Monday, January 31, 2011

Bone Marrow Drive at Roy O'Brien Ford - Request for Donor Registrations

Please join us in registering for the "Be The Match" drive on Friday, February 18th, any time from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M. in the new car showroom at the dealership

As many of you know, our controller, Art DeCook, has lymphoma and although he has found a match for a bone marrow transplant in his two brothers, he and we wish to extend our heartiest invitation to help others so desperately in need of a bone marrow transplant.

The registration process takes no more than fifteen minutes, and, in addition to some basic paperwork, only involves the swabbing of the inside of your cheek. There are no needles, or taking of samples, other than the cheek swab, and you'll feel great about potentially saving someone's life anywhere in the world!

In addition, we will need about twelve volunteers to help with the registration process. There will be a half-hour training session in the conference room, on Friday, February 11th at 10 A.M. I have had this training and it is very straight-forward and easy to master. Many of you have asked what else you can do to help Art in his battling of this cancer. Here is your opportunity to do just that, Won't you please come and learn how to process the expected one hundred or so registrants for the following Friday's drive? Art and his family would be overjoyed at the prospects of signing up all of these potential "Life Savers!"

To recap:

Training for volunteers on Friday, February 11th, 10 A.M., in the Roy O'Brien Conference Room. Thirty Minutes

"Be the Match" Donor Drive in the Roy O'Brien New Car Showroom on Friday, February 18th any time from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.

God Bless You for your concern and help.

Visit our website for all your Metro Detroit Ford Vehicle needs, or view our new and used inventory at

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ford Accelerates Intelligent Vehicle Research, Creating ‘Talking’ Vehicles To Make Roads Safer

  • Ford is rapidly expanding its commitment to intelligent vehicles that wirelessly talk to each other, warning of potential dangers to enhance safety and flag impending traffic congestion to help improve the environment
  • Intelligent vehicles could potentially help in 81 percent of all police-reported light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report
  • Ford is building the first-ever prototype intelligent vehicles that will tour the U.S. beginning this spring and will provide additional prototypes for the Department of Transportation’s world-first research clinics expected to begin this summer
  • Ford is doubling its intelligent vehicle investment in 2011 and plans a new 20-member task force of scientists and engineers to explore the technology’s broader possibilities
Ford Intelligent Vehicle Technology
With this "intelligent vehicle" technology, drivers could be alerted at unsafe intersections where their view is compromised or where another vehicle is not stopping for a red light.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 26, 2011 – Ford is aggressively accelerating its commitment to wirelessly connected intelligent vehicles – known as vehicle-to-vehicle communications – becoming the first automaker to build prototype vehicles for demonstrations across the U.S., doubling its intelligent vehicle investment in 2011 and dedicating even more scientists to developing this technology.

“Ford believes intelligent vehicles that talk to each other through advanced Wi-Fi are the next frontier of collision avoidance innovations that could revolutionize the driving experience and hold the potential of helping reduce many crashes,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

An October National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on the potential safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle communications estimates that intelligent vehicles could help in as many as 4,336,000 police-reported, light-vehicle crashes annually, or approximately 81 percent of all light-vehicle crashes involving unimpaired drivers. Experts say intelligent vehicles could be on the road in five to 10 years.

Ford’s demonstration vehicles will hit the road this spring, starting at major technology hubs across the country.

How it works
Ford’s vehicle communications research technology allows vehicles to talk wirelessly with one another using advanced Wi-Fi signals, or dedicated short-range communications, on a secured channel allocated by the Federal Communications Commission. Unlike radar-based safety features, which identify hazards within a direct line of sight, the Wi-Fi-based radio system allows full-range, 360-degree detection of potentially dangerous situations, such as when a driver’s vision is obstructed.

For example, drivers could be alerted if their vehicle is on path to collide with another vehicle at an intersection, when a vehicle ahead stops or slows suddenly or when a traffic pattern changes on a busy highway. The systems also could warn drivers if there is a risk of collision when changing lanes, approaching a stationary or parked vehicle, or if another driver loses control.

Ford hits the gas on vehicle communications
After a decade of research, Ford plans a new 20-member task force – consisting of company planners, engineers and scientists from around the world with expertise in safety, eco-mobility, infotainment and driver convenience – to accelerate development of intelligent vehicles with features that provide a range of benefits to consumers.

Ford also is doubling its intelligent vehicle research investment, building on the company’s SYNC® and MyFord Touch™ innovations. The goal is to define the next 10 years of safety, convenience and driver assistance, and strengthen the company’s position as the global industry leader in connected vehicle technology.

“While there are challenges ahead, the foundation of these smarter vehicles is advanced versions of technologies that are pervasive – Wi-Fi and crash avoidance systems that Ford has pioneered in mainstream vehicles today,” said Paul Mascarenas, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering and chief technical officer. “Intelligent vehicles could help warn drivers of numerous potential dangers such as a car running a red light but blocked from the view of a driver properly entering the intersection.”

Speaking the same language
Ford is partnering with other automakers, the federal government, as well as local and county road commissions to create a common language that ensures all vehicles can talk to each other based on a common communication standard.

