Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Ford KaImage via Wikipedia

The continued weakness of the £ against the Euro, which this week edged even closer to parity, has forced Ford to increase the price of all its models within the UK from the start of April 2009. The price increase, an average of 3.75 per cent, will apply to all new orders received after 31st March.

"We are reacting to the continued decline of the £ against the Euro", said Nigel Sharp, managing director Ford of Britain. "Raising prices in such difficult times may seem counter-intuitive, but as a UK business with so many of our costs priced in Euros, we have no choice if we are to protect jobs and remain viable.

"The Euro has strengthened 30 per cent in the past 18 months," he added "and 18 per cent in last 12 months alone. The weakness of the £ had a huge negative impact – well into nine figures – on Ford's UK business in 2008."

He also warned that price-inflationary pressure would continue to be an issue for all UK-based businesses whose costs were incurred in Euros until Sterling strengthened.

Prices for Ford cars will rise by an average of 3.75 per cent, starting at an extra £50 on a Ford Ka and extending to £1,000 on a Focus Coupe Cabriolet.

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2007 Fiesta Zetec S RearImage via Wikipedia

Now in its third consecutive year, the Monte-Carlo Rally for Alternative Energy Vehicles accepts only the most innovative environmentally friendly vehicles. The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic has been entered in the class for fossil-fuel-powered cars with emissions lower than 120 grams of CO2 per kilometre. With emissions of 98g/km and fuel consumption of 3.7l/100 km (mixed cycle), the Fiesta ECOnetic is well placed to perform strongly in this forward-thinking competition.

The Monte-Carlo Rally for AEVs is the first round of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup, which is dedicated to this type of vehicle. The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic is entered in a particularly hotly contested class of 28 cars from 9 different manufacturers! The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic will draw on its excellent balance of performance and fuel consumption. It has the lowest emissions in its segment but still develops 90bhp, accelerates from 0-100kph in 12.3s and can reach a top speed 178kph on track.

This exceptional efficiency underlines the progress of Ford’s research and development programmes for environmentally friendly vehicles.

The Ford Fiesta ECOnetic has been entered in this new-style Monte-Carlo Rally under the banner of Drive Classic, a private team based near Paris. Two cars will be entrusted to the experienced crews of Alain Jongerlynck – “Greg” (2nd in 2008) and Pascal Aimé – Stéphanie Aimé (3rd and winner of the overall regularity standings). A third Fiesta will be driven by journalist Gaël Briançeau, from Automobile Magazine.

Alain Jongerlynck competed 12 times in the Monte-Carlo Rally and has the same number of Monte-Carlo Historics (for classic cars) to his name. Nicknamed “Bilou”, he now runs Drive Classic and has become an ardent specialist of the “ecological” Monte-Carlo Rally.

“The Monte-Carlo Rally for Alternative Energy Vehicles is particularly demanding, both in terms of driving and strategy – that’s what makes it so interesting,” he enthuses. “On the timed stages, the challenge is to maintain the average speed that you’ve been allocated while consuming as little fuel as possible – and the results take both parameters into account. The average speed must be constant from the start to finish of the timed sector, so you need to be quick through even the most difficult sections. It means you can’t take any short cuts with the car: you need excellent handling as well as exemplary fuel consumption. From this point of view, the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic has some real strong suits. The chassis is very good and, with 20.4mkg of torque available at 1750 rpm, it accelerates well without penalising the fuel consumption. We’ll be trying to fly the Ford colours at the front of the field but it will be an exciting battle because we’ve got some strong competition this year.”

Following the usual technical and administrative checks, the 3rd Monte-Carlo Rally for AEVs will begin on Friday March 27. The first challenge will be a Concentration stage that starts simultaneously from two different cities, Lugano and Clermont-Ferrand. The finish will be on Sunday March 29 on the Monaco harbourside.


The Fiesta ECOnetic is powered by a special version of the 1.6l 90bhp TDCi Duratorq engine, equipped with a particulate filter. Compared to the previous generation of Fiesta 1.6l TDCi, the ECOnetic version uses 160 litres less fuel over 20,000km. In the extra-urban cycle, it can cover 100km on just 3.7l of fuel.

Like with the other models in Ford’s ECOnetic range; optimised aerodynamics, low rolling resistance tyres and enhanced lubrication help reduce both the fuel consumption and the consequent CO2 emissions. Lower ride height, coupled with aerodynamic tweaks such as wheel covers and wheel deflectors, improve the Fiesta’s already streamlined drag coefficient (Cx: 0.33).

Low rolling resistance 175/65 R14 tyres, a longer final drive and special lubricants (developed with BP) all improve energy efficiency, particularly on motorways.

The Fiesta ECOnetic achieves this first-rate efficiency without sacrificing the driving enjoyment, style or practicality that are the Fiesta’s hallmarks.

The ECOnetic version of the new Fiesta is not the only car to benefit from Ford’s work on sustainability. Every new Fiesta is fitted with Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS), which uses less fuel and engine power than traditional hydraulic power steering.

High-strength steels, coupled with a weight saving of 40kg compared to the previous model, also help improve energy efficiency – despite improved safety equipment and sound insulation.

Ford’s commitment to sustainability influenced the development of the Fiesta and the working practices of the manufacturing facilities. Ford’s diesel centre of excellence at Dagenham in Great Britain, which produces the Duratorq TDCi engines, generates all of its electricity from renewable sources thanks to two wind turbines – with plans for a third.

Ford also uses electricity from renewable sources to cover the requirements of the Fiesta manufacturing facilities and its engineering centre in Cologne, Germany. This programme will help Ford to reduce its CO2 emissions by 190,000 tonnes annually.

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Ford Mustang GT-350Image by PercyGermany via Flickr
It was April 17, 1964, when Ford unveiled the original long hood, short deck pony car—the Mustang—at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens. Ford is now preparing to celebrate the car's 45th Anniversary.
18. Mustang Turns 25, Steers Wins
In its silver anniversary year, Mustang returned to Trans-Am as rookie driver Dorsey Schroeder drove Ford’s anniversary car, numbered 25, while Lynn St. James returned to a Mustang. Schroeder won his very first race on his way to six season wins, a drivers’ championship and a leading role in Ford’s first Trans-Am manufacturers’ title since 1970

19. A Winning Tradition
The Roush Mustangs carried on the winning tradition in 1986 with eight more GTO wins and another manufacturers’ title for Ford. Scott Pruett scored seven of those wins and claimed the GTO drivers’ championship, as well as the GT Endurance Championship—with more than a little help from Bruce Jenner.

20. Manufacturing a Winner Again
In 1985 nine Mustang victories brought Ford its first road-racing manufacturers’ championship since '70. Three of those wins belonged to Lyn St. James, the first ever for a woman in the series.

21. A Marathon of Wins
In February 1984, Wally Dallenbach Jr., John Jones and Doc Bundy won GTO class at the Daytona 24 Hours—the first of three consecutive Mustang victories in the season-opening marathon.

22. King of the GTO
A Roush-prepared Mustang, driven by Willy T. Ribbs and Wally Dallenbach Jr., won GTO class in the three-hour IMSA ’84 season finale at Daytona. It was the beginning of a Mustang reign as king of GTO.

23. In Hot Pursuit!
In 1983 The California Highway Patrol purchased 400 Mustangs to help troopers keep pace with high-speed pursuits.

24. Back in the Saddle
In Ford’s resurgent racing program of the 1980s, Mustang figured prominently from the beginning in '81. In International MotorSports Association GT racing, the turbocharged Miller Mustang, driven by Klaus Ludwig, came within a 10th of a second of winning its first race ahead of the dominant Porsche 935 Turbos. Ludwig then made the threat a reality with back-to-back victories at Brainerd and Sears Point.

