Tuesday, May 13, 2014

MMD is giving Away the May 2014 Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Cover Car

Modern Muscle Design is giving everyone the chance to drive away in their SEMA built, custom 2014 Mustang GT—Project MMD.

MMD and AmericanMuscle teamed up to custom design Project MMD. Featuring over $30,000 in aftermarket parts and the sleek, modern design MMD is known for, this is a one-of-a-kind Mustang that can serve as the perfect show car or daily driver.
Sign-up Page: http://www.americanmuscle.com/project-mmd-2014-mustang-giveaway.html

The Giveaway

One person will get to drive home from the annual AmericanMuscle Car Show—the largest Mustang only car show on the planet—in their newly acquired magazine cover car—Project MMD. Not only is this Muscle Mustangs and Fast Ford’s (MM & FF) May 2014 Cover Car, it’s also the same build that was featured at Forgestar’s booth for the 2013 SEMA Auto Show. The winner will be selected on 8/4/2014 and will be handed the keys at the AmericanMuscle car show on 8/16/2014.
Video: How Project MMD was built - http://www.americanmuscle.com/project-mmd-2014-mustang-giveaway.html

The Car - SEMA 2014

Sometimes you plan out an entire build before you ever pick up a wrench—this was not how Project MMD began. This car started out as a way to showcase some of MMD’s most popular modifications, but once the opportunity to showcase a car at the 2013 SEMA Auto Show came along, the guys at MMD went back to the drawing board. They commissioned AmericanMuscle to handle the performance aspects of the car while they gave it an appearance overhaul. The end result was a successful appearance at Forgestar’s SEMA booth and a few neck snapping trips in Las Vegas and the surrounding countryside.

Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords Cover Car – May 2014

Project MMD was designed and built to be a SEMA car, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fully functional street machine—the guys at MMD actually drive it around town and to shows. That’s what pegged the interest of the crew over at MM & FF and once they finally saw Project MMD in person at SEMA, they knew they were looking at a cover car.

Project MMD – Styling

What began as your run-of-the-mill 2014 Oxford White Premium GT received the perfect synergy of classically inspired styling mixed with a bold, attention demanding modern twist. The car takes inspiration from the late ‘60s Mustangs, such as the GT350 style spoiler and hood scoop. It also employs more recent aesthetics such as a matte white vinyl wrap and an adjustable air ride suspension that lets you drop the car to the ground when parked or at a show, all while still delivering the performance of coil overs. With the fog light deletes, page was taken from the BOSS 302’s playbook, along with the matte black roof decal.
Of the more modern styling, the MMD windshield and side decals offer a stark color contrast while the matte while tail light covers make for a more fluent paint scheme. The rear diffuser is an MMD prototype developed for this car and accounts well for the Ford Racing exhaust dumps.
  • 589 RWHP / 480 TQ @ 10 PSI on a Dynojet 224xLC


  • Air Lift Suspension Kit
  • The Driveshaft Shop Carbon Fiber One Piece Driveshaft
  • Vortech Supercharger System - Black
  • Snow Performance Stage 3 Boost Cooler
  • Ford Racing Boss Style H-Pipe and Side Exhaust
  • JLT Replacement Air Box Intake - Blow Through Supercharger
  • The Driveshaft Shop Carbon Fiber One Piece Driveshaft
  • MMD 551C 20 Inch Staggered Wheels
  • Matte Black Boss Style Roof Decal
  • MMD GT350 Style Window Covers - Pre-Painted
  • MMD Hood Scoop - Pre-painted
  • MMD Headlight Splitters - Pre-Painted
  • MMD Ducktail Spoiler - Pre-painted
  • Carbon Fiber Dash Overlay Kit
  • MMD Retro Mirrors - Unpainted
  • MMD Side Scoops - Pre-painted
  • MMD Tail Light Trim - Pre-Painted
  • MMD Boss Style Fog Light Deletes
  • MMD Satellite Radio/GPS Antenna Cover - Pre-painted

Saturday, January 19, 2013

First 2014 Corvette Stingray Offered at Barrett-Jackson

Chevrolet will offer the first retail production model of the 2014 Corvette Stingray – with the Vehicle Identification Number ending in 0001 – at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale collector car auction this weekend. Proceeds will benefit the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, renowned for its automotive design program.

“The new Stingray features a modern, dramatic design that will inspire a new generation of Corvette enthusiasts,” said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design. “With the proceeds of the new Stingray going to the CCS, the new Corvette will also help cultivate the next generation of designers who may work on modern, dramatic Chevrolets in the future. In fact more than 170 CCS alumni already work in the GM Design studios.”

The sale is scheduled for Saturday evening, Jan. 19. Bids can be submitted in person at the auction or online at www.barrett-jackson.com.

The College for Creative Studies is regarded among the world’s premier institutions for industrial and transportation design. CCS’s enrolls more than 1,400 students pursuing undergraduate degrees in 12 majors or graduate degrees in Design and Transportation design.

Founded in 1906 as the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, CCS grew into an arts education organization. In 1933, the Society attracted national attention as one of the first art institutions to recognize the automobile as an art form. It has since been inextricably linked to its home city’s signature industry.

All-new Corvette Stingray comes to New York City 60 years to the day after Motorama debut

Sixty years ago tomorrow, spectators lined New York City’s posh Park Avenue, waiting to get a glimpse of the ground-breaking Chevrolet Corvette on display at the General Motors’ Motorama show. On Thursday, the Corvette will be back in The Big Apple, marking the historic milestone with the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

The all-new Corvette Stingray debuted earlier this week at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“The all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most advanced and engaging Corvette in the long, prestigious legacy of this uniquely American success story,” said Chris Perry vice president of Chevrolet Marketing. “It is a car woven into the fabric of American culture and it got its start right here in the Big Apple.”
The introduction of the original Corvette took place at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Jan. 17, 1953. That year, more than 1.4 million people saw the curvaceous design and futuristic approach of the Corvette at displays around the United States.

The enthusiastic response prompted Chevrolet to accelerate production plans and by late June that year, Corvettes were rolling out of a specialized assembly facility in Flint, Mich. Only 300 were built in 1953 – all of them white with a red interior. They represented an auspicious launch for a car that would become synonymous with performance, technology, design and aspiration.

The 2014 Corvette Stingray remains true to its roots as a two-seat sports car that delivers an engaging driving experience through advanced engineering and lightweight materials. Its technologies are supported by a racing-influenced design and features engineered to work cohesively and deliver the most connected driving experience in the nameplate’s history. It is also the most powerful standard model ever and the most efficient, with 450 horsepower (335 kW) that enables 0-60 times of less than four seconds and projected highway fuel economy greater than 26 mpg.

The 2014 Corvette Stingray coupe goes on sale in the third quarter of 2013.

