OK, I have the scoop. From what I can tell, until recently, it was possible to turn them on with the Ford laptop at the dealer. The option was under the Body Control Module. I just checked with my dealer, and the option to turn it on is no longer available. So it has to be programmed at the factory, which is done only for fleet US sales and Canada sales. Ford also said it was illegal to change options there, but I think what is illegal is to hack those modules, not to change available settings. But apparently someone at Ford is opposed to turning them on. Fair enough. Here is my response, which I will be sending to Ford through whatever complaint mechanism I can find:
I prefer Ford engineering, and I've owned four of them in the past 20 years. I'm leasing my C-Max, and I can't say if it will be economically better to buy it out or return it, but I can say one thing: I almost certaingly won't be buying another new (or used) Ford. If they only care to implement safety features because the government makes them (in this small area), then who knows what else they went "short" on when deciding safety features.
I love my C-Max Energi, but now every morning when I turn on the car I won't think of all the great technology or neat features; I will think of not having what I consider to be an important safety item (and one I expected to be able to turn on when I bought it), and I will not like it as much. Every time I see another brand driving next to me with DRL, I will think of what this one doesn't have - not because it can't, but because Ford refuses to allow it. The decision to not enable this on all cars, and to not allow the dealer to enable it, and further to apparently to have deliberately removed the implementation capability from the car's Ford maintenance laptop programming, tells me that Ford does not really care about safety or customer satisfaction. In particular, the removal of the capability speaks volumes to me about their corporate philosophy - "it is not mandated by the government, so it isn't implemented". That is not the kind of safety thinking upon which I want to base my life and my family's life. Yes, it is a small thing, but sometimes small things tell a lot about a person or company. The feature is standard in Canada and on fleet vehicles, so I know it was engineered into the vehicles. It could be standard, or at least a dealer option, here in the US. Ford just doesn't care. So for my next purchase, I DO care where I buy.
Obviously I also won't be recommending Fords to anyone either, and if someone asks me about the car I won't recommended it either. Ford has had several instances lately where there were safety issues that they fixed only after they were caught (even my great FEH had a steering wheel that cut power to the vehicle when turning - I fixed it and then Ford later recalled it). I thought these were individual instances; I now think that Ford corporate isn't really dedicated to safety, only business.
Fortunately my dealer also sells other brands (including Honda, my second favorite style of engineering), so hopefully they can still get my business. I really like them and the customer experience.
Edited by stevedebi, 11 September 2014 - 08:17 AM.