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Consumer Confidential: MyFord upgrade, wealth gap widens

November 7, 2011 |  7:42 am

Here's your I-melt-with-you Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:

— Ford is getting some upgrades. Ford Motor, stung by falling quality ratings because of its glitch-prone MyFord Touch system, is planning a major fix that it hopes will fix the problems. Early next year, Ford is sending flash drives with a software upgrade to approximately 250,000 U.S. customers with MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch, the equivalent system in Ford's luxury Lincoln brand. Owners can do the upgrade themselves in about 45 minutes, or dealers will do it for free. Ford is still deciding how it will offer the upgrade to 200,000 buyers outside of the U.S. MyFord Touch, which debuted last year on the Ford Edge, replaces traditional dashboard knobs and buttons with a touch screen. Drivers control climate, navigation, entertainment, phone calls and other functions using touch or voice commands.

— The wealth gap between young and old is widening. The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data. Although people typically accumulate assets as they age, that ratio is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago. The analysis reflects the impact of the economic downturn, which has hit young adults particularly hard. More are pursuing college or advanced degrees, taking on debt as they wait for the job market to recover.

— David Lazarus

 Photo: Ford Motor Co. / AP Photo