Corvette Fast Facts:
  • The Corvette was originally championed by GM’s legendary styling director Harley Earl, who insisted there was room for an American entry in the European-dominated sports car market. It was also his idea for Corvette to have a fiberglass body.
  • Corvette was named for a small and fast class of naval ships.
  • The 1953 Corvette had a base price of $3,498 and offered only two options – a heater for $91 and an AM radio for $145.
  • Every Corvette model has used innovative materials, from fiberglass in 1953 to advanced carbon-nano technology and carbon fiber on the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
  • A V-8 engine was first available in 1955. That year, it was selected by 90 percent of customers. After that, all Corvettes featured strictly V-8 power.
  • The Stingray name was first used for a prototype race car, the design of which influenced the second-generation Corvette that debuted in 1963. The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split-window coupe has since been called one of the most beautiful and influential designs in automotive history.
  • Corvette’s legacy of mainstreaming technology previously reserved for high-end luxury cars includes the introduction of fuel injection in 1957, independent rear suspension in 1963, four-wheel disc brakes in 1965, antilock brakes in 1986 and a tire-pressure monitoring system in 1989.
  • Corvette is the longest-running, continually produced sports car in the world.
  • Nearly 2 million Chevrolet Corvettes have been sold since it went on sale in 1953 and in 2012, it accounted for approximately one-third of all sports car sales in America.

Thursday, January 10, 2013


Ford Mondeo Mk IV
Ford Mondeo Mk IV (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford, the UK’s favourite car brand, triumphed at the 2013 What Car? Awards, winning an unprecedented four trophies.
While the acclaimed Ford Mondeo took Best Family Car and Best Estate awards for the third year running, the new Ford Fiesta and Focus ST also received accolades from What Car?.
Ford’s trophy haul of four awards is the most the top-selling car brand has won in the event’s 25-year history.  Ford’s success at the 2013 What Car? Awards comes in the same week as latest vehicle sales figures confirm the company has sold the most cars in the UK for 36 consecutive years and been top commercial vehicle brand for 47 years.

Mighty Mondeo

The Ford Mondeo remains both the UK's Best Family Car and Best Estate according to What Car?, the leading car buyer’s guide.  In reaffirming the flagship Ford’s 2012 and 2011 achievements in both categories, What Car? said:  “The Mondeo is rewarding to drive, with agile handling and a comfortable ride.  It will satisfy the family man and the business user, being as assured on twisty lanes as it is on motorways.
“The Ford Mondeo estate is spacious enough to keep even the tallest adults happy, while its boot can cope with everything from the family dog to furniture.”

Award-winning new Fiesta

As the new Ford Fiesta goes on volume sale this month, What Car? has already declared it Best Supermini.  Fiesta has been the UK bestseller for four consecutive years and saw sales rise by 14 per cent to almost 110,000 cars in 2012.
“If ever a car feels like it has been touched by greatness, it’s the Ford Fiesta,” said What Car?  “Freshly face lifted for 2013, it now comes with sweeter engines and improved safety credentials.”

Sporty ST

The 154mph Ford Focus ST, available as both a five-door and an estate, is Ford’s first global performance car.  Yet its turbo-charged, direct-injection 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine returns 39mpg while delivering CO2 emissions of 169g/km.
In making it Best Hot Hatch, What Car? said:  “Fast and thrilling when you want it to be, yet also perfectly happy pottering around town or trundling along the motorway.”
Chas Hallett, What Car? editor-in-chief, said:  “Ford really deserves its four What Car? category awards, it’s a fantastic achievement.  It’s great to see a mainstream volume car maker building award-winning cars.”
Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain managing director, said:  “Ford’s flying start to 2013 has been accelerated by winning so many What Car? Awards.  Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo are the most familiar models in Ford’s line-up, so What Car? recognising each of them is a fine testimony to our latest range.”

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Popular Mechanics selects Ford SYNC® AppLink™ Developer Program as Editor’s Choice

English: Ford SYNC logo
English: Ford SYNC logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Ford SYNC® AppLink™ Developer Program announced at the International CES in Las Vegas this week has been honored with an Editor’s Choice award from Popular Mechanics magazine. The Developer Program is the first of its kind in the automotive industry, providing a free software development kit to mobile app developers that enable them to harness the power of SYNC voice control. Click here for the full list of winners.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ford Cars, Utilities and Trucks All Post U.S. Sales Gains in 2012; Company Posts Best December Sales Since 2006

Ford Escape PHEV photographed in New York City...
Ford Escape PHEV photographed in New York City, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  •     Ford Motor Company delivers U.S. sales gains across its lineup in 2012 – with cars up 5 percent, utilities up 7 percent and trucks up 2 percent
  •     F-Series sales up 10 percent for year; now America’s best-selling pickup for 36 years and best-selling vehicle for 31 years
  •     Ford commercial truck sales up 7 percent in 2012, marking the best sales year since 2008
  •     December total company sales up 2 percent – with the strongest December since 2006

Ford Motor Company’s U.S. sales grew across the board in 2012, with cars up 5 percent, utilities up 7 percent, and trucks up 2 percent for the year. Overall, the Ford brand ended 2012 with 2,168,015 vehicles sold – the only brand to top 2 million U.S. sales.

“Ford finished 2012 strong, with retail sales showing improved strength as more customers returned to dealer showrooms,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Ford’s fuel-efficient cars and hybrid vehicles showed the most dramatic growth for the year, and we achieved our best year for commercial vehicle sales since 2008.”

Sales of Ford’s small cars were up 29 percent in 2012, with 316,006 vehicles sold, and overall car sales were up 5 percent in 2012, with 760,646 sold. Focus sales gained 40 percent during the year, and the all-new C-MAX continues its strong selling rate. In the first four months of sales, 13,309 C-MAX vehicles were sold, making it the fastest sales start of any hybrid vehicle in the industry.

Ford again became America’s best-selling brand of utility vehicles in 2012, with 619,470 vehicles sold. Escape broke its 2011 record sales levels with 261,008 vehicles sold, up 3 percent. Explorer gained 17 percent for the year, with 158,344 vehicles sold.

Ford trucks continued to dominate in 2012 – with F-Series America’s best-selling pickup for the 36th straight year and 31 consecutive years as America’s best-selling vehicle. Overall, 645,316 F-Series were sold, a 10 percent increase versus 2011. Total Ford brand truck sales – including Transit Connect and E-Series – were up 2 percent for the year at 829,477 vehicles sold.

Ford also remained America’s largest maker of commercial trucks for 28 years, posting a 7 percent increase in 2012. That marks Ford’s best year for commercial truck sales since 2008.

Last month, Ford delivered its best December sales results since 2006, with 214,222 vehicles sold – a 2 percent increase.

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Ford Boosts UK Market Lead in 2012

Ford extended its UK market lead in 2012 while recording 36 consecutive years of car sales leadership and 47 years of UK commercial vehicle (CV) sales leadership.

