Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ford Brand Sales Top 2 Million for 1st Time Since 2007

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 30, 2011 – U.S. sales of the Ford brand this week topped 2 million vehicles for the first time since 2007. The milestone makes Ford the best selling brand in America and the first automotive brand to hit the 2 million mark since 2007.
“Ford’s lineup of high-quality, fuel-efficient cars, utilities and trucks continues to attract more and more new customers,” said Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analysis manager. “With gasoline prices tracking higher than last year, customers continue to move toward smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, whether they are passenger cars or utilities.”
Both the Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus achieve 40 mpg highway, while the Ford Explorer brings a class leading 28 mpg highway with its new EcoBoost engine.
Ford’s smallest utility, the fuel-efficient Escape, has achieved record sales volumes this year and is America’s best selling utility vehicle. 
Overall, Ford brand small cars are on pace to post an increase of more than 20 percent this year. Ford brand utilities are tracking to post more than a 30 percent gain.
Most Ford products deliver best-in-class fuel economy and provide customers with the opportunity to choose what best works for them – from EcoBoost-powered gasoline vehicles to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electrified vehicles. In fact, with the company’s new electrified vehicle introductions, nearly one-third of Ford’s vehicle lines in the U.S. will feature a model with 40 mpg or more in 2012 – a claim no other full-line automaker can match.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ford Targets 30 Percent Water Reduction Per Vehicle

  • New aggressive water strategy calls for global reduction target of 30 percent per vehicle by 2015
  • Between 2000 and 2010, Ford reduced its global water use by 62 percent, or 10.5 billion gallons; 71 percent in North America
  • On a per-vehicle basis, global water use decreased by 49 percent between 2000 and 2010; 45 percent in North America
DEARBORNMich., Dec. 30, 2011 – Ford enters 2012 with plans to further reduce the amount of water used to make vehicles and continue showing efficiency is not only inherent in its vehicle lineup, but also in its manufacturing practices.
A new goal calls for Ford to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30 percent globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009.
Ford is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically.
“Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
Ford’s latest water reduction initiatives are designed to build on the success the company has had with its Global Water Management Initiative that launched in 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, Ford reduced its global water use by 62 percent, or 10.5 billion gallons. That’s the equivalent of how much water 105,000 average American residences use annually, based on figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If Ford meets its goal of reducing the amount of water used by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 cubic meters in 2000 to approximately 3.5 cubic meters in 2015. One cubic meter is equal to 264.2 gallons of water.
Leading by example
When it comes to water, drought and extensive population growth are just two of many challenges in places such as Mexico’s Sonoran Desert, home to Ford’s Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant. The plant produces the Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ.
Production at Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly Plant doubled between 2000 and 2010. However, water usage at the plant dropped during the same period by 40 percent.
“We applied innovative technology to our Hermosillo plant to reduce water consumption, minimize impact on the community and build vehicles in a more sustainable manner,” said Larry Merritt, manager, Environmental Quality Office.
To reduce water use, a membrane biological reactor – a biological water treatment system – was installed. The complex system is able to make up to 65 percent of the plant’s wastewater suitable for high-quality reuse elsewhere in the facility or for irrigation. The water treatment system also is being used at Ford plants in Chennai, India and Chongqing, China.
More technology, less water
Another approach is to cut the amount of water necessary to complete a task – a strategy afforded by the use of advanced technologies and processes.
“As we invest in new and existing facilities globally, our water strategy prioritizes sustainable manufacturing technologies,” said John Fleming, executive vice president, Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs. “This disciplined approach allows us to make significant progress in water reduction and other environmental efforts over time.”
For example, several of Ford’s engine plants around the world are using Minimum Quantity Lubrication (MQL) machining, also known as dry-machining.
This technology lubricates the cutting tool with a very small amount of oil sprayed directly on the tip in a finely atomized mist, instead of with a large quantity of coolant/water mixture. The process saves hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and oil per year. By eliminating the coolant/water mixture, dry-machining eliminates the need to treat and dispose of an oily waste stream.
Dry-machining also is delivering significant benefits in energy use, waste production, quality, working conditions and costs. For a typical 450,000-unit line, more than 280,000 gallons of water can be saved annually.
In the U.S., the dry-machining system has been implemented at Ford’s Livonia Transmission Plant, Van Dyke Transmission Plant and Romeo Engine Plant. Ford also has implemented the system at a number of transmission and engine plants in Europe and applications in other plants around the world currently are being considered.
Tracking success
Before Ford launched the Global Water Management Initiative in 2000, many facilities had little ability to even track water usage. The picture is very different today.
When the initiative started, Ford engineers developed software to predict water usage. Another kind of software was developed to track water use at each facility and generate a monthly report so successes and potential opportunities for improvement could be identified.
Also, water reduction actions are built into Ford’s Environmental Operating System (EOS), which provides a standardized, streamlined approach to meeting all environmental requirements, including sustainability objectives and targets within each of Ford’s plants around the world.
EOS allows Ford to track its plants’ performance of fundamental water reduction actions such as leak identification and repair, and cooling tower optimization at every manufacturing site worldwide.
Further, Ford’s progress against its water reduction target will be communicated in the company’s annual sustainability report and through participation in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Water Disclosure, which Ford joined in 2010 – the first automaker to do so.
CDP Water Disclosure serves as a central clearinghouse for Ford and other participating companies to report on water usage, water risks and water management plans of company operations and their supply chains.
“We recognize that these environmental issues are increasingly important to our stakeholders, including our customers, investors and business partners,” said Merritt. “Water conservation is integral to Ford’s global sustainability strategy. By reporting our progress, we support positive social change and reduce the environmental impact of our facilities.”

