Thursday, December 15, 2011

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

2010 Ford F-150 Harley Davidson photographed i...
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The 2012 Ford F-150, which established a new standard for full-size pickups with best-in-class fuel efficiency and capability, today was named Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year®.
“The 2012 F-150 is a no-compromise solution that can be tailored to fit virtually every customer’s needs, and the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award further reinforces that this is truly the best choice for America’s truck owners,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “We are proud to receive this award and even more pleased that our F-150 customers have additional validation of their top choice.”
This is the fourth time the F-150 has won the award – the most awards for any truck since Motor Trend began presenting its Truck of the Year award in 1989. The Ford pickup received the magazine’s prestigious award for previous groundbreaking new models in 1997, 2004 and 2009.
Motor Trend editors applauded F-150 because, they said, “F-150s are built to work and felt better the more they were challenged. Ford offers an enormous variety of configurations and designs, making the truck tailorable to just about any need. It’s the combination of advancement in design, engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value, and the performance of intended function that has earned the Ford F-150 the title of Motor Trend’s 2012 Truck of the Year.”
With more than a half-million sales through November and a lead of almost 150,000 sales versus the nearest competitor, the Ford F-Series is on track this year to extend its streak of truck leadership to 35 straight years.
Helping spark the F-150’s continued success is the powerful and fuel-efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost® engine, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of F-150 retail sales and is on pace to exceed 100,000 sales in less than a year on the market.
More capability, more technology
The 2012 F-150 offers customers plenty of technologies that boost capability, performance, driving enjoyment and fuel efficiency. One such technology is the class-exclusive electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). The system has been carefully tuned with sophisticated speed mapping to deliver accurate responses at high speed while remaining light and manageable in parking maneuvers. Ford is the first manufacturer to widely offer EPAS on full-size pickup trucks. EPAS contributes about a 4 percent fuel-economy benefit compared with conventional hydraulic systems.
A 4.2-inch LCD message center that features information related to fuel economy, towing performance and off-roading, SYNC® AppLink and SiriusXM Travel Link also are among the customer conveniences available.
New features for 2012 include:
  • 36-gallon fuel tank on 4x4 F-150 EcoBoost-equipped units providing best-in-class 756 miles of driving range
  • Two-speed automatic 4x4 system on Lariat, King Ranch, Harley-Davidson and Platinum models for improved all-weather traction
  • Hill Start Assist, which helps keep the truck from rolling backward at a stop, making it easier to pull away when on a slope or hill, especially when towing
  • Best-in-class payload capability of 3,120 pounds
Fuel-efficient and powerful offerings
All of the changes for the 2012 model year complement a powertrain lineup that debuted in 2011. The powertrain lineup delivers a mix of best-in-class fuel economy, horsepower, torque and capability. Ford is also the first and only manufacturer to equip its entire full-size pickup truck lineup with a fuel-saving six-speed automatic transmission as standard. Engine highlights include:
3.7-liter four-valve Ti-VCT V6:
  • Best-in-class 302 horsepower at 6,500 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Unsurpassed 278 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm vs. V6 competitors
  • Best-in-class 17 mpg city and best-in-class 23 mpg highway (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 6,100 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. V6 competitors
5.0-liter four-valve DOHC Ti-VCT V8:
  • Best-in-class 360 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • Best-in-class 380 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,250 rpm vs. standard V8 competitors
  • 21 mpg highway, unsurpassed 15 mpg city (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 10,000 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. standard V8 competitors
6.2-liter two-valve SOHC V8:
  • Best-in-class 411 horsepower at 5,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 434 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,500 rpm vs. all competitors
  • 13 mpg city, 18 mpg highway (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
3.5-liter Ti-VCT EcoBoost:
  • 365 horsepower at 5,000 rpm on regular fuel
  • Best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,500 rpm vs. premium V8 competitors
  • Up to 90 percent peak torque available from 1,700 rpm to 5,000 rpm
  • 22 mpg highway, 16 mpg city (4x2)
  • Best-in-class 11,300 pounds maximum trailer tow vs. all competitors
  • Best-in-class 3,120 pounds payload vs. all competitors

