Friday, December 26, 2008


w:Tony Pedregon's car on display at w:Joh...Image via WikipediaThe grand prize winner in the BrandSource/Ford Racing Mustang GT Sweepstakes took possession of his Ford Mustang GT recently. Out of 65,237 entries, Michael Norris of Canyon, Texas was randomly selected as the grand prize winner. Norris entered the sweepstakes at the NHRA national event in Dallas.
“We are still reeling from the news that we are the winners of the BrandSource/Ford Racing Sweepstakes grand prize. Even with the beautiful Ford Mustang GT sitting in our garage it is still hard to believe. What a great car. We want to thank everyone at Ford Racing, BrandSource, Forward Sports Marketing, and the best racing team on the planet, John Force Racing, for sponsoring the sweepstakes and providing the prizes,” Norris said at the end of last week.
“I picked a black Mustang GT California Special Convertible. It has side scoops behind the doors, 18” wheels instead of 17” wheels, the side stripe that says GT/CS, chrome exhaust tips, and few other little upgrades. It is really an outstanding looking car.”
The long time John Force Racing fan has been attending the Dallas NHRA event for a number of years rooting on the 14-time Funny Car champion.
“We were for John Force Racing all season. If John couldn’t win we wanted Ashley to win. If Ashley couldn’t win then we were rooting for Robert or Zippy. We are pretty solid John Force fans. We have been making the Dallas race a family affair going with my brothers and sisters-in-law, my daughter and her husband. We’ve been doing that for about four years now,” added Norris.
Ford Racing Marketing Manager, Tim Duerr, said that as of Dec. 15, the BrandSource/Ford Mustang GT Sweepstakes had already been responsible for helping generate sales of more than 50 Ford vehicles, and has full expectations to reach nearly 150 vehicle sales from customer lead information generated through the Win With Force promotion.
"We couldn't be happier for Michael Norris and his family to win this vehicle. He picked out an incredible vehicle in the Mustang GT. Ford Racing had a great experience interacting with NHRA fans and BrandSource customers all season long. The interest in Ford products and sales of our vehicles to this audience continues to be very successful."
The ‘08 season was the third consecutive season for the promotion that has seen it go from just a handful of races to more than half of the national tour. BrandSource CEO, Bob Lawrence, added, "BrandSource wants to thank all of the prize winners at races during the season who won John Force Racing No. 1 Qualifying awards from Whirlpool, and Race Winner awards from Mitsubishi Electric TV's, as well as the very popular Grand Prize Mustang GT provided by our great partner, Ford Racing. This year's promotion operated by Forward Sport Marketing tripled the number of entries for the Win With Force promotion and Mustang GT Sweepstakes thanks to several key factors: 1) The promotion was available at 16 NHRA national events, nearly 20 percent more events than ‘07; 2) Entries were introduced at participating BrandSource dealer store locations throughout the U.S.; 3) Entries were also collected for the first time on-line at the popular website.
"We are very excited to kick-off our fourth season with this promotion at the '09 NHRA Winternationals in Pomona by holding a special presentation for this past season's Grand Prize winner, Michael Norris, along with the team that makes all of this possible, John Force Racing."
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

41 mpg! All-new FORD Fusion hybrid IS NOW America’s most fuel-efficient mid-size car

2006-2008 Ford Fusion photographed in USA.Image via WikipediaThe all-new Ford Fusion Hybrid is now officially America’s most fuel efficient mid-size car with a certified 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, topping the Toyota Camry hybrid by 8 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway.

“The new Ford Fusion Hybrid not only significantly exceeds the competition but also embodies Ford’s 100 percent commitment to fuel efficiency leadership, quality, innovation and advanced technology,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “The Ford team set the bar high – to develop America’s most fuel efficient mid-size sedan – and that’s what they delivered.”

The 2010 Ford Fusion’s final fuel economy certification was completed this week at Ford’s testing laboratories in Allen Park, Mich., and the vehicle will carry an EPA label of 41 mpg for city driving and 36 mpg on the highway when it goes on sale this spring. The Fusion Hybrid, which beats even the much smaller Honda Civic hybrid by 1 mpg in city driving, can travel more than 700 miles on a single tank of gas.

To deliver the class leading fuel economy performance, Ford’s engineers spent the past three years developing in-house the vehicle’s next-generation hybrid propulsion system. It allows the Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrid to travel up to 47 miles per hour in pure electric mode, faster than the Toyota Camry and all other hybrids currently on the road. In addition, the system’s Advanced Intake Variable Cam Timing allows the Fusion and Milan hybrids to more seamlessly transition from gas to electric mode and vice-versa.

“The Fusion Hybrid’s ability to run at a much higher speed in electric mode allows drivers to maximize fuel efficiently in many driving situations,” said Praveen Cherian, Fusion Hybrid program leader. “For example, this would allow drivers to travel around their subdivision and parking areas in all-electric mode.”

Fusion’s advanced hybrid system features:

  • Smaller, lighter nickel-metal hydride battery, which produces 20 percent more power than Ford’s previous hybrid system. The battery’s improved chemistry allows it to be run at a higher temperature and cooled using cabin air.
  • New 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine (155 horsepower / 136 lb.-ft. of torque), which is mated to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission.
  • Enhanced electronic throttle control, which reduces airflow on shutdowns, reducing fueling needs on restarts.
  • Smart climate control system, which monitors cabin temperature and only runs the gas engine as needed to heat the cabin. It also includes an electric air conditioning compressor to further minimize engine use.
  • Regenerative brake system, which captures the energy normally lost through friction in braking and stores it. Nearly 94 percent energy recovery is achieved by delivering full regenerative braking, which means only 6 percent of braking is through traditional friction brakes

SmartGauge Teaches Eco-Driving
The new Fusion Hybrid literally teaches drivers how to make the most out of their vehicle, thanks to Ford’s SmartGauge with EcoGuide. SmartGauge is a unique instrument cluster that helps coach drivers on how to optimize the performance of their hybrid.

