For the record, my opening statement about stock audio systems is accurate. In fact, Ipsos’ 2016 Automotive Audi Branding study showed that about 33 percent of new car buyers say that the audio brand in their next vehicle holds a lot of significance as to whether or not the sign on the dotted line. With Ford, that’s no longer going to be an issue thanks to Harmon’s B&O Play. If you’ve never had the chance to enjoy a B&O Play system, you definitely want to check it out when you get a chance. The layout of the speakers are fine tuned for each application, and everything is calibrated just right. In short, the sound is perfect regardless of what is going on outside the vehicle, the road conditions, or your nagging grandmother that’s sitting in the back seat.

Raj Nair, Ford’s Executive Vice President, said, "Customers tell us they value consistent, high-quality audio experiences, and our collaboration with Harmon is helping provide that. This is just one of the ways we are creating richer, more engaging in-vehicle experiences for customers."

For the record, Harman has been around for more than 90 years, so this is a pretty big move for Ford to bring the B&O Play system into its global vehicles. There’s no exact date mentioned as to when the system will begin appearing in Ford’s vehicles or how much it will cost on models that don’t come with it equipped as standard equipment, but we’ll surely learn more about that as we move into 2017.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it Matters

New Partnership Between Ford and Harmon Promises Superior Audio Experience in Future Ford Vehicles
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You know, there’s nothing better than sitting down in a comfortable car after a long day at work and enjoying a high-quality audio experience to relax on your way home. This move by Ford is a good one, and it rivals moves from brands like Mercedes and Porsche and their partnership with Burmester, with the former taking place just back in 2009. Up until the mid-2000s, car audio systems were horrible, and it’s about time that non-luxury brands finally step into at least offering a high-quality sound system for those that really appreciate it.

Press Release

Ford and HARMAN are collaborating to revolutionise the in-vehicle audio experience with B&O PLAY
New system arrives exclusively on Ford’s global vehicle line-up starting next year
B&O PLAY integration with Ford vehicles takes advantage of proprietary HARMAN technologies and tuning to deliver a richer, more engaging listening experience
To suit different customers and driving environments, the system’s signature sound is tailored specifically for every Ford model
COLOGNE, Germany, 13 September 2016 – Ford and HARMAN are teaming up to revolutionise in-vehicle experiences through the introduction of all-new B&O PLAY audio systems in Ford vehicles worldwide.

“Customers tell us they value consistent, high-quality audio experiences, and our collaboration with HARMAN is helping provide that,” said Raj Nair, Ford‘s executive vice president, product development and chief technical officer. “This is just one of the ways we are creating richer, more engaging in-vehicle experiences for customers.”

Ipsos’ 2016 Automotive Audio Branding study shows roughly one third of new car buyers say that the audio brand in their next vehicle would have a significant impact on their purchase consideration.

B&O PLAY products reimagine more than 90 years of audio heritage, with natural materials, distinctive design and high-quality audio for seamlessly integrated experiences, whether a listener is in their home, on the go, or soon, in their car.

Ford announced the exclusive collaboration with HARMAN during the automaker’s annual Further with Ford trend conference. B&O PLAY debuts in Ford vehicles globally starting next year.

Elevated experiences

B&O PLAY’s unique approach creates a customised audio experience for customers with specifically tailored speaker placement and calibration for each vehicle in the Ford range. This means dynamic tuning ensures optimal sound is maintained in the cabin no matter what driving conditions are like – and regardless of where someone sits.

“Ford and B&O PLAY are a perfect match among brands that stand for quality, freedom and innovative design, coming together to revolutionise the driving experience for consumers,” said Michael Mauser, executive vice president and president of HARMAN’s Lifestyle Audio Division.

“With our shared commitment to seamless engagement and elevated experiences, Ford is the ideal automaker to bring the transformative power of B&O PLAY audio to drivers and passengers worldwide,” he said.

To illustrate the power of sound, Ford and B&O PLAY unveiled an installation called Sound Journeys, an on-site experience that triggers the five senses.

Using B&O PLAY products, the installation brings to life three different environmental habitats – a forest, a canyon and an ocean – featuring amplified sound. The experience even “visualises” sound waves, demonstrating how sound can transform everyday spaces, creating richer, more visceral experiences for people.

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About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Michigan. With about 203,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford aggressively is pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit www.corporate.ford.com.​

Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 50 individual markets and employs approximately 53,000 employees at its wholly owned facilities and approximately 68,000 people when joint ventures and unconsolidated businesses are included. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 24 manufacturing facilities (16 wholly owned or consolidated joint venture facilities and 8 unconsolidated joint venture facilities). The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.

About HARMAN

HARMAN International Industries, Incorporated (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected car systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and connected services. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon®, Mark Levinson® and Revel®, HARMAN is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform around the world. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and connected car systems. The Company’s software services power billions of mobile devices and systems that are connected, integrated and secure across all platforms, from work and home to car and mobile. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 29,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $6.9 billion during the 12 months ended June 30, 2016. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.

For further information regarding B&O PLAY and Ford, visit www.beoplay.com/Ford

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