Archive for September, 2011

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2012 Ford F-150 Updated, Gets New Appearance Package

September 29, 2011

(from Evan McCausland, motortrend.com)

The big upgrades for Ford’s full-size pickup were performed last year, but the Blue Oval still has a few mild improvements planned for the 2012 F-150 lineup.

FX Appearance Package: Though the FX2 and FX4 trim levels were originally designed to lend the F-150 a sporty exterior look, the all-new FX Appearance Package takes things to the next level.

Available with any exterior paint color, the new option group tosses in a number of black-colored exterior accents, including emblems, grille insert, headlamp surrounds, smoked rear tail lamps, and a chromed exhaust tip. New six-spoke, 20-inch wheels are also part of the package, and they’re also treated to a black finish.

Inside, the Package adds perforated black leather seating surfaces with red backing, black dash accents, and brushed metal trim accents. A new FX Luxury package adds heated and cooled front seats to the mix.

(Read the entire article and view pictures HERE)

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A Look at the Person Who Develops Ford Vehicles: You

September 26, 2011

(from thefordstory.com)

“We’re not just sitting in Dearborn designing cars for ourselves. We listen to our customers.” And with that, you now know the secret to success at Ford, as revealed by Lisa Schoder, Ford Brand Manager, Focus ST. Listening. Learning. Ford even eavesdrops in chat rooms. That’s what it takes. You might not do the physical designing and building of Ford vehicles, but you sure do provide important ideas and feedback, from the initial blueprints right down to the final product that becomes a Ford vehicle.

A perfect example is the new Focus ST (the production version debuted at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show; click here for all the details), which already existed in Europe. Would other parts of the world embrace it, too? “Because the Focus ST is a specialty vehicle that’s new to North America, we do not have a ton of customer information or data,” Lisa explained. “So we get out there a lot more, talking to people to really understand them and what they want from their vehicle.” After all, you can’t have a global performance car without global input.

(read the entire article HERE)

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Ford takes on GM’s OnStar with live Sync operator

September 22, 2011

(from Robert Deutsch, usatoday.com)

Watch out, General Motors’ OnStar: Ford is starting to step on your turf with its Sync system.

In an unusual move, Ford said today that Sync, its in-car connectivity system that works through your own smartphone or other digital device, will add a live operator capability.

Having trouble finding a business or didn’t quite get those turn-by-turn directions? With Sync, you’ll be able to talk to a live person, just like the operator that has long been the feature of OnStar.

“This isn’t just about offering customers a back-up option to the services we have already. This is about giving customers a variety of choices when it comes to how they would like to receive information,” said Doug VanDagens, director of Ford’s Connected Services Solutions Organization.

(read the entire article HERE)

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2015 Mustang Won’t Be Retro, Says Ford’s Head of Design

September 19, 2011

(from Erick Ayapana, motortrend.com)

The next-gen Ford Mustang arrives on the 50th anniversary of the iconic pony car, and the pressure is on for Ford designers to produce a product that will please fans of the marque both inside and out. Ford’s design boss J Mays was on hand at the Frankfurt Motor Showto provide an update on how the model-year 2015 Mustang is coming along.

In an interview with Automotive News, Mays stated that the styling is “being locked down.” He also stated that the next Mustang will skip the retro look employed on the current generation.

“The challenge or the opportunity for 2014 with a 50th anniversary car is to not just look back over your shoulder, but to try to win all of the Mustang faithful yet bring the brand forward as well,” he says.

Like many of the recent products to come from the automaker, the next Mustang will be a display of the “One Ford” program. That means for the first time ever, the Mustang will be sold in overseas markets such as England, Japan, and Australia. Additionally, Ford’s design studios in Europe and Australia are contributing to the design.

(read the entire article HERE)
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Ford E-Bike Concept debuts in Frankfurt

September 19, 2011

(from autoblog.com and Ford)

E-Bike Concept demonstrates how Ford’s design language can translate to a bicycle.
The concept pairs cutting-edge sensor technology from the world of Formula One with top-of-the-range bicycle components
Promising a range of up to 85km on a full charge, Ford E-Bike Concept could be an innovative solution for urban mobility

FRANKFURT, Germany, Sept. 19, 2011 – Alongside the exciting line-up of new vehicle and technology introductions on its stand at Frankfurt Motor Show, Ford is also unveiling a rather surprising addition to its range – an E-Bike.

Designed to show how the company’s design language can translate to a bicycle, the Ford E-Bike Concept also demonstrates the spectrum of Ford’s electric mobility competence. Ford has no plans to produce the E-Bike but will continue studying the concept along with other future mobility solutions.

“The E-Bike market is growing very, very rapidly, with some 30 million units sold globally last year,” said Axel Wilke, director, vehicle personalisation, Ford Customer Service Division Europe. “We see E-Bikes as an important element of urban electric mobility. More and more people are using E‑Bikes for short distance commuting and they are becoming comfortable with the concept of electric mobility.”

Cross-Gender Design
Developed by a Ford Design team led by Executive Design Director Martin Smith, in partnership with cyber-Wear, the German brand behind Ford’s popular Lifestyle Collection products, the Ford E-Bike Concept has been created from the ground up to appeal to both men and women.

At the heart of the design is a trapezoidal frame profile. Constructed from aluminium and carbon, the frame combines outstanding strength with a weight of just 2.5kg. The wheels, with a six-spoke V-design, appear to float around the frame, while the drive system is hidden from view, creating a clean, minimalist appearance.

