Friday, October 9, 2009


Ford Fiesta mk7 at Moscow International Autosh...Image via Wikipedia

Ford's rollout of its next generation of small cars will hit an important milestone when the new Fiesta is revealed in December at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The reveal of the North American-based Ford Fiesta will also mark the culmination of the first phase of the Fiesta Movement.

Set to arrive in dealer showrooms next summer, the Fiesta already can claim more than 50,000 potential customers thanks to the Fiesta Movement.

"This is the perfect time to show the North American Fiesta," said Sam De La Garza, Ford Fiesta marketing manager. "The Fiesta Movement will have wrapped up, and after hearing so much about this car leading up to the reveal, everyone will finally get to see what we are so excited about."

Fiesta Movement October missions – entertainment
Fiesta Movement agents are entering their final month of missions, and October has them having a blast with missions planned around the theme of entertainment. With 100 missions to choose from, all agents are sure to find an adventure to suit their tastes.

October missions include:

  • Visiting Turn10 Studio, Microsoft's racing studio, to get a look behind closed doors at the making of the latest Forza race game featuring the 2011 Ford Fiesta. The agent will get to design his or her own Fiesta, then climb into a three-screen simulator complete with hydraulics to put the new game to the test.
  • A behind-the-scenes glimpse into the production of a music video with Izza Kizza. The hip-hop artist is creating his music video for the song "They're Everywhere," and one lucky Fiesta agent will get to be right there, front and center, for the fun.
  • Hanging out in the recording studio with Jukebox the Ghost. The indie pop group is recording its new album; a Fiesta agent will be checking out the band's new tunes right along with them.
  • Several missions for football fanatics, from checking out a Detroit Lions game with a former player, to watching a Philadelphia Eagles warm-up, to hanging out for the team's game and meeting the broadcast group for the Eagles.

During each mission and after its completion, agents upload content to the Fiesta Movement Web site or the social media platform of their choice. Using, visitors can follow the ride by accessing the live feed feature to keep current on what the agents have to say about Fiesta and their missions.

Spreading the word
After kicking off the Fiesta Movement and embarking on their first missions in May, agents created a big impression in the social media world, including:

  • More than 4.3 million video views on YouTube
  • More than 540,000 photo views on Flickr
  • More than 3 million impressions on Twitter

Fiesta sales success
Fiesta is continuing its sales momentum as Europe's No. 2-selling car and Ford of Europe's top-selling vehicle, helping Ford's share in Europe's main 19 markets increase for the eighth consecutive month.

Nearly 340,000 Fiestas have been sold since the car was launched last autumn, with 21,800 delivered to customers in August. Fiesta was the best-selling foreign vehicle in August in both Italy and France.

In Europe, the Fiesta name has long been synonymous with outstanding drive quality, design and value. The all-new Ford Fiesta will bring its three-decade heritage to U.S. consumers in 2010.

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Chrysler Group LLC Reports International Sales for September 2009

Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 425 PSImage via Wikipedia

In September 2009, Chrysler Group LLC sold 12,493 vehicles outside of North America, a 30 percent increase compared with August 2009 sales (9,951). The month-to-month increase was a result of the improved sales performance in some key markets such as the U.K. and improved supply of nameplates like the Dodge Journey, which saw a 53 percent increase in sales versus the previous month. Compared with September 2008, Chrysler Group LLC sales are down 32 percent. However, markets outside of North America showed encouraging signs based on the month-over-month increase and a smaller year-over-year decline, when August 2009 vehicle sales were down 44 percent versus the prior year.

Regional Sales
The Western and Central European region led Chrysler Group LLC sales outside of North America with 5,440 units sold, a 90 percent increase from August 2009 (2,856). The United Kingdom was the market leader for the company and the region with 2,056 sales, a 34 percent increase compared to the same period last year.

Chrysler Group sold 2,964 vehicles in Latin America, an increase of 28 percent from August 2009 (2,308). Venezuela was the market leader for the region with monthly sales of 1,010 units.