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ford Transit Connect Review & Buyers' Guide 2011

Connect, the baby of the Transit family, is an excellent light van and it sets high standards in its market segment for build quality. A real winner in VansA2Z's opinion.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best Sales Year Ever for Award-Winning Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion Sales 2006 - 2011
  • As Ford prepares an all-new Fusion for reveal next month, the current model continues to sell at a record pace, pleasing customers and dealers alike
  • Since its introduction as a 2006 model, Fusion sales have risen steadily – making it Ford’s best-selling car for 2011
  • The freshened 2010 model introduced Ford’s first hybrid electric car, leading to Fusion Hybrid being named the 2010 North American Car of the Year 
  • Fusion’s high quality and safety make it the J.D. Power Most Dependable Midsize Car and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 28, 2011 – In five short years since introduction, Fusion sales are expected to reach 240,000 by year-end, making 2011 its best-selling year ever and Fusion Ford’s best-selling car. 
“Since launching in the 2006 model year, Fusion has reinforced Ford’s commitment to the midsize sedan market,” said Samantha Hoyt, Fusion marketing manager. “Recognized as a Best Buy every year since launch, Fusion is a key contributor to Ford’s car renaissance.”
Since its first full year of sales in 2006 through 2010, the Ford Fusion has expanded share of the midsize segment by 5.2 percentage points. In 2006, Fusion had sales of 142,502 and 6.7 percent of segment share. By 2010, Fusion sales had risen to 219,219 for an 11.9 percent share, representing an increase in sales of 54 percent over that period. By comparison, Toyota Camry experienced a 27 percent decline while Honda Accord sales saw a 20 percent drop.
Fusion has continued to accelerate, achieving record sales levels for 13 out of the last 14 months through November, reaching sales of 226,445. December sales are expected to increase this streak to 14 months. In October, Fusion sales eclipsed the 200,000-units sold milestone for the second year in a row. 
Recognized by automotive and consumer media for quality and dependability, Fusion has been a success for drivers and dealers. Fusion’s trophy case includes:
  • Most Reliable Family Car –from independent reliability and owner satisfaction survey data
  • Most Dependable Midsize Car – J.D. Power and Associates
  • Motor Trend’s 2010 Car of the Year – a highly coveted industry accolade
  • 2010 North American Car of the Year – awarded by a jury of top automotive journalists
“In addition to being a sales superstar, Fusion has been incredibly successful in attracting new customers to the Ford showroom,” said Hoyt. “Fusion is our top conquest vehicle, as 40 percent of Fusion buyers are new to the Ford brand.”
A key to Fusion’s success has been offering features consumers want to keep them connected and safe. The majority of Fusions sold are highly equipped models. Specifically:
  • 84 percent of Fusion models are sold with SYNC®, Ford’s award-winning voice-controlled communications and entertainment system
  • 20 percent of Fusion models are sold with Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®)
  • 44 percent of Fusion models are sold with a reverse sensing system
  • 20 percent of Fusions are sold with a rear view camera system
Fusion has also been a linchpin in Ford’s eastern and western regional sales success, both markets that traditionally prefer imported midsize sedans. Fusion’s share has increased from 4.5 percent in 2007 to 8.2 percent in 2011 in the east, while in the west it has increased from 4.3 percent to 7.3 percent over the same period.
The 2012 Ford Fusion is offered in both gas and Hybrid versions with available all-wheel drive for confidence in any driving situation.
Ford will reveal an all-new Fusion model during the North American International Auto Show in January.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2012 Ford Focus Titanium Review

