DEARBORN, MI – Ford's 911 Assist, part of the newest upgrade to Ford's exclusive SYNC system, will place a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator in the event of an accident. In such a situation that an occupant cannot respond, SYNC speaks to the 911 service and alerts an operator that a crash has occurred.

When a cell phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC - which is designed to occur every time the driver enters the vehicle with his or her cell phone — the system is ready to go.

Unlike other crash notification services, 911 Assist does not require the customer to sign up and pay for a costly monthly service subscription; SYNC uses a customer's existing mobile phone. Also, a key advantage of the system is speed, since calls are placed directly to the local 911 operators — not a third party call center, as with other competitive systems.

"The speed and efficiency it takes to contact emergency services could mean the difference between life and death," said Dave Hatton, 911 Assist product manager.

Nearly all 2008 and early model-year 2009 vehicles equipped with the original SYNC system are eligible for the upgrade, which also includes the innovative Vehicle Health Report feature.

Vehicle Health Report (VHR) gives customers the ability to monitor and manage their vehicle's health in a single, easy-to-read report and receive important notifications. Using the SYNC Web site (, customers set up personal preferences for report content and notification methods to activate the service. Once established, a confidential report can be requested using simple voice commands.

The report includes diagnostic systems' statuses, scheduled maintenance, needed repairs from the last dealership visit, and will even alert owners of any open recalls. Customers can print the report, email it to others, or - with one additional click - go to their preferred dealer's Web site with report information ready and waiting. All that's needed is for them to select an appointment time and confirm the request. If the owner is facing a diagnostic problem that's deemed severe, the system will quickly send a text message to the owner's cell phone, with specific actions on how to best handle the situation.

"The system is designed, overall, for peace of mind," said Tom Hodges, SYNC and digital marketing manager. "The information is all together, all in one place to make it easy for the customer."

Ford launched both new features in December 2008, including them in all factory-installed SYNC-equipped vehicles. Most SYNC owners who don't have 911 Assist or Vehicle Health Reports can get the features now by making an appointment with their preferred dealer for an upgrade. The upgrade is a software installation performed by dealers, and eligible customers are responsible for dealer installation charges, which may vary.


Originally posted on Automotive Fleet