Kenwood Intro’s Ford Sync Radio Replacement

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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 and iDatalinkKenwood 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.

Source: Kenwood, ADS

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  1. Hi Robert, Yes that is correct it is to replace the radio. But the Sync system with voice control is a separate module that is retained.

  2. Scott – Thanks for clarifying. But the article states the new Kenwood products “let Ford owners SWAP OUT their factory radio for a Kenwood navigation system.”


    “Kenwood dealers are now able to offer an elegant radio REPLACEMENT solution that millions of potential consumers will immediately understand and embrace.”


  3. Without getting into to much detail…
    There seems to be some confusion. This solution retains the Sync system. You don’t pull it out.
    It allows you to upgrade the Radio, integrating the Sync system seamlessly into the Kenwood Receiver. Check it out at the Kenwood Booth at CES for more details…

  4. What exactly do they mean that the headunit is compatible with SYNC. Does it control and display SYNC functions on the screen as the OEM unit does? Or is it just the interface from ADS retains SYNC functionality just like PAC and Axxess interfaces that have been available for a year or two.

  5. @Robert Thomas You are wrong. We’ve done quite a few SYNC replacements. Mostly with the DNX9980. Sync is OK, but not the best and I find it hard to believe that it’s the MAIN REASON most people buy a Ford vehicle.

    PAC made a module just for the purpose of replacing the headunit in SYNC vehicles, so there must be a demand for it / Plus Ford is having to fix the screwy MyFord/Sync systems. And Consumer Reports did not like the new Ford interface so gave it a negative rating.

  6. Please don’t publish articles about things that are not even close to being available to the general public – this site indexs on google. At best this isn’t available for almost 2 months, AFTER Christmas etc. In reality it’s probably closer to 4-5 months from shipping.. and that assumes all goes well.

    As an industry we need to stop cutting off our own feet.

    What is one of the first rules of sales? SWIST, SWAHT – however you want to say it.. Sell Whats At Hand Today!

  7. Does Kenwood really think consumers will want to rip the factory Sync system out of their cars?

    It is one of the main reasons why the car is purchased. Most consumers will not want to pull it out (regardless of what an aftermarket product offers).

    It’s the equivalent of pulling out the Ford engine and replacing it with something else.

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