SmartGauge with EcoGuide features two, high-resolution, full-color liquid crystal display screens on either side of the vehicle’s speedometer. The screens can be configured to show different levels of driver information, including fuel and battery power levels, and average and instant miles-per-gallon.

When set in tutorial mode, the instrument panel “grows” leaves and vines on-screen to reward fuel-efficient driving. The more leaves and vines that appear, the more efficient the driving behavior is and the more fuel is being saved. In some recent tests, automotive journalists have reported exceeding 50 mpg with the Fusion Hybrid.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid also is distinct on the outside with Ford’s “road and leaf” badges on both sides and the rear, unique 17-inch, eight-spoke wheels, and a unique engine cover. On the inside, Fusion Hybrid features eco-friendly seat fabric made from post-industrial 100 percent recycled materials and a standard 110-volt power outlet.

Fusion Gasoline Model Also a Fuel Leader
In addition to the hybrid, Fusion will be offered with three fuel-efficient gasoline engines – the Duratec 2.5-liter I-4 and enhanced 3.0-liter flex-fuel V-6 and 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec engines. Fusions equipped with the 2.5-liter I-4 engine are expected to deliver at least 3 mpg better on the highway than the Honda Accord and 2 mpg better than the Toyota Camry. The new Fusion will be building off the strong quality reputation of the current model, which has gained important third-party accolades, and will offer class-exclusive features, including Ford SYNC™, SIRIUS® TravelLink™, BLIS™ (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert and Sony-branded audio.

In addition to the Fusion, several other Ford vehicles are fuel-economy standouts on the road today. They include:

  • The Ford Focus with 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine and manual transmission delivers 35 mpg on the highway, 5 mpg better than the Toyota Corolla’s 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and 2 mpg better than the Honda Fit’s 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, both also with manual transmissions.
  • The all-new 2009 Ford F-150 – which just recently was named Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year – achieves 3 mpg more than the Toyota Tundra pickup on the highway and 1 mpg better in the city with its 4.6-liter V-8 engine, compared to Toyota’s 4.7-liter V-8. The F-150’s larger 5.4-liter V-8 achieves 2 mpg better on the highway than the Tundra’s larger engine.
  • The 2009 Ford Escape with new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine achieves 28 mpg on the highway, the same as Toyota’s RAV4 and 1 mpg better than the Honda CR-V, both with 4-cylinder engines, too.
  • The Ford Expedition achieves 20 mpg on the highway, beating Toyota Sequoia’s 4.7-liter V-8 engine by 3 mpg and its 5.7-liter V-8 by 1 mpg.
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Monday, December 22, 2008


Ford GalaxyImage via Wikipedia
  • Ford Galaxy and S-MAX have the lowest failure rate overall
  • Ford Galaxy and S-MAX are clear winners in the 'MAVs with up to
    50,000 km mileage' group
  • Ford Fiesta, Fusion, Focus and C-MAX also score Top 3 ratings
  • DEKRA survey based on the results of 15 million vehicle checks
COLOGNE, December 17, 2008 – Ford of Europe's latest generation of Multi-Activity Vehicles have convinced the German vehicle testing agency DEKRA e.V. In DEKRA's latest 'Failure Report 2009', the Ford Galaxy and S-MAX models not only prove their reliability by winning in their group with up to 50,000 km mileage, but gain additional recognition for being vehicles with the lowest overall failure rate in the DEKRA vehicle certificate tests in Germany. The impressive results show that 96.7 per cent of all tested Ford S-MAX and Galaxy vehicles had no fault whatsoever.
The Ford S-MAX and Galaxy MAV models were successfully launched in Europe during 2006, giving customers new levels of choice with a sporty 5+2 seater (S-MAX) or the full 7 seater Galaxy. Ford S-MAX has already gained many other important awards, including the "European Car of the Year 2007" trophy.
Other models in the Ford of Europe passenger car portfolio gaining recognition are the Focus and C-MAX which came second in their respective segments. Fiesta and Fusion models also gained a creditable third place in the 'Minicars' group with mileages between 100,000 and 150,000 km.
The evaluation by DEKRA is based on a database developed from 15 million vehicle checks on roadworthiness.
Kevin O'Neill, Vice President Quality Ford of Europe, is delighted: "We have been working diligently over the last few years to not only create new products acclaimed for their driving quality, but to ensure customers enjoy superior reliability over the long term. We are very pleased with these results for Ford as the DEKRA rankings are highly regarded by the industry and customers alike."
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Ford Transit, 5.Image via WikipediaThe latest Ford ECOnetic and Transit models light the way towards improved fuel economy via a 'smart' gear change alert.
The gear-shift indicator in the instrument cluster of Ford Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo ECOnetic and Transit diesels signals to drivers when to change gear at the optimum moment. Moving more swiftly through the gears reduces fuel consumption by avoiding unnecessarily high engine speed.
The system not only helps drivers cut fuel costs, but also enables them to reduce CO2 emissions and to decrease wear on engine and transmission components.
Tim Winstanley, Ford diesel powertrain manager, said: “Many drivers could improve their fuel economy significantly by changing gear earlier. The indicator provides drivers with a helpful aid to using less fuel and encourages a smoother driving style.”
A shift indicator is fitted as standard to the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic and Mondeo ECOnetic models, and will be added to the Ford Focus ECOnetic in early 2009. The feature is also on all Ford Transit and Transit Connect TDCi diesels.
The gear-shift indicator senses the way the vehicle is being driven, taking account of road gradient, vehicle load and individual driving style and identifies the most suitable gear change point.
The system continuously monitors data from the vehicle including engine speed, road speed, gear selected and throttle position to calculate optimum gear changes.
Using the gear-shift indicator helps drivers to maximise the fuel economy of Ford models, which are already among the most fuel efficient in their class. The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic achieves a combined fuel consumption of 76.3 mpg* along with an ultra-low 98g/km CO2, making it exempt from UK road tax.
This year Ford ran a nation-wide Smart Driving Challenge using Focus ECOnetics to promote techniques including early gear changes. Fuel saved after deploying eco driving tips equated to £325 per year for the average motorist, with drivers improving their miles per gallon by over a third.
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BEIJING - APRIL 21:  A model poses beside  the...Image by Getty Images via DaylifeNearly 11,500 new Ford Fiesta models have been snapped up in the UK in just 77 days since it went on sale on 1st October – and with more than 9,000 going to retail customers. That equates to almost 80 per cent – a substantial increase on the normal retail rate of 60 per cent.
The Zetec model remains the most popular, taking 51 per cent of sales. Zetec models have been introduced with a £500 customer saving and free Bluetooth. The most popular colour has been Panther Black (21 per cent) followed by the new Hot Magenta (15 per cent).
Mark Simpson, marketing director, Ford of Britain, said: "Dealers are telling us that people are coming out of their Peugeot 207s and Renault Clios to get into new Fiesta. Fabulous style, high levels of equipment and a great price are the reason they want to be seen in the new Fiesta. We expect to attract even more sales from business and economy-minded drivers next year when our ECOnetic model goes on sale."
The new Ford Fiesta range opens with the Studio at £8,514.26, and extends to the top of the range Titanium priced from £11,841.91. A sporty Zetec S is in the line-up from £12,331.28 and the 76mpg ECOnetic model is priced from £11,594.68.
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Friday, December 19, 2008