25. Hometown Hero
In SCCA road racing, Mustang became the first domestic car ever to win the Showroom Stock, a national championship, when Ron Smaldone drove his turbo Mustang to victory at Road Atlanta.

26. Pro-formance
Pro Stock gained popularity, and by 1975 a now-familiar name was in the record books. Bob Glidden drove a Ford Pinto to his first Pro Stock championship in ’74, and then switched to Mustang for ’75, winning four national events and his second NHRA championship—Mustang’s first Pro Stock title.

27. Trick Pony
Mustang was a favorite of short-track stock car racers through most of the 1970s. In '72, Dick Trickle raced a Mustang to a national record of 67 short track feature wins in one season.

28. Performance Pause?
Budget cuts, the oil embargoes and economic recession all contributed to the end of factory backing for Mustang's racing career in the 1970s—and to the end of the so-called muscle-car era. Of course, it didn't mean that Mustangs stopped racing.

29. Triple Threat
To performance enthusiasts, 1969 was dominated by the hottest Mustangs ever—428 Mach 1, Boss 429 and Boss 302.

30. You Better Slow That Mustang Down
The Mustang has inspired not only car enthusiasts but lyricists as well. In 1966 Mustang Sally was released by Wilson Pickett and is still a tune that continues to be covered by artists today.

31. A Top Performance
In 1967, Mustang 390 GT wins Cars magazine’s Top Performance Car of the Year.

32. One Million and Still Counting
In 1966 the millionth Mustang was built just before its second birthday in March '66.

33. Championship Heaven in ’67
In the 1967 Trans-Am series, Jerry Titus chalked up four more victories in a Shelby Mustang, won the drivers’ title and Ford took a second straight manufacturers’ championship. Mustang also won another SCCA B-Production road-racing title.

34. Prize Ponies
Jerry Titus, Bob Johnson and Mark Donohue drove GT-350s to national titles in 1965, and the GT-350 went on to win SCCA B-Production national championships for three straight years.

35. The man behind the Cobra Jet 428
Frustrated in the '60s when potential buyers would leave his dealership because the Mustang wasn’t fast enough, drag racer and owner of Tasca Ford in Rhode Island, Bob Tasca Sr. decided to take matters into his own hands. Using parts from the Ford service parts catalog, Tasca and his dealership team created their own engine: the Cobra Jet 428. On the drag strip, his engine blew away the competition thus resulting in a demand for the 428.

36. Shelby’s First Contribution
On Jan. 27, 1965, the first Shelby Mustang, a 1965 Shelby GT350, made its public debut. The car was an instant hit at the track. Shelby continued to make performance Mustangs for Ford until 1970. He rejoined forces with Ford in 2005 when he created the 2006 special-edition Shelby GT-H.

37. Racin’ to the Finish Line
By 1965 Ford was involved with cars competing in the National Hot Rod Association’s Factory Experimental, or A/FX class. Ten race ready Mustangs were built, and five of them qualified in the Factory Stock Eliminator field at the ’65 NHRA Winternationals. Bill Lawton drove his Tasca Ford Mustang A/FX to victory in the car’s very first race.

38. On the Right Track
A little more than a month after its April 17 introduction, Mustang was on the race track as a pace car leading the 1964 Indianapolis 500. Before the year was out, Mustang was a winner in competition, finishing first and second in class in the 1964 Tour de France International Rally.

39. The Born Identity
The first Mustang's VIN Number was 5F08F100001.

40. How much is that Pony in the window?
The base price upon introduction of the first Mustang was $2360.

41. Stampede!
April 17, 1964, people attacked the Ford showrooms. Everyone was in a frenzy to be one of the first to own the Mustang. Ford sold over 22,000 Mustangs the first day. By the end of the year, Ford had sold 263,434. By the end of the Mustang's first anniversary, April 17, 1965, Ford had sold 418,812 Mustangs.

42. The commercial that started it all
Ford was not unaware of how popular the car would be. They announced when the first television commercial would be shown and on April 16, 1964 at 9:30 pm on all three major television networks ABC, NBC and CBS, 29 million people tuned in to see it.

43. The name
The name Mustang was suggested by executive stylist John Najjar because he was an aficionado of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II.

44. 1962
Ford unveils a new car on October 7, 1962 during U.S. Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, N.Y., the Mustang.

45. The birth of a legend
In 1961, Lee Iacocca, vice president and general manager of Ford Division, had a vision. His vision was a car that would seat four people, have bucket seats, a floor mounted shifter, be no more than 180 inches long, weigh less than 2500 pounds, and sell for less than $2500.00. Out of this vision, the Ford Mustang was born.

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Friday, March 20, 2009


"The all-new Fiesta is one of the most stylish cars in the world." That is the verdict of 28 leading designers and design experts from 19 countries who have awarded the eye-catching Ford model a prestigious 'red dot' award for international product design.
The design professionals, who make up the award jury, said the Fiesta's design was "innovative and dynamic".
The red dot design awards are presented annually by Germany's Essen-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen, and it's one of the world's largest design recognition programmes.
The independent jury assesses each entry against a series of criteria which includes innovation, design, functionality and quality. For the 2009 award, 3,231 submissions were received from 49 countries. The Fiesta was one of the products to be awarded a red dot for their outstanding design.
The awards, claimed by the organisers to be "an internationally recognised quality label for design excellence" are presented in three categories: product design, communication design and design concept. Within each category there are 17 product areas covering a broad diversity of goods, from sofas to caravans, watches to computers.
Previous automotive winners have included the Maserati Quattroporte, the Mercedes R Class and the Lamborghini Murcielago Roadster.
"We are delighted not only to receive this important award but also by the growing list of accolades given to the new Fiesta," said Martin Smith, Executive Design Director, Ford of Europe. "It is particularly encouraging to see that our new small car was singled out for its innovative, expressive design by some of the world's leading designers."
"Research shows that whether they are in Milan, Beijing or New York, customers put style at the top of their list. The new Fiesta delivers that style, together with outstanding quality."
The red dot design award is the latest in a long line of accolades received by the new Fiesta. Among recent awards, the model was named as Car of the Year 2009 by Britain's What Car? Magazine, while in Germany, readers of Guter Rat and SUPERillu presented the new Fiesta ECOnetic with the Auto der Vernunft 2009 trophy, for value for money, economy and sustainability. Earlier this month, Fiesta was named one of the three finalists in the 2009 World Car Awards – the winner will be announced in New York next month.
The Ford Fiesta has long been synonymous with outstanding design, quality and value. Today's Fiesta takes the model's three-decade heritage to a new level with its eye-catching kinetic design and widely acclaimed driving dynamics.
"Kinetic design's new and successful form language defines the new Fiesta and brings it into the new Ford product family," explains Martin Smith. "It is a language that visualises the leading driving dynamics of Ford cars by delivering bold, confident and individual design."
Global Reach
Underlining the adage that good design is good business, 117,000 Fiestas have been sold in the seven months since the model was launched in Europe in August last year.