This public-private partnership will include the world’s first government-sponsored driving clinics beginning in summer 2011, for which the company will contribute two prototype Ford Taurus sedans. The DOT’s Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) will head the research, continuing to coordinate with a coalition of automakers organized by the Crash Avoidance Metrics Partnership (CAMP), which is a joint research group headed by Ford and General Motors. The partnership is working to develop inter-operability standards in advance of completing the research phase in 2013.

“Ford has laid the groundwork to give vehicles a voice with SYNC and Wi-Fi technology,” said Jim Vondale, director, Ford Automotive Safety Office. “Now we’re working with other automakers and government leaders worldwide to develop common standards globally to bring intelligent vehicles to market quicker and more affordably.”

Vondale has been appointed by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to represent automakers on the ITS Advisory Committee. Mike Shulman, technical leader, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, leads the government-industry technical partnership as program manager for CAMP.

Beyond safety, endless possibilities
By reducing crashes, intelligent vehicles could ease traffic delays, which would save drivers both time and fuel costs. Congestion also could be avoided through a network of intelligent vehicles and infrastructure that would process real-time traffic and road information and allow drivers to choose less congested routes.

According to Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI) 2010 Urban Mobility Report, traffic congestion continues to worsen in American cities of all sizes, annually wasting nearly 3.9 billion gallons of fuel in 2009 and costing the average commuter $808 in additional fuel. Leading factors in traffic delays are caused by accidents, breakdowns and road debris, TTI maintains.

“The day is not far off when our vehicles will operate like mobile devices with four wheels, constantly exchanging information and communicating with our environment to do things like shorten commute times, improve fuel economy and generally help us more easily navigate life on the road,” said Mascarenas.

Laying the connectivity groundwork
Many of Ford’s current technologies show how intelligent vehicles will be able to help drivers. For example, features that alert drivers to approaching hazards, such as Ford’s collision warning with brake support and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) with cross-traffic alert rely on radar sensors to detect vehicles or objects close to the vehicle.

“Ford has pioneered connectivity in modern vehicles with SYNC,” said Shulman. “We believe advanced Wi-Fi for intelligent vehicles could be added to smartphones or GPS systems and simply connect to SYNC like today’s phones.”

Visit our website for all your Metro Detroit Ford Vehicle needs, or view our new and used inventory at

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It’s Easy Being Green: Ford Focus Electric Offers Eco-Friendly Features Throughout Vehicle

  • Ford Focus Electric offers customers environmentally friendly options throughout, which, coupled with advanced engine technology, deliver zero-emissions driving in an all-around green vehicle
  • A material called Lignotock is used behind the cloth on the door. Derived from 85 percent wood fibers, this lighter application results in a weight reduction and provides better sound-deadening benefits compared to conventional glass-reinforced thermal plastics
  • The eco-friendly appeal of the all-new Focus Electric even includes the application of green manufacturing processes at Michigan Assembly Plant, where Focus and Focus Electric will be built
Ford Focus Electric

Dearborn, Mich., Jan. 19, 2011 – The environmentally friendly reach of the Ford Focus Electric goes beyond its zero-emissions motor. Focus Electric combines recycled and renewable materials, green technologies and innovative manufacturing processes to make the car green from bumper to bumper.

“An electric vehicle is already considered a green vehicle, but Ford wanted to go a step further by looking at ways to make the materials inside the Focus Electric more eco-friendly as well,” said Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manager, Ford Motor Company. “Using recycled or renewable materials in lieu of petroleum-based materials allows Ford to minimize the amount of virgin materials used in the Focus Electric.”

The Focus Electric is not only green in areas where customers expect it to be, but also in places they might not, like in the seat cushions. Soy-based foams, which are used on more than 20 Ford vehicles, will be used in Focus Electric, with seat cushions shaped from 8 percent soy-based content. A material called Lignotock also is used behind the cloth on the door. Derived from 85 percent wood fibers, this lighter application results in a weight reduction and provides better sound-deadening benefits compared to conventional glass-reinforced thermal plastics.

“One of the more impactful things we are doing is finding a way to increase the use of recycled materials in resins. We have a strategy that specifies the use of a large quantity of post-consumer recycled material in a range of plastic applications,” said Majeske. “Pop bottles and milk jugs eventually become part of components like underbody shields, wheel arch liners and air cleaner assemblies.”

By using more recycled content in resins, Ford can further reduce the amount of oil-based plastics in vehicles. This also cuts down on overall oil consumption. Applications of the post-consumer plastics also include carpets, roof lining and replacement bumpers.

Building green
Ford, Detroit Edison and Xtreme Power are teaming up to establish one of Michigan’s largest solar power generation systems and electric vehicle charging stations at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich., where Focus Electric will be produced. Ford will work with Detroit Edison to install a 500-kilowatt solar photovoltaic panel system, which will be integrated with a 750-kilowatt energy storage facility that can store 2 million watt-hours of energy using batteries – enough to power 100 average homes for a year.

Several new and innovative production processes at the plant will help make the vehicle even greener. For example, a new three-wet paint process applies all three coats of finish in sequence before oven curing, ensuring high-quality paint finish and a significant reduction in energy use.

Eco-friendly charging
With charging playing a major role in Focus Electric ownership, Ford also looked to make the vehicle’s home charging stations greener. Jointly developed with Leviton, a leading North American producer of electrical devices, Ford is offering a charging unit that has an outer shell made from up to 60 percent post-consumer recycled material.