BEIJING - APRIL 21:  A model poses beside  the...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
  • New global Fiesta is off to a strong start in Europe in its first two months on sale, helping Ford’s European operations gain market share despite weaker overall demand.
  • The new Fiesta was Ford’s second best-selling vehicle in Europe behind the Focus in November and is attracting a broader range of customers. About half of new Fiesta buyers are choosing the upscale Titanium and Ghia trim levels.
  • The Fiesta, including the new version and outgoing model, was the top-selling vehicle in the United Kingdom in November among all automakers, capturing 6.2 percent of the total new car market, the Fiesta’s highest market share in the U.K. since 1998.
  • The new Fiesta, the first of a new breed of exciting and refined global small cars coming to market from Ford, is currently on sale in Europe and South Africa. It will go on sale in China, Australia and New Zealand in early 2009 and other major Asian Pacific markets in early 2010. The new Fiesta goes on sale in United States in early 2010.

Cologne, Germany, Dec. 15 – The new Ford Fiesta – the stylish subcompact that is ushering in a new wave of global cars from Ford – is off to a fast start in Europe.

The strong early sales of the Fiesta helped Ford’s European operations increase market share in November and bodes well for the company as it prepares to launch the global small car in China in the first quarter of next year and in other key Asian markets and the United States in early 2010.

In its first two months on sale, Ford has sold more than 42,200 new Fiestas in Europe’s main 19 markets despite soft overall industry sales, making the new Fiesta the second-most popular vehicle in the Ford of Europe lineup behind the Focus compact. The Fiesta, including the new version and outgoing model, was the best-selling car in the United Kingdom in November among all models from all automakers.

“After only two months since its introduction, the Fiesta is already our second best-selling model behind the Focus,” said Ingvar Sviggum, vice president, marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe. “In the U.K., the Fiesta’s market share for November was the highest since January 1998 for the nameplate, and the new Fiesta attracted 1,000 more retail British buyers than the previous model in November 2007. This is a promising start for our all-new global model.”

Overall, November Ford of Europe sold 95,700 vehicles across its 19 European markets. This was down 21.4 percent versus November 2007, but the company again outperformed the industry by increasing its market share to 8.8 percent, up 0.5 percentage points. The Ford brand is now firmly established as the No. 2 brand in Europe’s main 19 markets behind only Volkswagen.

The new Fiesta is attracting a broader range of customers to the Ford brand and customers are choosing upscale features and trim packages, Sviggum said. About 50 percent of new buyers are choosing the upscale Titanium and Ghia versions of the new Fiesta. And half of new Fiestas on the road are equipped with Bluetooth capability, while more than 60 percent were ordered with leather-wrapped steering wheels and 30 percent with privacy glass.

Designed and developed in Europe for sale across Ford’s global markets, the new Fiesta is the first in a series of fuel efficient new small cars developed through Ford’s global product development process. Its stylish and dynamic flair combines with all the traditional Ford small car strengths to create a confident, contemporary introduction to the next chapter of the Fiesta success story.

The new Fiesta opens another chapter in the story of the popular Ford small car that has sold more than 12 million units since its introduction in 1976. Charismatic and individual, the new model makes major strides in craftsmanship, quality of materials and product choice while continuing to represent Fiesta’s traditional strengths of practicality, value for money, agility and safety.

The Fiesta is produced at Ford’s plant in Cologne, Germany, for European markets. Fiestas built in Cologne are on sale now in South Africa and will soon go on sale in Australia and New Zealand. Early next year, Fiesta production begins at Ford’s assembly plant in Valencia, Spain, for European markets and at Ford’s state-of-the-art assembly plant in Nanjing, China, for the Chinese market.

