Tuesday, June 30, 2009


2007 Shelby GT500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show.Image via Wikipedia

Northern Ohio has a reputation for having one of the country’s best amusement parks. Bob Tasca III and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane racing team experienced a roller coaster weekend full of twists and turns at Summit Motorsports Park.

The weekend opened as Tasca drove the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby to the top of the timing sheets with a 4.343 second run at 266.48 miles per hour. After a quick turnaround, Tasca was back for the second round posting a 4.263 second run at 272.89 miles per hour, which seeded him eighth.

After two additional sessions on Saturday, Tasca kept his best time from Friday afternoon. He would start in the eighth position for Sunday’s elimination rounds.

“I felt I did as much learning this weekend about driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby, maybe of any race that I’ve been in so far,” said Tasca. “I learned everything from how the hot rod was moving around, spinning the tires, keeping it under control and not over-correcting. You’ve got to try and get everything that you can out of the race car but at the same time, try not to make a mistake by over steering and causing it to smoke the tires.”

Once the rain cleared on Sunday, Tasca faced some tough competition en route to his second appearance in the final round this season. In the first round, Tasca defeated Matt Hagan. During the second round, he defeated No. 1 qualifier Mike Neff. Tasca would face Ashley Force Hood in the semi-final round and would defeat the new points leader for the first time in six meetings.

“I drove the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang a lot today because we had problems almost every round,” said Tasca. “In the first round, we had an issue with the supercharger. In the second round against Neff, we had an issue with a wiring harness that actually damaged the ignition. We had to find and repair the ignition between rounds. In the semifinals against Ashley, we had reverser cable fail and I knew it when it happened. I kept my composure because the Shelby Mustang needed to be staged and remain straight. Wilkerson came over and gave me the okay, and then [crew chief Chris] Cunningham took the throttle stop off so when he says it’s okay, it’s okay. I hit the gas, hit .079 on the tree and beat Ashley Force Hood for the first time.”

For the second time this season, Tasca and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team reached the finals. He was defeated Atlanta winner Jack Beckman.

“We want to win, that’s why we come. Unfortunately for us, Jack guessed the tree. You can’t cut a .001 light,” said Tasca. “I heard him and it actually messed me up because I didn’t see the light go on. I had a decent light but I was still confused. I hit the gas; I looked for the win light and didn’t see it on. Then we drove right into tire smoke. People might watch it on TV and ask, ‘Why did you drive the race car when Jack was almost at the finish line?’ I took it as an opportunity to learn how to pedal the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Shelby Mustang. That was probably one of the best pedal jobs I’ve ever done in a race car. I did it knowing that Jack had won the race, but knowing that I had an opportunity to learn a little bit and tune my driving skills. I did what I wanted to do. Jack made a great run, it was his race to win.”

With a weekend off for the July 4th holiday, Tasca eyes the points and next three races on the schedule.

“We’re closing in on the leaders. The drivers in fourth, fifth and sixth are within two rounds of each other. Those are good numbers to have in our pocket as we head into west coast swing. We have a very different attitude and confidence level this year and I am looking forward to the west coast swing.”

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Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia

Ford Motor Company's global commitment to the development of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) is reinforced with a British project including Ford demonstration models as part of the UK Government's Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle fleet announced this week.

With support from Scottish and Southern Energy, a fleet of zero emissions prototype Ford Focus BEVs will be used by both the energy company and a number of evaluation drivers based in Hillingdon, Middlesex.

A consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University will provide the prototype vehicles and a charging infrastructure in and around Hillingdon from early 2010. Ford of Europe is specially developing the prototype Focus BEVs to participate in the scheme and test the technology's suitability for potential future application in Ford's European passenger car range.

This new BEV demonstration fleet is being created partly with public funding from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board (TSB), which promotes innovative industry-led projects that reduce CO2 while benefitting the country's transport system.

Joe Greenwell, Ford of Britain chairman, said: "Battery electric vehicles represent an important step in Ford's pursuit of delivering more efficient and sustainable mobility solutions. Ford is looking forward to working with its project partners on developing a viable market for electric vehicles both in the UK and Europe."

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "I am absolutely thrilled that Ford and Scottish and Southern Energy have won funding to deliver innovative electric vehicles onto the capital's streets.
"I want to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe and these trials will provide us with valuable information on what is needed to ensure they can become an everyday choice."
Ford of Europe's involvement with the fleet of electric Focus prototypes complements the development work already undertaken to showcase the Ford Tourneo Connect BEV Concept first revealed at this year's Geneva motor show.

Project managed in the UK
Ford of Europe's BEV programmes are being led by its UK research and development centre at Dunton in Essex. Home to an engineering team of almost 3,000 vehicle specialists, Dunton Technical Centre is responsible for developing powertrains for all Ford vehicles in Europe, as well as every part of the company's commercial vehicle range.

The full BEV powertrain showcased in the Tourneo Connect Concept was developed in collaboration with Smith Electric Vehicles, the UK's leading battery electric specialist converter of commercial vehicles. Smith Electric Vehicles is part of a separate consortium that also has secured TSB funding to further develop the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept.

Smith Electric Vehicles already converts and offers the Ford Transit commercial vehicle to customers in the UK and Europe as the Smith Edison. Smith will also offer the Transit Connect van for sale in Europe as the Smith Ampere from 2010.

The Tourneo Connect BEV Concept shows how this technology can be applied to a passenger use people carrier. In the US, Ford has confirmed that it will launch, with Smith Electric Vehicles the Transit Connect commercial vehicle as a full BEV in North America in 2010.

For the Tourneo Connect BEV Concept, latest level battery electric technology was chosen. A 21kWh lithium ion phosphate battery pack accumulates the energy to drive a 50kW permanent magnet motor, while the drive torque is transmitted to the driveshafts by a single-speed transmission. This set-up targets a range of up to 100 miles and a top speed of 80mph.
Recharging is easy: the onboard battery charger can be plugged directly into a standard mains socket, and a full battery charge is accomplished in six to eight hours.

Prototype fleet
Further technical details of the UK zero-emission Ford Focus BEV evaluation fleet will be revealed later this year.

The vehicles will use prototype technology announced by Ford at the 2009 North American Auto Show in January and under development for introduction in North America in 2011.

"The development of this fleet is an ideal way to evaluate the potential for this technology in the UK and broader European markets," said Greenwell. "By gaining real world experience with a number of prototypes we can look at the practical and business potential for us to develop battery-electric cars for the European market."

Editor's note: The Mayor of London has been an active participant in the Ford and Scottish and Southern Energy bid. The bids were required to show the support of a local government partner to be successful. The Mayor has developed ambitious plans to make London the electric vehicle capital of Europe by pledging to deliver 25,000 charging points to form an integrated network across London by 2015; add 1,000 electric vehicles to the GLA fleet and guarantee to retain the congestion charge exemption.