Visit our website for all your Metro Detroit Ford Vehicle needs, or view our new and used inventory at

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ford Vertrek Named Best Concept At 2011 North American International Auto Show By Autoweek

  • The writers of AutoWeek Magazine and named Ford Vertrek the Best Concept vehicle of the 2011 North American International Auto Show
  • Vertrek is Ford’s vision for a utility vehicle that will appeal to customers around the globe, and signals the direction Ford will take in developing a stylish SUV with outstanding cargo space and a 1.6-liter EcoBoost™ engine that could deliver best-in-class fuel economy
  • Ford Vertrek is built on Ford’s global C-segment platform, which will underpin more than 2 million vehicles globally by 2012
Auotweek - 2011 Best Concept Vehicle of the 2011 North America International Auto Show
The Ford Vertrek concept was selected by AutoWeek Magazine as the Best Concept vehicle at the 2011 North America International Auto Show. Martin Smith (left), executive director of Design for Ford Motor Company, accepts the award from AutoWeek editor Wes Raynal.

DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2011 – The AutoWeek editorial team has named Ford Vertrek the Best Concept of the 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Vertrek concept rose above such contenders as the Mini Paceman, GMC Sierra All Terrain HD and Toyota Prius C to win the coveted award.

“Ford has been so focused on serious stuff such as small cars and fine-tuning production models that it hasn’t had a lot of time to craft concepts capable of turning heads at auto shows,” said the editors of AutoWeek. “Enter the Vertrek. It blends European styling with the practical needs of Americans. The best part is that Ford design boss J Mays says this concept is very close to the look of the next Escape.”

Based on the global C-segment platform, Vertrek represents the vision of Ford’s top design and engineering talent on how best to attract and satisfy future SUV customers around the world. “Vertrek unites stylish design, world-class craftsmanship and outstanding capability to present a fresh vision that we believe will resonate globally,” said Mays.

The Vertrek concept further evolves Ford’s global kinetic design philosophy. The vehicle’s rising beltline creates an athletic stance, while its dynamic lines and taut surfacing convey muscularity.

A highly efficient new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine from the global Ford EcoBoost™ family is underhood, giving Vertrek the power of a larger-displacement powerplant while delivering significantly better fuel economy and CO2 emissions. In Vertrek concept, this engine is mated to a new, fuel-saving Ford Auto Start-Stop technology. By 2013, 80 percent of Ford’s global nameplates and 90 percent of Ford’s North American nameplates will have an EcoBoost option.

The prestigious AutoWeek award comes hard on the heels of the all-new Ford Explorer being named 2011 North American Truck of the Year, the third year in a row Ford has taken this honor.

The Vertrek concept is on public display at NAIAS – along with Explorer and other award-winning Ford and Lincoln vehicles – in Detroit’s Cobo Hall through Jan. 23.

Visit our website for all your Metro Detroit Ford Vehicle needs, or view our new and used inventory at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Ford Focus Electric To Offer Convenient Charging Station With Plenty Of Consumer Benefits

  • The Ford Focus Electric will offer an innovative home charging station for customers that delivers several benefits for a convenient and simple experience. The unit was jointly developed with Leviton, a leading North American producer of electrical devices
  • The charging station for the Ford Focus Electric can be easily installed, replaced or upgraded without the use of tools due to its innovative design and mounting bracket, making removal and replacement a simple unplug and plug back in
  • Other benefits of the charging station include an industry-leading price point and 10-year limited hardware warranty, along with being manufactured in the United States

Focus Electric Charging Station


DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 13, 2011 – The Ford Focus Electric offers breakthrough, customer-centered technology, and a home charging station that brings convenience and value to match. Jointly developed with Leviton, a leading North American producer of electrical devices, the unit offers a wide variety of benefits for Focus Electric customers.  


One of the main advantages of the charging station is the nonpermanent-style installation. The unit plugs into a 240-volt outlet instead of being hard-wired into the electrical breaker box. The nonpermanent-style design makes removal and replacement as simple as unplug and plug back in should the owner move.  


“We’re delivering an industry-leading charge station that offers customers not only the best value, but also tremendous flexibility,” said Mike Tinskey, manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, Ford Motor Company. “It’s just one part of how Ford is making Focus Electric a simpler driving solution for customers.”  


Manufactured in the United States, the unit’s exterior housing is made out of up 60 percent post consumer recycled material. The unit also is compatible with all upcoming Ford plug-in vehicles.  


Complete with attractive design aesthetics, the unit also has a larger power design than the competition, allowing for faster charge times as vehicles accommodate.  


“We are pleased to partner with Ford, a world class innovator, as we embark on the electric vehicle revolution. Leviton has a long history of providing commercial and residential electrical power delivery solutions which are easy to use and backed by industry leading service and support. Our Evr-Green electric vehicle charging products continue that tradition and add another solution to our growing portfolio of green products and services.  These innovative solutions will help promote the adoption and expansion of electric vehicles,” said Mike Mattei, Vice President and General Manager for Leviton’s Commercial and Industrial business unit.  


Ford is working with consumer electronics leader Best Buy to sell the charging station and offer complete consultation and installation services through its Geek Squad subsidiary and third-party licensed electrical contractors. Based on current plans, the Focus Electric home charging station with standard installation is expected to retail for approximately $1,499, as much as 30 percent less than competitors’ systems. The unit also will have a limited 10-year hardware warranty.  


