Ford is turning to Harman’s high-end B&O Play brand to succeed its longtime audio partner Sony, ending a relationship that dates back at least 16 years. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ford announced that the B&O Play sound systems would begin appearing in Ford cars and trucks next year. Eventually, B&O Play will be in all Ford vehicles. B&O Play was created in 2012 by high-end Danish audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen. Stamford, CT-based Harman International acquired Bang & Olufsen’s car audio business in 2015, and those systems are already available some Audi, Aston Martin, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models.
Ford believes B&O Play’s approach to sound and how its sound systems are designed will put the Dearborn automaker at the forefront of today’s audio technology. Ford Sr. Design Strategist Anthony Prozzi said, “B&O play has a wonderful audio heritage that is rooted not only in music but how to take that music and create experiences that foster feelings like freedom, as well as great design that can spark curiosity and creative exploration.” He added, “With B&O play… I’m going to be able to take sound and wrap it around you like a warm blanket.”
Prozzi did not specify which Ford brands would upgrade to B&O Play first, saying only that they will begin to appear next year and will be rolled out globally. The switch to B&O Play for the Ford brand comes just over a year after Ford launched the Lincoln MKX using Harman’s ultra-high-end Revel sound system. Bill Wyman, VP of Global Marketing for car audio at Harman (not the former Rolling Stones bassist), says the deal with Ford is an exclusive, meaning Ford will be the only automaker with sound systems from B&O Play.