And it is not just in Europe that the Fiesta is attracting attention. Designed and developed in Europe as Ford Motor Company's first truly global car, the new small car will be going on sale in markets around the world.
Earlier this month it was officially launched in the Chinese market. Pre-sale demand for the car in China surpassed expectations, with several thousand Chinese consumers placing orders ahead of the official launch. Additionally, more than 1.2 million people downloaded Fiesta music from, a popular Chinese web portal. The Fiesta video has been shown more than 6.8 million times on, China’s version of YouTube.
China is the world's first market to introduce the four-door Fiesta saloon. Both the saloon and the five-door Fiesta hatchback are built at the state-of-the-art Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Company manufacturing facility in Nanjing.
China will not be the only Asian production location, Ford and Mazda’s joint-venture facility in Thailand, Auto Alliance, will begin assembling the new model next year.
In Europe, the new Fiesta is produced at Ford’s plant in Cologne, Germany, as well as the Valencia plant in Spain. Fiestas built in Cologne are now also being exported to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Ford Motor Company's plant in Cuautitlan, Mexico will build the new Fiesta for the North American market in two bodystyles: a sporty hatchback and a saloon, beginning in early 2010. Construction of the integrated stamping facility and retooling of the assembly plant is currently underway.
In advance of the Fiesta’s launch in the US, thousands of consumers across the country are being given the opportunity to drive the new car. In a programme called “Fiesta Movement,” Ford is selecting up to 100 enthusiasts to drive the Fiesta and relate their experiences through social media sites, providing Ford with early consumer feedback. The 100 models used in the programme were recently assembled in Cologne.
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2007-2008 Lincoln MKZ photographed in USA.Image via Wikipedia

  • The 2010 Lincoln MKZ offers more standard luxury features compared to other midsize luxury sedans, such as the Lexus ES350 and Cadillac CTS
  • A new Sport Appearance Package is available for the 2010 Lincoln MKZ that offers a variety of custom details, including 18-inch chrome wheels
  • Base price of $34,965 includes destination and delivery
The 2010 Lincoln MKZ offers customers more standard luxury and segment-exclusive safety features for their money, with a starting price of $34,965, including destination and delivery.

Compared with other midsize luxury sedans – such as the Lexus ES350 and Cadillac CTS – the MKZ comes with more standard luxury features, such as Bridge of Weir leather seats, genuine wood trim, heated and cooled front seats, the popular SYNC entertainment and connectivity system, a reverse sensing system and driver multi-adjustable power seat.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ also has features not offered by competitors in this segment, such as the all-new Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA).
“Customers universally are surprised when they get into a competing vehicle and find out that they have to pay more for luxury features, such as premium leather seats,” said Jonathan Richards, Lincoln MKZ Marketing manager. “That’s what sets the MKZ apart from the competition. It comes standard with all the features you would expect from a world class entry-level luxury sedan.”

The front-wheel-drive MKZ has a base price of $34,965, and the all-wheel drive model is available for a base price of $36,855. Pricing on both models includes destination and delivery.

Ultra-Quiet Ride
The new MKZ offers an ultra-quiet cabin, a feature that consumers – especially luxury car shoppers – undeniably connect to overall product quality and satisfaction levels, according to vehicle studies from third-party voices, such as J.D. Power and Associates.

According to Ford research, the 2010 MKZ also beats out the current Lexus ES350 in key interior quietness attributes, such as road noise at 30 mph and wind noise at 80 mph.

The interior quietness coupled with the premium THX II Certified 5.1 Surround sound system available in the MKZ offers customers an exceptional in-car audio experience, says Richards.

“This pairing represents one more example of why customers are now equating the Lincoln brand with elegant, modern design, unparalleled comfort, unrivaled features and best-in-class quality,” he said.

Segment-Exclusive Safety Features
The new Lincoln MKZ offers segment-exclusive safety features, including first-in-class Blind Spot Information System (BLIS™) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA), which makes navigating traffic and parking lots safer and easier. BLIS tracks vehicles in the blind-spot zones on either side of the vehicle using two multiple-beam radar modules behind the rear fenders, and CTA uses the BLIS radar sensors to alert the driver to approaching traffic while in reverse and backing out of a parking spot.

New Sport Appearance Package
Luxury car buyers who want a sportier-looking ride can opt for the Sport Appearance Package, which is new for the 2010 model year. It offers special sport suspension tuning with stiffer springs and larger stabilizer bars; 18-inch Euroflange polished wheels; unique grille, body-color door handles and darkened headlamps; and an interior with tuxedo seam seat patterns, contrasting piping, upgraded floor mats and aluminum appliqués.

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GM Statement on Treasury Supplier Program

General Motors CorporationImage via Wikipedia

This U.S. Treasury program recognizes how critical the domestic supply chain is in keeping America's auto industry running. GM appreciates the Treasury and President's Task Force on Autos taking quick action that will improve suppliers ability to access much needed liquidity during these very difficult economic times. This action can help reduce the risk of vehicle production disruptions that would occur if auto suppliers were unable to produce due to lack of access to working capital liquidity.
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2007 Shelby GT500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.Image via Wikipedia

When the 40th Anniversary Cobra Jet Mustang won the 2009 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona last month, duplicating the success of the original Cobra Jet, the interest level in the latest race-ready offering from Ford Motor Company shot through the roof. Now Ford Racing is providing an in depth look at the CJ with a series of Cobra Jet meetings at ten-selected NHRA events.

“The attention focused on the Cobra Jet is unlike anything I have seen in the sportsman class in many years in racing,” said Brian Wolfe, director of Ford Racing Technology and an NHRA competition license holder since 1992. “With all 50 CJ’s sold and now scattered around the United States, there are a number of sportsman who want to get an up close look at the Cobra Jet. We decided to do a series of town hall style meetings where the sportsman racer can come and see the Cobra Jet and talk with representatives from Ford Racing and learn not only about the Cobra Jet but about our program and some of Ford Racing’s offerings for the sportsman racer.”

The Cobra Jet outreach will kick off this week with a gathering on Thursday night March 12 at 7:30 pm at the Tasca Racing Motorcraft/Quick Lane hospitality in the NHRA Pro Pits. The event is open to all sportsman racers who hold a competition license. This week’s program will feature Ford Racing NHRA Program Manager Jesse Kershaw and Bob Tasca III driver of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang Funny Car, whose grandfather created the original Cobra Jet Mustang in 1968.

“This event provides an opportunity for the racers to see the Cobra Jet up close and talk with some of the people who have been involved in building these cars,” said Wolfe. “We're soliciting feedback directly from racers on the Cobra Jet as we investigate interest in future dedicated drag race packages. If someone doesn’t want to wait for the next generation there are parts available through Ford Racing to build your own Cobra Jet. All this and more will be discussed on Thursday.”

Cobra Jet meetings are tentatively scheduled for ten NHRA events this season. Time and location is subject to change so look for updates on Ford for the latest Cobra Jet gathering. The NHRA events include:

March 12-15 – NHRA Gatornationals (Gainesville, Fla.)
June 4-7 – NHRA Route 66 Nationals (Joliet, Ill.)
June 11-14 – NHRA SuperNationals (Englishtown, N.J.)
June 25-28 – Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals (Norwalk, Ohio)
July 10-12 –NHRA Mile-High NHRA Nationals (Denver, Colo.) Quick Lane display only
Sept. 2-7 – Mac Tools U.S. Nationals (Indianapolis)
Sept. 17-20 – NHRA Nationals (Charlotte, N.C.)
Sept. 24-27 – O’Reilly Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals (Dallas)
Oct. 29-Nov. 1 – Las Vegas NHRA Nationals (Las Vegas)
Nov. 12-15 – Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals (Pomona, Calif.)

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Buick Tops 2009 Vehicle Dependability Study

Buick Motor DivisionImage via Wikipedia

Further demonstrating Buick's ongoing commitment to quality, J.D. Power and Associates announced today that Buick tied for the highest ranking in vehicle dependability for three-year old models. The Buick LaCrosse was also ranked first in the midsize car segment, beating the Toyota Camry, while the Buick Lucerne came in second in the large car segment.