Cutting-Edge Technology
Providing the power is a drive system consisting of a motor in the front wheel hub, a lithium-ion battery concealed in the frame, promising a range of up to 85km on a full charge, an integrated controller and patented magnetostriction sensor technology from the world of Formula One.

Magneotostrictive materials are used to convert magnetic energy into kinetic energy, and vice versa. In Formula One, these sensors help handle high engine revolutions in combination with intense thermal strains. They need no physical contact with other parts of the engine, are temperature-independent and are completely maintenance-free.

In the Ford E-Bike, the first application of this technology in the bicycle industry, the sensors read the revolutions in the inner bearing and relay this information to the control unit within a hundredth of a second. The control unit then instantly activates or deactivates the electric motor, providing a seamless integration of the power of the legs with the power of the motor.

A handlebar-mounted display provides trip information and allows the rider to select from three support modes – Economy, Comfort and Sport.

Range-Topping Bicycle Components
The drive system is complemented by top-of-the-range bicycle components, including a Shimano Alfine 11-speed internal gear hub and a 2012 Shimano Rapidfire shifter. In place of a traditional chain is a Carbon Belt Drive System, making for a cleaner, lighter and more immediate transfer of energy.

“With its cutting edge design, cross-gender appeal, robust build quality and high performance drive package, we believe the Ford E-Bike Concept would be the perfect addition to the e‑mobility solutions we will offer,” added Wilke.

Technical Specifications
Drive Unit:
Front wheel hub motor
Max. nominal power: 350W
Electricity: 36V – 250W
Supports up to 25km/h (to EN 15194)
Clutch with freewheel function
Gearbox: Planet gears
Integral sensor technology

Battery:
Cell type: Lithium-ion accumulator
Electricity: 340Wh, 36V, 9.3Ah
Charging cycles: 1000 cycles at 80% residual capacity
BMS (Battery Management System): protects against deep discharge and self-discharge Charge times: 80% after 2 hours, 100% after 3-4 hours (at room temperature)
Range: Up to 85km (depending on drive power and support mode selected)
Temperature range: -20°C to +60°C

Extremely small unit to connect battery (remains on bike) to normal mains network.
Intelligent electronics to prevent overcharging, undervolting, overheating and shortcircuit; in particular, sleep function prevents deep charging and necessity for recalibration with charger connected

Controller display functions:
Background lighting with light sensor system
Energy-saving automatic sleep mode
Diagnosis function with fault code display
Support modes: Economy, Comfort, Sport
Displays: Range, Battery capacity, Speed, Time, Distance, Maximum speed, Average speed, Total distance, Service reminder, System diagnosis, Support modes
iPhone Smartphone app control function planned

Bicycle Components:
Wheels: Mavic Elipse Aluminum black (modified with Ford Design crossing)
Tyres: Continental Ultra Sport black
Pedals: Wellgo LU-C27G, silver/black
Handlebars: Downhill Aluminum black, custom made
Stem: Giant SLR Carbon 110mm
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR XC
Brakes: Avid Elixir 5, full hydraulic, 185mm, white

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Can You Customize a Mustang? Do It, then Let the People Vote

September 19, 2011

(from thefordstory.com)

Ideas are free. The trouble generally comes with bringing them to life, and the main issue there usually involves things being not so free. That’s why the Ford Mustang is an exceptionally cool car. The engineers and designers knew exactly how to build something incredibly awesome and satisfying on so many levels – including its performance and looks – it’s like every great idea you could have had already exists. Yeah, yeah, if only the Mustang were free! But even with the car being downright perfection, that doesn’t always prevent more ideas from sprouting from your brain.

That’s why Ford has launched the new Ford Mustang Customizer website, allowing you to create a Mustang, right down to color, accessories, decals and even how big of a burnout it makes. Pick the Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or Shelby GT500 and get to work by creating a setting, such as the dragway, and adding body kits, wheels, grilles and parts from Ford Racing Performance Parts and Ford Vehicle Personalization. Several looks can be created and saved as desktop wallpaper.

You can also log in through your Facebook account and share all the Mustangs you have designed. To boot, there’s a “battle mode” within Facebook to allow you to go head-to-head with other users for best-looking car. You’ll be able to accumulate votes that will be tallied on a leaderboard for others to view, and also identify a nemesis to go after in battle.

If you’d like what you built in the virtual world to become something you can build in the real world, there’s a downloadable PDF option offering a detailed list of all the actual parts you used for your custom creation, distinguished as Ford, aftermarket and concept accessories, complete with links to applicable websites for ease in starting a conversion with your local Ford dealer.

(read the full article and leave comments HERE)

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MADD Canada unveils new school program

September 15, 2011

(from autos.ca)

Calgary, Alberta – Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada has unveiled Damages, its new program for the 2011-2012 school assembly, with a premiere at Forest Lawn High School in Calgary.

Damages and the French version Dommages will be seen by more than one million students across the country over the course of the school year.

The mini-movie follows a character, Jesse, from his decision to drive impaired through the resulting crash and the criminal justice system. His future and plans for university are replaced with the possibility of a prison term and a criminal record.

“The characters are fictional, but the scenarios are all too real,” said MADD Canada national president Denise Dubyk. “With our school program, we want to get students thinking about safe choices and how to protect themselves. We want to reinforce the messages about never driving impaired, or accepting a ride from someone who is impaired. We want them to understand that it is never worth the risk.”

MADD said that in 2006, drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 accounted for only 13.2 per cent of the population, but made up 33.4 per cent of the total alcohol-related crash deaths. The combination of drugs and driving is also a major concern, as Canadians between the ages of 14 and 25 have one of the highest rates of cannabis use in the world.