Intent on allowing owners of its SYNC-equipped vehicles to taker more complete, more intuitive -- and safer -- advantage of the applications stored on their smartphones, Ford has announced its award-winning SYNC AppLink software will become a standard component of the basic package. In addition to the previously announced 2012 Ford Mustang, other vehicles in the Blue Oval lineup to benefit from this factory-installed SYNC-with-AppLink enhancement include the 2012 Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Fiesta, F-150 pickup, F-150 SVT Raptor, Super Duty, Expedition SUV , E-Series van and the Shelby GT500.

"We understand more and more drivers are using their devices and their apps while in the car," said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions. "Ford is a part of the solution, offering voice-activated options such as Ford SYNC with AppLink on a broader range of our products, which gives more customers a smarter way to access their apps while driving that keeps their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road."

SYNC has been a huge success for Ford since it was introduced back in 2007. Currently, nearly 85 percent of all new Fusions and over 76 percent of all F-150 pickup models are ordered with SYNC, and the automaker anticipates a continued robust growth in demand. "The flexibility of the SYNC platform and software-based solutions such as AppLink give Ford a powerful blend of in-car connectivity technologies that can easily adapt to our customers' needs and what's happening in the mobile electronics industry, including the exploding world of smartphone apps," said Julius Marchwicki, Ford SYNC product manager.

"To keep more of our customers connected, we will continue to add other SYNC-enabled apps, smartphone integrations and vehicles with factory-installed AppLink to our lineup," Marchwicki also noted. As part of that effort, Ford is embarking on a rapid expansion of its global Connected Services Solutions Organization, and plans to grow it fourfold during the next five years alone.

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