For the seventh straight year, Buick has ranked in the top ten brands in the J.D. Power and Associates dependability study, which tracks vehicle issues over a three-year ownership period and this year evaluates more than 200 problem areas. Buick moved from sixth place to take over the top spot in this year's study.

"Quality and craftsmanship have always been one of the defining characteristics of the Buick brand," said Susan Docherty, GM North America vice president for Buick, Pontiac and GMC. "The added value of that dependability, combined with premium materials and refined, responsive performance, is something our customers have come to expect from every Buick, and it's the driving force behind the continuing transformation of the brand."

In addition to the latest J.D. Power and Associates honor, Buicks have been recognized with numerous "recommended" and "best buy" designations by leading consumer magazines and websites for all three current models: Enclave, Lucerne, and LaCrosse. Building on that tradition, an all-new 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan will arrive in showrooms this summer.

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DETROIT - JANUARY 14:  (L to R) Peter Horbury,...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The interior of the new 2010 Lincoln MKZ embodies the near perfect balance of silence and sound, offering entry-level luxury customers the ultra-quiet cabin they expect along with a refined powertrain purr that’s bound to surprise and delight.

MKZ has been among the leaders in the midsize sedan segment for interior quietness, which customers – especially luxury-car shoppers – undeniably connect to overall product quality and satisfaction levels, according to vehicle studies from respected third-party voices such as J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports.

Since the 2002 model year, the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup has consistently improved year-over-year as shown by the reduction in ‘wind noise’ as a complaint by customers during research in ‘things gone wrong’ (TGWs). The company is now head-to-head with other full-line manufacturers in the U.S., including Toyota and Honda, for interior quietness. According to internal Ford research, the 2009 MKZ, in fact, beats the current model year Lexus ES350 in key interior quietness attributes such as road noise at 30 mph.

For model year 2010, the Lincoln MKZ is even quieter.

The new Lincoln MKZ, which launches in the spring of 2009, further benefits from Ford Motor Company’s unwavering commitment to deliver the highest possible product quality in all areas, including class-leading interior quietness. The new MKZ was subject to a variety of aggressive noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) actions that solidly position the midsize luxury sedan among its competitors for road noise, wind noise and overall quality of powertrain sound.

“We took a product that was already a solid performer for interior quietness and added an extra bit of refinement in the areas that help create a world-class interior sound with a balance between road noise, wind noise and powertrain sound,” said Joe Mucha, an NVH specialist on Ford’s midsize vehicle programs. “Even the untrained ear will notice how quiet the new Lincoln MKZ is. Customers will particularly appreciate the quality of the powertrain sound at wide open throttle.”

Quiet Building Blocks
The 2010 Lincoln MKZ attacks interior quietness through several specific NVH actions and improvements, including:

* A new acoustic laminated windshield that features a layer of sound-absorbent vinyl sandwiched between two sheets of glass to soften noise levels
* Thicker rear backlight for improved wind noise
* Improved body/door sealing to reduce wind noise
* New expandable stuffers in the fenders and pillars
* Constrained layer damping material on the entire floor to reduce road noise, especially noise generated by the tires
* A retuned air induction system for a more refined powertrain sound
* An all-new acoustic headliner to further deaden interior noise

These measures are proving their worth. In internal wind tunnel tests, for example, the 2010 Lincoln MKZ was subjected to 80 mph gusts at varying degrees of yaw (to simulate head/cross winds), and bested both the current model year Lexus ES350 and Acura TL across the board for the lowest recorded loudness – regardless of yaw variation.

The 2010 MKZ also ups the ante on road noise against competing models, holding the lowest recorded sound level measurement in internal 30 mph tests, coming in 3.5 dBA quieter than the Acura TL and 1.7 dBA quieter than the Lexus ES350.

“A three or four dBA variance in the 30 mph test results in a noticeable difference that most drivers or passengers would be able to discern without much effort,” said Mucha.

The 2010 Lincoln MKZ also widens the gap with superb powertrain sound at wide open throttle. “The 2010 MKZ delivers on key Lincoln DNA attributes for powertrain sound quality,” added Mucha. “It’s the right balance of loudness and refinement; it’s powerful when it should be, but it doesn’t sound harsh or thrashy. And, since the cabin is inherently quieter, voice articulation and speech intelligibility are greater under heavy acceleration.”

Sound Advantages
A world-class quieter cabin provides Lincoln MKZ customers another added benefit – a more suitable environment for voice-activated technologies such as SYNC and Ford’s next-generation Navigation System with SIRIUS® Travel Link™, as well as for MKZ’s premium THX II Certified 5.1 Surround sound system.

This system delivers 600 watts to 14 strategically placed speakers, and features THX Slot Speaker technology in the dashboard, which allows for unmatched sound distribution.

“The combination of the premium THX audio system and unmatched interior quietness offers
MKZ customers an exceptional in-car audio experience,” said Jonathan Richards, MKZ marketing manager. “This pairing represents one more example of why customers are now equating the Lincoln brand with elegant, modern design, unparalleled comfort, unrivaled features and best-in-class quality.”
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Hot Car, Hot Spot: Cadillac CTS Adds WiFi System

2003-2007 Cadillac CTS photographed in USA.Image via Wikipedia

Cadillac will offer wireless internet access for its best-selling model, adding a new dimension to the passenger experience. Cadillac Wi-Fi by Autonet Mobile comes to the CTS Sport Sedan in April, giving passengers full internet access in and around the car via their laptop or WiFi device.

The launch of Cadillac WiFi by Autonet Mobile will begin with live demonstrations at the New York International Auto Show April 10-19.

“Consumers today are frequently searching for WiFi access wherever they may be,” said Mark McNabb, North America Vice President, Cadillac. “Adding WiFi is a natural extension of the tech features already inside the CTS, such as a 40 gigabyte hard drive with USB port, a pop-up navigation system featuring real-time traffic and weather forecasts and the exclusive ability to pause and rewind live radio.”

Cadillac WiFi uses technology from Autonet Mobile, the world’s first Internet Service Provider designed exclusively for cars. Cadillac WiFi by Autonet Mobile turns the car into a WiFi hotspot and works with any operating system supporting any Wi-Fi enabled device. It delivers an easy-to-use and seamless internet experience, with 3G mobile technology that maintains internet connections while the car is in motion. The system can support several devices at once, enabling one passenger to update a Facebook page, while another is gaming online or watching YouTube videos, for example.

Designed for use by passengers, the system requires no special software and achieves speeds up to 800Kbps. The dealer-installed option will retail for $499, with a monthly service subscription of $29.

