Archive for July, 2010

h1

2011 Ford Edge Gets Almost Best-in-Class 19/27-MPG Fuel Econmy Rating

July 27, 2010

Ford has just released the official EPA rated fuel economy numbers for the 2011 Edge and it appears as though the American automaker is living up to its promise to be a fuel economy leader. Well, almost.

Equipped with its new standard six-speed automatic transmission, the 3.5-liter V6 is now rated at 19-mpg city and 27-mpg highway, slightly higher than its mechanically-similar Lincoln MKX cousin. These numbers best the Honda Accord Crosstour and Toyota Venza, which are rated at 18/27-mpg and 19/26-mpg respectively. Interestingly, however, the combined rating of 22-mpg is just short of the Hyundai Santa Fe which is rated at 23-mpg (20-mpg city, 26-mpg highway).

That hasn’t stopped Ford from boasting “top fuel economy” in its press release. Seems like yet another automaker has underestimated Hyundai. Then again, Ford would probably argue that the Santa Fe isn’t a competitor.

As for the new Edge Sport model, it retains its 18/25-mpg rating from last year, although with the addition of 40-hp thanks to Ford’s new 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine. That powerplant makes 305-hp and 280 ft-lbs of torque in the 2011 Edge.

What Ford hasn’t released yet are numbers for the 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine, which we expect to top 30-mph on the highway. Then the Edge will truly have best-in-class fuel economy.


2011 FORD EDGE SPORT ADDS CLASS-LEADING POWER, BOLDER APPEARANCE AND INDUSTRY-FIRST TECHNOLOGY

* The class-leading power is flowed through a six-speed SelectShift Automatic™ transmission and accessed by new unique treatment of paddle shifters. The paddle shifters now can operate while the vehicle is in Drive, allowing a true manual experience when upshifting or downshifting
* New class-exclusive standard 22-inch wheels are the key elements of a refreshed, bolder exterior; special sport-tuned suspension complements new wheels and adds higher level of handling and ride
* Industry-first MyFord Touch™ with SYNC is standard, opening a new era of driver connectivity through the use of intuitive voice commands, 8-inch touch screen in the center stack and two driver-configurable 4.2-inch LCD screens in the instrument cluster


DEARBORN, Mich., July 14, 2010 – The 2011 Ford Edge Sport is both edgier and sportier than the original version launched in 2009. Customers opting for the popular midsize crossover’s performance version will enjoy a more engaging driving experience, a bolder appearance and industry-first driver connect technology.

“The 2011 Ford Edge Sport is bolder, more powerful and has more customer-focused technology than ever before,” said Elaine Bannon, chief engineer. “Edge customers value style and technology. The 2011 Edge Sport delivers the ultimate in both, now with class-leading performance.”

Bannon has been the chief engineer for Edge, which debuted in December of 2006 as a 2007 model year product, from the start. Edge Sport joined the lineup two years later, and the new version best expresses the vision of combining the signature elements of Edge with even greater engineering know-how.

“With the larger wheels, unique exterior cues and added performance, Edge Sport is the type of vehicle you usually could only find at aftermarket exhibition shows like SEMA. The Sport is certainly a vehicle an aftermarket developer might create starting with a base Edge for the enthusiast/performance customer,” said Bannon.

“The difference for the Edge Sport is that all the performance attributes are precisely engineered and matched by Ford, as are all the exterior and interior design cues and materials, to create the ultimate Edge experience directly from the factory.”

More power and better fuel economy
Class-leading power is delivered by a new 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 engine that produces 305 horsepower at 6,500 rpm and 280 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm. This improved power – 40 more horsepower over the outgoing Edge Sport – is not at the expense of fuel economy, either. The 2011 Edge Sport fuel economy remains 18 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

Advanced technology and clever control strategies help the 2011 Edge Sport produce power efficiently. Ti-VCT, for example, enables precise and variable control of the intake and exhaust camshafts to optimize performance and fuel economy.