Ford's full-year car sales beat overall UK market growth, increasing by 6.0 per cent in 2012, compared with 2011.  Other highlights of the official full-year 2012 figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) include:

  •     Ford is the number one UK car brand for 36 successive years.
  •     Ford commercial vehicles have been the UK's favourite for 47 years.
  •     Ford stretches its lead over its closest rival by almost 60 per cent.
  •     Ford Fiesta is the UK best seller for the fourth successive year.
  •     Ford Focus tops UK sales in November and December.
  •     Ford Transit maintains its clear lead in CV sales.

According to the official SMMT figures full year car sales in the UK in 2012 were up 5.3 per cent at 2,044,609 registrations, compared with 2011.  Ford sold 281,917 cars in the UK last year, up from 265,894 in 2011.

Ford Fiesta was the UK car sales leader again in 2012, having taken the position from the Ford Focus in 2009, with 109,265 registrations up from 96,112 in 2011.  Ford Fiesta also increased its market share to 5.4 per cent, from 5.0 per cent in 2011.

Other Ford models with increased sales in 2012, compared with 2011, included the Ford Ka, Ford Focus, Ford Kuga, Ford Mondeo and Ford S-MAX, while the new Ford B-MAX has proved immediately popular with 3,199 sales recorded already, since its October launch.

Mark Ovenden, Ford Britain managing director, said:  "Ford beat overall market growth in 2012 and extended its sales lead in a fiercely competitive market thanks to the launches of award-winning vehicles and technologies and the unrivalled strength of our dealer network.

“More people choose Ford over any other vehicle brand in the UK and as we face similar, difficult market conditions in 2013 we will look to satisfy the needs of our private and business customers by strengthening our vehicle range still further and providing the best sales and service offering in our dealerships."

Ford Transit has led the UK CV sector from its launch in 1965 and Ford’s CV market leadership remains unchallenged with a 21.6 per cent share for the full year 2012.  Ford medium commercials secured 30.7 per cent of the segment in 2012, up from 26.8 per cent in 2011.

The official figures released by the SMMT today show that in December UK car sales were up by 3.7 per cent to 123,557 units, compared with December 2011.  Ford car sales increased 6.6 per cent to 15,656, up from 14,689 in December 2011 and Ford's overall share of car sales was 12.7 per cent for the month, up from 12.3 per cent in December 2011.

The Ford Focus was again the UK’s best seller in December, repeating its November result.  Critical acclaim for the new Fiesta suggests that it will reclaim its clear No 1 sales spot in 2013 and it enters the year alongside the ingenious Ford    B-MAX with both cars available with the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine, which also features in the Ford Focus, the Ford C-MAX and the Ford Grand C-MAX.

USA TODAY App Launches for Ford SYNC AppLink Providing Drivers with On-Demand News, Sports and Weather

News junkies can get their fix in the car with voice activation now available via Ford SYNC® AppLink™ integration.

With simple voice commands, users can access, navigate, search and listen to morning and evening editions of the USA TODAY headline content they love in a rich audio format via a hands-free, eyes-free experience.

“Staying informed is important, and the USA TODAY app provides news, sports and more directly to smartphones and tablets,” said Julius Marchwicki, global product manager for Ford SYNC AppLink. “The USA TODAY app shows how smartphone apps can add convenience to the driving experience using voice control through SYNC AppLink.”

How it works
By voice command, drivers can tell their car, “Play news story” or “Listen to sports stories.” Users can customize their news or opt to skip stories as well.
Drivers can hear the latest top headlines across their favorite categories such as News, Money, Sports, Life, Tech and Travel. They can play, pause, skip, or go back within and between stories to customize the listening experience even further.
More than 1 million Ford vehicles already on the road have SYNC AppLink built in. AppLink enables drivers to take advantage of their mobile data to stay connected while they keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

2014 Silverado Rolls Through Detroit Skyline

Silverado in the rain
Silverado in the rain (Photo credit: Perfesser)

The Detroit People Mover is taking on the persona of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado during the 2013 North American International Auto Show.
Two People Mover trains are wrapped to look like the new Silverado towing a horse trailer while the People Mover station in the General Motors headquarters at the Renaissance Center features images showcasing the Silverado’s design cues, inside and out.
New from hood to hitch, the 2014 Silverado is engineered to be the strongest, smartest and most capable Silverado ever.

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GM Consolidates Operations in Africa

English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. S...
English: Logo of General Motors Corporation. Source: 2007_business_choice_bro_en.pdf (on GM website). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

General Motors is consolidating its Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa operations into a new unit, GM Africa, effective immediately.

Mario A. Spangenberg, currently president and managing director of GM North Africa, will become president and managing director of GM Africa. He will be based at GM Africa’s headquarters in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. With this consolidation, Tarek Atta will become managing director of GM Egypt and North Africa, reporting to Spangenberg.

Edgar Lourençon, who has served as managing director of GM South Africa and president of GM Sub-Saharan Africa since November 2009, will assist in the transition and repatriate to South America later this year. He will report to Mark Barnes, GM International Operations vice president, Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, and chief country operations officer, Africa and Australia.

“Bringing our operations in Africa together will enable us to take advantage of synergies across the continent,” said Tim Lee, GM vice president, Global Manufacturing, and president, International Operations. “It will put GM in a strong position to expand in a part of the world that has tremendous long-term potential for vehicle sales growth.”

GM does business in more than 50 markets in Africa, and has manufacturing operations in South Africa, Egypt and Kenya. In 2012, GM sold 180,493 vehicles in Africa, an increase of 17.5 percent from the previous year.

“We are pleased to have Mario, a proven leader and an agent of change, overseeing our Africa operations,” said Barnes. “He has done an outstanding job growing GM’s business in North Africa, despite intense political and economic challenges.”

Spangenberg has been in his present position since July 1, 2011. He earlier held key posts in other parts of the world, including director of Sales Operations for GM de Mexico, managing director of International Sales for GM Daewoo Auto & Technology in South Korea, and director of Marketing for Adam Opel AG in Germany. He began his industry career in 1980 at Volkswagen.

In addition to his most recent assignment in GM International Operations, Lourençon has held several important positions in South America, including director of Quality and director of Sales and Field Operations for GM in Latin America, and president and managing director of GM Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. He joined the company in 1977 as an engineer in Manufacturing Engineering at GM do Brasil.

“We thank Edgar for strengthening our operations in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Lee. “In the short term, with his background and expertise, we will look for Edgar to provide his leadership in two critical areas – overseeing the launch of our new pickup in South Africa and further strengthening the Isuzu relationship.”

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Chevrolet Will ‘Find New Roads’ as Brand Grows Globally

Logo de Chevrolet
Logo de Chevrolet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chevrolet is the world’s fastest-growing major automotive brand and as it continues to expand its global operations it is aligning its engineering, design and retail operations behind a single vision and communications platform – Find New Roads.

The foundation of this new guiding principle is Chevrolet’s legacy of innovation and commitment to doing the right thing for consumers. Find New Roads will be the touchstone for the brand as it develops new products and technologies for sale in more than 140 markets.