Ford’s electrification strategy

Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy. Ford’s aggressive strategy includes the launch of five new electrified vehicles in Europe and North America. In addition to Focus Electric, Ford introduced the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010. The company also will launch two next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrids and a plug-in hybrid in 2012. The range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to address a variety of consumer driving needs.  


Ford’s electrification strategy also leverages the most fuel-efficient powertrains, the most technically competent hybrids and the company’s global vehicle platforms in order to develop affordable choices for consumers.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ford Vertrek Concept Previews A Sleeker, Sportier And More Stylish Compact Sport Utility Vehicle

  • The Vertrek concept is Ford’s vision for a utility vehicle that will appeal to customers around the globe; it signals the direction Ford will take in developing a new global utility vehicle
  • The concept features a stylish design, outstanding cargo space and a 1.6-liter EcoBoost™ engine equipped with Ford Auto Start-Stop technology that could deliver best-in-class fuel economy. These are key why-buys for customers around the globe
  • Ford Vertrek concept is built on Ford’s global C-segment platform, which will underpin more than 2 million vehicles globally by 2012

Ford Vertrek Concept


DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 – Ford Motor Company today unveiled its vision for a sleeker, sportier and more stylish compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. The Ford Vertrek concept previews the company’s ambition for a next-generation, global compact SUV that could lead the industry in both design and fuel efficiency.


The Ford Vertrek concept is based on Ford’s global C-segment platform, which includes the all-new Ford Focus range launching early in 2011 in North America and Europe, plus the latest C-MAX and Grand C-MAX multi-activity vehicles. It represents the vision of the company’s top design and engineering talent on how best to attract and satisfy future sport utility vehicle customers around the world.


“Vertrek concept is a no-compromise solution we feel utility vehicle customers will embrace around the world,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. “It is a revolution compared to what is typically seen in this segment in North America and is a stylish evolution compared with products outside North America. This new design is sleeker and more fuel efficient and delivers the capability, including people and cargo volume, customers demand globally.”


The Ford Vertrek concept combines the best of Ford’s distinctive European kinetic design styling and driving quality with outstanding levels of cargo space, trailer-tow and off-road capability for North America, promising a vehicle that meets the needs of next-generation compact utility vehicle customers around the world.


The sleek appearance of the Ford Vertrek concept has been honed aerodynamically to help support the program target of class-leading fuel economy and low CO2 emissions and complement the high-tech powertrain solutions Ford envisions.


Ford preliminary data show that a production vehicle based around the Vertrek concept would be at least 5 percent more aerodynamically efficient than current comparable Ford North American and European models, such as the Escape and Kuga.


Global solution for global needs
Ford’s global C-segment platform allows for the efficient creation of vehicles that address consumer tastes around the world.


“Customer demands are converging globally toward a compact sport utility vehicle that is stylish and great fun to drive while at the same time providing the package, capability, engaging technology and fuel economy they expect,” said Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service. “The Ford Vertrek concept will allow us to hear directly from these customers about trade-offs they are prepared to make as we look to deliver a future production model that brings to life all these attributes.”


At least 10 new models will be built on the new global C-segment platform, which replaces three platforms currently in production regionally. By 2012, the new platform will account for more than 2 million units of sales, providing Ford with unprecedented economies of scale and an opportunity to offer customers around the world an array of new technologies and product features usually reserved for premium vehicles.


The compact sport utility vehicle segment is one of the largest (consistently in the top five), most competitive and fastest growing segments – more than doubling in market share since 2000 – in the U.S. It also ranks among the top four most cross-shopped segments in the U.S. It is a segment that Ford helped pioneer with the popular Escape model.


Growth in Europe of crossover products, similar to the compact sport utility vehicle segment in the U.S., has been astounding – up more than 200 percent since 2000. The Ford Kuga has consistently ranked third in its segment, in which all major manufacturers compete, since its launch in 2008. Nearly 70 percent of Kuga customers opt for the high series.

Globally, the compact SUV segment has shown growth since 2009, led by China and the U.S. The market in China is projected to increase 60 percent by 2011 compared with 2009.


“This segment is uniquely diversified across the globe,” said Farley. “In the U.S. these are considered small cars, while in Europe and other markets they are considered midsize cars. No matter how you classify it, the segment is vitally important and only those manufacturers who demonstrate leadership in design, customer-focused technology, capability and fuel-efficient performance will succeed.”


Kinetic design taken to the next level
The sporty, sleek Ford Vertrek concept builds on Ford’s global kinetic design philosophy. This distinctive and continually evolving design language is rooted in creating cars that appear to be in motion even when stationary, while at the same time communicating the engaging driving experience that Ford cars deliver.


The starting point is creating an athletic stance for the vehicle, almost like a runner in starting blocks poised and ready to burst forward. Other key elements include dynamic lines and taut surfacing, again conveying muscularity and athleticism.


Vertrek concept builds on these kinetic design fundamentals, underscoring its on-road characteristics and off-road capability.


“The Ford Vertrek concept is inspired by contemporary compact sport utility customers’ expectations and aspirations,” said J Mays, group vice president, Design, and chief creative officer. “It unites stylish design, world-class craftsmanship and outstanding capability to present a fresh vision that we believe will resonate globally.”