The new engine is mated to a six-speed SelectShift Automatic transmission with upgraded, class-exclusive paddle shift activation inspired by sports cars.

“For 2011, the paddle shift activation for the Edge Sport is ‘live in drive,’ which means the customer doesn’t have to shift to ‘M’ or manual mode,” said Rich Kreder, vehicle engineering manager. “Instead, while in Drive, the driver can pull the ‘+’ paddle on the right side of the steering wheel or ‘-’ paddle on the left side of the steering wheel to go up or down gears. It’s a much more engaging and intuitive experience.”

This execution, available on the 2011 Edge Sport only, allows the driver to shift gears quickly while keeping both hands on the steering wheel. The transmission reverts to automatic mode and upshifts or downshifts as needed when driven at a steady speed.

Class-exclusive 22-inch wheels highlight exterior differentiation
Large wheels have been the signature of Edge Sport since its debut as a 2009 model year product. New for 2011 are class-exclusive 22-inch forged aluminum wheels that are standard. Forged aluminum wheels are often the top choice in the aftermarket because of their premium quality and ability to combine high strength and light weight in one package.

Experienced designers and engineers worked closely with state-of-the-art computer tools to optimize form, fit and function to deliver world-class weight-efficient designs that exceed Ford’s strict requirements – higher than the industry standard – in terms of structural integrity, corrosion performance and other attributes. This ensures the new Ford wheels have higher standards than typically found in the aftermarket.

Complementing the new wheels is a sport-tuned suspension with revised front strut tuning, rear spring rates and rear jounce bumper, which helps stiffen the suspension for a flatter, sportier ride. Key to the suspension tuning is the addition of high-flow shocks. These shocks allow tuning for both handling and ride without compromise to either.

“Drivers will feel a firmer connection to the road when going around a corner and less jarring when hitting a pothole, for example,” said Kreder. “It’s allowed us to make Edge Sport much more comfortable without losing any handling.”

The tires were designed and engineered specifically for Edge Sport and deliver similar grip levels as those found in a Mustang GT tire combined with all-season performance.

The wheels feature a polished finish with painted Tuxedo Black spoke accents that complement Edge Sport’s other dynamic exterior styling cues, including the painted Tuxedo Black grille, smoked headlamp and taillamp treatment, body-color rocker moldings, 4-inch oval chrome exhaust tips, body-color door cladding and revised body-color lower front and rear fascias.

Key interior highlights are aluminum pedal covers, liquid silver smoke appliqués that are echoed in the silver smoke metallic leather seat inserts with contrast stitching and 10-way heated power driver seat with power lumbar and memory settings.

MyFord Touch ushers in new era of interaction
The industry-first MyFord Touch driver connect technology powered by SYNC® provides a smarter, safer, simpler way to connect drivers with in-car technologies and their digital lives. It replaces traditional vehicle buttons, knobs and gauges with clear, crisp LCD screens and five-way controls like those found on cell phones and MP3 players and also uses intuitive voice commands.

Standard on the 2011 Edge Sport, MyFord Touch displays information using two 4.2-inch full-color LCD screens flanking an analog speedometer and an 8-inch touch-screen LCD at the top of the center stack. A five-way switch on each side of the steering wheel controls the information displayed on the corresponding instrument panel screens. The screens can be personalized to display information relevant to each individual driver.

Sony sound system, unique finish panel standard
The MyFord touch with Sony Audio System finish panel is fully integrated. The panel is completely flat (except for the center knob), so the touch cells are executed as circular “landing zones” for the finger.

The touch cells create a miniature, undetectable electric field. A finger breaks the field and causes the cell to go on or off like a traditional switch. This means there is no true button to push – a touch of the finger does the job. Illumination and an audible “beep” confirm activation.

The touch cells can control items such as volume, radio seek, radio station tuning, CD track seek, defrosters and air conditioning. Included in the climate controls is the new MyTemp feature, which allows a customer to program and set the desired interior temperature like a radio preset.