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Ford Mustang GT.Image by Gonzalo Barrientos via Flickr
  • The original Ford Mustang debuted on April 17, 1964 at a price of $2,368 – a bargain even at that time.
  • Dealers were inundated with requests for the vehicle. In Garland, Texas, 15 customers bid on the same Mustang, and the winner insisted on sleeping in the car overnight to guarantee that it wouldn’t get sold from under him before his check cleared the next day.
  • Ford expected annual sales of about 100,000 units, but 22,000 Mustang orders were taken on the first day, and sales reached an astounding 417,000 in the car’s first 12 months on the market.
  • Not much more than a month after its introduction, Ford’s new Mustang was on the racetrack as the pace car for the 1964 Indianapolis 500 race.
  • The early Mustangs have figured prominently in hundreds of notable films to date, beginning in 1964 with the James Bond movie Goldfinger, in which Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 chased a white Mustang convertible.
  • Mustang-crazed parents bought 93,000 pedal-powered children’s Mustangs during the 1964 Christmas season.
  • In 1965, the Shelby GT350 was introduced, with a 306 horsepower V-8 engine, giving the Mustang performance credibility.
  • Mustang sales passed the one million mark in March of 1966. The 1966 Mustang was the first – and perhaps the only – car to park on the 86th floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building. Ford engineers disassembled a 1966 Mustang convertible and took it up in four sections using the building’s passenger elevators.
  • Mustang-mania hit full force. The 289-cid V-8 “Hi-Po” engine became available. Carroll Shelby adapted the Shelby GT350 for Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) competition, and the GT350 went on to win three straight SCCA national championships.
  • The 1967 Mustang was considered by many to be the high water mark for Mustang design in the 1960s. The 2+2 model went from a semi-notchback to a sweeping full fastback roofline. Separate triple tail lamps, a longer nose and a bigger grille made for a more aggressive stance.
  • In 1968, the 428 Cobra Jet engine was introduced as part of an option package aimed at enthusiasts, and it helped make the Shelby GT500 become King of the Road – KR.
  • A “steed for every need” philosophy yielded 11 different powertrain combinations in 1969. New models added to the lineup included hot rods like the 290 horsepower Boss 302, the 375 horsepower Boss 429 and the Mach 1, giving the Mustang its muscle car heritage. The Grande luxury model also was introduced.
  • In 1970, a ram air “Shaker” hood scoop could be ordered on any Mustang equipped with a 351-cid or larger V-8.
  • The 1971 Mustangs were the biggest Mustangs ever – nearly a foot longer and some 600 pounds heavier than the originals. The Boss 351, with its 351 “Cleveland” V-8
    and Cobra Jet heads, debuted. The Mach 1 was available with a variety of powertrains, topped by the 370 horsepower 429 Super Cobra Jet.
  • In 1973, the impact of gasoline shortages, rising insurance premiums and emissions controls brought the muscle car era to a close. The 1973 model was the last original Falcon-platform Mustang, and the convertible model was discontinued.
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== Beschreibung, Quelle == * Quelle: selbst fo...Image via Wikipedia
  • On April 17, 2009, Ford will commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mustang,
    an American icon, with a four-day celebration in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Ford will take a nostalgic look back at five historic generations of Mustang during the next four weeks leading up to the 45th anniversary, starting with the early years 1964 to 1974
  • The 1964½ Mustang success exceeded all expectations – with 22,000 orders taken on the first day and an astounding 417,000 orders in the car’s first 12 months on the market
A number of pony cars have galloped in and out of the American automotive scene throughout the past four and a half decades, but none have enjoyed the lasting appeal of Mustang. And none have inspired the same degree of passion among car owners.
On Friday, April 17, 2009, Ford and the Mustang Club of America will commemorate the 45th anniversary of an American icon – the Ford Mustang – with a four-day celebration in Birmingham, Ala.
During the four weeks leading up to the Mustang’s 45th anniversary, Ford will take a nostalgic look back at five historic generations of its longest-running nameplate, beginning with the early years, 1964 to 1974.
The First Generation of the Ford Mustang
Flash back to the spring of 1964. The mood of the country is still sullen, following the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson is leading the nation forward as president of the United States. “Beatlemania” is sweeping the country, with hits like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Can’t Buy Me Love” at the top of the Billboard charts. The price of gas is 30 cents a gallon, and it costs 5 cents to buy a postage stamp. “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Bonanza” and the “Dick Van Dyke Show” are among the most popular shows on television, and “From Russia with Love,” starring Sean Connery as James Bond, is playing at U.S. theaters.
On April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang, with its long hood, short rear deck and sporty features, caused a sensation when it was introduced to the public at the New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, Queens.
“When the Mustang was unveiled, the reaction was so positive that there was no doubt it was going to be a success,” recalls Joe Oros, chief designer of Ford’s original pony car – dubbed the 1964½ because it was launched at an unusual halfway point in the year.
Don Frey, product planning manager for the original Ford Mustang, says he knew the car was going to be a hit months earlier when the design team gave Ford employees a sneak peek at one of the prototypes.
“We built the first prototype in an experimental garage, and employees flooded the place to see it,” he said. “Their reaction was spectacular, and it was very revealing to us. We knew the car was going to be roaring success from the start.”
And what a success it was.
The 1964½ Mustang debuted at a price of $2,368 – a bargain even in 1964. Ford expected annual sales of about 100,000 units. But 22,000 Mustang orders were taken on the first day, and sales reached an astounding 417,000 in the car’s first 12 months on the market. Within two years, Mustang sales reached one million.
Frey says he believes the car had such dramatic appeal because the styling was very unusual for its day.
“The design was very European, particularly the front end,” he said. “There was no other car like it in North America at that time.”
Another facet of Mustang’s appeal was that it could be any vehicle the customer wanted it to be. The original Mustangs were available in three body styles – convertible, hardtop or fastback – with the most extensive list of options Detroit had ever offered. The Ford Mustang could be an economical “base” car, a macho high-performance car or a luxury car.
“Mustang was designed to be designed by you,” one of the original print ads declared. And it was true. Everyone who owned a Mustang believed no one else had a vehicle like theirs, and the vehicle had broad appeal.
“We were told to design a car that the ladies would love that the men would love just as much, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Oros.
Marketing studies conducted at the time showed that women bought as many Mustangs as men.
“They loved the styling, and the car was very affordable,” said Frey. “Women bought it by the thousands.”
Frey, now 86, is the proud owner of one of the original Mustangs – built in June of 1964. It’s a red hard top with a white interior, and he keeps it parked in his home garage.
“I have a driver who comes by, and we take it out,” he said. “To this day, people stop us and ask if it’s an original Mustang.”
At age 92, Oros says he’s still as passionate about the Mustang as he was 45 years ago.
“He wants me to stop in the middle of the freeway whenever he sees a Mustang, and I tell him that we can’t do that,” said Oros’ driver and caregiver Violeta Orlanda. “When we do stop somewhere, he searches the parking lot to find the Mustangs, and he insists on checking them all out in detail from front to back.”
Oros says his fascination and fondness for the pony car he helped create will never end.
“It makes me feel proud every time I see one,” explained Oros. “After all of these years, Mustang has never lost its luster.”
Frey is equally as proud.
“We created an icon,” he said. “And I had a hand in it.”
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

GM Board Schedules Annual Stockholders' Meeting For Aug. 4 in Detroit

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The General Motors Board of Directors today announced that the company's annual stockholders' meeting will be held on Tuesday, August 4, 2009 in Detroit.

The deadline for submitting stockholder proposals will be March 31, 2009, and the deadline for submitting stockholder board nominations is April 6, 2009. GM disclosed its 2008 executive compensation in its annual report on Form 10-K, filed on March 5. Stockholders of record as of June 12, 2009 are eligible to vote at the annual meeting; proxy materials will be mailed in June.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), one of the world's largest automakers, was founded in 1908, and today manufactures cars and trucks in 34 countries. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 243,000 people in every major region of the world, and sells and services vehicles in some 140 countries. In 2008, GM sold 8.35 million cars and trucks globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, Russia and Germany. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at

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

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen finished second in the Cyprus Rally today as the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team claimed a clean sweep of special stage victories during the final leg. The Finns won the opening two speed tests in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car as they eventually finished just 27.2sec behind winner Sébastien Loeb in this third round of the 12-event Federation Internationale de L’Automobile World Rally Championship.

Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were fastest on the final stage as they recovered to 12th in their Focus RS WRC after spending more than 20 minutes stuck in deep sand on the edge of the road yesterday. That ensured a double points haul in the manufacturers' championship for Ford. Abu Dhabi's Khalid Al Qassimi and Michael Orr finished eighth in the team's other car to match their career-best performance.