High-tech gasoline and diesel powertrain solutions
The Ford Vertrek concept shows how the vision of a next-generation, fuel-efficient compact SUV could become reality by extending the reach of the company’s growing EcoBoost™ engine and advanced turbo diesel common-rail direct-injection (TDCi) engine families while introducing Ford Auto Start-Stop technology.


EcoBoost is fundamental to Ford’s strategy to provide technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver uncompromised performance and fuel economy. Ford EcoBoost engines deliver fuel economy gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger, less-efficient engines.


In addition to turbocharging with direct injection, Ford powertrain engineers have enhanced EcoBoost’s technology capabilities by adding variable valve timing and precisely controlling all aspects of the engine. Ford has at least 125 patents on its EcoBoost technology.


Ford Vertrek concept features the highly efficient 1.6-liter four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine, giving the vehicle the power of a larger engine yet delivering significantly better fuel economy and CO2 emissions.


By 2013, 80 percent of Ford’s global nameplates and 90 percent of Ford’s North American nameplates will have an EcoBoost option.


Advanced diesel engines
Outside the U.S., Ford also offers customers a wide range of efficient and powerful Duratorq® TDCi engines, many of which could be applied to a future production model based on the Vertrek concept. Advanced diesel technology is especially vital in Europe – 96 percent of Kugas sold are diesel-powered.


The acclaimed 2.0-liter Ford Duratorq TDCi engine has recently been upgraded to deliver even higher efficiency with improved performance, fuel economy and refinement.


A more efficient combustion system enables greater peak power, significantly improved driveability with increased responsiveness and more pulling power at low engine speeds. It also delivers reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Depending on application, CO2 emissions are reduced by up to 7 percent compared to the previous 2.0-liter Duratorq TDCi engine.


Paired with the engine will be a fuel-saving six-speed transmission. By 2013, 100 percent of Ford vehicles in the U.S. will incorporate a six-speed transmission as part of the company’s commitment to leadership in fuel-economy performance in all vehicle segments.


Automatic shutdown of engine saves fuel
Another key enabler of enhanced fuel efficiency is the Ford Auto Start-Stop system. This system automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle is at idle – at a stoplight, for example – and quickly restarts the engine when the driver wants to move off.


An Auto Start-Stop system can reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 5 percent in mixed driving conditions. In city driving and in heavy traffic with frequent stops, the savings could increase to as much as 10 percent.


The advanced new Ford Auto Start-Stop system has been carefully designed with customer comfort in mind, providing consistent starting and stopping performance that is smooth, quiet and seamless, requiring no changes in driver behavior. When the engine shuts down, the electronic control unit immediately prepares the engine’s systems for an instant restart. An integrated system of sensors is then used to detect when the driver performs an action that signals the intent to drive off, such as pressing the accelerator or clutch pedal.


As soon as the driver prepares to move away, the engine starts quietly and almost instantly; it takes the system only around 0.3 second to fire up the engine. The process is near imperceptible and happens before gear selection is completed. To support the increased number of engine starts, the starter motor is upgraded with a high-performance electric motor and a stronger pinion-engagement mechanism with reduced noise levels.


Smart Regenerative Charging
Advanced battery technology is required to ensure the main vehicle battery copes with the frequent charge-discharge cycles common with start-stop operation. Additional technologies ensure the battery is kept charged in the most efficient way.


A Smart Regenerative Charging system increases the alternator output when the vehicle brakes or decelerates. This converts the kinetic energy of the vehicle into electric energy without using additional fuel.


The “free” electric current is used to recharge the battery, so it can be used by the electrical systems at a later stage. This could be when the engine is switched off during a stop phase but also can be when the generator is operating in a less-efficient mode.


The battery has an advanced management system that continually monitors its status and communicates with the Ford Auto Start-Stop system, so that the regenerative charging feature can charge the battery in the optimal way. The Auto Start-Stop system knows how much battery charge is available, so that it can leave the engine running if the battery does not have a sufficient level of charge.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Votes Are Tallied: All-New 2011 Ford Explorer Named North American Truck Of The Year

  • A jury of North American journalists today named the fuel-efficient, fully capable 2011 Ford Explorer North American Truck of the Year
  • Explorer is completely reinvented for 2011, offering class-leading fuel economy, available industry-exclusive second-row inflatable safety belts and Intelligent 4WD with an advanced Terrain Management System™
  • Ford Explorer is America’s most fuel-efficient full-size SUV with an EPA-rated 17 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the standard V6 engine
2011 Ford Explorer - North America Truck of the Year


DETROIT, Jan. 10, 2011 – The 2011 Ford Explorer – America’s most fuel-efficient full-size SUV – was named North American Truck of the Year today by an international panel of journalists.


The all-new Ford Explorer edged out finalists including the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee to win the North American Truck of the Year award, which was presented at the start of the North American International Auto Show.


“It’s a proud moment for Ford, our employees and our customers to have Explorer named North American Truck of the Year,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas. “Winning this honor for the third consecutive year confirms our One Ford plan is working to deliver vehicles people truly want and value, with industry-leading quality, fuel efficiency, safety and smart technology.”

