Ford Adding Bang & Olufsen Premium Audio, Ditching Sony

Will roll out next year across the globe

Will roll out next year across the globe

Ford announced today that it will introduce a new premium audio option, B&O Play, in an effort to meet rising demand for quality audio throughout its model range. The change to Bang & Olufsen audio systems (owned by Harman since 2015) will happen across Ford’s global lineup beginning next year, signaling the end of a partnership with Sony that started in 2003.

B&O Play will offer “specifically tailored speaker placement and calibration for each vehicle in the ford range,” according to Ford’s press release.

Harman, which already works with Ford to supply high-end Revel audio systems for Lincoln (pictured below), introduced the B&O Play brand in 2012. B&O Play is a more affordable series of products focusing on younger buyers with an appetite for good design in products like Bluetooth headphones and speakers. Although it’s B&O Play’s first automotive application, the Bang & Olufsen brand has deep roots in car audio systems most notably with Audi, but also with Aston Martin, Mercedes-Benz, and recently the BMW 7 Series.

Ford says that the move is largely in response to the power a premium audio system can have to sway potential buyers. It quotes a 2016 Automotive Audio Branding study that claims a third of buyers consider it to be a significant factor when deciding on a vehicle.

While Ford will continue to use Shaker audio systems for the Mustang, a Ford spokesperson confirms that anywhere you currently see a Sony system (Focus, Fusion, Explorer Platinum, to name a few) it will soon be replaced with a B&O Play system.