The Cyprus Rally was the first mixed surface round of the WRC since 1996. To add to the challenge drivers tackled the opening day's slippery asphalt stages with Pirelli's gravel tyres fitted to their cars. Once the event switched to twisty and rocky gravel tracks high in the Troodos Mountains, torrential rain turned some sections into a mudbath. Conditions were so tough yesterday that the team removed 95kg of clinging mud from Hirvonen's car during the lunchtime service at the rally base in Limassol.

Hirvonen found it hard to adapt to driving on asphalt with a gravel set-up on his Focus RS WRC during the opening morning and ended the day in third, 60.2sec from the lead. Once the rally moved onto gravel the 28-year-old Finn felt more at home and beat Loeb on six of the remaining eight stages as he ate into the Frenchman's deficit. He moved into second yesterday morning and eventually finished 1min 22.2sec clear of his closest rival after 14 tests covering 332.07km.

"I lost my chance of victory on Friday morning because I didn't drive well enough," he said. "Once the rally moved onto gravel I was faster than Loeb and that's a big boost as there are now seven consecutive loose surface events to come. On the wet and muddy roads our pace was pretty much equal, but on the drier sections I was quicker and it's a shame that the heavy rain fell when it did.

"I made some small mistakes with my car set-up because I tried to be too clever. I will do things differently on the next round in Portugal. The last time I was in Cyprus I finished more than five minutes behind Loeb so to bring that down to 27sec is good progress," added Hirvonen.

Latvala was only 3.4sec behind Hirvonen when the 23-year-old Finn beached his car in sand on the inside of a corner on yesterday's second stage. He had to run 1km to find enough spectators to lift the car out and fell from fourth to 25th. He bounced back to set competitive times throughout the rest of the rally and his efforts were rewarded with two points for Ford in the manufacturers' championship.

"I was pleased with my speed this weekend but disappointed to make a mistake yesterday," he said. "This was my first time here so I'm happy to take away the experience of having driven all the stages. They were more difficult than I expected because there are so many changes in character but they weren't as rough as I thought. I've learned another lesson here and I want to deliver some solid results over the next few rallies on a surface I like."

Al Qassimi lost time with a niggling handbrake problem that meant he could not use it to slide his car around the tightest corners but was happy with his second points finish this year. "It was a challenging rally. I was pleased with my performance and it's encouraging to see I've lifted my pace," he said.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on the weekend. "I would like to congratulate Sébastien Loeb on the achievement of taking his 50th WRC win—but I've had assurances from Mikko and Jari-Matti that he will not reach the next landmark for a while! Mikko again did a fantastic job and while Jari-Matti's problem yesterday was disappointing, he came back to set competitive times and score points for the team."

Ford of Europe motorsport director Mark Deans said: "I welcome the organisers' brave decision to run a mixed surface rally. It brought an element to the WRC we've not seen for many years and the decision to use gravel tyres added further intrigue. The rally required real endurance from man and machine, with today's 40km stage requiring 53 pages of pace notes. That's indicative of its challenge."

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Promark Global Advisors is New Brand Identity of GM Asset Management

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In recognition of its growing client diversification, General Motors Asset Management (GMAM) has changed its brand identity to Promark Global Advisors, Inc. (Promark).

New York-based Promark manages over $130 billion of assets, representing more than 30 employee benefit plans, foundations and other institutional clients. Along with its predecessor firms, Promark has been managing investments for employee benefit funds for more than 60 years. The Promark group includes Promark Investment Advisors, Inc., an SEC-registered investment adviser, and Promark Trust Bank, N.A., an OCC-chartered bank.

“GM remains our largest client and we expect the company to continue to be a vital part of our business,” said Nancy Everett, CEO of Promark Global Advisors. “The experience gained through this relationship enables us to bring a unique perspective and commitment to managing the plan assets of other firms, a fact we are highlighting with the new brand.”

Promark is focused on managing pension plans using asset and liability management solutions and developing customized investment programs for each client, as well as providing investment management for specific mandates, most notably alternative investments such as real estate and absolute-return strategies.

The change noted above is a name change only, and does not relate to any ownership or organizational changes with respect to Promark.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

New "Teach Green" Blog Encourages Conversation and Sharing of Tips and Ideas for Classrooms

Year 2~Day 206 +177/366: Math - Teacher Educat...Image by Old Shoe Woman via Flickr

Calling all teachers! GM's K-12 education web site has just launched a new blog to help encourage conversation, information sharing and the exchange of advice among teachers who want to promote "green" lessons in their classrooms. To help get the conversation going, GM has tapped a couple of teachers that were recipients of a "Live Green" teacher grant sponsored by GM and Discovery Education last year. These teachers will share their thoughts and ideas around teaching topics related to the environment, energy and advanced technologies. Readers are encouraged to get engaged in the discussion and offer their own experiences with teaching "green" in the classroom by submitting comments and personal stories to The new teacher blog can be found at

After checking out the blog, teachers can also find a wealth of other resources that have been developed for the classroom, including free lesson plans. These resources were developed for GM through partnerships with Weekly Reader, Junior Achievement and Keystone Center and cover a variety of topics around energy, advanced technologies and alternative fuels. The lesson plans are designed for specific grade levels and meet national education standards for a variety of school subjects. Games, articles, technology animations and career information designed specifically for students can also be found on the site.

GM is committed to promoting education in the areas of math, science and technology. In addition to the resources available on GM's education web site, GM also supports hands-on classroom extension programs like GREEN (Global Rivers Environmental Education Network) which teaches students about water quality, and the Society of Automotive Engineers' "A World in Motion" program which brings industry volunteers into the classroom to engage students in age-appropriate activities that blend math and science while incorporating the laws of physics, and motion. GM's support of several educational competitions, including EcoCAR: The Next Challenge, FIRST, and MATHCOUNTS, also helps to encourage today's students to pursue the study of math and science in the hope that they may one day pursue careers in advanced technology, engineering and other related areas.

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Ford Motor Company is taking full advantage of the fuel economy, performance and reliability benefits associated with Electric Power Steering (EPS) on a variety of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury products, but the company isn’t stopping there.

Customers already behind the wheel of the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner, one of Ford’s first products to sport EPS, also are enjoying other clever – yet subtle – steering characteristics that enhance drive quality.

One such EPS-enabled feature, pull-drift compensation, is a software-based technology that helps drivers offset vehicle pulling or drifting that can occur in steady crosswinds or on uneven roads.

“Pull and drift are major customer annoyances that have been difficult to completely eliminate because of multiple factors that contribute to this phenomenon,” said Ali Jammoul, Ford’s chief engineer for Chassis Engineering and Steering Systems. “Ford’s innovative pull-drift technology compensates to provide driving comfort straight down the road, even in steady crosswinds and on banked and uneven roads.”

Customer complaints about a “constant pull or drift to one side” or “steering that requires extra uneven effort” historically have been a source of customer dissatisfaction in steering, ride and handling in quality studies. Ford’s EPS with drift-pull compensation is projected to improve customer satisfaction in these areas by up to 50 percent.

The 2008 Escape, one of the first vehicles to showcase EPS with pull-drift technology in North America, substantiated this projected improvement, cutting the number of customer complaints associated with steering in half.

How It Works
EPS is a sophisticated system that uses sensors to constantly measure the wheel torque applied by the driver to maintain the vehicle’s path; continually resetting to adapt to changing road conditions or the vehicle turning a corner.

Ford’s pull-drift software technology gives the EPS system the added ability to compensate for slight steering torque changes caused by environmental factors such as road crowning or steady crosswinds.

“If you’re on the expressway and the road is crowned to the left or right for better water drainage, for example, you may need to make a slight steering compensation for that crowning,” said Brian Kosztowny, a Ford product development engineer in Vehicle Dynamics. “With pull-drift compensation, the EPS system gradually will dial in torque for easier steering in these conditions without the driver feeling it in his or her fingers or needing to make an extra effort. The electric motor does more, so you don’t have to.”

