Archive for January, 2011


Ford goes greener with biomaterials used in the manufacturing of vehicles

January 26, 2011

Although increased usage of biobased materials in plastics is still in the advanced research phase, Ford has already made inroads with other bio-based, reclaimed and recycled materials that are in Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles today, including soy bean-based foam seats, wheat straw to reinforce plastics and corn in the manufacture of seat material. In fact, you may be already be sitting on or using these materials on your daily commute:

Soy-based polyurethane foams on the seat cushions and seat-backs, now in production on the Ford Mustang, Expedition, F-150, Focus, Escape, Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mariner and Lincoln Navigator and Lincoln MKS. More than 1.5 million Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles on the road today have soy-foam seats, which equates to a reduction in petroleum oil usage of approximately 680,000 kilograms.

This year, Ford has expanded its soy-foam portfolio to include the industry’s first application of a soy-foam headliner on the 2010 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner for a 25 per cent weight savings over a traditional glass-mat headliner.

Underbody systems, such as aerodynamic shields, splash shields and radiator air deflector shields, made from post-consumer recycled resins such as detergent bottles, tires and battery casings, diverting up to 13 million kilograms of plastic from landfills.


(from Calgary Herald)


It’s easy being green: Ford Focus electric offers eco-friendly features throughout vehicle

January 25, 2011

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 per cent wood fibres, 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

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 per cent soy-based content. A material called Lignotock also is used behind the cloth on the door. Derived from 85 per cent wood fibres, 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.


(from The Car Guide)


Electric Focus will come to Canada in 2012; Ford says it will charge faster than Nissan’s Leaf

January 20, 2011

Ford will launch an all-electric version of its compact Focus hatchback by the end of 2011 in the U.S., and in Canada in 2012, Ford of Canada confirmed this week.

Though Nissan’s Leaf, which is scheduled to arrive this fall, will be the first battery electric vehicle available in Canada, the Focus BEV offers a strong Canadian connection, with the entire electric powertrain developed by Aurora, Ont.-based auto parts giant Magna International.

The Focus Electric, as it is officially called, will be recharged through a port on the driver’s side fender that has a high-tech illuminated ring that flashes in quadrants as the battery is “filling up” – a solid ring means a fully charged battery. Ford says a full charge will take about half the time of the Nissan Leaf’s, at three to four hours, using a 240-volt home charging station.

This charge time suggests that it has a smaller battery than the Leaf, which would also mean less range. Ford didn’t release how far the Focus Electric can travel on a full charge at its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week, but Ford said this week it will match the Leaf’s stated 100- mile (160-km) maximum range.

Those Leaf figures are derived from the less stringent (and therefore less accurate) LA4 two-phase test cycle. According to new five-phase methods of evaluating mileage used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for BEVs, the Leaf’s real-world range is closer to 73 miles (117 km). No word yet on such American EPA figures for the Focus Electric.

So as it now appears, the electric Mitsubishi iCar BEV mini-hatch, the Leaf, the Ford Transit Connect work truck and the six-figure Tesla Roadster two- seater will likely make up the only fully electric highway capable cars available in Canada in 2011.

Ford’s five-door Focus BEV seats five, just like the regular Focus and one more than its Volt notchback rival, but sports a unique front-end design that could have come straight off an Aston Martin..


(from The Globe and Mail)


Ford sees MAX return on Focus spin-off

January 19, 2011

With its new C-MAX, Ford is hoping to capitalize on family needs of transporting an extended family or a lot of cargo, within the confines of a fuel-efficient vehicle. Based off the Ford Focus, C-MAX is similar in size and scope to the Mazda5 (itself recently redesigned for the 2012 model year). The car is the next step in Ford’s strategy to deliver at least 10 new vehicles based on a single C-sector platform by 2012.

C-MAX uses a 5+2 seating configuration, with a three-position middle row of seats whose centre section can tuck under the right outboard seat to create individual middle bucket seats.  The outboard seats also tip and slide for access to the rear two-position bench.  Middle seats also recline for long-trip comfort and the third row can be deleted.

Leather seating is one of the few options, as is the “mood” ambient lighting system that allows front passengers to change the lighting of the foot wells and the various bits of lighted trim (such as the cupholders).

Cargo space tops out at 1988 litres (70.2 cubic feet) when only the front seats are in use, making the C-MAX interior about as roomy for cargo as that of the Escape compact sport utility vehicle.




Ford on top – Focus still on sustainable growth

January 17, 2011

Ford of Canada finished 2010 as best-selling manufacturer in the industry—the first time in more than 50 years.

Meanwhile, F-Series is the country’s top-selling pickup truck for the 45th year in a row. It was also the best-selling vehicle in a single year in Canadian history with. 97,913 units sold in 2010.

“Sales titles are nice to have but we remain focused on building long-term, sustainable, profitable growth,” said David Mondragon, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. “We expect the Canadian market to grow moderately this year, by about 2%.”

Several new high-volume products are due to hit showrooms in the next few months, including the new Ford Focus and “reinvented” Explorer.

“With fuel prices rising at the pump, history shows consumers will begin migrating from trucks to cars in 2011,” Mondragon said. “With our strong focus on fuel-efficient cars, Ford can take advantage of this shift in buying behaviour.”




Ford takes top honours for customer loyalty

January 13, 2011

Southfield, Michigan – Ford took the top honours in the 15th annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards, presented to manufacturers that demonstrate their ability to retain owners over repeat buying cycles. Ford took awards in several categories and won the Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer category for the first time since 1999.

Loyalty is determined when a household that owns a new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new vehicle of the same model or make. The awards are based on an analysis of 4.9 million return-to-market events during the 2010 model year.

The winners were as follows:

Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer – Ford

Overall Loyalty to Make – Ford

African American Ethnic Market Make – Ford

Mid/Full-size Pickup – Ford F-Series (repeat winner)


(from Canadian Driver)


Detroit 2011: Ford unveils the Vertrek Concept, should replace Escape

January 12, 2011

During the Detroit Auto Show presentation, Ford unveiled the Vertrek Concept,  a future replacement for the company’s  Escape and Kuga compact SUVs. It mixes European style, off-road capability and lots of cargo space.

Built on the C platform that also underpins the C-MAX and Focus, the Vertrek was aerodynamically perfected to meet Ford’s standards regarding fuel economy and emissions as well as integrating new powertrain technologies.

The Concept is equipped with a turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine that will provide power comparable to a bigger unit while reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

To further improve fuel economy, the Vertrek includes start-stop technology that shuts off the engine at idle (waiting at a traffic light, for example) and restarts it when the driver re-accelerates.

Since the SUV will require more battery energy with this system, Ford also provided it with a regenerative braking system that captures energy when slowing down and replenishes the battery.

The Vertrek will also be offered with a Duratorq 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine. It’s unlikely that it will be available in North America, though, as it’s typically the case with this kind of engine.

Ford also recently announced that its start-stop system will find its way into more and more products, and that 90% of their products should offer an EcoBoost engine by 2013.