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

Ford C-Max (II) – Frontansicht, 7. März 2011, ...
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Ford’s two new hybrid vehicles, the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, are projected to set a new benchmark for fuel economy when they go on sale next year.
The C-MAX Energi is expected to deliver a better fuel economy equivalent in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid with a 500-mile overall driving range, more than Chevrolet Volt. The new C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to achieve better fuel economy than Toyota Prius v.
Both vehicles feature the next generation of Ford’s acclaimed powersplit technology that will allow operation in electric mode at higher speeds than any other hybrid.
“C-MAX is the right car for the time as it combines the dynamics and quality of a traditional car with the versatility of a MAV and leading fuel efficiency that you cannot even get from Toyota,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s Electrification Programs and Engineering.
The C-MAX hybrids headline Ford’s transformed lineup, one-third of which will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012, building on the company’s commitment to give fuel-efficiency-minded customers the Power of Choice.
Ford’s near-term electrification plan calls for the company to triple production capacity of its electrified vehicle range by 2013. The C-MAX vehicles will be built on the company’s global C-segment platform and are two of five electrified vehicles Ford plans to launch in North America in 2012.
Scheduled to start hitting showroom floors in the second half of 2012, the C-MAX hybrids will be built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., with production powered in part by one of the largest solar energy generator systems in the state.
More hybrid innovations
Ford holds approximately 500 patents that cover technologies in its electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles like C-MAX Energi in addition to several hundred patent-pending applications.
With 20 years of Ford research and innovation behind the software and hardware technology driving them, the C-MAX vehicles also offer a proven design and nameplate with more than 100,000 sold in Europe since it launched in late 2010.
The C-MAX hybrids will be the company’s first dedicated hybrid vehicle line and the first MAV (multi-activity vehicle) line in North America.
“The C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are designed to meet the needs of customers looking to ‘plus-up’ and optimize their hybrid car experience,” said Amy Machesney, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi Marketing manager. “These customers are living more environmentally responsible lives and may have bought a hybrid in the past. They are now ready for more hybrid choice, combined with style, better performance and additional versatility.”
Fuel efficiency, range and power
C-MAX Hybrid is projected to deliver class-leading fuel economy and beat the Toyota Prius v in both city and highway equivalent miles per gallon.
C-MAX Energi is projected to deliver better fuel economy in electric mode than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid and is projected to achieve more than 500 miles of overall driving range.
The C-MAX line hits impressive fuel efficiency and range figures without sacrificing driving performance.
“With C-MAX, you get road-holding capability, sportiness and performance in addition to leading fuel economy, great versatility, great features and great technology in a package designed to exceed customer expectations,” said John Davis, C-MAX chief nameplate engineer.
The C-MAX line features the company’s innovative hands-free liftgate that allows quick and easy access to the cargo area without ever needing to fumble for keys. A gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper opens the liftgate when used in combination with a key fob the user keeps in his or her pocket or purse that tells the car it’s OK to engage. The same motion can be used to close the liftgate.
The vehicles also feature the newest version of SYNC® with MyFord Touch® to help inform, enlighten, engage and empower drivers – with an emphasis on increasing fuel economy.
This feature offers multiple ways for customers to manage and control their phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs. In C-MAX Energi, the system offers additional information such as battery state of charge and distance to the next charge point.
The C-MAX also offers the next generation of SmartGauge® with EcoGuide. Designed to help drivers get the most from the C-MAX, information such as instantaneous fuel economy can be displayed on the left cluster to help drivers more closely monitor how their driving behavior affects the vehicle’s efficiency.
In the right cluster, redesigned imagery of green leaves shows overall driving efficiency. The left cluster shows Brake Coach, a feature that helps drivers optimize their use of the regenerative braking system so that driving range can be enhanced through proper braking techniques.
Available for C-MAX Energi is the MyFord® Mobile smartphone application that allows users to monitor charging, receive alerts, find charge stations, plan trips and do more from their smartphones or computers for an effortless transition to an electrified vehicle lifestyle.
Other available technology features on C-MAX include active park assist, push-button start, AM/FM/CD/MP3 Sony® Audio, HD Radioand voice-activated Navigation System.
As Ford’s first North American MAVs, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi provide customers with plenty of interior versatility and flexibility along with the urban maneuverability of a smaller vehicle.
The C-MAX line features a high roof design that gives each vehicle an overall height of 64 inches along with a higher command-style seat position instead of a cockpit-type. It also features five-passenger seating that includes a split, fold-flat second-row seat.
C-MAX Hybrid provides 54.3 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 24.9 cubic feet behind the second row. In C-MAX Energi, there is 43.3 cubic feet behind the first row and 19.1 cubic feet behind the second row.
Quality and ingenuity
Although Ford’s C-MAX vehicles are new, the software and hardware technology going in them has been evolving for nearly two decades.
The C-MAX line also benefits from analysis of more than 500,000 miles of data collected from Ford’s Escape plug-in hybrid test fleet, which helped engineers understand how plug-in hybrid vehicles are driven and charged and how parts perform under certain conditions.
“The result is a stunningly efficient system that has been entirely developed by Ford in-house,” said Marakby. “That’s crucial because it allows for development of one highly efficient system as opposed to integrating pieces of software and hardware made by different parties with hope that it will not only function properly but also efficiently.”
C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi get their power through the combination of a gasoline engine and a battery-driven electric motor. When powered by gasoline, the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi use the all-new 2.0-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine – a powerful and fuel-efficient engine and among the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder powertrains Ford has ever offered.
The electric motors of the C-MAX hybrids are powered by advanced lithium-ion (li-ion) battery systems designed to maximize use of common, high-quality components, such as control board hardware that has proven field performance in Ford’s critically acclaimed hybrid vehicles.
Li-ion battery packs are more efficient than nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) batteries. They also are 25 to 30 percent smaller and 50 percent lighter than NiMH batteries used in today’s first-generation hybrid vehicles.
C-MAX hybrids offer Ford’s next-generation powersplit architecture that allows the electric motor and gasoline-powered engine to work together or separately to maximize efficiency. The engine also can operate independently of vehicle speed, charging the batteries or providing power to the wheels as needed. The motor alone can provide sufficient power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load conditions and work with the engine at higher speeds.
In the C-MAX Hybrid, the li-ion battery pack is recharged when the gasoline engine is in operation. Further, the regenerative braking system recaptures more than 95 percent of the braking energy that would otherwise be lost, and is able to use that power to help charge the battery. C-MAX Hybrid requires no plug-in charging.
C-MAX Energi is charged by connecting the vehicle’s external charge port to either a standard 120-volt outlet or available 240-volt charging station.
The C-MAX hybrids offer standard safety technologies such as the MyKey® teen safety feature, SYNC 911 Assist and seven airbags. SYNC 911 Assist uses hands-free phone capabilities to connect the driver directly with a local 911 operator through the paired phone should an accident occur in which an airbag deploys.
The next-generation MyKey features now allow parents to choose from multiple top speed limits and blocking of explicit satellite radio programming. MyKey also provides a persistent audible warning if front occupants are not wearing seat belts.
The C-MAX hybrids also feature standard safety and driver-assist technologies, including Curve Control that is designed to slow the vehicle when it’s cornering too fast and Torque Vectoring Control to help accelerate through a turn when necessary. AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC) and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) also are standard.