Ford’s Auto Alliance Thailand (AAT) facility in Rayong will begin producing the new Fiesta for other major Asian markets in 2010. At the same time, Ford is currently retooling its truck plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico, to build the new Fiesta for the United States and other North American markets.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

2009 Ford F-150 Awards

2009 Ford F-150 photographed at the 2008 Washi...Image via Wikipedia
  • Motor Trend 2009 Truck of the Year Award™
  • 2009 Best Redesigned Vehicle from Kelley Blue Book’s
  • Top honors as “Truck of Texas” as well as “Best Luxury Pickup” for the 2009 F-150 King Ranch from Texas Auto Writers Association
  • “Best Overall Half-Ton Pickup” from
  • “Automotive Excellence” award in the Workhorse Category from Popular Mechanics <
  • “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its standard safety technology: Safety Canopy side curtain air bags and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
  • “Residual Value” award from Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG) for retaining the highest percentage of its original price among 2009 full-size light duty pickups at the end of a conventional three-year lease, based on ALG projections
  • Motor Trend's Truck Trend Top 5 Trucks from Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) for 2009 Ford F-150 Heavy Duty DeWalt Contractor Concept
  • “Accessory-Friendly Truck” Design Award from SEMA
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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All-New Ford F-150 Receives Prestigious Motor Trend 2009 Truck of the Year Award™

Motor Trend CoverImage via WikipediaThe all-new Ford F-150, America’s best-selling full-size pickup delivering class-leading capability and unsurpassed fuel economy, today was named 2009 Motor Trend Truck of the Year™.

“The new F-150 is a thorough, thoughtful upgrade of a highly successful formula,” said Angus MacKenzie, editor-in-chief, Motor Trend. “The 2009 model improves on the core attributes that have made the F-150 a best seller for decades, ensuring it will remain a strong player in the segment despite the challenging economic environment.”

The 2009 F-150, new inside and out, is the new benchmark in its segment, appealing to a growing number of core truck customers. Improvements include a new high-strength, lighter-weight chassis that delivers even more horsepower, unsurpassed fuel economy and class-leading towing and payload capacity.

To earn the Motor Trend award, F-150 bested its competitors in a series of rigorous tests evaluating the vehicle’s engineering, technology, design, safety, dynamics, performance, build quality and value.

Motor Trend editors used our truck the way our customers do – by putting it through extremely tough tests,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development.

“This award is so meaningful to us because it means so much to our customers,” he added. “Motor Trend Truck of the Year is one of the most recognized automotive awards by consumers, and Ford is extremely proud to receive it.”

The 2009 award marks the third consecutive time an all-new F-150 garnered the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award. The pickup received the magazine’s prestigious award for two previous ground-breaking new models in 2004 and 1997.

Motor Trend’s awards throughout the years are a validation of what has been the key to our success: listening to customers, anticipating their needs and providing them with innovative solutions and features before they ask for them,” said Matt O’Leary, F-150 chief engineer. “Our goal with each redesign is to top the last one, and we’re doing that with the 2009 F-150.”

F-Series is on track in 2008 to extend its streak of truck leadership to 32 straight years as well as being America’s best-selling vehicle -- car, crossover; SUV, truck, or van – for the past 27 years.

The new 2009 F-150 sports an array of smart technologies – from industry-first SYNC to Ford Work Solutions. SYNC provides hands-free, in-car communication. Ford Work Solutions is an innovative suite of options including an in-dash computer with Internet access, Tool Link to track tools, Crew Chief technology to dispatch workers and reduce vehicle operating costs and Cable Lock to improve security of tools and equipment.

F-150 also features conveniences such as the Box Side Step and Tailgate Step that help customers easily gain access to the truck’s pickup box.

During the past five years, the “core trucker” – those who use their truck’s towing and hauling capability for work and leisure – has grown to 40 percent from 30 percent of the light-duty full-size pickup market. Ford dominates this expanding sub-segment.

The new F-150 delivers class-leading towing capability of 11,300 pounds and hauling capacity of 3,030 pounds – a combination no other competitor can match.

For 2009, F-150 also has improved its fuel economy by an average of 8 percent across the entire lineup, thanks to a wide range of engineering enhancements.

The fuel economy gains reach as high as 12 percent versus the prior model year on F-150 models equipped with the high-volume three-valve, 5.4-liter V-8 engine. Plus, the F-150’s SFE package – which is available on highest-volume XL and XLT series – delivers unsurpassed fuel economy of 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway.

The new 2009 F-150 is built at Ford’s Dearborn (Mich.) Truck Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The engine in a Ford model T. Photographed by ...Image via WikipediaWard’s Automotive Group has named Ford’s redesigned Escape and Mariner hybrid engine to its 2009 10 Best Engines list.

The 10 Best Engines list marks North America’s only awards program honoring powertrain excellence and is designed to reflect the diversity of powertrains that will play a role in reshaping America’s automotive landscape.

Ford’s 2.5-liter, dual-overhead cam I-4 hybrid engine was the only hybrid engine selected as a winner. The judges praised not only its smooth gas-to-electric transition but its overall quality feel as well. This is the fifth year of production for the Escape Hybrid but the first year for the SUV to use Ford’s new 2.5-liter engine. Previous models used a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine.

“Ford engineers have done a tremendous job,” said Drew Winter, editor in chief of Ward’s Autoworld magazine. “With hybrids in particular, software is such a big thing. The software that regulates how the power is transferred back and forth from gas to electric, when it’s done badly, can be jerky and unsettling, but when it’s done well, it really elevates driving pleasure. It’s the difference between a superior powertrain and a science experiment.”

The 2009 Ford Escape and Mariner hybrid models use the new 2.5-liter I-4 designed to run on the Atkinson combustion cycle. A new engine processor enables nearly imperceptible transitions between gas and electric vehicle mode. The hybrid models also feature a new powertrain damping system to reduce vibrations and feedback to the driver and other vehicle occupants.