Consistent with other Sony products, the audio portion of the control panel is divided into “Source” and “Sound” sections, allowing customers to select the input (AM/FM radio, HD Radio™ broadcasts, satellite radio, CD, personal devices) and tune the sound with bass, treble, fade and balance inputs on the screen.

The heart of the Sony Audio System is its extraordinary sound quality. Comprised of 12 high-quality speakers and a Class D all-digital amplifier, the Sony system has the ability to pump out 390 watts of continuous power (RMS). Further, Dolby Pro Logic® II technology creates true virtual 5.1 channel surround sound throughout the car for a unique listening experience.

Like the song? You can tag it
Also new on the 2011 Ford Edge Sport is the world’s first use of iTunes® Tagging in an available factory-installed HD Radio receiver. iTunes Tagging provides customers with the ability to “capture” a song they hear on the HD Radio receiver for later purchase from iTunes. With a simple push of a “TAG” button on the MyFord touch-screen display, the song information will be stored in the radio’s memory.

Once a song is tagged and customers dock their iPod to the SYNC system, the tagged song information will transfer to that iPod. Up to 100 tags on SYNC can be stored until the iPod is connected. When the iPod is then synced to iTunes, a playlist of tagged songs will appear. Customers then can preview, and if they desire, purchase and download tagged songs from the iTunes Store.

One significant benefit of HD Radio technology is that the sound quality of the broadcast is dramatically better because of the digital transmission – FM sounds like a CD and AM sounds like today’s FM broadcasts. Unlike analog broadcasts, digital broadcasts aren’t susceptible to interference, fadeout and other issues.

“The goal with the 2011 Edge was to raise the level of all the attributes to world-class status, and with that in mind we needed to improve the Edge Sport that much more,” Bannon said. “With class-leading performance, head-turning styling inside and out and industry-exclusive technologies, we want to provide customers a vehicle that truly delivers the ultimate Edge experience.”

(from Autoguide.com)

Advertisements
h1

B.C.’s HST does not affect car purchases

July 23, 2010

Vancouver, British Columbia – British Columbia’s new harmonized sales tax (HST) will not affect new-car purchases, according to the New Car Dealers Association of BC.

Blair Qualey, president and CEO of the association, said that the new tax, which went into effect on July 1, has “zero effect” on the amount of tax that will be paid on a new car, and some consumers will even pay less for their vehicles under the new tax rules. Both the GST and PST, which are blended together to form the new HST, were already charged on all new-vehicle purchases prior to the introduction of the blended tax.

The total tax on a new vehicle remains at 12 per cent, which it did prior to July 1, Qualey said.  On some vehicles, the introduction of the HST eliminates the “luxury tax” of up to three per cent charged on cars worth more than $55,000.

The association said that consumers researching used vehicles should also be aware that the combined tax rate means that private sales are now subject to the same tax as public sales, and dollar-for-dollar, buying a used car from a private seller will cost the same as buying from a new car dealership.

(from Canadian Driver)

h1

Fusion leading the way

July 19, 2010

Fusion, a large reason why Ford is the top-selling brand in Canada this year, is available starting at $21,499, but the test car featured here is the hybrid version with a base MSRP of $31,999. It’s the most fuel efficient midsize sedan you can buy with a range of up to 1,200 km on a tank of gas.

It’s been getting rave reviews. Ford’s next-generation hybrid system with SmartGauge, which made its debut in the Fusion, has been named 2010’s best new green technology by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). And the entire Fusion lineup – gasoline and hybrid – won Motor Trend’s 2010 Car of the Year.

Fusion’s hybrid system features a 2.5-litre Atkinson Cycle inline four, mated to an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (CVT), that’s augmented by a 275-volt permanent magnet electric motor. On its own, the gasoline engine produces 155 hp, but the electric motor can boost that to 191 hp, which makes the hybrid quicker off the line than the gas-only four-cylinder Fusion that makes 175 hp. In AJAC testing, the gas Fusion sprinted from zero to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds and from 80 to 120 in seven seconds. The hybrid model reached 100 km/h in 9.2 seconds and 120 in 6.1.