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

Ford Focus Electric
Image by mariordo59 via Flickr

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

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

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

Ford Employees Help Ensure High-Quality Launch of New MyFord Touch Upgrade Through Innovative Beta Test

English: Ford MyFord Touch system, combined wi...
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Ford customers will soon benefit from a major software upgrade to MyFord Touch® following a real-world beta test with about 1,000 Ford employees.
The software upgrade is coming for 2013 models – and to owners of existing MyFord Touch-equipped vehicles – and the employee beta test is part of a new, innovative approach to ensure a high-quality launch of the improved system.

“Employees are a great source for quick feedback, and the best part is that they are eager to help,” said John Schneider, chief engineer, Infotainment, Ford Electronics and Electrical Systems Engineering. “Employees who have been MyFord Touch users since it was first launched will test the new upgrade on employee lease vehicles so they can provide us real-world feedback, helping us polish the final product before it goes to our customers.”

The upgraded system will launch with 2013 models of the new Ford Escape, Taurus and Flex, and will be applied to existing vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch including Ford Explorer, Edge and Focus. The new MyFord Touch upgrade is designed to make the system faster, simpler and easier to use.
Ford designers and engineers want to ensure the changes are ready for customers before issuing the software into production. Employee participants should begin receiving a USB flash drive containing the software upgrade later this week. The beta test is scheduled to last approximately a month.

“Ford has been listening and learning from our customers about their ownership experiences in order to continuously improve it,” said Schneider. “The new upgrade exemplifies the importance of customer feedback and showcases the flexibility and speed we now have by leveraging software to evolve Ford technology.”
Touch screens will look new, while featuring simpler graphics and controls that are easier to use. Improvements make the button reaction and screen transition times feel twice as fast as the current system.
Other enhancements include better phone compatibility, support for tablet computers and audiobooks, improved navigation maps and destination entry. Voice recognition also has been enhanced – an important fact since Ford research indicates nearly 80 percent of owners use voice commands to operate their systems.

Beta-testers have been chosen at random from the Ford management lease vehicle population in Southeast Michigan. Because the upgrade strictly involves software, no vehicle hardware maintenance is required. Instead, a single USB flash drive loaded with the necessary software to complete the upgrade will be sent to testers.

