Monday, October 31, 2011

MPG Matters: Study Confirms Growing Desire for Fuel Efficiency; Ford Products Give Customers ‘Power of Choice’

Ford Focus Electric 

  • Fuel economy jumps in importance as a reason to buy nearly every kind of vehicle, according to a nationwide study; Miami consumers rank fuel efficiency No. 1
  • Ford continues aggressive introduction of a wide range of vehicles with top fuel efficiency, giving customers the “power of choice” – from gas-powered to electrics
  • First customer orders taken Wednesday for all-new Focus Electric, the company’s first all-electric passenger car
MIAMI, Oct. 28, 2011 – A national survey shows fuel economy has jumped dramatically in the last decade to become a primary reason to buy nearly every kind of vehicle, underscoring Ford’s plan for leading fuel efficiency with every new car, utility and truck it introduces.
“Drivers want fuel economy choices – not a one-size-fits-all solution – and Ford is leading the way,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, at the South Florida International Auto Show, where Ford is showcasing its fuel-efficient lineup. “Customers are telling us clean and green vehicles matter because they are good for people’s wallets and good for our planet.”
A national survey by Maritz Research reveals that more than 40 percent of consumers now view fuel economy as “extremely important” when considering a new vehicle purchase today. One-third of consumers say fuel economy has the “greatest impact” on their next purchase.   
The survey shows fuel economy has jumped in importance in nearly all vehicle segments since 2001:
  • Fuel economy as a purchase reason for small B-sized cars like the Ford Fiesta became the top consideration in 2011, up from fourth place in 2001
  • Fuel economy as a purchase reason for small C-size cars like the Ford Focus nearly tripled in importance from 2001, going from fifth to first place this year
  • Fuel economy now ranks fifth for mid-size cars like the Ford Fusion, up from 12th place
  • Fuel economy is now among the top five most important purchase reasons for small utility vehicles like the Ford Escape, up from 16th in 2011
  • Fuel economy is now among the top 10 drivers for sports car buyers like the Ford Mustang for the first time ever
That view carries through to greater Miami. A Ford commissioned survey shows Miami residents rank fuel efficiency as the No. 1 purchase driver, surpassing safety and brand loyalty.
The survey results track with Ford’s 2011 research and sales trends.
Sales of Ford’s two all-new small cars, the Focus and Fiesta, increased 34 percent year-to-date through September versus the same period a year ago, totaling 194,540.
Fusion sales totaled 19,510 vehicles last month, up 23 percent, making it a record September for Ford’s midsize sedan. Fusion has set monthly sales records 11 of the last 12 months.
Ford also is on track to sell 100,000 EcoBoost V-6-powered F150s by year-end, less than a year after launch.
EcoBoost is Ford’s family of gasoline-powered turbocharged engines that deliver as much as 20 percent better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and better performance versus larger displacement engines. By the end of 2011, Ford will have built nearly 180,000 EcoBoost-powered vehicles in North America, and the engines will be offered in 90 percent of Ford vehicles by 2013. Ford holds more than 125 patents on the engine technology.
In addition to EcoBoost, Ford is using new, more fuel-efficient transmissions and additional technologies to help consumers save at the pump.
In fact, Ford has 12 vehicles that deliver best-in-class fuel economy and offers four cars that achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg or higher – a claim no other full-line automaker can make.
Orders Begin for New Focus Electric
Electrification also is an important piece of Ford’s commitment to top fuel efficiency. The company is introducing five electrified vehicles in North America by the end of next year.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van is now on sale. Next Wednesday, customer orders begin for the all-new Focus Electric, with production beginning later this year.
The first fuel-free, rechargeable passenger car from Ford, the Focus Electric is capable of fully recharging in three to four hours with an at-home 240-volt charge station. The Focus Electric also 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
Next year, the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid go on sale.
The C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better mpg than Fusion Hybrid and is the first Ford Hybrid to use lithium ion battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries are up to 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickel-metal-hydride batteries and increase the amount of energy available to extend the vehicle's driving distance and boost fuel economy. 
The C-MAX Energi, featuring a 240-volt charging system, will be able to fully recharge faster than Chevy Volt and is being engineered to deliver more overall driving range than any other plug-in or extended range electric vehicle. It also is targeted to achieve AT-PZEV status.
In addition, another next-generation, lithium-ion hybrid vehicle will debut next year.
Fuel Economy Top of Mind in Miami
Fuel efficiency is particularly important in Miami. Results of another Ford survey show:
  • 32 percent of consumers said they would consider purchasing or leasing a smaller car as their primary vehicle as a result of fuel efficiency
  • 58 percent of area residents are interested in purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle; however, gas would need to reach $5 per gallon to warrant serious consideration of an electric vehicle purchase
  • More than half of Miami consumers do not know the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle – showing that more consumer education is needed

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Follow a 9-Second Mustang at the 2011 King of the Str...