Combined sales in Africa, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Russia increased 36 percent with 2,065 vehicles sold, compared with 1,520 sales the previous month.

In the Asia Pacific region, Chrysler Group LLC sold 2,024 vehicles, down 30 percent from August 2009. China led the region with 1,042 vehicle sales.

Brand Sales
Outside of North America the Chrysler brand sold 2,437 vehicles. The Chrysler Grand Voyager led the brand with 634 sales.

The Dodge brand sold 5,004 vehicles outside of North America with Dodge Journey leading the company and the brand with 1,732 sales, an increase of 53 percent versus the prior year.

The Jeep® brand sold 5,052 vehicles outside of North America. The Jeep Grand Cherokee led the brand with 1,450 sales outside of North America.

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FR500C in KONI Challenge Series competitionImage via Wikipedia

The car that was "born to race" is doing just that in 2009… and winning races and championships nationwide.

The 2009 race season is proving to be a banner year for the Ford Mustang. In addition to celebrating its 45th anniversary this year, the iconic pony car has won two series championships already and is positioned to possibly win championship titles in NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Funny Car Series, SCCA Speed World Challenge GT Series, and Formula Drift Professional Drifting Championship Series.

For the second consecutive year, the Ford Mustang FR500C swept the triple crown of the Grand Am KONI Challenge, winning team, driver and manufacturers' championships. Ken Wilden claimed the driver and Wilden and his teammate Dean Martin captured the team title for Rehagen Racing with a sixth place finish at the season-ending Bosch Engineering Octoberfest at Virginia International Raceway. The championship was the first for Wilden and the Rehagen Racing team.

"We took over the points lead by the second race," said Ken Wilden. "Our performance has been solid and consistent. The Mustang has been a phenomenal car. It feels good to win the championship. It's been 13 years since my last championship, and it's been a while since I've been in a car that I could say I could win one in."

Bret Seafuse and James Gue drove their JBS Motorsports Ford Mustang GT to victory at VIR and in doing so jumped Ford to the top of the manufacturers' standings, edging BMW by four points (348-344) to help Ford capture back-to-back manufacturers' titles. Ford Mustangs dominated the 2009 KONI Challenge, winning five races and finishing on the podium in eight of the eleven races.

With three races remaining in the 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing series, six of the 10 drivers eligible for the Countdown to 1 playoff run pilot Mustangs. Carrying the Blue Oval and the pony car into championship run are 14-time champion John Force, Ashley Force Hood, Robert Hight, Mike Neff, Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson. The Ford Mustang drivers have hoisted the coveted Wally Trophy in six out of the last seven races. Heading into Richmond this weekend, Force Hood sits atop the points standings while Hight is a close second, Tasca remains in sixth while Force, Wilkerson and Neff occupy the seventh through ninth positions, respectively.

Hight said it best after clinching the final spot in NHRA's Countdown to 1, "I'm excited that six of the top 10 are Ford Mustangs and, you know what, one of us ought to win this championship."

SCCA Speed World Championship GT Series Mustang driver Brandon Davis is leading the point standings with only one race to left in his season. Davis needs to finish sixth or better in the last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend to win the Speed World Challenge GT Championship. In his last outing at Road Atlanta, Davis raced in the new 2010 Mustang and hopes to capture the title in the latest model.

"We are optimistic going into the final round, but the fact is, it's not over yet," said Davis. "We're very aware of that, and we'll be celebrating afterwards hopefully, but for right now, we're still focused on the task at hand."

One Mustang driver, Andrew Caddell, has already claimed his 2009 championship when he took the checkered flag at Miller Motorsports Park two weeks ago. Caddell is now the two-time Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Series champion. Caddell successful defended his inaugural Mustang Challenge title despite fierce competition from Ted Anthony Jr.

"We won the first race of the year, and then we struggled after that. After the Barber Motorsports Park and the 45th Anniversary of the Mustang, we took the car to the dyno and found that we were 12 horsepower down. We changed the motor, and once we did that, the rest of the season went great," said Caddell. "We won in New Jersey, we finished second at Laguna and then we finished the season off with another win. It was just a great year."