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Ford Racing Performance Parts Expands Crate Engine Lineup for 2012

English: Ford Mustang GT (racing GT car).
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When it comes to bolting pure Blue Oval muscle into your Ford performance car or truck project, nothing beats a crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts.
For 2012, Ford Racing is expanding its range of quality engineered and built crate engines that are designed to fit nearly every performance application and budget.
Adding FRPP's just-announced I-4 Crate Engine 'Concept' into the mix, Ford Racing's line of high performance crate engines now grows to become one of the most comprehensive in recent memory. Whether it's one of the modern, high-tech Coyote-based 5.0-liter engines or any of the nine unique pushrod engines, all of Ford Racing's crate engines leverage Ford Motor Company's engineering resources to deliver high quality and real value.
The Ford "Small-Block" V-8 has been a longtime favorite among racers, and the Ford Racing Performance Parts 2012 pushrod crate engine offerings range from 302 to 427 cubic inches, and from 340 up to 600 horsepower!
The 2012 FRPP Crate Engine lineup includes:
Z363 500 HP Pushrod Crate Engine
Following the hot-rodding adage that there's no substitute for cubic inches, Ford Racing has taken the popular 302-based stroker to the max with the 500 horsepower Z363 crate engine. By pushing the bore out to 4.125 inches, displacement of the popular 347 stroker has been increased to 363 cubic inches. Combined with improved Mahle® pistons, the Z363 makes 50 more horsepower and 50 more foot-pounds of torque than the Z347 that it replaces. Nothing but the best parts are used inside, including: forged crankshaft; forged I-beam connecting rods; floating piston pins; and a high-performance oiling system.
Built with the BOSS 302 block and Z304D aluminum heads, Z363 fits many of the vehicles originally built with a 289 or 302 block with 8.2-inch deck height. Ford Racing engineers designed the Z363 to work both on the street and at the strip, with a strong torque curve that delivers more than 390 foot pounds from 3,500 rpm up to the 6,500 rpm redline. With a compression ratio of 10.0:1, Z363 runs on unleaded premium pump gas, and is also available as a short block for those who want to build the engine to their own specifications.
X427 Crate Engine  (p/n M-6007-X427FT/RT)
The company that created the famous 427 FE engine now offers another modern version of the legendary motor. The X427, designed for street use, has joined the Ford Racing Z427 that was introduced in 2010. Fitted with the legendary Ford Racing X-Heads, the X427 delivers 520 foot-pounds of torque. Built on Ford Racing's new BOSS 351 block, this new 427 crate engine is engineered and built to deliver a strong, flat torque curve. That translates into tire-smoking acceleration for street rods, kit cars and muscle cars, and plenty of power and torque for light-duty pickups and SUVs.
5.0L Ti-VCT Aluminator NA  p/n M-6007-A50NA
Ford Racing has taken the 5.0 Mustang GT’s 4-valve V-8 with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and created another in its series of "Aluminator" crate engines that deliver even higher performance than before. The 5.0 Aluminator NA, with 11.0:1 compression ratio, is designed specifically for naturally aspirated, high-performance applications. Mahle® forged pistons are hard anodized with Graphal® low-friction coating. The connecting rods are premium Manley® H-beam with ARP® 2000 bolts, and fitted with BOSS 302 high-performance bearings.
The 5.0 Aluminator NA is a direct bolt-in for 2011-12 Mustang GT. It can be used in street rod or resto-mod builds using Ford Racing's 5.0L engine controls pack (p/n M-6017-A504V).
5.0L Ti-VCT Aluminator SC P/N M-6007-A50NSC
This second new offering in Ford Racing's 5.0 Mustang "Aluminator" crate engine line is another modern 5.0-liter, 32-valve DOHC V-8 that uses advanced features like Ti-VCT to deliver big power. This "Aluminator" is built with a 9.5:1 compression ratio, forged pistons and H-beam connecting rods to meet the demands of forced induction applications.
5.0L Ti-VCT Coyote 'Sealed' Racing Engine P/N M-6007-M50S
The popularity of today's Mustang 5.0 "Coyote" engine has led to strong interest by sanctioning bodies to create new spec-racing classes for the engine. These spec engines are the same as the production Mustang GT's 5.0 V-8, and are sealed by Ford Racing to ensure that none of the engine internals are changed.
The first organization to employ these engines will be the National Mustang Racer's Association (NMRA) in a class called, "Coyote Stock." All engines will use a spec engine controller.
Ford Racing designs and engineers components that fit perfectly and deliver optimal performance and durability. Only Ford Racing has access to proprietary design, testing and production resources that are vital in developing components worthy of wearing the Blue Oval. From engine internals and bolt-on power-adders to chassis kits designed and tuned for specific applications, Ford Racing has upgrades that are track-tested and race-proven.