The SmartGauge LCD instrument panel is programmable in four modes. A cluster of green leaves grows or diminishes depending on how efficiently you drive. This car delivers better fuel economy in city driving where the gasoline engine doesn’t operate at stops or slower speeds, making it quiet around town because it can be driven on electric power alone up to 75 km/h.

(from Glen Woodcock, 24hrs)

Contact me today to arrange a test drive in the Fusion Hybrid:

dale@hallmarkford.ca


h1

Feature: Ford’s “Drive One 4 UR School” program

July 13, 2010

I like to keep myself informed about what’s happening in the world around me but must admit that I hate watching, reading, or listening to the news lately due to the constant barrage of doom-and-gloom reports surrounding the state of the economy. As a teacher I have a front row seat when it comes to observing how difficult a time it is for many families to make ends meet each month, not to mention the struggle school boards and administrators are having when faced with steadily shrinking budgets.

Recently I became aware of a unique pilot program started by the Ford Motor Company that offers assistance to educational programs by way of offering test drives in their automobiles. The Drive One 4 UR School program was developed by Ford “as a fun, engaging way to help high schools raise money to support their sports and extracurricular activities.”

How does it work? Interested schools apply for the opportunity to host a Drive One event and if they are successful, they partner with a local Ford or Lincoln dealership to conduct a test drive fundraising event. For every valid test-drive completed, Ford Canada will donate $20 to the participating high school, up to a maximum of $6,000.

Drive One 4 UR School
Drive One 4 UR School.

After proving they have a valid driver’s licence, prospective test drivers fill out a short marketing survey and sign a waiver. They are given the keys to one of the vehicles on hand to go for a short test drive on a marked route through the neighbourhood. Drivers attending the event can select to drive any of the new Ford vehicles that their local Ford dealer has provided. Upon completion of the test drive participants are asked to complete a small survey to rate their experience.

If time allows, you are permitted to drive as many of the models as you like, but the school would only be credited for your initial test drive when it came time to tabulate the numbers.

The obvious purpose of the program is to expose as many individuals as possible to Ford and Lincoln products while at the same time promoting goodwill within the community.

“This is a pilot program, but if it proves successful I suspect that Ford will do it every year. From the dealer’s perspective it’s always nice to give back to the community, but as partners in business it’s nice to promote our product too,” said MacMullin. Ford of Canada will give selected schools up to $6,000 to put towards their programs.

Joanne Heron and John Wayne MacMullin

There were 100 “spins” available to interested schools, and Mission Secondary was lucky to be one of the ones selected for the program. In this case, Mission Secondary has deemed that any money raised through the program will be used to help fund the Dry Grad activities for next year’s graduation class. Dry Grad is an evening of fun activities, entertainment and events organized in a safe, adult –supervised and alcohol-free environment that occurs after prom festivities conclude, keeping the students safe and parents sane.

“Fund-raising is always tough, but especially in today’s economy. The Ford Drive One 4 UR School program is amazing as it allows a school access to as much as $6,000. In our case, that represents about a third of what we require to hold our Dry Grad event each year. This is a great opportunity and helps us out so much,” said Joanne Heron.

Mr. MacMullin pointed out that Ford now offers a wide range of nice affordable vehicles, so this program represents a good way to introduce these products to young drivers (and their families) in hopes that one day they will become Ford customers.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stereotyping when it comes to what type of vehicles a person chooses to drive, and if we can get a young person behind the wheel before they get caught up in it like many more mature consumers, they may see what a great product Ford offers today and make their own decisions based on what they like rather than what they have been told to like by adults.”

