Ford CEO delivers milestone car to Microsoft CEO

Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally left his company's global headquarters in Michigan to deliver a new Ford to Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer on Redmond's Microsoft campus Tuesday afternoon.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally left his company’s global headquarters in Michigan to deliver a new Ford to Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer on Redmond’s Microsoft campus Tuesday afternoon.

But not before making a pit stop in Kirkland.

Mulally left the Ford of Kirkland car lot with a light ice blue metallic 2010 Fusion Hybrid and drove it to Microsoft. There, he turned the keys over to Ballmer, son of a 30-year Ford veteran.

Ford of Kirkland owner Jim Walen said the Hybrid is the second vehicle Ballmer has purchased from his lot. Last week, Ballmer’s wife picked up their 2009 Ford Flex.

But the fuel-efficient Fusion Hybrid that Ballmer purchased for $32,015 stood for more than just a second family car – it signaled a milestone for Microsoft and Ford.

The Hybrid was the one-millionth vehicle equipped with the Microsoft-powered SYNC system. Co-developed by Ford and Microsoft, the voice-activated technology provides in-car communications and entertainment for mobile phones and digital music players.

“We have made a commitment to deliver the vehicles that people really want and value,” said Mulally in a press release. “The success of SYNC is another proof point that we are doing just that. We will continue to innovate and expand the capability of SYNC by integrating even more new technologies that fit our customer’s lifestyles.”

Walen said what is most exciting about the transaction is that it makes Ford “relevant.”

“We don’t have to make excuses for an American-made car,” said Walen, who opened his new dealership this week – Hyundai of Kirkland. “We’re as good or better in quality, safety and style as cars that cost a whole bunch more than ours.”

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