Kenwood said its in-dash navigation radios will soon provide the most complete radio replacement solution for Ford Sync vehicles.
The company has teamed up with Automotive Data Solutions (ADS) to let Ford owners swap out their factory radio for a Kenwood navigation system. Users will still retain the Sync voice control, steering wheel controls, hands-free Bluetooth, USB interface and factory satellite radio. They can also keep the hands-free mic that comes with the car (which is specially tuned to that particular vehicle).
Kenwood navigation/radios will be compatible with a new module due from ADS that will permit an aftermarket radio to work with Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles through a firmware download by the installer. The module (sold separately) lets the Kenwood radios communicate directly with the car’s network. The module is called the iDatalink Maestro. It won a 2012 Innovation award and will ship in Q1 at a price to be announced.
Kenwood’s radios are the first to work with the new module. Keith Lehmann, Senior Vice President of Kenwood’s Consumer Electronics Sector, said “Since 2008, there have been millions of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles sold in the U.S. that are equipped with a Sync system. Kenwood dealers are now able to offer an elegant radio replacement solution that millions of potential consumers will immediately understand and embrace. Kenwood will also be the first to market with iDatalink compatibility for 2012, giving Kenwood dealers an advanced integration solution that is currently not available with any other aftermarket brand. We believe this breakthrough will set a new aftermarket integration standard in the mobile electronics industry.”
In the future, in addition to Ford models, iDatalink will work with General Motors, Chrysler (uConnect) and Volkswagen vehicles in the future. In GM cars, it will permit aftermarket car radios to retain OnStar, Bluetooth hands-free, factory satellite radio and external media interfaces.