Suzette Ponte-Izbicki and Jacquie Bird

“Let’s face it, we have two or three generations of consumers who have been contaminated by the poor quality of the products produced by the Big Three during the 1970s, 80s, and even 90s. Over the last decade Ford has been getting rid of a lot of the inferior products in their line-up and has concentrated on quality.” (In fact, Ford now has the highest initial quality among all non-luxury brands, according to J.D. Power’s closely watched Initial Quality Study).

Here are some of the people who took part in the drive event and their comments:

Subjects: Suzette Ponte-Izbicki and Jacquie Bird – Teachers
Vehicle: 2010 Ford F-150

Teachers and partners-in-crime Suzette and Jacquie jumped at the chance to take Ford’s venerable pick-up for a spin. “It was a nice experience for me as you see these trucks everywhere and I always wondered what they were like on the road. It rides like a car!” exclaimed Suzette.

“I chose to drive the F-150 because I have a friend who is interested in a truck and he just so happens to like Fords. Now that I’ve driven one I will have a much better idea as to what he is talking about when we discuss his car shopping experiences,” said Jacquie.

Subjects: Peter and Evelyn Johnson – Grandparents
Vehicle: 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid

Proud grandparents Peter and Evelyn Johnson dropped by the school to have their first look at a hybrid vehicle. “Our granddaughter goes to school here so she asked us to come out. She was very enthused by it as she is graduating next year. It’s very encouraging to see company’s like Ford giving back to the community like this,” said Evelyn.

Peter and Evelyn Johnson
Mark Greenshields
Timo Itkonen

“This was our first experience with a hybrid vehicle. I was surprised by the pick-up it had. That little four-cylinder engine went up the hill with no effort at all,” said Peter.

Subject: Mark Greenshields – School counsellor
Vehicle: 2010 Ford Fusion Sport AWD

Mark admitted that he would not have gone to a dealership to check the car out as he had recently bought a new car, but was pleased to have the opportunity to test drive a Ford as a way to help out the school’s fund-raising efforts.

“I really enjoyed how this car handled. You could really feel the road due to the sport suspension and it cornered very well. It is obvious that Ford has really stepped up when it comes to improving their automobiles. I also like the fact that there is a reasonably priced domestic sedan with all-wheel-drive on the market. The Fusion is a really nice car!”

Subject: Timo Itkonen – Teacher and avid cyclist
Vehicle: 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid

Timo tries to live his life in an environmentally responsible manner, which includes riding his bicycle to work several times a week. Like many potential hybrid buyers Timo has questions about the battery units with regards to reliability and costs. “I have wanted to test-drive a hybrid vehicle for some time. I think my next car will be a hybrid of some type for obvious environmental reasons, but I do have some concerns about the technology. I was happy to see some representatives from the dealership (MSA Ford) here so I could ask some questions about the Escape Hybrid. However, I got no answer as to how long the battery units will last, nor did he have any idea as to how much the batteries would cost should they eventually need replacing. These are concerns I have with this technology that need to be answered before I would buy a hybrid vehicle. ”

In our post-drive interview he came away impressed by the quality of the vehicle but still had some reservations about the hybrid system.

After interviewing each of the selected participants it became obvious that they were impressed with the overall quality of the vehicles on hand and for the most part, liked the direction Ford is taking with its model line-up. While the opportunity to help the Grad Class of 2011 with fund-raising for Dry Grad was the initial draw, it appears that the Drive One 4 UR School program helped change some of the participants’ pre-conceptions about Ford as a brand, and all commented on how generous it was for the company to offer such an innovative program to help educational programs in this still troubled economic environment. I suspect when it comes time to go shopping for a new vehicle most of the test drivers I spoke with will now consider a Ford product for the first time.

(from Russell Purcell, Canadian Driver)

h1

Ford’s 2011 Fiesta Gets Social with New Owners

July 12, 2010


Social media has infiltrated every facet of life, and it has been a big part of Ford’s 2011 Fiesta marketing launch. Ford is promising new Fiesta owners an experience unlike any other when they take delivery of their new car.