Not so many years ago if you wanted a well-designed small economy car you needed to look at imports. Ford has changed that over the past several years with new and innovative economical designs.
The 2012 Ford Focus Titanium is one more of those great choices that between Fusion and Fiesta.
With the Titanium you don't sacrifice styling for economy. Our test model came with the optional 18" alloy wheels, rear spoiler and fog lamps.
On the inside the steering wheel is leather wrapped and sports a number of control buttons including, cruise control, audio controls.
The Sirius radio which is also standard will keep you entertained on those long trips away from home.
Premium sound system with Sirius Radio and *trunk mounted sub-woofer.
The Focus Titanium was my treat for the week. Driving it around town I got about 27 mpg, and on the road, an awesome 40 mpg.
What more could you ask? Great economy and a list of features that you will love:

• 2 liter inline 4 GDI (Gasoline Direct Injection)
• 6 speed automatic transmission
• AdvancTrac with ECS --Electronic Stability Control-
• Performance Suspension
• Easy Fuel Capless Filler
• Push button start
• MyFofd Touch
• Universal garage door opener
• 4 wheel disk brakes with anti-lock braking system
• Side curtain air bags
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Rear parking aid sensor
• Dual climate control air conditioning
• Remote Keyless entry (*show key-fob and door handle sensor)

MSRP Standard: $22,270
MSRP as Equipped: $25,805
A great little car at a good price and great economy on the road.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Say Yes to the (Ford) Dress! Designers Create Haute Couture from Lights, Buttons, Gears and Levers of 2012 Ford Focus

Scottish designer Judy Clark fashioned a dress from tweed, silk chiffon, leather, lace and an assortment of parts from a 2012 Ford Focus. Clark was commissioned to design the dress by Ford, as part of a month-long event celebrating Ford’s history in Britain. English jewelry designer Katherine Hawkins created a complementary necklace – also from Ford Focus parts.
  • Scottish designer Judy Clark created an Edwardian-style gown from tweed, leather, lace, spray paint and silk chiffon – along with assorted components from a 2012 Ford Focus
  • English designer Katherine Hawkins crafted an ornate necklace from dials, buttons, springs and instrument panel switches
  • The designers were commissioned by Ford to create their pieces as part of a celebration commemorating the 100thanniversary of Ford in Britain
DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 22, 2011 – At Ford, designers consider each new vehicle a work of art. Now the world of fashion can get a taste of that enthusiasm. Two young British designers have created haute couture – an elegant Edwardian dress and a showstopping necklace – comprised of parts from a 2012 Ford Focus.
Judy Clark, a nominee for Scottish designer of the year who worked under the late Alexander McQueen, was commissioned to create the dress in one week as part of the 100th anniversary of Ford in Britain. English jewelry designer Katherine Hawkins was issued a similar challenge – only use the parts to create a necklace.
Also using spray paint, tweed, leather, lace and silk chiffon the color of diesel, Clark formed her frock with the help of two boxes full of components sent by Ford. The parts, she said, included car keys, radio and dashboard components, seat covers and two red taillights.
Clark, who details her work on her blog,, calls the back of the dress the “engine,” where the smaller components have been stitched into a crinoline-style bustle. There, the eye is drawn upward, to the red taillights swaying at hip level and a biker-style jacket - complete with speedometer – created from seat covers.
Inspired by the Edwardian time period, Clark said she wanted to create a dress that mixed feminine layers with industrial mechanics.
What’s a dress without jewelry?
Complementing the gown is the ornate necklace crafted by English designer Katherine Hawkins – also from parts from a Ford Focus.  The piece uses dials, springs, buttons and seat material.
The centerpiece of the creation is a grouping of instrument panel switches, while coiled springs dangle in a chandelier style and colorful dials and buttons frame the upper portion.
The two designers undertook their challenges separately – neither was aware of what the other was creating.
Both Clark and Hawkins were pleased with the way their unique creations turned out. Only don’t ask Hawkins to name the pieces she used – she doesn’t drive.
To see the dress and necklace, click here.