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Jari-Matti Latvala driving his Stobart's Ford ...Image via Wikipedia

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen took the lead in the Federation Internationale de L’Automobile World Rally Championship today after winning Rally Poland in a Focus RS World Rally Car.

It was Ford's third straight victory following wins in Italy and Greece and Hirvonen now heads the drivers' standings by one point with four rounds remaining.

The Finns led the rally for virtually the entire event, their winning margin 1min 10.3sec after three days of flat-out competition. Team-mates Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila were on course for second place in another Focus RS WRC, only to retire with the finish in sight after hitting a barrel and breaking his car's steering on the final speed test in the rally's host town of Mikolajki.

This was Poland's first appearance in the WRC since the inaugural championship in 1973. More than 200,000 fans welcomed its return by swamping the picturesque Mazurian Lake District, 250km from Warsaw in the north-east of the country, to watch the action. Narrow, sandy and blisteringly fast gravel roads challenged the drivers, who tackled 18 special stages covering 352.00km. Such was the pace that Hirvonen won Friday's penultimate speed test at an average speed of 129.44kph.

Hirvonen took the lead on the third stage on Friday morning and Latvala claimed second just one test later after Sébastien Loeb, Hirvonen's title rival, hit a tree stump and broke his car's suspension. The BP Ford Abu Dhabi duo withstood a determined challenge yesterday morning from third-placed Dani Sordo and measured their pace through today's final leg until the last stage drama.

"This has been the best rally of the season so far," said 28-year-old Hirvonen. "The roads here are fast and narrow and the crowds provided a superb atmosphere. It's the first time I have won two consecutive rallies and it has put me into the lead of the championship ahead of my home rally in Finland. The weekend was perfect from start to finish. After Loeb's mistake on Friday, I thought I might have an easy drive but it wasn't to be. I had to drive flat out yesterday to stay ahead and it's a fantastic feeling to win after such a great fight.

"I started this morning determined to go flat out through the first loop of stages. When I saw the split times of the guys behind me I knew they weren't pushing so hard, so I was able to drive more cautiously. Everything is possible now regarding the championship. I'm in the lead, so it's in my own hands over the final four rounds," said Hirvonen.

Latvala drove a faultless rally until his final stage error. The 24-year-old Finn relished the challenge of the fast and narrow roads and had provided perfect support to both Hirvonen's title bid and Ford's challenge for a third manufacturers' title in four years. However, it all went wrong on the second bend of the final 2.50km test.

"It was my mistake," admitted a distraught Latvala. "I wasn't driving too quickly but I turned into the bend too early and clipped an oil barrel which was full of sand. The impact broke the steering and I couldn't turn into the next bend and hit the barrier on the opposite side of the road. I've let down the team and damaged Ford's dream of winning the manufacturers' title this year."

A determined Latvala and Anttila tried to push the car to the finish of the stage and completed a whole lap before being forced to stop and retire.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi team director Malcolm Wilson reflected on a bitter-sweet end to the weekend. "Mikko has been fantastic throughout. He drove superbly all weekend and thoroughly deserved to take his second win in a row. But I never expected to see what I saw on the final stage. I went to watch the perfect end of a perfect weekend but I can't believe what happened right in front of my eyes. It was heartbreaking to see such an excellent result slip away after both drivers did such a superb job for three days," he said.

Ford of Europe's motorsport manager Gerard Quinn said: "Three consecutive wins is a great reward for the efforts of the team over recent months. Mikko leads the championship going into his home rally and that will be a special moment for him. All our efforts are geared towards maintaining our momentum in Finland, one of the sport's great classics, next month."

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GM Media Statement Regarding GM's Ownership Stake in NUMMI

"As part of its long-term viability plan, General Motors has decided that its ownership stake in the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) joint venture with Toyota will not be a part of the 'New GM’. After extensive analysis, GM and Toyota could not reach an agreement on a future product plan that made sense for all parties. Accordingly, NUMMI will end production of vehicles for GM in August, and there are no future GM vehicles planned for the joint venture at this time. Given that, GM believes it is in the best interest of the ‘New GM’ and its stakeholders that we place our ownership interest in NUMMI in 'Old GM’. We have enjoyed a very positive and beneficial partnership with Toyota for the past 25 years, and we remain open tofuture opportunities of mutual interest.”
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Michigan Plants Will Build GM's Future Small Car

General Motors selected its assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich. and stamping facility in Pontiac, Mich., to build its future small car, which will add to the automaker’s growing portfolio of U.S.-built, highly fuel-efficient cars, including the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt. Today’s announcement will restore approximately 1,400 jobs in total -- 1,200 at Orion Assembly and 200 at Pontiac Metal Center, Building # 14.

This decision is dependent on the successful outcome of ongoing economic incentive negotiations between GM and state and local government officials.

“Small cars represent one of the fastest-growing segments in both the U.S. and around the world,” said Troy Clarke, president of General Motors North America. “ GM will be the only automaker, foreign or domestic, to build small cars in the U.S . , and we believe Orion Assembly and Pontiac Stamping are well suited to deliver a high-quality, fuel-efficient car that competes with anything in the marketplace.”

A selection team comprised of leaders from several of GM’s functional areas, including manufacturing, labor relations and finance, made the final decision based on a specific set of criteria. Orion Assembly will be retooled and is anticipated to be a two-shift operation, building 160,000 cars annually - a combination of both small and compact vehicles.

“This is great news for our members at UAW Local 5960, Oakland County, and the State of Michigan, and shows the world the UAW can compete in the most competitive segment of the automotive industry,” said Cal Rapson, UAW Vice President and Director, UAW-GM Department. “My heart also goes out to our UAW members in Janesville, Wisc., and Spring Hill, Tenn. Our work will not be complete until all of our members displaced by the shrinking auto industry are returned to work. With today’s announcement, we can begin to restore hope that the worst of the times are behind us.”

Gary Cowger, Group Vice President of GM Global Manufacturing & Labor Relations added: “I would like to personally thank all of the key stakeholders involved in the review process, including state and local government officials. This vehicle segment is one of the toughest and most competitive in the world but with our recently modified agreement with the UAW and GM’s proven capability in efficient, flexible manufacturing, it is now possible for GM to produce these size vehicles in the U.S. in a cost-competitive and profitable way.”

As announced on June 1, Orion Assembly will be placed into standby capacity status in Sept. 2009. Pontiac Metal Center ’s Building #14 will be placed into standby capacity status in Dec. 2010. Pontiac Metal’s buildings #15 and #25 will close by Dec. 2010, or sooner depending on market demand. Timing for the retooling of the small car assembly and stamping plants is still under study, but we anticipate this prep work would begin in late 2010 in anticipation of the start of production in 2011.