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Buick’s Ecotec 2.0L Turbo Makes Best Engines List

2011 Buick Regal GS photographed at the 2010 W...
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The Ecotec 2.0L turbo I-4 engine that powers the all-new 2012 Buick Regal GS  is one of  WardsAuto World’s 2012 “10 Best Engines” for North America.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo’s 270 horsepower is the highest specific output of any GM production engine, and at 135 hp per liter, is the most power-dense engine certified by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
“The turbocharged Ecotec 2.0L belongs on the list this year because it makes an outrageous 135 hp per liter in the Regal GS, and it’s a blast to drive,” said WardsAuto World Editor-in-Chief Drew Winter. “This engine delivers a level of power and sophistication that redefines Buick.”

The Regal GS achieves 0-60 mph in less than 6.7 seconds and runs the quarter-mile in 15.2 seconds at 98 mph. It also recently claimed victory in the 120-mph Grand Touring class at the Silver State Classic Challenge open road rally, with only a .019 deviation from a perfect time.  A variation of the same engine powers the Regal Turbo. The engine is built at General Motors’ Spring Hill, Tenn. powertrain plant.
Ward’s reviewed 35 engines from 15 automakers in this year’s competition. Winners were chosen based on several factors, including power; noise, vibration and harshness; fuel efficiency; new technology; and comparative data for similar engines.

The Ecotec 2.0L turbo engine includes the latest in technology combinations.
"Our continuously variable valve timing is tuned to work in tandem with direct injection and twin scroll turbocharging to achieve optimum fuel economy, lower emissions, and instant performance when needed,” said Mike Anderson, global chief engineer for Ecotec engines. “Having 295 lb-ft (400 Nm) of torque available over a wide range of engine speeds makes for a very exciting driving experience.”

The turbo engine is an all-aluminum, dual overhead cam, four-valve design with forged steel connecting rods. The A356 aluminum cylinder head is cast using a rotocast process for high strength, reduced machining and improved port flow. The exhaust valves have sodium-filled stems that promote valve cooling.
An advanced, electronically controlled turbocharger uses a twin-scroll design to increase power. Each of two scrolls on the turbine is fed by a separate exhaust passage – one from cylinders one and four, the other from cylinders two and three – to virtually eliminates turbo lag at low engine speeds, giving the engine immediate throttle response associated with a naturally aspirated high-performance engine.

The GS is  equipped with Brembo four-piston front-caliper brakes, a HiPer Strut front suspension system, six-speed manual transmission, driver-adjustable suspension and steering settings, and 19-inch standard and 20-inch optional alloy wheels.

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Chevrolet Will Donate Special Camaro at Army-Navy Game

Chevrolet Camaro
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At Saturday’s 112th Army-Navy Game presented by USAA, Chevrolet will announce that proceeds from next month’s sale of a special Military Tribute Camaro will go to the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans.

Chevrolet is the official vehicle of what has been called “America’s Game,” which begins at 2:30 p.m. EST on CBS and the Armed Forces Network from FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Chevrolet is hosting several military families and Achilles team members at the game, and is paying tribute to wounded servicemen and women and the team with a 30-second TV spot and a short tribute to members who participated in the recent Detroit Free Press / Talmer Bank Marathon. An accompanying article at profiles hand cyclist Lance Cpl. Justin Gaertner of Pasco County, Fla., who lost both legs while serving his third tour in Afghanistan.

“We at Chevrolet want to do all we can to show our gratitude to the men and women serving in our armed forces, those who come home with life-changing injuries, like Cpl. Gaertner, and our fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country,” said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Global Marketing and Strategy.

CBS Sports will show the car in a segment with GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate; Genna Griffith, director of the Achilles Freedom Team, and team members. Last year at the game, Chevrolet donated a Silverado HD pickup to the Achilles team to transport athletes’ hand cycles and other equipment.

The Military Tribute Camaro represents all five branches of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard) and some of the military’s highest individual awards and current campaign medals. It will be sold by Barrett-Jackson, an auctioneer of collector vehicles, at its Jan. 17-22 event in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The car was designed by award-winning artist Mickey Harris. Harris, who grew up on military installations, has been airbrushing for 33 years and has an extensive portfolio of military art that has earned him worldwide acclaim.

Chevrolet’s support for military men and women includes:

Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans: The Achilles Freedom Team helps wounded veterans of all services overcome their injuries through mainstream athletics, primarily marathons. It has doubled in size since 2010. This year, Chevrolet underwrote a portion of Achilles costs for participating in the Los Angeles, Boston and Detroit marathons, as well as other events. Chevrolet also has donated 20 hand cycles to the team.