The North American Truck of the Year award recognizes vehicles based on factors that include innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. A jury of 49 veteran automotive journalists from the United States and Canada vote for the vehicles, which must be “all-new” or “substantially changed” from the previous model to qualify for the award.


The win by Explorer marks the seventh time a Ford has been North American Truck of the Year, with Ford dominating in the truck category. Last year, Ford Transit Connect was the winner. The best-selling Ford F-150 pickup won the honor in 2004 and 2009; the fuel-efficient Ford Escape Hybrid won in 2005. This is the 18th year for the Truck of the Year award.


Ford Explorer fully reinvented
Ford revealed the all-new Ford Explorer in July, showcasing the SUV’s combination of improved driving dynamics, available convenience technology, towing capability up to 5,000 pounds and available Intelligent 4WD with the Terrain Management System.


The standard 3.5-liter V6 engine enables class-leading highway fuel economy. Featuring technologies such as twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT), a six-speed automatic transmission, electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) and aggressive deceleration fuel shutoff, Explorer also offers a wind-skimming aerodynamic shape to maximize fuel economy.


For SUV buyers putting top priority on fuel economy, Explorer this year will offer a 2.0-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 that is anticipated to deliver even greater fuel efficiency.


The all-new Explorer has been reinvented to reflect 21st century customer needs, while honoring the fully capable heritage of previous Explorer models. It is built at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant and already is on sale at Ford dealerships across North America.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Introducing All-New Focus Electric – Go Fuel-Free With First Zero-Emissions Passenger Car From Ford

  • All-new Ford Focus Electric is the first fuel-free, rechargeable passenger car from Ford and one of five new electrified vehicles Ford will deliver by 2013 in North America and Europe
  • Focus Electric will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles
  • The all-electric Focus is capable of fully recharging in three to four hours at home using the available wall-mounted 240-volt charge station – charging in half the time of the Nissan Leaf
  • The new Focus Electric offers value charging, powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership
  • Focus Electric provides a special version of MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology especially for electric customers and introduces MyFord Mobile, a smartphone app and website for monitoring key vehicle functions and charge settings while mobile

All-new Ford Focus Electric


DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 7, 2011 – Ford Motor Company unveiled today its all-new Focus Electric – the company’s first-ever all-electric passenger car. The zero-CO2-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford’s popular small car is the flagship of the company’s growing fleet of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles coming to North America and Europe by 2013.


“Focus Electric is the flagship of our new family of electrified vehicles, showcasing our commitment to offer consumers choice when it comes to fuel-efficient or fuel-free vehicles,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development. “Its advanced powertrain will deliver significant energy efficiency advantages and zero CO2 emissions without compromising driving enjoyment. And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs.”


The Focus Electric will launch in late 2011 and is designed to offer enough range to cover the majority of daily driving habits of Americans. It will offer a mile-per-gallon equivalent better than Chevrolet Volt and competitive with other battery electric vehicles.


A full recharge is expected to take three to four hours at home with the 240-volt charge station –half the charge time of the Nissan Leaf.


Focus Electric introduces new features and technologies – including a unique version of the MyFord Touch driver connect system especially for electric vehicles, a new value charging feature powered by Microsoft and a smartphone app called MyFord Mobile that helps plug-in owners control their vehicles remotely.


The sleek and stylish five-door hatchback leverages Ford’s global C-car platform shared by the gasoline and diesel-powered Focus models, which debuted at the 2010 North American International Auto Show and were launched at the Paris Motor Show in September.


Both 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.


For European markets, a decision on where the Focus Electric will be built is currently being finalized.


Focus Electric is one of five new electrified vehicles included in Ford’s electrification strategy. Initial deliveries of Transit Connect Electric began in North America at the end of last year and the vehicle will be launched in Europe later in 2011.


A real car
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, up to a top speed of 84 mph (136 kph).


Much of Focus Electric’s steering, handling and braking feel is shared with the agile, sporty, fuel-powered Focus models upon which it’s based, making Focus Electric a dynamic driver’s car. At the same time, the absence of a gasoline or diesel engine and outstanding aerodynamics lead to a remarkably quiet, comfortable in-car experience.


“More than any other electric vehicle on the market, Focus Electric loses none of the dynamics and quality of driving a traditional car,” said Sherif Marakby, director of Ford’s electrification programs and engineering. “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.”


Focus Electric offers a host of standard safety and security features including six airbags and electronic traction control, along with hands-free SYNC® telephone connectivity and MyKey® for North America. Extensive eco-friendly materials, such as bio-foam seat cushions and recycled fabrics also are featured in the vehicle.


Other standard features on Ford Focus Electric for North American customers include a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology, 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, Sirius® Satellite Radio with Travel Link, HD Radio™ and voice-activated Navigation System.


Plug and play
Future owners of the Focus Electric will likely recharge the car’s advanced, Ford-engineered lithium-ion battery pack at home on a daily basis, using the recommended 240-volt wall-mounted charge station that will be sold separately or the 120-volt convenience cord that comes with the vehicle.


When plugged in, the Focus Electric onboard charger converts AC power from the electric grid to DC power to charge the liquid-cooled/heated battery pack.