Two other GM assembly plants in Spring Hill, Tenn. and Janesville, Wis. were also under consideration to build the future small car. Spring Hill will be placed in standby capacity status in Nov. 2009, as announced earlier this month. The plant could be brought online at some point in the future should GM require additional capacity due to increased market demand. Janesville was placed on standby capacity in May 2009 and will remain in that status.

GM already has a strong manufacturing presence in the United States. Currently, about 67 percent of GM cars and trucks sold in the United States are built there. With this announcement, GM anticipates that U.S. production levels will increase beyond 70 percent by 2013, augmenting its already industry-leading U.S. manufacturing footprint of by far more plants than any other OEM.

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Chevrolet WTCC car to dress up for milestone race in Porto

  • Chevrolet driver Alain Menu's race car to sport 2009 "Young? Creative? Chevrolet!" 2009 winning design in World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Porto, Portugal, on July 5
  • Special livery created by 22-year-old Belgian student
  • WTCC celebrates 100th race in Porto
  • Alain Menu's Chevrolet Cruze race car will clearly stand out from the crowd at the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) races in Porto, Portugal, this coming weekend, as it will sport a unique livery.

    The new and original decoration is the 2009 winning design in the Visual Arts discipline of the pan-European "Young? Creative? Chevrolet!" competition conducted by Chevrolet in cooperation with
    applied arts schools across Europe.

    Launched in 2007, the "Young? Creative? Chevrolet!" art contest supports upcoming young talent, encouraging students to look at Chevrolet from their own creative perspective. In the competition's 2009 edition, some 530 projects were submitted by 120 schools in 19 European countries in the disciplines of Fashion, Photography, Visual Arts, Video, and Music.

    The brief for the Visual Arts discipline was to design a unique livery for the Chevrolet Cruze WTCC car and on May 29, 2009, an international panel of judges selected the work of Britt Raes, a 22-year-old student of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent, Belgium, as the European winner in this discipline. "The graphic reflects the speed. It is an excellent combination of creativity and elegance and offers a very interesting design and interpretation of the logo," the jury said about the project.

    In a addition to a monetary prize, Britt's reward for winning 1st place is an exclusive witness trip to the races in Porto, where she will be able to witness her design featured on Alain Menu's Chevrolet Cruze WTCC car in the races. Britt will also be taken on a tour of the race track in a Chevrolet Corvette by one of the three Chevrolet drivers on Saturday.

    "Speed is the key element for racing and winning. With the logos virtually flying off the car, I wanted to express this speed visually in my design. The logo itself is, of course, an important element representing the brand. The work we do in school is usually just on paper and only rarely on a big scale. I am thus very proud and can't wait to see my graphic on the race car. Until now, I've only watched races on TV and I'm very excited to see one live. Having the opportunity to be on site and so close to the Chevrolet race team will be an awesome experience," says Britt Raes.

    Chevrolet race driver Alain Menu says: "I am very proud to drive the car with the winning "Young? Creative? Chevrolet!" design again. I really like this creative project and I hope the special livery will bring me luck! Chevrolet's art contest is a great initiative to help generate interest in the WTCC from quarters not necessarily familiar with racing."

    Race 2 on the Circuito da Boavista in Porto will mark an important milestone in the history of the world's main touring car championship, being the 100th WTCC race. This event will be duly celebrated by the WTCC community and, obviously, also by Chevrolet, who can pride itself of having been present in the championship from the very beginning with the same team and the same drivers! Chevrolet, who obtained its first triple victory in Porto in 2007, is determined to mark the occasion by further enriching the Cruze's excellent record on urban tracks.

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    Monday, June 29, 2009


    The completely redesigned 2010 Buick LaCrosse luxury sedan is the newest example of the globally influenced product renaissance at Buick. It offers all-wheel drive, a suite of advanced intelligent personal technologies and safety features, as well as three efficient, powerful engines.

    “The new LaCrosse builds on the success of Enclave as the next step in Buick’s renaissance and great attention to detail, craftsmanship and advanced technology,” said Susan Docherty, Buick-Pontiac-GMC vice president. “It offers unique features such as all-wheel drive and a new, efficient four-cylinder engine that will attract new customers to Buick.”

    The 2010 LaCrosse was developed within GM’s worldwide network of design and engineering centers, reflecting Buick’s growing popularity around the globe – particularly in Asia. It offers a contemporary vision of a luxury sedan that looks at home on the streets of Santa Monica or Shanghai, with heritage cues that recall the brand’s legacy as a design leader.

    “There is great harmony in everything offered by LaCrosse – a beautifully crafted exterior, a premium interior and a satisfying driving experience to please the senses and complement any lifestyle,” Docherty said. “It’s a seamless package that incorporates the very best of GM’s global resources to make this Buick an industry benchmark.”

    The 2010 LaCrosse is offered in three models - CX, CXL and CXS:

    • CX – equipped at the start of production with a new 3.0L direct injection V-6, premium cloth seats and 17-inch wheels. The 3.0L engine generates 255 horsepower (190 kW) and 217 lb.-ft. of torque (294 Nm) and has a six-speed automatic transmission. Later this year, a new, 2.4L Ecotec four-cylinder replaces the 3.0L as the standard engine.
    • CXL – also equipped with the new 3.0L direct injection V-6, adds leather-appointed heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, fog lamps, outside rearview mirror with LED turn indicators and puddle lamps, and 18-inch alloy wheels. An advanced, intelligent AWD system is available.
    • CXS – equipped with a 3.6L direct injection V-6; real-time active-dampening suspension (optional); perforated, leather-appointed, heated and ventilated seats, and chrome-plated 18-inch alloy wheels (19-inch optional). The 3.6L engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, generates 280 horsepower (209 kW) and 259 lb.-ft. of torque (351 Nm).

    All models share a beautifully sculpted, globally influenced design that is instantly recognizable as a Buick, including a signature “sweep spear” body-side styling, portholes on the hood and a waterfall grille.

    The LaCrosse’s interior continues the flowing, detailed aesthetic of the exterior, with elements such as ice-blue ambient lighting throughout the cabin – from the center console, instrument panel and door panels. Buick’s signature QuietTuning, an engineering process to reduce, block and absorb interior noise, provides a distraction-free passenger environment.

    The contemporary atmosphere of the LaCrosse’s cabin is accented with available digital connectivity and personal technology that includes in-dash navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, an auxiliary audio input and a USB port. For rear-seat passengers, a DVD entertainment system is offered.

    Safety features

    LaCrosse’s strong body structure – including the use of ultra high-strength steel – and a carefully designed passenger compartment help manage crash energy to protect occupants. The LaCrosse is also equipped with technologies that help avoid crashes in the first place.

    The roster of standard and available safety equipment includes:

    • Six air bags, including dual-level frontal air bags; front thorax-pelvic air bags and roof-mounted head curtain air bags for front and rear passengers are standard. Rear side air bags are available
    • Front safety belt pretensioners and lockable head restraints are standard
    • Front shoulder belt load limiters are standard
    • A collapsible brake pedal system is standard
    • OnStar is standard.