One of the most recognizable cars in the Formula Drifting Professional Drifting Championship Series is the Falken Mustang driven by Vaughn Gittin Jr. Gittin sits third in series standings with one race left in the season. The last round in the series takes place October 16th-17th at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California.

Brent Hajek and his Hajek Motorsports stable of '08 Cobra Jet Mustangs have made a significant impact at the dragstrips in 2009, including winning the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in the car's debut. Hajek Motorsports also took an E-85 Mustang to Talladega earlier this year where Bill Elliott set a closed course speed record for an E-85 powered car. Next up on the on the horizon for Hajek Motorsports, a land speed record attempt in an E-85 powered 2010 Mustang at the famed Bonneville Salt Flats.

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WAYNE, MI - OCTOBER 15:  Ford Motor Company wo...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Ford Motor Company is intensifying its focus on global electrification with the creation of a new position to lead the planning and strategy for Ford's future electric vehicle portfolio.

Nancy Gioia, formerly Ford's director of Sustainable Mobility Technology and Hybrid Vehicle Programs, North America, has been named director of Ford Global Electrification.

"We recognize that pursuing electrification as one of our technology paths presents unique challenges for commercialization of the vehicles," said Sue Cischke, Ford's group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "It requires us to collaborate with new partners, define new business models, connect to a new infrastructure for the vehicles and meet new customer expectations around the globe."

In her new position, Gioia will direct strategy and planning for Ford's global electric vehicle portfolio, touching all aspects of electrified transportation, including product planning, supplier partnerships and collaboration with the energy industry and government.

"Ford is strongly positioned to accelerate its electric vehicle strategy thanks in part to the significant research we've already completed," said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president, Powertrain Engineering. "Nancy's unique background and experience in leading the hybrid technology and electric vehicle product teams position her well to coordinate our electric efforts across product development, sustainability and government affairs as we move to the next frontier of this new form of transportation."

Ford has announced plans to develop three distinct types of electrified vehicles – hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure battery electric vehicles. They include:

  • Battery electric Transit Connect commercial van in 2010
  • Battery electric Focus passenger car in 2011
  • Next-generation hybrid vehicle in 2012
  • Plug-in hybrid in 2012

Ford's electrification strategy is consistent with its commitment to deliver affordable fuel efficient technology to millions of customers. The company is poised to take advantage of rapid advancements in electrified vehicle technology – particularly lithium-ion batteries – while leveraging the scale of global vehicle platforms to ultimately reduce the cost of new electric vehicles.

Global fleet testing under way
The globalization of Ford's electrification strategy is well under way, with test fleets on both sides of the Atlantic. At the recent Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford of Europe revealed the first of a fleet of battery electric vehicle prototypes based on the Ford Focus, and specially developed to participate in the U.K. government's "Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicles" demonstration initiative next year. The research program aims to test the technology's suitability for potential future application in Ford's European passenger car range.

A consortium of Ford, Scottish and Southern Energy and Strathclyde University will use the fleet of 15 prototype Ford Focus BEVs and a charging infrastructure in and around the London Borough of Hillingdon starting in early 2010.

The Focus BEV prototype is based on the current European Ford Focus and will use a new all-electric powertrain, developed with Ford supplier partner Magna. This technology is based on that being developed for Ford's new-generation C-sized global vehicle architecture that will be launched in North America in 2011.

"This fleet of Focus BEV prototypes is an important step toward developing a realistic solution and viable market for electric vehicles in the U.K., Europe and North America," Gioia said. "Our electrification strategy absolutely depends on strong alliances with key partners whose expertise and resources complement our extensive experience and global production capabilities."

In North America, Ford and its energy industry partners continue to collaborate on the connectivity issue between electric vehicles and the electric grid. Over the past two years, Ford and its utility partners have logged more than 75,000 miles on a test fleet of plug-in Escape Hybrids. Plug-in hybrid research focuses on four primary areas: battery technology, vehicle systems, customer usage and grid infrastructure.