“We’re very excited about the potential of Focus Electric in the marketplace. With so many of us accustomed to recharging mobile electronics on a daily basis, we’re confident our customers will take to the vehicle recharging process just as easily, because that’s exactly what it is – easy,” said Nancy Gioia, Ford director of Global Electrification. “Not only have we made the practice of plugging in simple and straightforward, we’re working with leading technology companies and the utility industry to make the EV experience empowering and engaging.”


An empowering experience
Focus Electric owners will be provided with a suite of driver information systems – on-board and off-board – designed to help them manage the recharge process, manage the most eco-friendly route on-board, monitor battery state of charge and maximize energy efficiency to optimize their driving range. This carefully engineered set of tools is designed to give Focus Electric the edge over competitive products, providing new electric vehicle owners the information they need to enjoy all the freedom gas-free driving has to offer.


Among these tools is a unique execution of MyFord Touch driver connect technology. Thoughtfully developed for electric vehicle owners, it offers innovative presentation of vehicle information, such as battery state of charge, distance to charge point, the corresponding range budget and expected range margin. The system’s MyView feature allows drivers to access even more vehicle data including the electrical demands of vehicle accessories such as air conditioning, which can impact driving range.


Just as the growing leafy vine of first-generation SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide represents fuel efficiency in the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the cluster display in Focus Electric uses blue butterflies to represent the surplus range beyond one’s charge point destination – the more butterflies there are, the greater the range.


Ford designers were inspired by the phenomenon known as “the butterfly effect,” in which a small change, like choosing to drive an electric vehicle, can have an enormous impact. To reinforce the message, 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.


The cluster is also integrated with the MyFord Touch map-based Navigation System using the vehicle’s center stack 8-inch touch screen. After adding their driving destinations, including their next charge point, into the vehicle’s Navigation System, the vehicle will coach drivers on how to achieve the desired range – or if travel plans need to be adjusted. The on-board Navigation System provides an EcoRoute option based on characteristics of efficient EV driving.


Remote control
Off-board, Focus Electric owners in North America will be able to maintain constant contact with the car anywhere they have mobile phone access using the Ford-developed MyFord Mobile app.


MyFord Mobile is an app that 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

The feature also allows the owner to program the vehicle to use electricity from the grid to heat or cool the battery and 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. Users can also locate the vehicle with GPS, remotely start the vehicle and remotely lock and unlock the car doors.


Working with MapQuest®, MyFord Mobile can communicate charge station and other points of interest to Focus Electric using SYNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information (TDI). Turn-by-turn guidance is provided by the in-car map-based Navigation System. Drivers can also get up-to-date charging station information in their vehicle directly through SYNC TDI simply by connecting to SYNC Services.


Value charging
The new Focus Electric offers a unique value charging feature, powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership.


“Value charging allows our customers to reduce their electricity costs by taking advantage of off-peak or other reduced rates from their utility without a complicated set-up process,” said Ed Pleet, manager, Ford Connected Services Organization. “This is a ‘set it and forget it’ approach for the customer to reduce energy cost.”


The tool is designed to help customers avoid unnecessary expense by providing an optimized charge. In the future, these smart charging habits will help utility companies understand and better manage the demands placed upon the electric grid because of electrified vehicles.


Getting charged up
Focus Electric owners are likely to handle one of the vehicle’s charge cord connectors two or more times each day. That’s why Ford worked with supplier Yazaki to provide an industry-standard five-point plug that is ergonomically comfortable to hold as well as durably and distinctively designed.


The plug handle uses a matte-finished black rubber that allows for a comfortable, non-slip grip. The plug head is shielded with a protective glossy white plastic.


When the cord set connector is plugged into the vehicle’s charge port, which is conveniently located between the driver’s door and front wheel well, it activates a light ring that loops around the port twice in acknowledgement of connectivity. The light ring then illuminates in quadrants as the vehicle charges. Flashing quadrants represent charge in progress and solid-lit quadrants show stages of charge completion. In the unlikely event of a fault, the entire ring will flash. When the entire ring is solidly lit, the vehicle is fully charged.


Batteries included
Focus Electric will be powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with supplier LG Chem. The battery system utilizes heated and cooled liquid to help maximize battery life and fuel-free driving range.


Thermal management of lithium-ion battery systems is critical to the success of pure electric vehicles. Focus Electric uses an advanced active liquid cooling and heating system to precondition and regulate the temperature in its larger, more complex lithium-ion 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.


“Focus Electric is the culmination of years of research and development,” said Kuzak. “More importantly, it’s the start of an exciting new era for Ford and our customers.”

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Decade Of Change: Top 10 Ways Your Car Has Changed In 10 Years

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 4, 2011 – The past decade has been revolutionary for several parts of our society, but few sectors have seen as much change since 2000 as the auto industry.


Ten short years ago, automakers were touting the number of cupholders in the cabin and the increased off-road capabilities of family haulers. Today, these same companies are racing to offer increasingly hands-free mobile communication, eye-popping fuel economy and technologies aimed at helping drivers avoid accidents.


“Cars have become more like brains on wheels,” said Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global trends manager. “Consumers today want to stay connected and they want the drive to be an experience, especially since the amount of time Americans spend in the car has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.”


Technology evolution
Many of the changes in automobiles were driven by the ever-evolving ways people use mobile devices and the Internet to consume information, communicate with others and even engage in commerce. According to the UN agency, about five billion people use cell phones while weekly Internet usage is up 560 percent.