    GM’s Side Blind Zone Alert system is available later this summer. Additional optional technologies that bolster LaCrosse’s safety include a head-up instrument display, adaptive forward lighting and a rearview camera system (please see the separate Technology release for more details).

    Buick’s renaissance and quality story

    As General Motors reinvents itself, Buick remains a core brand that will play a central role going forward. Buick’s lineup is expected to grow in North America, building on the success of the popular Enclave crossover that ignited the brand’s renaissance, as well as the new LaCrosse.

    Great design and intelligent personal technologies are driving Buick’s renaissance and build on a foundation of exemplary quality. In March 2009, J.D. Power and Associates announced that Buick tied for the highest ranking in vehicle dependability for three-year-old models. The previous LaCrosse ranked first in the midsize segment, beating the Toyota Camry, while the Buick Lucerne placed second in the large car segment.

    For the seventh straight year, Buick ranked in the Top 10 brands in the J.D. Power and Associates dependability study, which evaluates more than 200 problem areas. 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, LaCrosse and Lucerne.

    The new 2010 LaCrosse is manufactured at GM’s Fairfax Assembly facility in Kansas City, Kan.

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    GMC Announces Pricing on All-New Terrain

    GMC has announced that its all-new Terrain five-passenger crossover will arrive in showrooms in September sporting a starting price of $24,995 for the front-wheel drive model. An all-wheel drive model starts at $26,745. Both prices include a $745 destination and freight charge.

    “The Terrain allows us to build on the evolution we started with the Acadia, applying the distinctive styling and capabilities that have always been a part of the GMC DNA to smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles that customers are seeking in today’s rapidly changing market,” said Susan Docherty, GM North America Vice President, Buick-Pontiac-GMC. “We think Terrain is a bold statement of GMC’s key role within the reinvented General Motors.”

    The base SLE1 model comes standard with GM’s new 2.4L direct-injection engine and six-speed automatic transmission that delivers EPA-estimated highway fuel economy of 32 miles per gallon while offering a unique MultiFlex rear seat configuration that can optimized for either class-leading passenger legroom or nearly 64 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats. The base price also includes unexpected standard features, such as an integrated rear-view camera system and six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with USB connectivity and XM satellite radio service, along with a full suite of safety equipment, including six airbags, StabiliTrak vehicle stability control, and OnStar.

    The top-of-the-line SLT2 trim level, which features leather seating, a premium Pioneer sound system, a power liftgate, sunroof and a special chrome appearance package, starts at $29,995 (including DFC). The Terrain also offers a powerful 3.0L direct injection V6 engine and a host of optional features like integrated navigation system and a rear-seat DVD infotainment system.

    The GMC Terrain will be built at the CAMI assembly facility in Ingersoll, Ontario.

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    Saturday, June 20, 2009


    Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia

    Ford is boosting its Mondeo ECOnetic range. With the introduction of a new, 2.0-litre, 115PS model - the lowest CO2 Mondeo yet - and broadens the choice of Ford models available with less than 140g/km CO2.
    The new Ford Mondeo ECOnetic is offered in five-door or estate form, each with the same, 139g/km CO2 rating, furthering Ford’s commitment to creating fuel efficient models, without sacrificing practicality or driving characteristics.
    Each uses Ford’s proven 2.0-litre, 115PS TDCi engine, optimised with a six-speed transmission to create EC combined fuel economy1 of 54.3mpg, rising to 64.2mpg in motorway cruising and giving a potential combined driving range of over 800 miles.
    Other emission-reducing ECOnetic features include low-rolling resistance tyres and an optimum gearchange indicator, plus aerodynamics-enhancing sports suspension, air deflectors and a rear spoiler. Inside, the no-compromise Mondeo driving environment offers dual-zone automatic temperature control, BluetoothTM connectivity with voice control, cruise control, seven airbags and Quickclear heated front windscreen.
    ESP with Traction Assist and Emergency Brake Assist complete a standard features list that ensures Mondeo ECOnetic is as poised as it is efficient and comfortable.
    The arrival of this new Mondeo ECOnetic is good news for company car drivers – the 2.0-litre engine gives access to a greater number of company car lists, while its low CO2 and competitive price ensure the lowest tax band in its class and low P11D costs.
    Family buyers will also find the latest Ford Mondeo ECOnetic easy on the pocket, with its low CO2 qualifying for Vehicle Excise Duty Band E (£120 per year) and excellent driving range.
    “Running costs are driving purchase decisions, but customers do not want to compromise to achieve low ownership costs,” explains Mondeo brand manager, Jon Gunn-Smith. “More people than ever are recognising that ECOnetic delivers the right balance for them – and more Mondeo customers have opted for ECOnetic in the first five months of 2009, than in the whole of 2008.”
    The new models will be offered alongside the existing five-door or estate 1.8-litre, 125PS Mondeo ECOnetic models. Ford now boasts the broadest sub-160g/km vehicle range of any manufacturer, with 185 models providing savings to company car and family buyers alike. At the end of 2008, Ford was named "Greenest Manufacturer of the Year" by Green-Car-Guide.com.
    The Ford Mondeo 2.0-litre ECOnetic is on sale now, priced from £20,145 on-the-road.
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    Ford S-MaxImage via Wikipedia

    Ford S-MAX has won the large MPV class in the British Insurance Car Security Awards, for the third year in a row, with Galaxy yet again named as runner-up.
    Supported by security experts Thatcham, the Department for Transport, the Home Office and UK insurers, the awards are the highest official recognition of vehicle security in the UK.
    S-MAX – European Car of the Year 2007 – has received the highest score in its class at the awards every year since its launch in Britain. Once again, Ford Galaxy was a close second in the category, reaffirming Ford’s reputation for excellent active and passive security systems.
    Ford of Britain managing director, Nigel Sharp, commented: “This award is both testament to the dedication and expertise of Ford’s vehicle security team and a ringing endorsement of Ford MPV security that our customers can trust.”
    Standard security features on S-MAX include Thatcham Category 1 alarm, remote-control deadlocks, engine immobiliser and visible VIN numbers.
    Ford S-MAX is available from £19,895, on-the-road.
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    == Beschreibung, Quelle == * Quelle: selbst fo...Image via Wikipedia


    • Panoramic glass used on the 2010 Ford Glass Roof Mustang filters almost all of the sun's harmful rays and reduces cool-down time and wind noise while offering a convertible-like driving experience
    • Scientific studies show increased exposure to sunshine or bright light – like that provided in the convertible and Glass Roof Mustang – is therapeutic because it regulates the body's mood-regulating hormone and circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness; also triggers a natural remedy for "the blues"
    • Panoramic sunroofs have doubled in popularity during the past five years; tilt/slide type sunroofs will remain dominant, followed by panoramic and spoiler types through 2011
    • The 2010 Mustang – including Glass Roof and convertible versions – builds on the safety success of the 2008 Mustang – the first sports car and first convertible to earn five-star ratings in U.S. government frontal crash, side impact and rollover tests


    The 2010 Ford Glass Roof Mustang and Mustang GT convertible, which are arriving in dealerships now, offer consumers sun-soaked driving and top-rated safety heritage. Fans of open-air motoring have made the Mustang convertible a perennial bestseller. Those who love the sun but want to cut back on sunscreen use can choose the pony car with the panoramic glass roof, which filters nearly all of the sun's harmful rays.