“Find New Roads embraces the spirit of ingenuity that has been in Chevrolet’s DNA since the beginning and it will continue to guide every aspect of our business moving forward,” said Mary Barra, senior vice president of Global Product Development. “We have sold Chevrolets around the world for almost a century, but this is the first time we have aligned behind one global vision.

“As we develop new products our designers and engineers will be empowered to find smarter solutions to address customer needs and make their lives better.”

Since the launch of the Cruze mid-size sedan – the brand’s first truly global vehicle – in 2009, Chevrolet sales have grown about 38 percent.

“This is the right time to launch this initiative with over 20 vehicle launches globally in 2013,” said Alan Batey, vice president, U.S. Sales, Service and Global Marketing. “We are continuing to grow globally, especially in key emerging markets, and Find New Roads will help us drive even more consistency – both internally with our employees and externally with customers.”

Chevrolet’s approach to marketing and the retail experience is already aligning with this new global vision.  Last year Chevrolet selected Commonwealth, a newly formed advertising agency, to service Chevrolet advertising around the world.  The brand also has launched a program to train dealership personnel to approach every aspect of their business differently to improve the retail experience.

In addition to driving internal consistency for Chevrolet, Find New Roads also will be used in advertising around the world, beginning in the United States this quarter.

“Find New Roads will enable the whole company to rally around a consistent theme for the brand, and at the same time serve as an external message that works in all markets,” said Batey. “The theme has meaning in mature markets like the U.S. as well as emerging markets like Russia and India, where the potential for continued growth is the greatest.”

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4 million cars and trucks a year.  Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Ford Focus 1.0-Litre 125ps Ecoboost Wins Award During First Month On Sale

Ford Ecoboost race car.
Ford Ecoboost race car. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ford’s latest addition to its best-selling Focus range has won its first award within days of going on sale.
The Ford Focus with a 1.0-litre 125PS EcoBoost turbocharged, direct injection petrol engine has been named Best Company Car by BusinessCar.
The magazine and website described the 1.0-litre Focus as “a brilliant all-rounder”, adding: “Ford has pulled another winner out of the bag. It has listened to its critics and the latest Focus is more comfortable, upmarket and relaxing than ever.
“But Ford has done more than that – it’s now shaking up the company car sector. The 125PS 1.0-litre petrol model has all that the business driver needs – it’s punchy with lots of low-down overtaking urge, smooth and relaxing on the motorway. Plus there’s lower company car tax than the diesel.”
The new 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine combines turbocharging, direct injection and twin variable cam timing to deliver high levels of performance and refinement with all the fuel economy advantages of downsizing. It produces 125PS and 170Nm peak torque (200Nm with overboost) between 1,400 and 4,500rpm.
These output figures are achieved in combination with fuel economy improvements of 20 per cent over the outgoing 1.6-litre 125PS unit. In the five-door Focus with 125PS, combined fuel economy figure is 56.5mpg with CO2 emissions of 114g/km. The 100PS version delivers a combined fuel economy figure of 58.9mpg and outright best-in-class petrol CO2 emissions of 109g/km.
Kevin Griffin, Ford Britain fleet director, said: “This award is recognition of the many talents of the 1.0-litre Focus EcoBoost – a highly efficient, technically advanced powertrain which is fun to drive while delivering fuel economy and tax savings.”

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Ford Motor Company and Dealers to Raise Record-Setting $1 Million for High Schools in April

Drive One 4 UR School
Drive One 4 UR School (Photo credit: rwentechaney)

Educational budget cuts are common, forcing schools in every state to either eliminate valued programs or search for other means of funding.
To address these needs at a local level and empower communities to support and protect valued programs, Ford Motor Company and its dealers partner with high schools across the United States to offer the Drive One 4 UR School program. This initiative has raised more than $10 million through nearly 3,000 events since its inception in 2007, and provides up to $6,000 per school through test drives of Ford products. More than 1,150 dealers have partnered with their local high schools to participate in the program and the funds raised can be applied to any area where the school needs support athletics, music, even to fix damages from natural disasters. 
In April, Ford, its dealers and high schools will attempt to raise a record-setting $1 million in a single month through more than 300 Drive One 4 UR School events throughout the U.S.
“The Drive One 4 UR School program was developed as a fun, engaging way to help high schools raise and apply money where they need it, and we realized that if we really applied our efforts in April, we could make a greater difference than ever before,” said Tracy Magee, Ford Experiential Marketing Manager. “Our dealers really shine here in going above and beyond to serve their communities by joining with local high schools to raise money and protect important programs and services.”
How Drive One 4 UR School events work
For each Drive One 4 UR School event, Ford and Lincoln dealers work with a local high school to schedule a test drive fundraising event. The dealers provide the cars to be test-driven, the high school organizes the event itself, and both work together to get the word out to their community. For every valid test drive completed, Ford Motor Company donates $20 to the participating high school, up to $6,000.
Making a difference – stories from participating high schools
O’Connell College Preparatory School, Galveston Island, Texas (partnering with Classic Ford): The residents of Galveston Island are still trying to fully recover from the effects of Hurricane Ike, which struck in 2008. O’Connell College Preparatory School lost millions of dollars in books, technology, equipment, furniture, fixtures and vehicles, and the school’s library, cafeteria and locker rooms were damaged. O’Connell’s Drive One 4 UR School event funding will be applied under its general budget to address these losses and damages.
Prestonburg High School, Ivel, Ky. (partnering with Freedom Ford): In early spring, a few schools in the Prestonburg area were badly damaged by tornados. Prestonburg High School forfeited hosting its scheduled Drive One 4 UR School event and donated it to another local high school, Magoffin County High School, which required financial assistance to recover from damages. To recognize the generosity of Prestonburg High School, Ford granted Freedom Ford a second event to host to benefit Prestonburg High School as well.
North Hartford High School, Pylesville, Md. (partnering with Plaza Ford): This year, North Hartford High School will use Drive One 4 UR School funding to finish its long-awaited stadium project, adding concession amenities and locker room improvements for both the home and visiting teams.

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Messick Leads Roush Yates Through EFI Transition

On any given NASCAR race weekend, he’s bouncing from one car to another in the garage area, listening to issues, hearing about bits and pieces of problems, making corrections.

Messick is trackside services manager for Roush Yates Engines, and his job gained another layer this year with the introduction of electronic fuel injection to the Sprint Cup Series. It’s a brave new world for NASCAR teams and a revolution of sorts of the sport, which had relied on the dependable if bulky carburetor since two guys driving stock cars first challenged each other to a duel.

EFI brings an entirely new vocabulary to the sport. Fuel injectors now control the flow of gas to the cylinders that power the race cars, and now teams deal with electronic control units and relay boxes and sensors and laptop computers that are plugged into the cars to read all the data the systems churn out.

It’s a complex structure, one very different from previous seasons, and, in the early weeks of the schedule, few people have been surprised that glitches have appeared. Tony Stewart and Mark Martin have been hit by failing circuit breakers in the system, and Penske Racing has dealt with fuel pickup problems that soured the start of the year for its two drivers, Brad Keselowski and AJ Allmendinger.