The entire hybrid system in both SUVs was completely developed and engineered by Ford, which holds several hundred patents on this exclusive hybrid system.

While judges looked at traditional criteria such as power, torque, NVH and drivability, the Escape’s engine also was lauded for showcasing the improvements made in hybrid technology. Fuel economy and drivability also helped the engine top its competitors.

“One of the main things we look at is, ‘Does the engine sell the car?’ ” said Winter. “We really feel like the Escape hybrid does that. It tells us it’s a hybrid by allowing us to go fast and far on electric power, and it easily surpassed the EPA fuel economy rating.”

The Escape and Mariner hybrids are deliver fuel economy of 34 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, making them the most fuel-efficient compact SUVs in the world.

“I'm very proud of the Ford Team and we are honored to receive the Ward’s Automotive 10 Best Engine award for 2009,” said Nancy Gioia, director of sustainable mobility technology and hybrid vehicle programs. “The fact that an HEV engine has received the award exemplifies the increasing importance of technology and innovation to meet the higher customer and environmental demands.”

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Five WHAT VAN? 2008 Awards for Ford Commercial Vehicles

* Transit wins Best Security, Panel Van
* Transit Connect wins Best Security, Light Van
* Transit wins Best Minibus
* Transit is highly commended as Small Panel Van of the Year
* The Ford One Stop Shop range is highly commended

Judges at Britain's leading van magazine, What Van? have recognised Ford's range of commercial vehicles as winners and leaders in their 2008 awards.

What Van? editor, Neil McIntee, presented the awards at a special London ceremony. Transit collected the Best Security award for the fifth successive year and Transit Connect won Best Security for the seventh time. Transit Minibus triumphed for a third consecutive year. Also recognised was the Transit, highly commended as Small Panel Van of the Year and the Ford One Stop Shop range – highly commended for its wide range of specialist applications and bespoke conversions.

Commercial vehicles director for Ford of Britain, Steve Kimber, said: "The strength of our brand is in its constant evolution. Security is paramount to all business operators and alongside economy, cost-of-ownership and durability, security is always high on our agenda."


Nelly's Custom Ford FlexImage by Ford Motor Company via FlickrThe all-new 2009 Ford Flex and the new 2009 Ford F-150 are the most “accessory-friendly” SUV and truck respectively, according to members of the automotive media who selected winners for this year’s SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) Design Awards.

SEMA Design Awards honor vehicles a select group of voters chose as the most inviting and receptive to accessorization in four categories: car, SUV, truck and hybrid. Several unique, customized interpretations of both the Flex and F-150 were on display earlier this month in Las Vegas at the SEMA show, the world’s premier automotive specialty products trade event.

Karl Brauer, editor-in-chief, says the design of the new Flex lends itself well to aftermarket accessorization.

“The Ford Flex has the kind of interesting exterior styling that encourages modifications, such as Blu-ray entertainment players,” said Brauer. “The wheels play a major role in the Flex’s styling, so changing or upgrading them could play a major role in personalizing the vehicle.”

Flex Marketing Manager Kate Pearce, says she was delighted – but not all that surprised -- to learn that Ford’s newest crossover was the SEMA Design award-winner in the SUV category.

“Before the Flex was even launched, customization shops were playing with the images online to show what they could do with the car,” she said. “That was confirmation of what we already knew, which was that this vehicle would have mass appeal in the customization world.”

The many ways to personalize Flex, a full-size utility with room for up to seven passengers, start at the factory.

“There are a variety of options available, with the colors, series and features you choose,” said Pearce. “For example, you can order a monotone versus a two-tone vehicle, and choose a roof that is either body colored, white suede or brilliant silver.”

Truck Trend Editor Angus MacKenzie says the all-new 2009 F-150 – winner of the SEMA Design Award in the truck category – is practically tailor-made for companies looking to address an exact niche for their specific customer base.

“Anything that can increase or improve the multidimensionality of a truck or SUV gives the owner that much more reason to keep the vehicle,” he said. “There will be big opportunities for those who can give a big personality-changing bang for a truck owner’s buck.”

F-150 has been part of America’s best-selling pickup line for 31 consecutive years. It is also the most accessorized vehicle in the aftermarket. New for 2009, the F-150 offers customers unrivaled capability, unsurpassed fuel economy and a host of smart, game-changing features. Combine that with the numerous add-ons available in the aftermarket, and the possibilities are endless, says Ford Designer Melvin Betancourt.

“Whether it’s adding big tires for off-roading or lowering the truck to give it more of a street performance look, the 2009 F-150 is like a blank canvas that you can do almost anything with,” he said. “It all depends on the personality of the owner.”

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* "The 2009 F-150 is more than a truck – it’s a work system," said Kelley Blue Book's in naming the truck its "2009 Best Redesigned Vehicle"
* Accolade offers additional proof that Ford’s success comes from listening to its customers and delivering the capability and fuel economy they require

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 10, 2008 – Editors at Kelley Blue Book’s today announced that Ford’s all new 2009 F-150 – an American icon with class-leading capability and unsurpassed fuel economy – has earned the title of “2009 Best Redesigned Vehicle.” (

“I just really like this truck,” said Jack R. Nerad, executive editorial director and executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s “I think it’s the sheer power of it that’s so impressive. It’s such an important truck in the market; it’s so important to Ford and to the domestic auto industry in general. There are so many variations, and so many innovations. In some ways, the F-150 is more than a truck – it’s a work system.”

The all-new 2009 F-150, new inside and out, is the new benchmark in the full-size pickup segment.