    The 2010 Mustang builds on the safety success of the 2008 Mustang, which became the first sports car and the first convertible to earn five-stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for frontal crash, side impact and rollover tests.

    The Mustang's considerable body stiffness contributes to its driving performance and has an added benefit in accident protection. While the coupe's body structure is 31 percent stiffer in torsional rigidity than its predecessor, the convertible's is more than twice as stiff – creating a "safety cage" that helps protect the cabin from deformation and intrusion during an impact.

    The front structure is designed to absorb and help dissipate it before it can reach the passenger compartment. The Mustang's front rails have an octagonal shape designed to spread forces evenly at the firewall and progressively deform for increased protection in offset frontal crashes.

    Protective sun-drenched driving
    The 2010 Ford Glass Roof Mustang offers consumers convertible-like driving without the need for sunscreen, because its factory-installed panoramic glass roof filters 90 percent of the sun's heat-generating infrared (IR) rays and 96 percent of burn-causing ultraviolet (UV) rays.

    The UV-filtering capability of the new Mustang's fixed glass roof is comparable to sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) of approximately 50, which exceeds the dermatologist-recommended sunscreen strength of at least SPF-15.

    The glass roof's ability to filter IR rays reduces heat load in the cabin so that occupants remain comfortable while enjoying the sun. The reflective glass also reduces energy used by the vehicle's air conditioner system while protecting the interior fabric from fading and deteriorating.

    Good for the soul
    Sun-soaked cruising is the convertible and Glass Roof Mustang's top appeal factor. Scientific studies show that increased exposure to sunshine or bright light is therapeutic because it regulates the body's synthesis of melatonin, a mood-regulating hormone that modulates the circadian cycle of sleep and wakefulness. Sunshine also triggers the body's conversion to active vitamin D, considered to be an effective natural remedy for "the blues."

    Health experts caution that cool breezes in convertibles can misleadingly mask the sun's harmful rays as occupants may not feel as hot as when they're stationary under the sun. Therefore, dermatologists recommend the use of sun-block lotion or moisturizer with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher prior for top-down drives.

    Roof glass popularity rising
    According to J.D. Power feature content research, 62 percent of buyers in the sports car segment wanted a sunroof/moon roof on their next vehicle. Since its introduction in 2008, the Glass Roof Mustang – which is available as a $1,995 option on both the V-6 model and the GT – has accounted for 10 percent of all Mustang sales. The convertible accounts for 25 percent of Mustang sales, and sell most strongly in California, Florida, Texas and Georgia.

    Mustang is just one Ford model that features ample sunlight and generous views. The 2010 Lincoln MKS and 2009 Ford Flex, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX also offer sun-splashed driving enjoyment with an optional panoramic roof glass that is privacy tinted for the occupants' comfort and protection.

    According to CSM Worldwide, over the last five years panoramic sunroofs have doubled in the popularity in North America. The installation of tilt/slide type sunroofs will remain dominant, followed by panoramic and spoiler types throughout 2011.

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    Companies looking to maximise fuel efficiency can now choose a Ford Transit with ECOnetic low CO2 technology.

    The new Transit ECOnetic, based on the front-wheel-drive Transit 280 panel van with short wheelbase and 2.2-litre 115PS Duratorq TDCi engine is now on sale at £18,095. Target combined fuel economy is 39.2mpg*, while average CO2 emissions are a best-in-class 189g/km.

    Commercial vehicle director, Ford of Britain, Steve Kimber, said: "In the real world, a fuel economy saving of 10 per cent can make a major impact on running costs. Transit has always been the vehicle business people choose when they want value for money and low cost of ownership. With this new ECOnetic version we now have the best in class CO2 Add that to its durability, reliability and the extensive Ford dealer network and you have a winner.

    Transit ECOnetic – what's different?

    • Low friction oil
    • Green gear shift indicator light
    • Modified engine calibration
    • Standard 70mph speed limiter
    • Improvements over the standard 115PS 280S of 24g/km CO2
    • New low-drag wheel covers

    The £750 option of a closed-loop, coated Diesel Particulate Filter (cDPF) enables Transit ECOnetic to meet the Euro Stage V emissions standards. The 115PS engine reaches its peak power at 3,500rpm, and delivers a maximum torque figure of 300Nm at 1,800 to 2,000rpm.

    Standard on Transit ECOnetic is Ford's Electronic Stability Program (ESP) system, including Hill Launch Assist (HLA). It also has a generous array of standard equipment, including the Ford Audio 6000 unit as well as load box safety equipment, including a full steel bulkhead and solid tie-down hooks.

    The Transit ECOnetic is as practical as any Transit. It offers 1,097kg gross payload (the standard Transit 280S van is 1,092kg), and the same load box volume of 6.5 cubic metres – using the SAE method of volume calculations.

    Detail engineering for the Transit ECOnetic included reducing the application of the heaviest options such as a second sliding door. However, all standard and optional safety and comfort features are available.

    Following the launch of ECOnetic models in Ford's Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo passenger car ranges, the company is now committed to continuing this affordable low CO2 approach in the commercial vehicle market. In addition to the new Transit ECOnetic, an ECOnetic version of its compact workmate, the Fiesta Van, will also go on sale later this year.

    Ford Transit ECOnetic Technical Specifications

    Engine data

    Engine type

    Duratorq TDCi 2.2-litre

    Displacement (cc)


    Fuel type


    Bore (mm)


    Stroke (mm)


    Max power PS/kW


    at rpm


    Torque ISO Nm


    at rpm

    1,800 to 2,000

    Emission level

    Stage 5 **

    Fuel Economy* (mpg)

    Extra Urban
    CO2 g/km


    *Fuel economy figures quoted are based on the European Fuel Economy Directive EU 80/1268/EEC which may differ from fuel economy drive cycle results in other regions of the world.
    ** with optional cDPF

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    General Motors Statement Regarding Discontinuation of Pontiac Vibe Production at NUMMI Facility

    As part of its long-term viability plan and recent decision to phase out the Pontiac brand, General Motors has decided to discontinue production of the Pontiac Vibe by the end of August 2009. The Vibe is produced at the New United Motor Manufacturing Incorporated (NUMMI) facility jointly operated by GM and Toyota in Fremont, California. While no replacement for Vibe production has been determined, GM and Toyota remain in active discussions regarding potential future production at NUMMI.
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    Monday, June 15, 2009


    WAYNE, MI - MAY 6: Auto workers examine a new ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

    Ford has made a smooth-shifting new addition to the Fiesta range, in the form of the new Durashift automatic transmission models.