In addition, Ford has developed an intelligent vehicle-to-grid communications and control system for its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles that "talks" directly with the nation's electric grid.

Commercial and retail electric products planned
Ford is set to deliver its first electrified vehicle in 2010 when it will launch a pure battery electric Transit Connect small commercial van. The vehicle will be targeted to fleets and businesses with short, defined transportation routes and the ability to return to a central charging location at day's end.

In 2011, Ford will launch the battery electric Ford Focus passenger vehicle. Built off the new global C platform, the BEV Focus will be produced at the Michigan Assembly Plant for both retail and commercial customers.

"Broad commercialization of electric transportation will require unprecedented collaboration among all stakeholders and new ways of doing business," Gioia said. "Ford is committed to help lead the way to find creative solutions to ensure that electrified vehicles can deliver benefits to our customers, the environment and our business around the globe in a sustainable way."

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Today, will see the official reveal of the Cruze Cup, the new racing series of the ADAC Weser-Ems, Germany’s largest motorist club and motorsports organization, at a special ceremony to take place in the Oschersleben Motorsport Arena.

The Cruze Cup will be launched in 2010 and will adopt a special race-spec version of the Chevrolet Cruze developed by Wiechers Sport on the basis of the Chevrolet Cruze WTCC.

After its successful introduction into global markets and in the World Touring Car Championship, the Chevrolet Cruze has now been chosen by the ADAC Weser-Ems to serve as the platform for its new in-house racing competition and will offer German racing enthusiasts the possibility to enjoy racing with an exciting race-spec car at a very affordable price.

All-New Chevy Caprice Police Car

An all-new Chevrolet Caprice Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) will join the ranks of law enforcement departments across North America in 2011. It’s a modern, full-size, rear-drive sedan that will offer both V-8 and V-6 engines, as well as a host of specialized equipment and features.

Chevrolet made the announcement at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police convention, in Denver, Colorado. The Caprice PPV will be available for ordering next year and will hit the streets in early 2011.

“The new Chevrolet Caprice police car is the right tool at the right time for law enforcement,” said Jim Campbell, general manager for GM Fleet and Commercial Operations. “We asked for a lot of feedback from our police customers, which helped us develop a vehicle that is superior to the Crown Victoria in key areas.”

Vice President, Global Chevrolet Brand Brent Dewar added, “Along with Impala and Tahoe, the Caprice PPV gives agencies a greater range of choices for police and special service vehicles that are all available from Chevrolet.”

Unlike other police cars on the market, the Caprice PPV is not based on existing “civilian” passenger-car model sold in North America. It has been developed in key areas specifically for police duty, containing modern equipment and features:

  • Powerful 6.0L V-8 with fuel-saving Active Fuel Management technology and E85 capability delivers expected best-in-class 0-60 acceleration (sub six seconds) and top speed; a V-6 engine will also be offered, beginning in the 2012 model year
  • Optional front-seat-only side curtain air bags allows a full-width rear-seat barrier for greater officer safety
  • Two trunk-mounted batteries, with one of them dedicated to powering various police equipment
  • Designed for five-passenger seating, meaning the upper-center section of the dashboard can be used for equipment mounting without the concern of air bag deployment interference
  • Compatibility with in-dash touch-screen computer technology
  • Special front seats designed for the long-term comfort of officers whose car is their effective office, including space that accommodates the bulk of a typical equipment belt

The front seats are sculpted to “pocket” the equipment belt, which greatly increases the comfort for a great range of police officer sizes. The foam density of the seatback and cushion insert surfaces are designed to conform to the shape of an equipment belt’s various items, too, allowing the officer’s back to rest properly on the seatback surface.