Cell Phones for Soldiers: Chevrolet actively supports this program that provides phone cards to service men and women. During Chevrolet Military Appreciation Month in May, Chevrolet raised $212,000 (100,000 hours of talk time) from the auction of the Honor and Valor Limited Edition Camaro SS and Chevrolet donations of $100 for every car and truck sold. Since 2010, Chevrolet has collected more than 70,000 used cell phones, generating about 70,000 hours of talk time.

Travis Manion Foundation: The GM Foundation gave $250,000 to this foundation that assists veterans and the families of fallen heroes. Its namesake is First Lt. Travis L. Manion, killed in 2007 in Iraq by sniper fire while defending against an enemy ambush. Every September 11, the foundation brings local communities together for a 9/11 Heroes Run to remember, honor and support service men and women, police, firefighters and first responders.

GM Military Discount Program: Considered the most generous military discount program in the industry, GM offers GM Preferred Pricing (the same price extended to GM suppliers) on any Chevrolet (except Volt), Buick or GMC. Through October, GM sold 12,389 vehicles: The Chevy Silverado, Cruze and Camaro were the most popular.

Chevrolet also sponsored 19 air shows across the United States this year, eight of them on military installations. In addition, about 8,500 service members, their families and guests at the Naval Air Station in Mayport, Fla. were treated to a private concert starring country singer Brad Paisley.

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Advanced Carbon Fiber Nears Broad Automotive Use

English: Carbon fiber laminated sheet. Raw car...
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General Motors and Teijin Limited., a leader in the carbon fiber and composites industry, will co-develop advanced carbon fiber composite technologies for potential high-volume use globally in GM cars, trucks and crossovers.

The co-development pact signed today involves use of Teijin’s innovative carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic (CFRTP) technology, a faster and more efficient way to produce carbon fiber composites that potentially could be introduced on mainstream vehicles. For Teijin, the arrangement could lead to widening its portfolio beyond specialty and high-end automotive carbon fiber applications.

“Our relationship with Teijin provides the opportunity to revolutionize the way carbon fiber is used in the automotive industry,” said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky. “This technology holds the potential to be an industry game changer and demonstrates GM’s long-standing commitment to innovation.”
To support the relationship, Teijin will establish the Teijin Composites Application Center, a technical center in the northern part of the United States early next year.

As carbon fiber is 10 times stronger than regular-grade steel yet only one-quarter of the weight, carbon fiber composites used as automobile components are expected to dramatically reduce vehicle weight. Consumers benefit from lighter weight vehicles with better fuel economy and all the safety benefits that come with vehicles of greater mass.

Teijin's proprietary breakthrough is its ability to mass-produce carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic components with cycle times of under a minute. Conventional carbon fiber-reinforced composites use thermosetting resins and require a much longer timeframe for molding.  This time factor has limited the use of carbon fiber in high-volume vehicles.

Teijin recently received a 2011 Global Automotive Carbon Composites Technology Innovation Award by Frost & Sullivan. The technology also was selected by ICIS Innovation Awards 2011 as the overall winner and the recipient of the Best Product Innovation award.

Increasingly, strict global environmental standards and fuel economy regulations have intensified the need to reduce vehicle mass by using lightweight materials in place of high-tension steel or aluminum.
The Teijin Group, which has identified automobiles as a key growth market, accelerated the new technology development through collaboration by the Teijin Composites Innovation Center and Toho Tenax Co. Ltd., where the mass-production technology for carbon fiber reinforced plastic components using thermoplastic resin was successfully developed.

“Teijin’s innovative CFRTP technology, which promises to realize revolutionarily lighter automotive body structures, will play an important role in GM’s initiative to bring carbon fiber components into mainstream vehicles,” said Norio Kamei, senior managing director of Teijin. “We believe our visionary relationship with GM will lead the way in increased usage of green composites in the automotive industry.”
The launch of any carbon fiber-intensive vehicle applications resulting from the relationship would be announced closer to market readiness. The agreement does not involve an exchange of equity between the companies.