    The refined transmission is matched to the Ford Fiesta’s new 1.4-litre, 96PS Duratec petrol engine, with a responsive character that benefits from new Fiesta’s lighter yet stronger body structure, being approximately 40kg lighter than the car it replaced.

    This ensures ‘auto’ convenience does not significantly compromise performance or economy, with new Fiesta automatic achieving 0-62mph in 13.9sec, while delivering 43.4mpg and a CO2 rating of 154g/km on the EU combined driving cycle.1

    Beyond core performance, development work has also refined the Ford Fiesta’s accelerator pedal response and created a sporty driving quality, present even with the automatic transmission.
    The car’s electronic throttle is tuned to respond differently, depending on how much and how sharply it is applied. More aggressive throttle inputs generate a sharper, sportier response, while gentle throttle inputs deliver a smoother, progressive feel.

    The 1.4-litre automatic completes the Fiesta’s UK engine and transmission line-up and is offered with Style+, Zetec and Titanium trim, bringing Fiesta style to a new group of customers.

    Ford Fiesta product manager, Chris Meurs, commented: “Typcially, around 10 per cent of small car buyers specify an auto option, so convenience technology is an important addition to a range that now offers an option for every taste and need.”

    Fiesta 1.4-litre automatic is on sale now, priced from £13,195 on-the-road.

    1Fuel economy: figures quoted are based on the European Fuel Economy Directive EU 80/1268/EEC, are quoted in UK mpg where relevant and will differ from fuel economy drive cycle results in other regions of the world
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    Ford Ka 2008Image via Wikipedia

    CUSTOMER DEMAND DRIVES UP FORD's european SALES SHARE IN MAY for fifth successive month
    • Customer demand for new products such as the Ford Fiesta and Ford Ka drove up Ford's May sales share for the fifth successive month
    • Ford's share was up 0.2 per cent in May to 8.9 per cent, and up 0.5 per cent to 9.2 per cent year-to-date
    • Fiesta was Ford's best-selling car, with 39,200 sold in May; over 252,000 Fiestas have been sold since market launch last autumn
    • Ford was Europe's No.2 best-selling automotive brand in May and year-to-date
    • National scrappage schemes in Europe helping to bolster an underlying weak market
    • Market share up in 11 of Ford's main 19 European` markets in May, and up in 18 of the main 19 European markets year-to-date
    • In May, Ford was market leader in Britain, Spain and Ireland; No.1 import brand in Italy; No.2 best-selling import brand in France; and No.3 best-selling brand in Germany
    COLOGNE, June 15, 2009 – Driven by enthusiastic customer demand for its strongest-ever range of vehicles, Ford – Europe's No.2 best-selling vehicle brand – saw its sales market share increase for the fifth successive month in May across its main 19 markets.
    Continued economic uncertainty and lower overall volume, combined with political and industry upheaval in some of the company's major markets has not deterred car buyers from choosing Ford's newest models, the Fiesta and Ka, thereby helping to increase the company's market share to 8.9 per cent in May, up 0.2 percentage points.
    Ford's year-to-date share was 9.2 per cent, up from 8.7 per cent in the same period in 2008.
    The company increased its share in 11 out of its 19 main markets in May, and in 18 out of its 19 main markets year-to-date. Total vehicle sales in May were 118,300, 10.6 per cent below May 2008, but a significantly lesser decline than that expected to have been experienced by the overall new vehicle market in Europe.
    "Despite the rapidly evolving industry, economic and political environment, we are very pleased to be Europe's No.2 best-selling vehicle brand for both May and the year so far," said Ingvar Sviggum, vice-president marketing, sales and service, Ford of Europe.
    "We have our strongest-ever vehicle range, and we thank our customers for continuing to show such great confidence in the Ford brand."
    "It's clear, however, from the continuing volume decline that the market is still weak, and it is therefore very important that the scrappage schemes introduced by some countries are continued to support market demand and reduce overall fleet CO2 emissions."
    "We are already seeing promising signs that the scrappage bonuses introduced in Spain and the UK in mid-May are beginning to gain traction, and we hope they will further stimulate demand in those markets in the coming months. We'd like to see other countries following suit and, where necessary, existing schemes expanded to include commercial vehicles in addition to cars," said Mr. Sviggum.
    Ford's all-new small cars – the Fiesta and Ka – have contributed strongly to Ford of Europe's market performance year-to-date and in May. Highlights include:
    Ford Fiesta
    • Fiesta remains Ford of Europe's best-selling vehicle.
    • More than 191,000 new Fiestas have been delivered to customers since the beginning of January. In May, 39,200 new Fiestas were sold.
    • Since the car was first launched last autumn, more than 252,000 units have been sold in Europe.
    Ford Ka
    • Only a few weeks after market introduction, the Ford Ka sold 9,400 units in May and 41,400 units year-to-date.
    • This was Ka's best-selling year-to-date performance since 2003.
    • Ka was segment leader in the UK in May with a share of 14.8 per cent.
    May 2009 market performance
    Market share was up in 11 of Ford's main 19 European markets in May. Across all of its 51 European markets, Ford sold 138,500 vehicles in May 2009, down 16.3 per cent (or 27,000) when compared to the same month last year.
    Ford of Europe's top-selling models in May (19 main markets) were the new Fiesta (39,200), the Focus (25,300), and the new Ka (9,400).
    Britaincontinued to be Ford's leading European market, and its second-largest global market, in May, selling 26,200 new vehicles to customers. The newly-introduced scrappage scheme added 3,800 Ford registrations to the monthly figures. While sales were down 8,200 units from the same month in 2008, market share rose to 17.3 per cent; up 1.0 percent compared to May last year.
    The Fiesta was Britain's best-selling vehicle for the month and year-to-date. Combined Fiesta and Ka sales were just 50 units below their sales figure in May 2008. The Ford Focus was Britain's No.2 best-selling car In May and year-to-date.
    Germanyhad the largest industry passenger car volume since March 2000. With a increase of 49.3 per cent versus May 2008, Ford performed even better than the industry. Ford sold 29,100 cars in May, the company's highest sales since May 2001. This marked a 26.9 per cent increase (or an extra 6,200 units) versus the same month in 2008, the market again being positively driven by the government's continuing scrappage scheme.
    Ford's market share in May increased to 7.9 per cent compared to 7.5 per cent last year, and Ford was the No.3 best-selling brand in the country.
    A similar strong sales performance was delivered by Ford of Italy. May sales rose 23.4 per cent, or 3,800 units, lifting Italy's share by 2.6 per cent to 9.8 per cent versus May 2008. Ford remained Italy's leading import brand, while Fiesta continued to be the best-selling imported car and No.3 best-selling car in Italy.
    In France, C-MAX and S-MAX were the best-selling imported vehicles in their segments. Ford's total vehicle share for May was slightly down by 0.1 per cent to 5.3 per cent, resulting in sales of 11,400, or a reduction of 1,000 units on the same month 2008.
    Ford was market-leader in Spainin May, with a 10 per cent market share. This was down by 0.5 per cent from May 2008, primarily due to Ford's deliberate action to reduce rental volumes.
    Year-to-date performance
    In the first five months of 2009, Ford of Europe sold 590,700 vehicles in its main 19 markets: a reduction of 92,500 vehicles, or 13.5 per cent over the same period in 2008. Ford's market share, however, rose by 0.5 per cent to 9.2 per cent, and 18 out of 19 markets had share gains. Only Spain was down year-to-date, primarily a result of its plan to cut rental volumes.
    Year-to-date May, Ford of Europe sold 680,500 vehicles in its 51 markets, a reduction of 148,100 or 17.9 percent versus the first five months of 2008.
    Over the first five months of 2009, Ford of Britain sold 152,400 vehicles, down 45,900 or 23.2 per cent compared to last year. During the period, the UK's industry declined by 30.2 per cent. Ford's market share in Britain has continued to rise in the first five months of 2009 to 18.1 per cent, up by 1.7 per cent from the first five months of 2008.
    Ford of Germany increased its year-to-date sales by 28.6 per cent. It sold 121,600 new vehicles, an increase of 27,100 over the first five months of 2008. Market share for the first five months of the year rose to 7.5 per cent, up 1.0 per cent compared to 2008.
    In Italy, the companydelivered 99,400 new vehicles to customers. This was up 4,500 units from first five months of 2008 and resulted in a market share increase of 2.1 per cent to 9.9 per cent.
    In the first five months of 2009, Ford was the best-selling foreign brand in France. Year-to-date market share for Ford Francealsoincreased by 0.3 per cent to 5.6 per cent, with sales of 58,900 – a reduction of 6,300 units on 2008.
    The market in Spainhas continued to be one of the most depressed in Europe. The industry fell by 45 per cent in the past five months, with Ford sales totaling 33,400; a reduction of 35,300 or 51.4 per cent on the same period the previous year. Ford's market share in Spain was down by 1.2 per cent to 8.7 per cent.
    In Russia, 42,800 sales (although down by 35,400 or 45.2 per cent versus the same period last year, the industry declined by 49 per cent) enabled Ford's market share for the first five months of 2009 to rise by 0.6 per cent to 6.7 per cent.
    May 2009 sales volume
    May 09
    May YTD 09
    Euro 19 1
    Changes vs. 08
    down 14,000 /(10.6) % vs. 05/08
    down 92,500 /(13.5) % vs. 05/YTD 08
    Euro 21 (Euro 19 + Russia and Turkey)
    Changes vs. 08
    down 22,900 /(14.6) % vs. 05/08
    down 132,200 /(16.7) % vs. 05/YTD 08
    EDM 30 2
    Changes vs. 08
    down 4,200 /(49.4) % vs. 05/08
    down 15,900 /(44.4) % vs. 05/YTD 08
    Total EURO 51(EURO 21 + EDM 30)
    Changes vs. 08
    down 27,000 /(16.3) % vs. 05/08
    down 148,100 / (17.9) % vs. 05/YTD 08
    1The Euro 19 markets are: Austria, Belgium, Britain, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Ford reports sales for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania through our Finnish National Sales Company, so sales data for the Baltic states is also included within Euro 19.
    2 European Direct Markets are: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Georgia, Gibraltar, Kazakhstan, Kyrgysztan, Libya, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
    May 2009 market share 3
    May 09
    May YTD 09
    Euro 19 3
    changes vs. 08
    8.9 %
    up 0.2 ppts. vs. May 08
    9.2 %
    up 0.5 ppts. vs. May YTD 08
    Euro 21 (incl. Russia and Turkey)
    changes vs. 08
    8.9 %
    up 0.4 ppts. vs. May 08
    9.1 %
    up 0.6 ppts. vs. May YTD 08
    3 Not available for EDM, where we base our share on non-domestic sales volumes.
    May sales by vehicle line (Euro 19) 4
    May 09
    o(u) May 08
    May YTD 09
    o(u) May YTD 08
    New Ka
    New Fiesta
    Focus Coupé-Cabriolet
    Transit Connect
    4 Figures do not include vehicles such as the Fiesta van, Maverick, Explorer imports and Turkish-built Cargo heavy trucks.
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    Ford's 10th Annual Sustainability Report Details Progress on Blueprint for Sustainability