Ford teams have not had dramatic problems, a status Messick is pleased to report.

“It’s gone really well,” he said. “We have a good team of EFI guys coming to the race track. Doug Yates has done a very good job of organizing it so we can keep our EFI system going and also our Nationwide program. We’re very happy with how it’s gone.”

In the early weeks of the schedule, the new configuration has been tested at a dizzying spectrum of tracks – from the restrictor-plate climate of Daytona to the “short” big track at Phoenix to the very fast 1.5-mile course at Las Vegas to the high-banked short-track mayhem of Bristol.

“There are changes, but we’re still looking at it like what we would be doing if we still had a carburetor,” said Messick, who said it’s important for engine personnel to approach EFI as just another menu item, not a giant to overcome.

“All the tracks are different, but it’s all stuff that we’ve been through,” he said. “We’ve done it this way forever. We try to keep a clear mind and not get muddied up with EFI. EFI is so different, but it’s just like anything else. If you take a big, complex problem and break it down into little problems, you normally figure it out a lot easier.”

Near-constant attention to the ins and outs of the situation -- after a year of planning and testing for the EFI arrival -- limits the potential for problems. This is why Messick sometimes talks EFI over a cheeseburger.

“We feel like the whole thing is very organized,” he said. “We go to Bristol, and this is what we used to do. It’s what we do now. The same thing at Fontana. We feel we have a really good system and a good group of guys who are on the road every week. We look at everything together. We talk about it in the car, back and forth to the hotel, going to eat, trying to make sure we’re all communicating.

“You have to be careful or you could easily get overwhelmed by the data. You could look at stuff that might not help your car go faster. So you’ve got to break it down into what you want to look at and what you don’t, what helps the engine side and what helps the team side. You have to keep your mind clear and not get spun out and overwhelmed by all the stuff that is coming in and what’s going on.”

And, still, there could be rocks in the road.

“You always think about the what-ifs and what may go wrong,” Messick said. “We’ve had a couple little hiccups, but so far we’ve been able to work to get through them and not let them be major hiccups like our competitors.”

By the second half of the season, Messick said, teams will have made most of the adjustments to the new system and any significant differences in competitive levels probably will have evened out.

“There definitely will be an increase in understanding the system,” he said. “Everything will come along. The teams that are struggling with it now, they’ll probably get a little better. Those of us who are happy and feel good about how it’s going, there will still be some improvement left.

“But the teams that are struggling will catch up closer to where the upper teams are. That is no different than going to a new car design or anything else. It’s the same way that kind of stuff always works.”

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GM Sets March and Quarterly Sales Records in China

Chevrolet Cruze
Chevrolet Cruze (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

General Motors and its joint ventures in China sold 257,944 vehicles in March and 745,152 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012, setting March and quarterly records.
GM’s domestic sales in March were up 10.7 percent from the same month in 2011. They were the second highest for any month in GM’s history in China. For the first three months as a whole, its domestic sales increased 8.7 percent, the best quarter since GM began doing business in China.
“GM has maintained our growth in our largest market in 2012, despite an overall industry slowdown,” said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group. “Our new models such as the Chevrolet Malibu have gotten off to a solid start, complementing the ongoing strength of established products such as the Buick Excelle, Chevrolet Cruze and Cadillac SRX.”
Shanghai GM’s domestic sales increased 10.5 percent on an annual basis to 110,038 units. SAIC-GM-Wuling’s sales in China increased 11.6 percent year on year to 139,768 units. FAW-GM’s domestic sales in March totaled 7,417 units. Sales at all three GM joint ventures were up from the previous month.
Demand for Buick products rose 3.7 percent on an annual basis to a March record 57,082 units. The brand was led by the Excelle, whose sales jumped 25.4 percent to 24,134 units, and the Excelle XT and GT, which had a collective sales increase of 22.7 percent to 14,064 units.
Chevrolet sales in China rose 11.1 percent year on year to a March record 54,716 units. The New Sail was the brand’s best-selling model, with demand for the sedan and hatchback rising 55.5 percent to 20,085 units. The Cruze remained a popular model as well, with sales growing 7.7 percent to 18,678 units. Sales of the Malibu totaled 4,289 units in its first full month on the market.
Cadillac continued its strong run in March, as sales increased 35.2 percent on an annual basis to a monthly record of 2,745 units. The SRX accounted for 2,143 of the luxury brand’s unit sales.
Wuling sales in China were up 9.9 percent on an annual basis to an all-time monthly record 130,251 units. The Baojun brand had sales of 5,012 units in its first March on the market.

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Cadillac Named Most Improved Among Luxury Brands

Cadillac (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cadillac was recognized today at the New York International Auto Show by J.D. Power and Associates as the most improved among luxury brands for providing an outstanding customer experience.
The recognition is based on the rate of improvement during the past three years in J.D. Power and Associates’ five core U.S. automotive quality and satisfaction studies: Initial Quality Study (IQS); Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS); Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study; Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study; and Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. The award was announced by David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.
“Our mission has been to re-think and upgrade every element of the customer experience,” said Kurt McNeil, vice president of Cadillac Sales and Service. “This is a meaningful milestone in our journey.” 
A strong commitment to improving customer satisfaction requires focus and alignment at all levels – beginning in the boardroom and extending to their employees in the plants and in their dealer networks, according to J.D. Power.

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Impala Emblem Design Leaps Forward with New Model

The Chevrolet Impala has proudly worn the image of the leaping African antelope for which it was named as an emblem in some form since its debut in 1958. With the all-new 2014 Impala, the emblem evolves to complement the more modern, athletic design of the 10th-generation full-size sedan.
The Impala emblem is an enduring symbol of the nameplate. It is one of only two vehicles – the Corvette and its crossed-flags emblem is the other – in the Chevrolet lineup to have a unique symbol in addition to the brand’s signature bowtie.
The design and placement of the emblem has gradually transformed with each version while maintaining a connection to the previous one.
“For the new Impala, we wanted to evolve the emblem to complement the new vehicle design without making any radical changes to its character,” said Joann Kallio, lead creative designer for Chevrolet global badging. “We kept the stylized interpretation of the animal, and made the impala more muscular.  We also added defined edges, to give the impala a sleek form and make it look like it was running fast.”
The new Impala emblem has a bright chrome finish to match the bright chrome of the car’s bowties, located in the grille and on the decklid.  Special attention was paid to how the highlights flow across the leaping Impala badge surface, following the contour of the form of the impala, enhancing the overall appearance and illusion of movement.
There are two versions of the new emblem, one for each side of the vehicle so the animal always appears to be running forward. There also are impala logos stamped in the aluminum sill plates.
Chevrolet will complete the total transformation of its North American passenger car lineup when the all-new 2014 Impala goes on sales in early 2013.  Chevrolet’s redesigned flagship sedan was designed to offer dramatic styling, a more refined interior, easy-to-use technology and engaging driving dynamics. 
Impala Emblem Milestones
  • From 1958 and 1961, the leaping impala was located on the rear quarter panel and had no circle or oval surrounding it.
  • From 1962 and 1967, it was located on the front or rear quarter panel with a circle surrounding it.
  • From 1968 and 1985, there were no exterior emblems.  Only variations of the Impala script were used.  The emblem was reserved for the interior, usually on the dashboard and horn button although it was not used for every model year.
  • The 1994-1996 Impala SS had the emblem with an oval located on sail panel.
  • Since 2002, Impalas have featured the emblem with an oval located on the sail panel.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

