Ford has reduced the price of its Sync hands-free, voice-controlled, in-car connectivity system by US$100 to US$295 and is now offering it as an option with base trim levels in the US.

“Our dealers want it on more products,” said marketing, sales and service chief Ken Czubay.

In a 2010 study, the Consumer Electronics Association found that 55% of smart-phone owners prefer voice commands as their primary in-car user interface while driving. Sync users agree, with internal Ford research showing over 85% say they use voice controls while driving, up from 60% in previous surveys.

Last month, Ford became the first automaker to openly support the Safe Drivers Act of 2011 proposed federal legislation for a nationwide ban on the use of hand-held mobile devices while driving.

To date, 10 states, including California and New York, have legally banned talking on a hand-held mobile phones while driving, with many local municipalities also following suit enacting their own set of restrictions. Text messaging while driving is banned in 34 states.  

“As the list of states banning hand-held calls and texting while driving continues to grow and legislators ponder a nationwide ban, Ford is strengthening its position as the only full-line automaker with plans to offer available hands-free mobile device connectivity on 100% of its passenger vehicle line-up,” said Czubay.

Sync has been installed already on over 3m vehicles since its debut in 2007.

The new, lower price will be available first on the 2012 Explorer and Edge base models. Sync will also now be available with all trim levels.

With the base package, customers have a hands-free, voice-activated calling service via a Bluetooth-connected mobile phone and hands-free, voice-activated control of a USB-connected digital music player. There is also 911 Assist – an automated emergency calling service free for the life of the vehicle.

Base package buyers will be offered an optional Sync Services subscription, which expands voice-controlled features to include a cloud-based network of services. These include turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports, and business search information with live operator assistance available if needed.

On Edge and Explorer models, Sync already has take-up rates above 80%. With the new pricing strategy, Ford expects to install it in over 95% of vehicles.

During the next three years, it will introduce the new pricing and options across its entire North American vehicle line.