Improvements include a new high-strength, lighter-weight chassis that allows this tough truck to deliver even more horsepower, unsurpassed fuel economy and class-leading towing and payload capacity.

Nerad noted the array of available technology – from the industry-exclusive SYNC to Ford Work Solutions. SYNC provides hands-free, in-car communication. Ford Work Solutions is an innovative suite of options including an in-dash computer with Internet access, Tool Link to track tools, Crew Chief technology to dispatch workers and reduce vehicle operating costs and Cable Lock to improve security. He also singled out the added conveniences of the Box Side Step and Tailgate Step that helps customers easily gain access to the truck’s pickup box.

“There really is something there for everybody,” Nerad said. “There are so many interior and exterior design changes on this truck, and all of them are stellar.”

The F-150, he said, was chosen after the editors looked at all the redesigned vehicles on the market – cars, CUVs, SUVs and trucks – and winnowed the selections down to a top 10.

The accolade is gratifying, said chief engineer Matt O’Leary, not only for the prestige it carries, but because it also offers an indication of how Ford’s continual interaction with its unparalleled customer base brings results.

“When we set out to redesign the F-150, we said we would leave no stone unturned to ensure that our 31-year leadership on full-size trucks continued for many more years,” O’Leary said. “This recognition is just another indication that our success is founded on listening to the customer better than anyone else and finding innovative solutions to their concerns. That’s not something we take lightly – we live it every day.”

In addition to being named the 2009 Best Redesigned Vehicle from Kelley Blue Book’s since its launch in October, the new 2009 F-150 has won the following awards:

* Top honors as “Truck of Texas” as well as “Best Luxury Pickup” for the 2009 F-150 King Ranch from Texas Auto Writers Association
* “Best Overall Half-Ton Pickup” from
* “Automotive Excellence” award in the Workhorse Category from Popular Mechanics
* “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for its standard safety technology: Safety Canopy side curtain air bags and AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control
* “Residual Value” award from Automotive Leasing Guide (ALG) for retaining the highest percentage of its original price among 2009 full-size light duty pickups at the end of a conventional three-year lease, based on ALG projections
* Motor Trend's Truck TrendTop 5 Trucks from Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) for 2009 Ford F-150 Heavy Duty DeWalt Contractor Concept
* “Accessory-Friendly Truck” Design Award from SEMA

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


* Society of Plastic Engineers’ Automotive Division honors Ford Motor Company and Lear Corporation for their innovative use of soy-based foam in car seats.
* Ford dominates 2008 Automotive Innovation competition, winning in several categories, including top vehicle award.
* Environmental advantages of soy-foam include; reduction of CO2 emissions compared to the typical petroleum-based material, lower energy to produce, up to 24 percent renewable content, and reduction of dependency on volatile energy markets.

DEARBORN, Dec. 8, 2008 – Ford Motor Company’s commitment to being a ‘green’ automaker goes beyond improving fuel economy and reducing carbon emissions. Ford also is leading the industry in its award-winning use of environmentally friendly, soy-based foam in seat backs and cushions.

Ford’s innovative use of this renewable bio-material has earned several prestigious awards, including winning the “Environmental” category at the recent 2008 Innovation Awards competition sponsored by the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) Automotive Division. The honor is shared with supplier Lear Corp. Ford dominated the recent event by winning four of eight categories as well as the top vehicle award for the most innovative uses of plastics on one vehicle, the 2009 Ford Flex.

“This is a fantastic example of a domestic automaker and its supplier looking beyond current sustainability solutions,” said Maria Ciliberti, SPE awards program chair and global automotive director for Ticona Engineering Polymers, a leading global supplier of engineering thermoplastics. “I would like to see Ford and Lear’s soy foam innovation implemented across the auto industry.”

Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soy-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications. In August 2007, it introduced soy foam seats on the 2008 Ford Mustang, and has since placed soy foam seats in the Ford Expedition, F-150, Escape and Focus, as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln Navigator and Mazda Tribute. By the end of the 2009 model year, more than one million Ford vehicles will contain soy foam.

“As Ford continues to increase its use of soy-based foam seats across many vehicle platforms, we’re reducing our environmental footprint by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, decreasing dependence on oil and moving toward sustainability,” said Jerry Brown, Ford seat systems chief engineer.

With soy foam in seats on one million vehicles, Ford expects to decrease its use of petroleum oil by one million pounds and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by five million pounds annually. Use of soy foam in seats also delivers superior product performance, and supports American farmers.

Todd Allen, Arkansas soybean farmer and chair of the United Soybean Board’s New Uses Committee, called Ford’s innovative use of soy foam a “huge success.” USB oversees the crop-related investments of all U.S. soybean farmers and works closely with companies throughout industry, including Ford, in an effort to get soy-based technology commercialized.

“Having this technology recognized by industry experts with this Innovation Award demonstrates the quality of product that can be developed using U.S. soybeans,” Allen said.

According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, soy-based products have only one-quarter of the level of total environmental impact of petroleum-based products. Most automakers today use 100 percent petroleum-based polyol foam. Each vehicle contains an average of 30 pounds of petroleum-based foam in its seat backs, seat cushions, armrests, instrument panels and headliners.

“We are very excited to be the first auto manufacturer to implement bio-based foam on production vehicles,” said Cynthia Flanigan, Ford plastics technical expert. “And we are moving forward to develop a portfolio of other sustainable materials that will go into future Ford vehicles.”

Ash Galbreath, Lear Corporation director of advanced material said: “This recognition of Lear Corporation’s first-to-market SoyFoam™ technology is confirmation of the environmental product leadership position Lear has worked hard to develop over the past few years. We are proud of the success of our partnership with Ford Motor Company and continue to improve seating systems’ environmental footprint and innovate weight reduction, renewable content, recyclable and other ‘green’ product solutions.”