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New 2013 Malibu Racks Up 1 Million Test Miles Across Globe

On the cusp of its global introductions, engineers for the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu have rolled past 1 million miles of on-road development testing – accumulated in about 22 months on six continents.
The extensive road development and validation process helps ensure the new Malibu’s overall ride and handling, comfort, quality and durability are exemplary when production begins, and meets the needs of customers around the world. The new Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents, making it Chevrolet’s first global midsize sedan.
“You learn a lot about a car when you spend so much time in it – and that’s exactly the point,” said Mark Moussa, global chief engineer. “In the last year and a half, during every minute of the day, a 2013 Malibu has been driving somewhere around the world – all to make it the best car it can be.”
The million test miles were accumulated since the first quarter of 2010 on a fleet of about 170 pre-production vehicles, driven for a cumulative average of more than 45,450 miles every month. That’s the equivalent of:
  • 66.66 years of driving a car 15,000 miles annually
  • 201 round-trips between New York City and Los Angeles  
  • Two trips to the moon and back.
While the testing regiment for the Malibu mirrored GM’s standards for new-vehicle validation, the global scope of the Malibu project magnified it. More drivable prototypes – known as integration vehicles to GM engineers – were built compared with a single-market vehicle, and they represented 13 powertrain combinations and numerous equipment packages the Malibu will offer around the world.
The greater number of market conditions helped spin the program’s collective odometer quickly to the seven-digit range.

The early prototypes were hand-built by General Motors in the United States and shipped around the globe. They were driven at GM’s proving grounds around North America, as well as on the freeways, highways and back roads of the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea, China, England, Dubai and Germany.
The development stage the Malibu pre-production cars represented meant the powertrains, suspensions and other core elements of the cars were already green-lighted for production. The round-the-clock driving helped fine-tune their overall dynamics in performance, interior quietness, seat comfort, drivability and more.
During their testing, the Malibus were driven through Death Valley in the hottest summer days to validate the air conditioning performance, and driven to the top of the Rocky Mountains for high-altitude tests. The cars were subjected to hundreds of miles of stop-and-go rush hour drives in Chicago and Seoul; and through the winding hills of North Carolina to evaluate seat comfort and other long-drive factors.
Even the coin holders were evaluated.

“Along more significant differences among markets, such as powertrains, there is a myriad of small details that vary in markets around the globe and they must all be validated in real-world driving tests,” said Moussa. “Even small things such as holders for toll change or tickets varies for different markets.
“In Korea, for example, the hazard lights are often used as a ‘thank you’ to other motorists, so the long-term durability of the switch must be ensured,” Moussa said. “So, we’ve got to test not only the big things, but the seemingly small ones, to make sure we are building a quality product that meets the needs of all these different markets and uses.”

Monsoon grooves

Speaking of Korea, it and other Asian markets that are prone to heavy rains during monsoon season, have deeply grooved concrete road surfaces to channel water off the highway. They’re effective during the rain season, but driving on them when dry can generate a considerable noise challenge for engineers.
“It’s a very tough noise to isolate and happens to be at a frequency that is very annoying to the human ear,” said Kara Gordon, acoustics engineer. “But that is the reality for drivers in those markets and because the acoustic performance of a vehicle helps form one’s perception of quality, making sure the Malibu soaked up those grooved roads quietly was an essential component of development.”
The tires were the lynchpin of the Malibu’s monsoon-groove performance and Gordon and other engineers went to great lengths to find the right tire for the market. That included:
  • Testing the 11 different tires specified for Malibu around the globe, to see how each performed on the monsoon roads
  • Bringing in tire manufacturers for consultation on how changes in tread design and compound could affect performance
  • Building a replica of a Korean grooved road at GM’s proving ground in Yuma, Ariz., for evaluation purposes
  • Benchmarking the performance of Korean-market competitors, including importing home-market versions – not using simply U.S.-market models – and testing them against the Malibu on the replicated test road.
“In the end, we found the right tire for the Korean market,” said Gordon. “It was challenging, but so is the overall process of developing a car for nearly 100 markets around the globe.”
And while most of those development cars were running around the clock, others didn’t see many miles at all. Development cars in England and the United States were run through salt water troughs and placed in a chamber to simulate years of corrosion and winter road driving, while others were parked in the Arizona sun to see how the interior materials held up to extreme heat.

In a nod to the development work leading up to the Malibu’s million miles of testing, engineers found a few areas of the vehicle that required major attention as a result of it – one of them being a change in the application of liquid sealer to steel parts of the body structure, which helped produce a quieter ride.
“You never know about those fine details until you get the vehicle on the road,” said Moussa. “Our million miles in testing should inspire confidence for anyone who considers buying a 2013 Malibu.”
The all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco midsize sedan will start at $25,995 (including destination charge) when it arrives in dealerships in the first quarter next year. It is a new and the first trim level of an all-new Malibu lineup to launch in the United States. Other Malibu trim levels, including LS, LT and LTZ, are scheduled to begin production next summer in Fairfax, Kan. and Detroit-Hamtramck.
The 2013 Malibu will serve as a flagship Chevrolet midsize in many parts of the world. It is built in multiple locations including the United States, China and Korea.