Ford’s application of this technology only corrects for road and environmental conditions within reason, adding slight torque up to a proprietary set limit so inherent steering issues are not masked. In addition, Ford has fine-tuned the software-based technology so it can be adapted to fit driving characteristics of individual products, whether it’s a luxury sedan or a sporty compact SUV.

EPS Delivers More
Ford’s early adoption of the pull-drift software technology demonstrates how EPS combined with invisible software algorithms can deliver tangible results in terms of improving drive quality and the ownership experience for customers.

Ford continues to dig deep, taking full advantage of the big-ticket – as well as the more understated – benefits of EPS, offering them on entry-level as well as high-end products.

Ford’s Active Park Assist – which debuts on several 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles – is, in fact, enabled by EPS. This sophisticated technology uses EPS and an ultrasonic-based sensing system to position a vehicle for parallel parking, calculating the optimal vehicle angle and carefully steering the vehicle into a parking spot.

EPS also can be programmed to communicate with a vehicle’s camera, opening the door for Ford to introduce lane-assist and accident avoidance systems such as lane departure warning systems.

“EPS gives us more warning options for these advanced systems,” adds Darrel Recker, Ford’s EPS supervisor. “With EPS, we can consider more tactile versus visual warning mechanisms, such as a vibration in the steering wheel, and we don’t have to add a lot of components or additional hardware to make it happen.”

EPS has the potential to add steering features for comfort and personalization. Ford currently is examining how to calibrate the system so that customers can select their desired steering effort. Drivers that prefer a sportier ride, for instance, would choose a higher steering effort than someone who prefers a more luxury-car feel.

Steering the Way
EPS continues to gain momentum in North America, with Ford acting as a major player in adapting this efficient technology across nearly 90 percent of its lineup by 2012. For 2010, the all-new Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan, Ford Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT include EPS.

Ford’s aggressive migration of EPS represents up to a 5-percent gain in fuel economy for each product application and CO2 emissions savings of approximately 3.5 percent because the system operates on demand. EPS also equates to less maintenance for customers since it is completely free of the complicated mix of hydraulic pumps, hoses, power steering fluids and drive belts that can require regular service and repair.

“As we use advanced technology such as electric power steering to improve fuel efficiency across our vehicle lineup, we have the opportunity to introduce new innovations such as pull-drift compensation and Active Park Assist,” said Ford’s Jammoul. “We are applying these technologies not for the sake of technology, but because they meet the needs and wants of our customers.”

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John Force Funny Car on display. Ford sponsors...Image via Wikipedia

The fastest driver on Friday morning was the last driver standing on Sunday in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Series Funny Car class. In his first Funny Car finals, Bob Tasca III in the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang won Sunday’s 40th Annual Gatornationals.

“I’m speechless,” said Tasca. “We qualified our Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Shelby Mustang No. 1, and we beat Tim Wilkerson, John Force and Tony Pedregon to get the first win. This is just a real tribute to the whole Motorcraft/Quick Lane program. To bring the first win home for Ford this year in the NHRA Funny Car class is really special. It’s a dream come true for me.”

On Sunday afternoon, Tasca went round for round with some of the series best en route to his first career win. In the first round won, Tasca defeated Jim Head. During the second round, he defeated teammate Tim Wilkerson. Tasca faced his mentor John Force in the third round. In the finals, Tasca defeated friend Tony Pedregon.

“John Force. What can you say? He’s the man. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for John Force. Tony Pedregon is my best friend. Tim Wilkerson coming on board and working with us,” said Tasca. “It is pretty special to beat those guys and walk away with your first Wally [trophy] and we are leaving here second in the points. That isn’t too shabby.”

It was 27 months since Bob Tasca hired Chris Cunningham as his crew chief. The two went to work and 27 races later, they celebrate victory.

“It all started out with a phone call to Chris Cunningham where I tried to convince him to come work with a guy that had no employees, no parts and it was less than two months from Pomona [2008]. I said, ‘Chris, trust me. We’ll be great together.’ He’s done a remarkable job with what he’s done and handpicked the guys around us. I said to him from day one, ‘Chris, I just want to be in a position to win. I’ll give you all the resources that you need to give me a great race car.’ It started in the spring at Pomona last year and we had our struggles in the first year,” recalled Tasca.

“Our [2009] season started the day after the fall at Pomona,” continued Tasca. “We went to Las Vegas and ran the wheels off this hot rod, then we went to Palm Beach, then we went to Phoenix. We put a quarter-season on this Shelby Mustang before we even rolled into Pomona for the season opener. We’re just determined. You just get a sense when you talk to us that we’re determined to win. I can assure you if we have anything to do about, this isn’t our last trophy. We have a top caliber program right now.”

Tasca is fond of the Florida track, “It’s real exciting. That right lane has been awfully good to me; I might even kiss it before I leave. I set the world record in Alcohol Funny Car and won my first race in that lane. To win today, in that lane, was a pretty special day for me.”

Later in the week, Tasca returns Tasca Ford dealership in Rhode Island. “My grandfather’s saying back in the 60s was ‘Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.’ The dynamic has certainly changed. Heck, they used to win with the cars you could buy in the showroom and today that’s not the case. At the end of the day ‘Win on Sunday and sell on Monday’ is what this program is all about. We have just as much emphasis with the off-track initiatives with Motorcraft, Quick Lane and Ford as we do on the track.”

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GM and Opel Launch Website to Support Fact-Based Discussion

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  • dispels common misinformation and urban legends
  • Find answers to questions around company structure, actions and plans

The current need for bridge-financing for GM’s European operations is rooted in a catastrophic economic crisis, the worst of its kind in more than 70 years. Given the significance of the situation politically and for society, it’s only natural that rumor, speculation and urban myths should begin to circulate at this time. In addition to informed reporting based on fact there is also misinformation and repetition of statements that are clearly not based on fact.

To support informed discussion and fact-based reporting, GM and Opel & Vauxhall have launched a website, which challenges the more commonly reported misconceptions and addresses each one with the pertinent facts. The site is a resource for the media, for bloggers and anyone who reports our news. It is also for employees, suppliers, dealers and anyone who has an interest in our business in Europe. The aim of the site is to provide all of our stakeholders with access to the facts. allows sharing and social bookmarking of the content and encourages visitors to join the discussion at, the GM Europe Executive blog.
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  • Fiesta best-selling Ford car year-to-date across Europe's main 19 markets (Euro 19)
  • 117,000 new Fiestas sold since global debut in late 2008
  • Ford increased February market share (in Euro 19) by 0.8 percentage points to 8.5 per cent vs. the same month in 2008
  • Year-to-date blue oval market share up in 15 out of 19 European markets
  • Ford has consolidated its position as Europe's number two best-selling brand

COLOGNE, March 12, 2009 – Ford of Europe increased its market share in February across the company's 19 main markets (Euro 19) by 0.8 percentage points to 8.5 per cent versus the same month last year.

While overall industry Euro 19 sales declined by 20.1 per cent, Ford sales in February were down by 14.2 per cent, or 15,000 units, compared to the same month in 2008.

Ford of Europe sold 91,100 vehicles in its Euro 19 markets in February, including 27,900 new Fiestas, making it the best-selling Ford car again this month, and the second-best selling car in the industry.

Already this year 56,200 Fiestas have been delivered to European customers and since the market launch started in August 2008, sales of new Fiesta have totaled 117,000.

"We're excited, but not surprised, to see the new Fiesta doing so well in the market place given the current economic conditions," said Ingvar Sviggum, vice-president marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe.