Friday, December 5, 2008

Rally GB - after stage 3

Jari-Matti Latvala driving his Ford Focus RS W...Image via Wikipedia

Treacherous road conditions greeted drivers in mid-Wales as this 15th and final round of the FIA World Rally Championship began this morning. Following last night's start ceremony next to Cardiff's festive winter wonderland show, competitors discovered winter wasn't quite so wonderful when they entered the remote forests more than 150km north.

Snow and ice covered the gravel tracks in many places and organisers last night cancelled more than half today's scheduled 123.68km of competition on safety grounds. More freezing temperatures overnight brought the cancellation of the already shortened 3.67km Hafren speed test, due to open the action this morning, because of ice.

The action finally began with the shortened 4.28km Sweet Lamb special stage and the early starters found conditions hazardous. BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally team drivers Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were ninth in their Focus RS World Rally Car, with team-mates and 2007 winners Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen 11th in a similar car.

Latvala was then fastest through the reduced 18.28km Myherin to reach the service area in Builth Wells in third, just 3.9sec from the lead. "I couldn't see where the slippery parts were in Sweet Lamb but started to gain confidence in Myherin, although I had two close escapes on ice near the finish. The tyres are working well on the gravel, which they are designed for, but it's hard to stop the car in the ice and snow. It's a shame the stages have been shortened because they are great roads but it's the right decision. I would be happy on these roads with winter tyres, but not with this rubber," said Latvala.

Hirvonen was 11th in Myherin to hold 11th overall, the 28-year-old Finn admitting he was too cautious. "Conditions were difficult but maybe I was too steady. I need to step up my pace now and while I need to be cautious, I don't need to be this cautious. I can see the lines on the road from Sébastien Loeb ahead of me so I can follow those and get more grip, but it's hard to stop on the ice with gravel tyres. It would have been too dangerous to run the first stage because the grip was changing all the time – from gravel to ice to snow. Conditions are improving with every car so those further down the start order have had the better of the morning," said Hirvonen.

Khalid Al Qassimi, on his debut here, and Michael Orr lie 27th in a third Focus RS WRC, the Abu Dhabidriver admitting: "I don't have confidence in these conditions and I have to learn what to do."

Leaderboard after stage 3 of 19

1. S Ogier/J Ingrassia , FRA, Citroen C4, 13min 55.0sec

2. M Østberg/O Unnerud, NOR, Subaru Impreza, 13min 57.3sec

3. J-M Latvala/M Anttila, FIN, Ford Focus RS, 13min 58.9sec

4. P-G Andersson/J Andersson, SWE, Suzuki SX4, 14min 01.7sec

5. S Loeb/D Elena, FRA, Citroen C4, 14min 03.1sec

6. C Atkinson/S Prévot, AUS, Subaru Impreza, 14min 05.5sec

7. P Solberg/P Mills, NOR, Subaru Impreza, 14min 06.0sec

8. T Gardemeister/T Tuominen, FIN, Suzuki SX4, 14min 07.8sec

9. D Sordo/M Marti, ESP, Citroen C4, 14min 08.6sec

10 F Duval/D Giraudet, BEL, Ford Focus RS, 14min 10.0sec

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Thursday, December 4, 2008


Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia "Mr. Chairman, Senator Shelby, and members of the Committee. Since the last hearing, I have thought a great deal about the concerns you expressed. I want you to know I heard your message loud and clear.

On Tuesday, you received Ford's detailed and comprehensive business plan, and I appreciate the opportunity to return here today to share Ford’s vision and progress in becoming a profitable, growing company.

You were clear that our business model needs to change. I agree. And that's exactly why I came to Ford two years ago to join Bill Ford in implementing his vision to transform our company and build a greener future using advanced technology. Let me share with you what we have done to change from how we used to do business to how we do business now.

It used to be that we had too many brands. Now we have a laser focus on our most important brand: the Ford blue oval. In the last two years, we sold Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover – and reduced our investment in Mazda. And this week, we announced we are considering a sale of Volvo.

It used to be that our approach to our customers was: If you build it, they will come. We produced more vehicles than our customers wanted and then slashed prices, hurting the residual values of those vehicles and hurting our customers. Now we are aggressively matching production to meet the true customer demand.

It used to be that we focused heavily on trucks and SUVs. Now we are shifting to a balanced product portfolio, with even more focus on small cars and the advanced technologies that will drive higher fuel economy in all of our vehicles.

It used to be that our labor costs made us uncompetitive. Now we have a ground-breaking agreement with the UAW to reduce labor costs, and we appreciate the UAW's continued willingness to help close the competitive gap.

It used to be that we had too many suppliers and dealers. Now we're putting in place the right structure to maximize the efficiency and the profitability for all of our partners.

It used to be that we operated regionally – European cars for Europe. Asian cars for Asia. American cars for the U.S. market. Now we are leveraging our global assets, innovation, technology, and scale to deliver world class products for every market.

It used to be that our goal was simply to compete. Now we are absolutely committed to exceeding our customers' expectations for quality, fuel-efficiency, safety and affordability.

This is the Ford story. We are more balanced. We are more efficient. We are more global. And we are focused. In short, we are on the right path to becoming a profitable, growing company.

We have moved our business model in a completely new direction, in line with the most successful companies – and competitors - around the world. And as a result of our progress, we made a profit in the first quarter of this year. Unfortunately, we all are facing a severe economic downturn that has slowed our momentum.

Despite this downturn, Ford does not anticipate a near-term liquidity crisis. In fact, we expect our automobile business to be profitable in 2011. But we do support a government bridge loan because it is critically important to the U.S. auto industry.