2012 LaCrosse With eAssist Ready for Holiday Hauling

2010 Buick LaCrosse CXS photographed in Clarks...
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Whether hauling gifts for the family or the family itself, the 2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist fuel-saving technology comes standard with the space and versatility required to successfully navigate the holiday season.

Now at dealers, Buick’s newest large luxury sedan delivers segment-leading highway fuel economy and more rear-seat leg room and cargo-carrying flexibility than most of its competitors – all while accommodating an electric assist power pack.

The new LaCrosse offers a 60/40 fold-down rear seat that allows pass-through between the trunk and passenger compartment on the wider side to accommodate items like a snowboard or even a small Christmas tree. Comparable hybrid sedans made by Lexus, Infiniti, and Lincoln do not have fold-down rear seats.

Rear Leg Room
2012 Buick LaCrosse with eAssist
40.5 inches
2011 Lexus GS450h
36.4 inches
2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
36.7 inches
2012 Infiniti M45h
36.2 inches

In addition, LaCrosse with eAssist offers 40.5 inches of rear-seat leg room, as much as six inches more than its luxury hybrid and conventional powertrain competitors, and the same rear-seat roominess as the 2011 LaCrosse.

As far as Buick’s experts know, competitive gift-hauling vehicles from the North Pole don’t offer a rear seat at all.

“LaCrosse with eAssist is a no-compromise, high-mileage luxury sedan in more ways than one,” said Doug Osterhoff, LaCrosse product marketing manager. “Not only does the eAssist system enable outstanding fuel economy, the compact size of its battery helps maintain a spacious interior and enables owners to carry luggage and wrapped boxes in style.”

LaCrosse’s usefulness doesn’t end once the holidays are over. Though trunk space was slightly reduced to accommodate the eAssist power pack, it offers 11.7 cubic feet (331 liters) of storage – more than enough for two large golf bags or two sets of skis with the seat folded down. Buick market research shows that more than one in four LaCrosse owners participates in gear-intensive activities such as golfing and skiing.
The eAssist system is the standard powertrain for the new LaCrosse. It uses a 115V lithium-ion battery pack to store energy captured during regenerative braking. This energy is used to power a 15-kW electric motor-generator and to provide electricity to all of LaCrosse’s electrical systems when fuel is cut off during auto stop mode, or to provide added torque during acceleration. LaCrosse delivers an EPA-rated and segment-leading 36 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in city driving – up to 25 percent better than the previous model.

The eAssist’s battery pack, which has a warranty of eight years, was subjected to extensive environmental and mechanical validation testing equivalent to 225,000 miles of four-season driving. Battery cell temperature is constantly monitored and managed by an onboard computer to extend cell life and optimize performance. Its cooling fan is calibrated to vehicle speed to help maintain LaCrosse’s library-quiet interior.
“The eAssist power pack was carefully designed and integrated into LaCrosse to be as unobtrusive and unnoticeable in operation as possible,” said Sheri Hickok, LaCrosse chief engineer. The only thing LaCrosse with eAssist drivers are likely to notice is how much gas they’re saving while enjoying the driving performance, quiet interior, or ride and handling they’ve come to expect from Buick.”

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Cadillac’s CTS-V Named Car and Driver 10Best

2009 Cadillac CTS - All-new technology, new de...
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Car and Driver magazine today named the Cadillac CTS-V to its 10Best list for 2012, the fifth consecutive year the Cadillac CTS models have appeared on the annual list of the finest new cars.

In its 30th year, the Car and Driver 10Best lists awards the world’s finest, chosen from a field that includes the prior year’s winners and all new or significantly upgraded models for 2012.

“As in years past, the cars on this year’s list represent the best overall vehicles on the market today,” said Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief, Car and Driver. “Out of 68 contenders, these are the ones that consistently perform the best, are a good value and are engaging, fun-to-drive vehicles.”

The full 2012 Car and Driver 10Best list will be published in the January issue which hits newsstands today.
“Car and Driver’s 10Best list is among the top recognitions for a car to achieve,” said Cadillac Vice President of Global Marketing Don Butler. “This really is a testament to those who design and develop our products to be among the world’s best.”

The Cadillac CTS and CTS V-Series cars, built in Lansing, Mich., are available in   sedan, coupe and wagon versions. Cadillac’s V-series cars feature 556- horsepower engines mated to 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions (with paddle shifters), race-inspired Brembo brakes, available Recaro seating and dual-mode Magnetic Ride Control suspension.

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