"There are a number of bright spots for us this month, particularly Germany where Ford sales are up by 21,000 vehicles, or 43.7 per cent, versus last February, thanks in no small part to the scrappage scheme which is proving extremely popular and generating a lot of additional showroom traffic. However the underlying trend we face is still one of an overall sales decline across the industry as a whole. We will continue to do all that it takes to stay competitive and protect the flow of our exciting new products," he added.

February market share up in 15 out of 19 markets
Ford of Europe sold 91,100 vehicles across the Euro 19 markets in February 2009. Ford's share rose in 15 out of those 19. Only Ireland, Norway, Portugal and Spain were down in February.

Top selling Ford models in the 19 main European markets were the new Fiesta (27,900), the Focus (20,800), and Transit (7,100).

Boosted by the scrappage scheme, the German market bucked the general trend and Ford of Germany sold 21,000 vehicles, up by 43.7 per cent or 6,400 on February 2008, making it the company's best-performing market by sales in Europe for February.

In Britain, where market share rose by 1.1 per cent to 17.6 per cent, the Fiesta was the best-selling car for the fourth consecutive month and in Italy, Ford was the leading import brand and the Fiesta was the best-selling imported car.

In France, the Fiesta, C-MAX and S-MAX were the best-selling imported vehicles in their segments.

Across all its 51 European markets, Ford sold 107,800 vehicles in February 2009, down 18.5 per cent or 24,400, when compared to the same month last year.

Ford of Europe’s sales in the first two months of 2009
In the first two months of the year, Ford of Germany sold 36,500 vehicles, up by 29.5 per cent year-over-year, or 8,300, making it the largest sales market in Europe for Ford so far in 2009. Market share there was at 7.6 per cent, up by 1.9 percentage points when compared to the same period last year. German industry year-to-date was up 2,100 or 0.4 percentage points on 2009.

In complete contrast to Germany, the industry in the UK was down by 32.2 per cent (-89,400). Ford of Britain sold 35,500 vehicles, down 12,400 or 25.9 per cent. However, Ford's market share in Britain continues to rise and for the first two months of the year increased by 1.2 percentage points to 18.5 per cent.

Year-to-date market share in France increased by 0.5 percentage points to 5.7 per cent, with sales at 21,500, a reduction of 2,600 on the same period in 2008.

In Spain, Ford remained passenger car leader in the first two months of 2009 with sales of 12,500 (- 15,000) and a market share of 8.9 per cent. The Spanish market remains one of the most depressed in Europe, with sales falling more than 50 per cent versus last year.

Ford Italy sold 34,600 vehicles over this period (- 8,200) and market share rose by 1.2 percentage points to 9.6 per cent. Fiesta rose from third to second place in the list of best-selling vehicles in Italy.

In Russia, sales of 17,800 (-5,800) enabled Ford's market share in the first months of the year to rise by 1.6 percentage points to 7.3 per cent.

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GM Statement Regarding the Ratification of the CAW Agreement and Update on Cash position

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As GM Canada announced last night, the members of the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union have ratified a new competitive agreement with GM Canada (GMCL), which is vital to the continued transformation of the Canadian operations. The agreement between GMCL and the CAW will quickly reduce costs in Canada by significantly closing the competitive gap with U.S. transplant automakers on active employee labor costs and substantially reducing GMCL's legacy costs by introducing cash contributions for health benefits, increasing employee health care cost sharing, freezing pension benefits and removing hourly pension cost of living adjustments.

In addition, GMCL and the CAW will work together with the Canadian government to explore the possibilities of adopting a similar approach to the GM UAW VEBA in the U.S. GM is also continuing its negotiations with the Canadian and Ontario governments for support for the Canadian operations during this unprecedented industry downturn.

In the U.S., GM has also indicated they have advised the Presidential Task Force on The Auto Industry that the $2 billion of funding previously requested for March would not be needed at this time. This development reflects the acceleration of GM's company-wide cost reduction efforts as well as pro-active deferrals of spending previously anticipated in January and February. GM will remain in regular contact with the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry on the status of GM's restructuring actions, its liquidity position, timing of future funding requests, and other relevant topics of mutual concern.

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Green flag for the 2008 Miami 100 at the Homes...Image via Wikipedia
Ted Anthony Jr. got a good start to his Sunday by scoring the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge pole with a track record-setting time at Homestead Miami Speedway in the morning. But his day got even better as he led all 28 laps in round two of the 2009 Mustang Challenge championship to win his second career Mustang Challenge race.
Anthony was shadowed by fellow front row starter Andrew Caddell, who ran within one second of Anthony for most of the 45-minute race, which ran entirely under green flag conditions.
Jim Click Racing’s Mike McGovern made an encore podium appearance on the weekend with his run to third place, as Andy Lally scored fourth in his Mustang Challenge debut. Steve Phillips took his second top-five result of the weekend with his run to fifth at the checkered flag.
The race started out under sunny skies, although some south Florida rain showers had soaked the track in the moments leading up to the event. But the 18 car herd of pony power proved more than up to the changing conditions, getting off to a clean start and running the full race distance without incident despite the closely matched field.
The gap between Anthony and Caddell varied as the two sized each other up around the 2.21-mile oval-based circuit. Caddell, who was hungry to take his second win of the weekend, kept the pressure on until the very last lap of the race.
“I was hoping to carry the momentum from last season into this year, but we had a little problem with the car yesterday but the TC Motorsports guys did an awesome job and now we’re in victory lane today.” said Anthony. “I was just trying to keep my BFGoodrich r-1’s happy, and keep Andrew Caddell behind me. He was behind me the whole time, pushing me everywhere. I was trying to concentrate and focus forward but I could just feel him the whole time. It’s great to race in Mustang Challenge with all the V-8 power and the Mustang heritage, but the big thing is how close the competition is. You can not make a single mistake out there, so I’m really happy today. Thank god for Larry Miller and his passion for the Mustang and that he created this series.”
Having converted his outside pole starting position into a trip to victory circle on Saturday, Caddell was naturally looking to do that once again on Sunday. But despite not scoring another race win in round two, Caddell knows from his run to the championship last season that every point counts in Mustang Challenge.
“It was a tough race out there,” said Caddell. “I didn’t get as good of a start as I did yesterday and Ted did a great job. No mistakes. He got a pretty good gap on me early on, and I just couldn’t reel him back in. But this is still a pretty good weekend, the Kaufmann Racing guys did a great job and this is great for the points and it’s always good to get up on the podium.”
Another smart player in the championship game is McGovern, who took his Jim Click Racing machine to third in the 2008 Mustang Challenge championship standings.
“I had a good battle with Andy, he did a great job for his first time out there but I was able to hold him off,” said the Jim Click Racing driver. “We made some changes to the car after yesterday, and it was awesome, the Mustang just had a great balance. The Hyper Sport guys did fantastic, and it’s great to be back up on the podium again for the second time this weekend.”
While many in the Mustang Challenge paddock were making their first start at Homestead, a wily veteran of the south Florida facility was in turn making his start in Mustang Challenge competition as Andy Lally jumped into the No. 00 Media Car prepared by Capaldi Racing on Sunday.
“It was a blast! These guys are good, and it was a fun show. I had a good battle with the 55 [McGovern]—I was hoping I could pressure him into making a mistake, but it just didn’t happen. I love the idea of equal cars on the track, battling it out so the driver can win it, and that’s what this is. I think that’s the best thing you can ask for. Also it’s a Mustang, and that’s pretty cool. It gets up and goes, and the BFG’s hold really well, and its really competitive so I had a great time and hopefully I can be back again sometime.”
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