Specifically, Ford requests access to $9 billion in bridge financing – something we hope we will not need to use. Instead, as we continue to drive change in our company, this line of credit will serve as a critical safeguard, if events require it. And if we did need to access this loan, we would use the money to continue our aggressive transformation and restructuring.

Ford is an American company and an American icon. We are woven into the fabric of every community that relies on our cars and trucks and the jobs our company supports. The entire Ford team – from employees to shareholders, suppliers to dealers – is absolutely committed to implementing our new business model and becoming a lean, profitable company that builds the best cars and trucks on the road for our customers. There is a lot more work to do, but we are passionate about the future of Ford.

In fact, we invite you to visit us in Dearborn to kick the tires, look under the hood and talk to our employees. We hope you will join us and see for yourself the progress we are making to develop the vehicles of the future."

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Ford, Lincoln and Mercury outpaced industry-wide November sales, thanks largely to F-Series truck sales, and grew its retail and total market share for the second straight month.

Ford, Lincoln and Mercury dealers reported total sales of 118,818 in November, down 30 percent versus a year ago, while industry-wide auto sales in November were down an estimated 35 percent as the weakening economy continues to take a toll on consumer confidence and spending.

“The economy continues to weaken and auto sales reflect this reality,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Marketing and Communications. “At Ford, we are focused on executing our plan. In 2009 and 2010, we’ll launch an unprecedented number of new vehicles, and every product will offer consumers the best or among the best fuel economy in its class.”

In recent weeks, Ford has received significant endorsements from independent third parties for its quality and safety. Ford’s initial vehicle quality is now on par with Toyota and Honda, and Ford now has more 5-star vehicles and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) “Top Safety Picks” than any other company in the industry.

November marked the official introduction of the all-new F-150. F-Series sales totaled 37,911 including nearly 5,000 all-new 2009 model F-150s. Ford’s F-Series has been America’s No. 1-selling truck for 31 years in a row, and the new F-150 is designed and engineered to further raise the bar in the light-duty pickup market.

The 2009 model Ford F-150 has class-leading capability with 11,300 pounds towing and 3,030 pounds payload and unsurpassed fuel economy of 21 mpg highway with the SFE package, which is available on F-150’s highest-volume XL and XLT series.

The new 2009 F-150 also earned the IIHS’s “Top Safety Pick” award, the Texas Auto Writers Association’s “Truck of Texas” top honor and is projected to have the best residual value of full-size light-duty pickups according to the Automotive Leasing Guide.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Ford is set to expand the appeal of the popular Kuga crossover with the addition of three new models providing lower CO2, automatic transmission, and greater power and torque.
Retaining the style and refinement of the existing Kuga 2.0-litre TDCi, but with a CO2 output of just 159g/km, the new front-wheel-drive version delivers both enhanced fuel economy and cost benefits for business users.
As legislation changes in April next year, Kuga 2WD will especially benefit business customers who will be eligible for a 20 per cent annual write down allowance against Corporation Tax for a car with less than 160g/km CO2 (compared with 10 per cent over 160g/km). Customers will also benefit from the model's improved fuel economy as it falls into the new sub-160g/km banding for Vehicle Excise Duty.
Ford has also added new performance flagships to the Kuga range, pairing intelligent AWD with the acclaimed 2.5-litre Duratec engine found in the Focus ST, Mondeo and S-MAX. With 200PS and linear torque of 320Nm (between 1,600 and 4,000rpm) the five-cylinder petrol-engined Kuga powers from standstill to 62mph in just 8.2sec and on to a top speed of 129mph when mated with the six-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic transmission is alternatively available with this engine.
Downsizing is a relatively recent market development. The Kuga 2.5-litre petrol targets those customers migrating from large SUVs who are unwilling to sacrifice performance and style. The large SUV segment in particular has fallen substantially year on year.
Optional run-flat tyres add to the array of premium features, which also include rear- facing reversing camera, panorama glass roof and DAB radio.

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Ford Motor CompanyImage via WikipediaFord Motor Company [NYSE: F] announced today it will re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo Car Corporation, including the possible sale of the Sweden-based premium automaker.

Ford said the decision to re-evaluate strategic options for Volvo comes in response to the significant decline in the global auto industry particularly in the past three months and the severe economic instability worldwide. The strategic review of Volvo is in line with a broad range of actions Ford is taking to strengthen its balance sheet and ensure it has the resources to implement its product-led transformation plan.

“Given the unprecedented external challenges facing Ford and the entire industry, it is prudent for Ford to evaluate options for Volvo as we implement our ONE Ford plan,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “Volvo is a strong global brand with a proud heritage of safety and environmental responsibility and has launched an aggressive plan to right-size its operations and improve its financial results. As we conduct this review, we are committed to making the best decision for both Ford and Volvo going forward.”

Ford said the review likely will take several months to complete. In the meantime, Ford will continue working closely with Volvo as it implements its restructuring plan under CEO Stephen Odell, who was appointed to lead Volvo earlier this year.

At the same time, Ford and Volvo will continue to put in place processes that allow Volvo to operate on a more stand-alone basis in the absence of the Premier Automotive Group structure, an effort which began in November 2007 following a previous review by Ford of strategic options for Volvo.

“Outstanding safety, an increased focus on environmentally friendly vehicles and contemporary Scandinavian design will continue to be the foundation upon which we will build a strong Volvo business for the future.” Odell said. “We intend to build upon our strong brand heritage and to appeal to our global customers with vehicles like the new XC60 – the safest car Volvo has ever built. Volvo also will introduce seven low-emission models in 2009, giving us the best environmental product range in the premium segment.

“We have a strong brand presence in Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific region, and are growing in key markets such as China and Russia, where we are the leading premium brand.”

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