This trend has exploded in the past decade, redefining the way we use our cars. As the calendar flips to 2011, and automakers kick off a new chapter of innovation at the North American International Auto Show, here are our Top 10 ways the industry has changed since 2000:


Top 10 in 2010
Infotainment: Vehicle options 10 years ago, such as in-dash compact disc players and speed control systems, are now standard features. Consumers’ desire to have constant access to information helped spawn technologies such as voice-activated controls, real-time traffic and Wi-Fi mobile hot spots now found on many 2011 Ford products.


Entertainment:The days of packing a clumsy library of CDs or VHS movie tapes are gone. Today consumers have a wide variety of compact ways to be entertained while behind the wheel. A decade ago, for instance, satellite radio was not available in cars. Today, more than half of new passenger cars are equipped with the service, according to Ward’s Auto. Ford vehicles equipped with SYNC® can stream Internet radio like Pandora or can play music from USB plugged-in digital music players or memory sticks.


Taking out the guesswork: Today’s vehicles are equipped with new technologies that make driving easier, including self-parallel parking, rear back-up cameras and  rain-sensing wipers. Terrain management, a new Ford feature available on the 2011 Explorer, lets the driver select the type of terrain the vehicle is driving through, such as sand, snow or pavement, and the vehicle then adjusts wheel spin, throttle inputs and other inputs accordingly.


Accident avoidance: Automotive safety has also advanced dramatically. In 2000, the average car had at least two airbags. Today, most vehicles have at least four, with some models equipped with up to 10 airbags. The airbags themselves also have improved. Ford is the first automaker to introduce inflatable second row safety belts.


The biggest change, however, is in the area of accident avoidance. For example, Ford’s new Curve Control, available on the 2011 Explorer, monitors a driver’s speed entering fast, sharp corners then corrects the vehicle. Other examples from Ford include a collision warning system that detects moving vehicles ahead; Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) that alerts the driver when approaching vehicles enter the system’s defined blind spot zone; and cross-traffic alert to sense oncoming traffic when the driver is backing out of a parking spot.


Fuel economy: In the early 2000s, bigger was better. Vehicles were large and powerful and boasted off-road capability rarely used by the average consumer who purchased them. Consumers wanted cars that could transport large amounts of cargo and lots of passengers.


Cars and the engines that power them are shrinking and have become more fuel efficient. According to Edmunds Best-Selling Vehicles, the most popular models in 2000 were trucks. That same report from 2009 shows small passenger cars topping the list.


According to the EPA, fuel economy between 2000 and 2010 improved for the industry from 19.8 mpg to 22.5 mpg – a 14 percent improvement. Increasing numbers of consumers are also choosing smaller, fuel-sipping four-cylinders. The percentage of fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines increased from 31.7 percent to 48.4 percent  between 2000 and 2010. For example, the four-cylinder version of the Ford Fusion, which attracted 55 percent of buyers in 2007, now accounts for more than 70 percent of sales.


Built-in navigation: TripTik® gave way to MapQuest, which soon led to the first commercially available automotive navigation system in the late 1990s. According to Berg Insight Research, there are an estimated 150 million in-dash, aftermarket, compact personal and navigation-enabled mobile guidance devices used globally. Today, navigation systems are integrated into vehicles and are much more comprehensive.


Creature comforts: Consumers today enjoy a more comfortable ride. Better interior materials, sleeker interior designs, heated and cooled seats that automatically adjust driver position, remote start and more storage capacity all offer more comfort and convenience. Even a hands-free power liftgate that opens with the wave of a foot underneath the rear bumper can be found on Ford’s new C-MAX.


Customization: Ford has responded to the trend of an increased desire for personalization by adding features in its vehicles such as ambient lighting colors that can be changed to fit the driver’s mood, driver’s seats with customizable settings that adjust automatically with the push of a button, even decal kits for the new Fiesta.


Security: Keyless remotes, alarms and warning systems, and anti-theft systems have come a long way toward making life on the go safer for many. For example, Ford and Lincoln vehicles come with technologies such as SYNC’s 911 Assist™ and Vehicle Health Report, or MyKey®, which allows parents to restrict vehicle speeds when a teen driver is behind the wheel. Intelligent Access with push-button start allows Ford or Lincoln drivers to start the engine by simply carrying the key fob as they approach and enter the vehicle. 


Paint colors: Brighter, more vibrant paint colors are edging their way into consumers’ hearts. Black and silver still top the list, but colors like Lime Squeeze found on the Ford Fiesta or Yellow Blaze found on the new Focus have become more popular. New paints mixed with glass or metal flecks have also changed the way cars look.


Next 10 years
The next decade will bring more revolutionary change for both the auto industry and American consumers. Look for higher gas prices, better lithium-ion batteries, alternative fuels, more advanced safety technologies and more connectivity such as vehicle-to-vehicle systems that will allow vehicles to “talk” to each other via wireless communications embedded into the car.


“People are used to living with technology,” said Connelly. “That’s why companies always have to think ahead. Understanding what consumers want and need tomorrow – or even next year – isn’t enough. We have to anticipate needs and desires farther out, 10 years down the road and beyond so we can deliver vehicles that will truly fit our customers’ lives.”