    Ford Motor CompanyImage via Wikipedia

    The 2008/2009 reported entitled “Blueprint for Sustainability: Our Future Works” updates the company’s progress in key areas of climate change, fuel economy, mobility, vehicle safety and human rights.

    The report reaffirms Ford’s strong commitment to its sustainability strategy to support positive social change and reduce the environmental impact of its products and facilities while ensuring economically viable for the long term.

    “Our economic and environmental goals are aligned. In fact, we believe that the best way for us to be more profitable is to make our business and products more sustainable,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company.

    Included in the report are sections dealing with climate change that summarize the company’s progress toward its CO2 reduction goal, its approach to climate change policy, vehicle and fuel and technologies to achieve improved fuel economy for Ford products, the company’s accelerated electrification strategy, human rights initiatives and how the One Ford plan is addressing the economic challenges facing the industry today.

    “We recognize these issues are increasingly important to our stakeholders, including our customers, investors and business partners,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “We want them to understand that we will continue to pursue our sustainability agenda despite very challenging economic conditions.”

    In the interest of the environment as well as cost savings, Ford has elected not to do a traditional print version of the report. The full report is now available online at www.ford.com/go/sustainability.

    Sustainable Progress
    Significant progress highlighted by Ford in its 10th annual report for 2008/2009:

    • Company remains on track to reach its goal to reduce by 30 percent the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of its new U.S. and European vehicles by 2020, compared to the 2006 model year.
    • Accelerated development of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which will be introduced between 2010 and 2012.
    • Introduction of the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic model with the lowest CO2 emissions of any family car sold in Europe at 98g/km
    • Launch of two new hybrids in North America: Ford Fusion Hybrid and Mercury Milan Hybrid, the most fuel-efficient midsize sedans in North America at 41 miles per gallon in city driving.
    • Introduction of EcoBoostTM engine technology which uses direct injection and turbo charging to deliver up to 20 percent better fuel economy, up to15 percent fewer CO2 emissions and superior driving performance compared to larger-displacement engines.