With Its Unbeatable Combination of Top Fuel Efficiency and Capability, Ford F-150 Is Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year

2010 Ford F-150 Harley Davidson photographed i...
Image via Wikipedia

The 2012 Ford F-150, which established a new standard for full-size pickups with best-in-class fuel efficiency and capability, today was named Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year®.
“The 2012 F-150 is a no-compromise solution that can be tailored to fit virtually every customer’s needs, and the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award further reinforces that this is truly the best choice for America’s truck owners,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We are proud to receive this award and even more pleased that our F-150 customers have additional validation of their top choice.”
This is the fourth time the F-150 has won the award – the most awards for any truck since Motor Trend began presenting its Truck of the Year award in 1989. The Ford pickup received the magazine’s prestigious award for previous groundbreaking new models in 1997, 2004 and 2009.
Motor Trend editors applauded F-150 because, they said, “F-150s are built to work and felt better the more they were challenged. Ford offers an enormous variety of configurations and designs, making the truck tailorable to just about any need. It’s the combination of advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and the performance of intended function that has earned the Ford F-150 the title of Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year.”
With more than a half-million sales through November and a lead of almost 150,000 sales versus the nearest competitor, the Ford F-Series is on track this year to extend its streak of truck leadership to 35 straight years.
Helping spark the F-150’s continued success is the powerful and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of F-150 retail sales and is on pace to exceed 100,000 sales in less than a year on the market.
More capability, more technology
The 2012 F-150 offers customers plenty of technologies that boost capability, performance, driving enjoyment and fuel efficiency. One such technology is the class-exclusive electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). The system has been carefully tuned with sophisticated speed mapping to deliver accurate responses at high speed while remaining light and manageable in parking maneuvers. Ford is the first manufacturer to widely offer EPAS on full-size pickup trucks. EPAS contributes about a 4 percent fuel-economy benefit compared with conventional hydraulic systems.
A 4.2-inch LCD message center that features information related to fuel economy, towing performance and off-roading, SYNC® AppLink and SiriusXM Travel Link also are among the customer conveniences available.
New features for 2012 include:
  • 36-gallon fuel tank on 4x4 F-150 EcoBoost-equipped units providing best-in-class 756 miles of driving range
  • Two-speed automatic 4x4 system on Lariat, King Ranch, Harley-Davidson and Platinum models for improved all-weather traction
  • Hill Start Assist, which helps keep the truck from rolling backward at a stop, making it easier to pull away when on a slope or hill, especially when towing
  • Best-in-class payload capability of 3,120 pounds
Fuel-efficient and powerful offerings
All of the changes for the 2012 model year complement a powertrain lineup that debuted in 2011. The powertrain lineup delivers a mix of best-in-class fuel economy, horsepower, torque and capability. Ford is also the first and only manufacturer to equip its entire full-size pickup truck lineup with a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission as standard. Engine highlights include:
3.7-liter four-valve Ti-VCT V6:
  • Best-in-class 302 horsepower at 6,500 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Unsurpassed 278 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Best-in-class 17 mpg city and best-in-class 23 mpg highway (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 6,100 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. V6 competitors
5.0-liter four-valve DOHC Ti-VCT V8:
  • Best-in-class 360 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • Best-in-class 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • 21 mpg highway, unsurpassed 15 mpg city (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 10,000 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. standard V8 competitors
6.2-liter two-valve SOHC V8:
  • Best-in-class 411 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 434 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost:
  • 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel
  • Best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm vs. premium V8 competitors
  • Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm
  • 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg city (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 3,120 pounds payload vs. all competitors

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Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid Deliver Leading Fuel Economy Plus Range, Flexibility