“The Chevrolet Caprice PPV’s seats represent a revolution in comfort and utility for officers who spend long hours in their car,” said Bob Demick, lead seat design manager. “The shape also enhances entry and egress, making it easier for officers to exit the vehicle quickly. The seatback bolsters, for example, have been purposefully contoured to help pocket the equipment on the belt, which includes the gun, Taser and handcuffs, which rest comfortably in the sculpted lower bolsters. That also increases the longevity of the trim cover surface.”

Along with comfort, the materials used in the seats were also carefully selected. High-wear materials were chosen to stand up to long hours of everyday use, while breathability, long-term durability and ease of cleaning were also important criteria.

Engineers worked on several iterations of the seat, testing a couple of versions in the field to get real-world feedback from police officers, who used prototype seats in their cruisers for a month. Their input helped determine the final design.

Class-leading space

The Caprice PPV is based on GM’s global rear-drive family of vehicles that also underpins the Chevy Camaro. It uses the longest wheelbase of the architecture – 118.5 inches (3,010 mm) – along with a four-wheel independent suspension that delivers responsive high-performance driving characteristics that are crucial in some police scenarios.

Caprice PPV’s long wheelbase also contributes to exceptional spaciousness. Compared to the primary competition, its advantages include:

  • A larger interior volume – 112 cubic feet / 3,172 liters – than the Ford Crown Victoria, including nearly 4 inches (101 mm) more rear legroom
  • The barrier between the front seat and rear seat is positioned farther rearward, allowing for full front-seat travel and greater recline for officer comfort
  • At 18 cubic feet (535 liters) free space (beyond battery located in trunk), the Caprice’s trunk volume is large enough to accommodate a full-size spare tire under a flat load surface in the trunk storage area.

The Caprice’s 6.0-liter V-8 is rated at an estimated 355 horsepower (265 kW) with an estimated 384 lb-ft of torque. It is backed by a six-speed automatic transmission that is performance-calibrated for police duty. Additional, police car-specific powertrain and vehicle system features include:

  • High-output alternator
  • Engine oil, transmission and power steering coolers
  • Standard 18-inch steel wheels with bolt-on center caps
  • Large, four-wheel disc brakes with heavy-duty brake pads
  • Heavy-duty suspension components
  • Police-calibrated stability control system
  • Driver information center in the instrument cluster with selectable speed tracking feature.

A host of complementary features are also offered, including special equipment packages such as spotlights; lockouts for the power windows and locks; and an “undercover” street-appearance package (9C3).

To enable more room for interior equipment, the standard radio can be relocated to the trunk, allowing for an in-dash, touch-screen computer to be used.

Caprice on patrol: A brief history

Chevrolet’s history with law enforcement is almost as old as the brand itself. Police departments have used Chevy sedans as police cars for decades, ordering them with basic equipment and powerful V-8 engines – including some special engines that weren’t available in regular-production models, such as the 1959 Biscayne that was offered with up to 315 horsepower.

The full-size Chevrolets joined the force in 1976. All Caprice police cars – including the new, 2011 model – have carried the 9C1 order code. Here’s a quick look back at Chevys on patrol:

1959 – Chevy Biscayne police model capable of 135 mph with specially tuned, police-only version of the 348-cubic-inch V-8 engine

1965 – The new “big-block” 396 engine is offered in Biscayne and Bel Air police cars, making them among the most powerful on patrol; a 427 V-8 was added in 1966

1976 – The 9C1 order code is given for the first time to a full-size Chevy police car package. It carries the Impala name.

1977 – The full-size Chevy is downsized. The 9C1 police package is retained, as is the Impala name.

1986 – The Caprice name replaces Impala, as the car is updated for the mid- and late-1980s – including the option of a powerful, 5.7-liter small-block V-8.

1991 – A new-generation Caprice is launched, with the 9C1 police car still on the beat.

1994 – The 260-horsepower (194 Nm) LT1 V-8 engine is offered in the Caprice 9C1, making it one of the fastest full-size police cars ever offered.

1996 – Caprice police car production ends, as GM’s full-size, body-on-frame car architecture is discontinued.

2011 – The Caprice PPV returns to active duty.

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