The experience starts in the showroom, where kiosks play Fiesta Movement videos and act as photo booths for new owners. But it doesn’t end there. New owners will get an interactive USB that is pre-loaded with an audio tutorial explaining the Fiesta’s features and how to use them.

This tool is meant to accompany the owner on the way home, as they can plug the preloaded USB into the Fiesta. It’s kind of like “unwrapping” all the cool new features in the car with infotainment-type audio. The topics range from push button start, to the sound-deadening windshield glass.

Here’s where the social media aspect comes into play. Fiesta owners can use the USB to install a program that lets them access and modify their delivery photos, then share them with other Fiesta owners through social media channels like Facebook. The desktop application also provides a wiki (called Fiestapedia) with tips on how to use the Fiesta, get podcasts and other related information.

The first automaker to create such a program, this Fiesta experience is a new way for Ford and its dealers to interact with customers. It’s an innovative step that shows Ford trending towards a customer experience that does more than deliver a car.

“The Fiesta Movement has taught us that consumers want to continue the dialogue with Ford Motor Company and other Fiesta owners,” said Paul Anderson, Ford small car marketing manager. “Fiesta continues to push the boundaries of how we launch products and how we interact with our customers.”

Contact us today to get your new 2011 Fiesta!

www.hallmarkford.ca

dale@hallmarkford.ca

(from Autoguide.com)

h1

Ford adds soy oil to improve rubber components

July 9, 2010

Dearborn, Michigan – Ford has announced a new soy oil-based rubber that can be used in automotive parts, replacing up to 25 per cent petroleum oil while doubling the rubber’s stretching characteristics.

The rubber, currently under patent application, can be used for such parts as deflector shields, baffles, cupholder inserts and floor mats. The automaker previously pioneered the use of soy oil in foam for seat cushions and headliners, with more than two million vehicles currently on the road with bio-based foam content.

“Ford is focused on finding innovative ways to make our vehicles more eco-friendly,” said Cynthia Flanigan, technical leader in elastomeric polymers. “Soy-based rubber has win-win potential as it provides superior stretchability and serves as a renewable resource that helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions from raw materials.”

The scope of Ford’s recent rubber research, funded in part by grants from the United Soybean Board, included the use of soy fillers such as flour and meal, as well as soy oils. The fillers can provide an inexpensive and environmentally-friendly partial replacement of carbon black, a petroleum-based material traditionally used to reinforce rubber. Used together, soy oil and fillers could replace up to 26 per cent of petroleum-based content in automotive rubber applications.

Ford is also looking at the use of other renewable sources for foam, including grape seed and sunflower oil.

(from Canadian Driver)

h1

Hallmark Ford offers “Employee Pricing” until August 31

July 2, 2010


Ford has announced its Employee Pricing Event, which offers special pricing from now until August 31, 2010 on most 2010 and 2011 Ford and Lincoln vehicles to customers across Canada.

Ford has also expanded its Drive One Challenge, which invites consumers to test-drive any new Ford or Lincoln vehicle, and receive $100 if they decide to purchase any new vehicle from another manufacturer within 100 hours of the test-drive.

“The Ford brand now has the highest initial quality among all non-luxury brands and we are inspiring even more Canadians to get behind the wheel and experience that quality,” said David Mondragon, president and CEO of Ford of Canada. “We are so confident in both our Ford and Lincoln lineup that we are willing to pay $100 within 100 hours if a customer experiences our vehicles and still purchases a vehicle from a competitor.”

The Ford Exclusive Recycle Your Ride has been extended to September 30, 2010. Consumers who turn in vehicles 2003 or older for retirement, of any make, will get up to $3,000 toward the purchase of a new 2010 or 2011 Ford or Lincoln vehicle, and can combine it with the Ford Employee Pricing incentives. The Ford program is in addition to the $300 available from the Retire Your Ride program, funded by the government of Canada, which covers 1995 and older vehicles.