Ford C-Max (II) – Frontansicht, 7. März 2011, ...
Image by M 93 via Flickr

Ford’s two new hybrid vehicles, the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, are projected to set a new benchmark for fuel economy when they go on sale next year.
The C-MAX Energi is expected to deliver a better fuel economy equivalent in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid with a 500-mile overall driving range, more than Chevrolet Volt. The new C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to achieve better fuel economy than Toyota Prius v.
Both vehicles feature the next generation of Ford’s acclaimed powersplit technology that will allow operation in electric mode at higher speeds than any other hybrid.
“C-MAX is the right car for the time as it combines the dynamics and quality of a traditional car with the versatility of a MAV and leading fuel efficiency that you cannot even get from Toyota,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering.
The C-MAX hybrids headline Ford’s transformed lineup, one-third of which will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012, building on the company’s commitment to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers the Power of Choice.
Ford’s near-term electrification plan calls for the company to triple production capacity of its electrified vehicle range by 2013. The C-MAX vehicles will be built on the company’s global C-segment platform and are two of five electrified vehicles Ford plans to launch in North America in 2012.
Scheduled to start hitting showroom floors in the second half of 2012, the C-MAX hybrids will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.
More hybrid innovations
Ford holds approximately 500 patents that cover technologies in its electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles like C-MAX Energi in addition to several hundred patent-pending applications.
With 20 years of Ford research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology driving them, the C-MAX vehicles also offer a proven design and nameplate with more than 100,000 sold in Europe since it launched in late 2010.
The C-MAX hybrids will be the company’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle line and the first MAV (multi-activity vehicle) line in North America.
“The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are designed to meet the needs of customers looking to ‘plus-up’ and optimize their hybrid car experience,” said Amy Machesney, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Marketing manager. “These customers are living more environmentally responsible lives and may have bought a hybrid in the past. They are now ready for more hybrid choice, combined with style, better performance and additional versatility.”
Fuel efficiency, range and power
C-MAX Hybrid is projected to deliver class-leading fuel economy and beat the Toyota Prius v in both city and highway equivalent miles per gallon.
C-MAX Energi is projected to deliver better fuel economy in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and is projected to achieve more than 500 miles of overall driving range.
The C-MAX line hits impressive fuel efficiency and range figures without sacrificing driving performance.
“With C-MAX, you get road-holding capability, sportiness and performance in addition to leading fuel economy, great versatility, great features and great technology in a package designed to exceed customer expectations,” said John Davis, C-MAX chief nameplate engineer.
The C-MAX line features the company’s innovative hands-free liftgate that allows quick and easy access to the cargo area without ever needing to fumble for keys. A gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper opens the liftgate when used in combination with a key fob the user keeps in his or her pocket or purse that tells the car it’s OK to engage. The same motion can be used to close the liftgate.
The vehicles also feature the newest version of SYNC® with MyFord Touch® to help inform, enlighten, engage and empower drivers – with an emphasis on increasing fuel economy.
This feature offers multiple ways for customers to manage and control their phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs. In C-MAX Energi, the system offers additional information such as battery state of charge and distance to the next charge point.
The C-MAX also offers the next generation of SmartGauge® with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from the C-MAX, information such as instantaneous fuel economy can be displayed on the left cluster to help drivers more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.
In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency. The left cluster shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the regenerative braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques.
Available for C-MAX Energi is the MyFord® Mobile smartphone application that allows users to monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to an electrified vehicle lifestyle.
Other available technology features on C-MAX include active park assist, push-button start, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony® Audio, HD Radioand voice-activated Navigation System.
As Ford’s first North American MAVs, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi provide customers with plenty of interior versatility and flexibility along with the urban maneuverability of a smaller vehicle.
The C-MAX line features a high roof design that gives each vehicle an overall height of 64 inches along with a higher command-style seat position instead of a cockpit-type. It also features five-passenger seating that includes a split, fold-flat second-row seat.
C-MAX Hybrid provides 54.3 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 24.9 cubic feet behind the second row. In C-MAX Energi, there is 43.3 cubic feet behind the first row and 19.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
Quality and ingenuity
Although Ford’s C-MAX vehicles are new, the software and hardware technology going in them has been evolving for nearly two decades.
The C-MAX line also benefits from analysis of more than 500,000 miles of data collected from Ford’s Escape plug-in hybrid test fleet, which helped engineers understand how plug-in hybrid vehicles are driven and charged and how parts perform under certain conditions.
“The result is a stunningly efficient system that has been entirely developed by Ford in-house,” said Marakby. “That’s crucial because it allows for development of one highly efficient system as opposed to integrating pieces of software and hardware made by different parties with hope that it will not only function properly but also efficiently.”
C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi get their power through the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi use the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine – a powerful and fuel-efficient engine and among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
The electric motors of the C-MAX hybrids are powered by advanced lithium-ion (li-ion) battery systems designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs are more efficient than nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries. They also are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than NiMH batteries used in today’s first-generation hybrid vehicles.
C-MAX hybrids offer Ford’s next-generation powersplit architecture that allows the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions and work with the engine at higher speeds.
In the C-MAX Hybrid, the li-ion battery pack is recharged when the gasoline engine is in operation. Further, the regenerative braking system recaptures more than 95 percent of the braking energy that would otherwise be lost, and is able to use that power to help charge the battery. C-MAX Hybrid requires no plug-in charging.
C-MAX Energi is charged by connecting the vehicle’s external charge port to either a standard 120-volt outlet or available 240-volt charging station.
The C-MAX hybrids offer standard safety technologies such as the MyKey® teen safety feature, SYNC 911 Assist and seven airbags. SYNC 911 Assist uses hands-free phone capabilities to connect the driver directly with a local 911 operator through the paired phone should an accident occur in which an airbag deploys.
The next-generation MyKey features now allow parents to choose from multiple top speed limits and blocking of explicit satellite radio programming. MyKey also provides a persistent audible warning if front occupants are not wearing seat belts.
The C-MAX hybrids also feature standard safety and driver-assist technologies, including Curve Control that is designed to slow the vehicle when it’s cornering too fast and Torque Vectoring Control to help accelerate through a turn when necessary. AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC) and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) also are standard.

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Ford’s Gas-Free Focus Electric First with 100 MPGe, Faster Charging That Can Double Daily Range