    Additional Highlights

    • Vehicle quality continues to improve, with Ford now on par with the best in the business.
    • Improved the energy efficiency of its North American facilities by 4.5 percent in 2008, resulting in savings of approximately $16 million.
    • Received the most Top Safety Picks from the U.S.-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of any automaker and introduced a range of safety innovations to its vehicles globally in 2008. In the most recent Euro NCAP assessments, the Ford Kuga, Fiesta, European Focus, Mondeo, S-MAX and Galaxy received best-in-class, five-star adult protection and four-star child protection ratings.
    • Conducted human rights and working conditions training sessions in China and Mexico, in conjunction with the Automotive Industry Action Group and other automakers that reached nearly 1,000 Tier 1 suppliers and 7,700 Tier 2 suppliers and were cascaded to more than 66,000 individuals.
    • Joined the United Nations Global Compact in April of 2008, reinforcing its commitment to human rights and other important responsibilities of global companies.

    Sustainable Integrity
    To ensure its Sustainability Report’s thoroughness and accuracy, Ford worked with a team from Ceres, a coalition of investors, environmental groups and other public interest organizations working with companies on sustainable business practices. The Ceres stakeholder team is an independent group of individuals drawn primarily from the Ceres coalition and represents a range of constituencies that have expertise in environmental, social and governance issues.

    “Ford’s reporting has benefited greatly from open and honest dialogue with shareholders, environmental organizations and other key stakeholders regarding a variety of sustainability issues, including global climate change and good governance practices,” said Carol Lee Rawn, senior manager of the Transportation Program at Ceres, who led the Ceres stakeholder team that advised Ford on its Sustainability Report.

    Ford first issued a Corporate Citizenship Report in 1999 to address the company’s initiatives regarding social, economic and environmental issues. As industry, business environment and social expectations continue to evolve, so does the report. In 2004, it was renamed the Sustainability Report to better reflect its emphasis on the business case for its approach to environmental and social issues. This year’s complete report can be found at www.ford.com/go/sustainability.

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    Chevrolet Lacetti World Touring CarImage by Alan_D via Flickr

    Next week-end will not only mark the end of spring and the beginning of summer, but also the end of the first half of the World Touring Car Championship season. The sixth event of the WTCC will take place in the Masaryk Automotodrom, the beautiful and very technical track in the hills around Brno, Czech Republic, which regularly attracts large crowds from the various Central European countries.

    The Chevrolet team heads to Moravia seeking to score good points and with the objective to prove the progress made by the new Cruze on traditional circuits. Since the last race in Valencia, the team has been testing for three days, at two separate venues, to continue developing and fine-tuning the balance of the Cruze.


    Saturday, 20th June 2009
    08.30-09.00 Free Practice 1
    11.00-11.30 Free Practice 2
    15.00-15.35 Qualifying (Q1 20’ + Q2 10’)

    Sunday, 21st June 2009

    08.30-08.45 Warm up
    12.50-13.15 Race 1 (10 laps = 54.030 kms) (Rolling start)
    15.05-15.30 Race 2 (10 laps = 54.030 kms) (Standing start)
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    Corvette Racing Wins GT1 in 24 Hours of Le Mans

    Corvette Racing brought down the curtain on the GT1 era with a victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Johnny O'Connell, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia scored Corvette Racing's sixth class victory in the world's biggest sports car race with the No. 63 Compuware Corvette C6.R. The winning Corvette completed 342 laps, racing to a six-lap margin of victory over the No. 73 Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R of Yann Clairay, Julien Jousse and Xavier Maassen. The No. 64 Compuware Corvette C6.R of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta, and Marcel Fassler retired from the lead in the 22nd hour with an apparent gearbox problem.

    Today's win was Corvette Racing's 16th podium finish at Le Mans since 2000. It was the fourth Le Mans class win for O'Connell and Magnussen, and the second consecutive Le Mans GT1 victory for Garcia. O'Connell became the first American driver to win four class titles in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

    "When you look at the Americans who have won here multiple times, they're all important figures in motorsports history," O'Connell said. "To achieve my fourth win with Corvette Racing, driving a sports car that's an American icon, it's hard to put that into words. There is nothing more difficult and more rewarding than winning here, and sharing it with two awesome drivers like Jan and Antonio."

    The two Corvettes waged a fierce battle throughout 22 of the 24 hours, never separated by more than one lap. The pole-winning No. 63 Corvette C6.R led from the start for 18 hours and 52 minutes. Beretta then put the No. 64 Corvette C6.R in front, passing Garcia on a restart following a safety car period. Garcia regained the lead at 19:23 when Beretta pitted; the No. 64 was back at the front following a pit stop for O'Connell to replace Garcia. The 21st hour saw an intense duel between O'Connell and Fassler with the cars dicing around the entire 8.47-mile circuit.

    "It was a great race, but a shame that the No. 64 Corvette was not there at the finish," said Garcia. "We raced really, really hard for 22 hours. We were racing fair, and we were all going 100 percent. The full stint I did fighting with Olly after the safety car came in was great."

    At 21:36, Fassler radioed the crew that he was experiencing shifting problems. The gearbox problem intensified, and the car was stranded near the pit lane entrance when it lost drive to the rear wheels. In contrast, the No. 63 Corvette had a trouble-free run throughout the grueling 24-hour race, making 32 pit stops and never going into the garage for repairs. O'Connell and Garcia drove the closing stints in the race when Magnussen became ill.

    "It was a good fight," said Fassler. "Sure it was difficult to race your teammate hard, but when we went out of the chicane he was really fair and he left me space. I enjoyed leading the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and I came very close to reaching one of the goals I want to achieve in my life. I was only two hours away, but suddenly I smelled some gearbox oil. Then something broke quickly before I could get back to the pits. I was very disappointed for the whole team and my teammates. All of them did a really good job. There were no mistakes, and they deserved a victory as well. In the end, it's important for Corvette Racing that they have a Le Mans win with the No. 63 Corvette, and I have to congratulate them because it was a tough fight."

    This race marked the end of the GT1 era for Corvette Racing that began in 1999. Since then, Corvette Racing has become America's premier production sports car team, winning 77 races and eight consecutive American Le Mans Series championships.

    "When you look at all aspects of the close of the GT1 category as we know it today, it is an unequivocal testament to the commitment of a corporation that recognizes the value of motorsports from a marketing and technological perspective," said Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan. "It's also representative of all the people who have been here since the beginning, who dedicated themselves to taking Corvette forward. At the end of the day, today's victory is emblematic of what American teamwork and American spirit is about."

    Corvette Racing will make the move to the GT2 category in its next event, the Acura Sports Car Challenge at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on August 6-8. The two-hour, 45-minute race is scheduled to start at 2:10 p.m. ET on Saturday, August 8. The race will be televised same-day tape-delayed on NBC at 4 p.m. ET.
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