Ford Focus Electric
Image by mariordo59 via Flickr

The all-new, gasoline-free Ford Focus Electric is the company’s first-ever all-electric passenger car – a zero-CO2-emissions version of Ford’s popular small car expected to be the first of its kind to achieve the equivalent of a 100 miles per gallon fuel efficiency rating with seating for five.
Focus Electric is the flagship of Ford’s transformed lineup, one-third of which will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012, building on the company’s commitment to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers the Power of Choice.
Focus Electric also is the first all-electric vehicle to feature faster charging technology, allowing it to fully recharge in three to four hours – half the time of Nissan Leaf. This technology can help double the car’s range during a busy day of driving and recharging multiple times. 
“Focus Electric’s innovative faster charging technology can help customers save money and get much more out of the car in a busy day of running around town and recharging between stops,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering. “We also are pleased the Focus Electric will break the 100 MPGe mark – a great symbol of how Ford has transformed its fleet with many vehicles delivering leading fuel economy and efficiency.”
With 20 years of Ford research and innovation behind electrified vehicle software and hardware technology, the company offers proven engineering and design with Focus Electric. Ford holds approximately 500 patents, with several hundred patent-pending applications on technologies used in the new Focus Electric and its other electrified vehicles.
Ford began taking orders for the 2012 Focus Electric in November through Certified Electric Vehicle Dealers in California and New York/New Jersey markets. In 2012, availability of the Focus Electric will expand to another 15 launch markets as production ramps up.
Focus Electric reflects Ford’s commitment to deliver fuel-efficient vehicles without sacrificing performance, capability or driving fun. Though range and miles per gallon equivalent figures are yet to be finalized, Focus Electric is expected to be competitive with other comparable all-electric vehicles.
“Focus Electric was designed to deliver the same dynamics and quality of a conventional Ford Focus,” said Eric Kuehn, Focus Electric chief nameplate engineer. “It shares many of the same premium components and features as its gasoline-powered counterpart while delivering distinct efficiencies and a uniquely exciting driving experience.”
A battery of quality
Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion (li-ion) battery system with an advanced active liquid cooling and heating system to precondition and regulate the temperature in its larger, more complex battery system.
The active liquid system heats or chills a coolant before pumping it through the battery cooling system. This loop regulates temperature throughout the system against external conditions. On hot days, chilled liquid absorbs heat from the batteries, dispersing it through a radiator before pumping it through the chiller again. On cold days, heated liquid warms the batteries, gradually bringing the system’s temperature to a level that allows it to efficiently accept charge energy and provide enough discharge power for expected vehicle performance.
The durability and longevity of batteries – which Ford has been developing and testing since the 1980s – is essential as the company expands its electrification plan. To date, among the nearly 43 million battery cells Ford has tested or seen put to work in customer vehicles, only five issues have been documented.
Plug and play… and save
Even with relatively stable gas prices, fuel economy is the top purchase consideration for new vehicles. Nearly 45 percent of customers say fuel economy is their top consideration based on a Ford survey of Americans in 36 cities this fall. Styling was the next consideration, with only 16 percent of study participants saying it was their top purchase driver.
The fuel efficiency of Focus Electric sets it apart from other vehicles. For example, the cost to travel 80 miles is $2.10 – based on the amount of energy it takes (measured in kilowatt-hours) and the national average cost of a kilowatt-hour. Driving 80 miles in a competitive gasoline-powered vehicle that gets 30 mpg would cost $8.80, based on a per gallon cost of $3.30.
A unique “set it and forget it” value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, is designed to help owners in the U.S. charge their cars when the utility rates are lower. The tool aims to help customers avoid unnecessary expense by providing an optimized charging solution. In the future, these smart charging habits can help utility companies understand and better manage the demands placed upon the electric grid because of electrified vehicles.
Focus Electric is the first all-electric vehicle to offer faster charging technology, allowing a full recharge in three to four hours with the 240-volt charge station – half the time of the Nissan Leaf.
Ford and SunPower Corp. have teamed up to offer customers a rooftop solar system that can provide enough clean, renewable energy to offset the electricity used to charge the car.
The car’s charge port – conveniently located on the left front fender – activates a light ring that illuminates the port twice when plugged in. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the car charges. Each quadrant represents 25 percent of the maximum battery charge.
Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the car is fully charged.
Technology for more efficient driving, better MPGe
Focus Electric’s SYNC® with MyFord Touch® driver connect technology was specifically developed for electric vehicle owners and displays key information such as battery state of charge. The system’s MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data including the electrical demands of such accessories as air conditioning, which can impact driving range.
Drivers also can input destinations, including their next charge point, into the car’s MyFord Touch map-based navigation system, and the car will coach drivers on how to achieve the desired range – or advise if travel plans need to be adjusted. The on-board navigation system provides an EcoRoute option based on characteristics of efficient electric vehicle driving.
The Focus Electric’s next-generation SmartGauge® with EcoGuide fuel economy coaching system features a cluster display that uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond the driver’s charge point destination. The more butterflies there are, the more surplus you have to get to your final destination.
At the end of each trip, a display screen provides distance driven, miles gained through regenerative braking, energy consumed and a comparative gasoline savings achieved by driving electric.
Remote control
Off-board, Focus Electric owners will be able to maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have a mobile phone signal using the Ford-developed MyFord® Mobile app. MyFord Mobile enables access via a smartphone or Web-based interface to:
  • Receive instant vehicle status information
  • Perform key functions remotely
  • Monitor the car’s state of charge and current range
  • Get alerts when it requires charging or has finished charging
  • Remotely program charge settings and download vehicle data for analysis
  • Locate charge stations and plan routes to find them
The feature also allows the owner to program the car to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the cabin while plugged in – called preconditioning. For example, during hot summer months, owners can preprogram the car the evening before to be fully charged – and fully cooled to a particular temperature – by a certain time the following morning.
Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station information and other points of interest to Focus Electric using SYNC Services. Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charge station information directly to their car simply by connecting to SYNC Services.
Engaging to drive, too
Not only is Focus Electric designed to provide outstanding energy efficiency and reliable operation, it also delivers real driving enjoyment. The all-electric powertrain and single-speed transmission provide immediate responsiveness and smooth acceleration when the driver pushes down the accelerator; it’s expected to achieve a top speed of 84 mph (136 kph).
Much of the Focus Electric’s steering, handling and braking feel is shared with the agile, sporty, fuel-powered five-door hatchback Focus model upon which it’s based. At the same time, the vehicle’s absence of gasoline or diesel engine and its outstanding aerodynamics lead to a remarkably quiet, comfortable in-car experience.
Focus Electric offers a host of standard safety and security features including six airbags, electronic traction control and MyKey® for North America. The Focus Electric is the industry’s first car to feature 100 percent sustainable clean technologies in interior materials, including seat fabrics with REPREVE®-branded fiber made from recycled plastic bottles inthe seat fabric
Other standard features on Ford Focus Electric for North American customers include 15-spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels, a 60/40 split rear bench seat, push-button start, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony® Audio with nine speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and HD Radio. Also included is a free, three-year subscription to SYNC Services, which provides access to information about traffic, news, sports, weather, horoscopes, stock quotes and movie listings, along with business searches and turn-by-turn directions.
All Focus gasoline and electric variants to be sold in North America will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.

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Ford Environment and Safety Chief Sue Cischke to Retire After 35-Year Career; Robert Brown Named Her Successor

Ford Motor Company today announced that Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, has elected to retire effective Feb. 1, 2012, after 35 years of service in the automotive industry.
Cischke will be succeeded by Robert Brown, who also has been elected a company officer as part of this move. Brown is currently vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford of Europe. Brown will assume his new position as vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering on Jan. 1, 2012.
Cischke, 57, has played a leading role on several of Ford’s most important initiatives in the areas of environmental sustainability and automotive safety, helping Ford deliver new levels of performance of fuel efficiency, emissions and safety to Ford customers globally. 
“Sue is the very best example of someone who is committed to being part of the solution,” said Alan Mulally, Ford president and CEO. “Sue knows how to bring people together, find common ground and make progress on the world’s big issues, especially environmental sustainability, energy independence and economic development.”
Cischke was appointed to her current role in 2008 and she has served as the company’s top environment and safety officer since 2001. In this role, she has been responsible for establishing Ford’s long-range sustainability strategy and environmental policy and assuring that Ford meets or exceeds all safety and environmental regulations worldwide. She also has been responsible for establishing Ford's long-term safety strategy, promoting aggressive standardization of product technology that delivers real world safety benefits.
Cischke led the company’s participation in the effort to develop one national standard for fuel economy, resulting in industry-wide commitments to nearly double fuel efficiency by 2025.
“Sue’s contributions to continuous improvement in the areas of environment and safety will pay off for years to come,” Mulally said. “Our company, our customers and our communities will benefit from her commitment to contribute to a better world.”
Before joining Ford in 2001, Cischke was senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Passenger Car Operations at DaimlerChrysler. She began her career at Chrysler Corporation in 1976 and held various engineering positions until 1994 when she was named general manager of Scientific Labs and Proving Grounds. In 1996, she was named vice president of Vehicle Certification, Compliance and Safety Affairs.
“It’s been an honor to work 35 years in the auto industry and dedicate my career to delivering ever safer and more efficient vehicles to our customers, and improving the environmental performance of our factories and facilities,” Cischke said. “I leave Ford knowing that safety leadership and environmental responsibility is deeply ingrained in our culture and exciting progress will continue.”
In his new role, Brown, 56, will assume direct responsibility for the company’s environment and safety strategy, policy and performance. He will report to Alan Mulally.
“Robert has the right combination of skills and experience to lead Ford forward in this very important area for our company and our stakeholders,” Mulally said.  “Robert’s appointment ensures we will be positioned to continue our leadership in the areas of sustainability and safety, and demonstrates our continued strong commitment to working together with all our stakeholders to develop holistic solutions that contribute to a better world.”
Since joining Ford as a compliance engineer in 1979, Brown has held a variety of leadership positions including serving as Ford’s environmental regulatory manager working in Washington D.C., assistant director in the company’s Automotive Safety Office and director of Vehicle Environmental Engineering.
Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from University of Michigan - Dearborn and a master’s of science degree in engineering from Wayne State University.