Follow along as Chris Cruz competes with his 9-Second 2011 Mustang GT in the 2011 King of the Street competition. Each year, we take the fastest street-driven Mustangs in the country and put them against each other in a Street, Dyno and Track competition at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, KY during the NMRA World Finals.

We followed Chris Cruz and the crew at Evolution Performance a week prior to the event as they dyno, street and track tested the car to prepare. This year, we had 1000+ horsepower Mustangs pulling out all the stops, trying to solidify their spot at the front of the pack. Chris came prepared with over 800 horsepower to the rear wheels through an automatic transmission and a blistering 9.70 pass at 145mph on 20" drag radials! Unreal!

The track and dyno portions of the King of the Street competition are important, as well as the Ride & Drive (streetability), Fit & Finish (how it looks) and Engineering. There were 8 other very well-built/engineered, powerful and streetable Mustangs, this year. Can Chris Cruz take the title and bragging rights for 2011? Find out in the May issue of 5.0 Mustang & Fast Fords Magazine!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Reintroducing The 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible

Ford Restoration Parts Manager Denny Mondrach reveals the "brand new" 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible body that is on its way to the 2011 SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ford Confirms Increased Investment in Kansas City Plant For Transit Commercial Van Production, New Stamping Facility

  • Ford will migrate its commercial vans around the world to a common, global platform in 2013, when Kansas City Assembly workers begin producing the full-size Transit for North American customers
  • The company will invest $1.1 billion in the Kansas City facility – $700 million more than was previously committed – following the recent ratification of the competitive new UAW-Ford Collective Bargaining Agreement and tax incentives provided by the state of Missouri and city of Liberty, Mo.
  • The Kansas City investment covers facility upgrades and re-tooling for production of both Transit and next-generation F-150. Part of the incremental investment will be allocated for building a new integrated stamping facility to support full-size Transit body panels and other stamped parts
  • Facility upgrades begin after the current Escape ends production in April. In May, Ford will add one shift of F-150 production at the Kansas City facility, increasing its shifts of its best-selling full-size truck from one to two 
KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 21, 2011 – Ford Motor Company today confirmed Kansas City Assembly Plant workers will build its full-size Transit van – Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle – when the new product joins its North American lineup in 2013.
This is another example of the company’s One Ford strategy to serve customers with world-class vehicles and leverage global assets, including common platforms, and brings new jobs to greater Kansas City. 
The company is investing $1.1 billion – $700 million more than was previously announced – in a new body shop, new tooling in the Final Assembly Area, an upgraded paint shop and an all-new integrated stamping plant, which will be located on an adjacent property in Liberty, Mo. A portion of the investment also will be used in the future to support next-generation F-150 pickup production at the plant.
“Our plans for transforming Kansas City Assembly and constructing a new integrated stamping plant to support Transit production demonstrate just how committed Ford is to our employees, the city of Liberty and the broader Claycomo community,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “More importantly, this shows that Ford is truly committed to investing in the U.S. and doing our part to support U.S. manufacturing, which is critical to our country’s ability to compete.”
Ford is investing $16 billion in its U.S. operations – including $6.2 billion in U.S. plants – to design, engineer and produce more new and upgraded vehicles and components by 2015.
The company also is adding 12,000 hourly jobs at its U.S. manufacturing facilities – including 1,600 in Kansas City.
The current SUV line at the Kansas City facility, which will be idled for re-tooling after the current Escape model is phased out in April, will re-open in 2013. During re-tooling, the plant will continue to build F-150 trucks. 
The company also plans to increase F-150 production at the facility, which will build the trucks on two shifts instead of one beginning in May. This will bring approximately 800 additional employees to the Kansas City Assembly truck line, for a total of approximately 1,700 workers.
When this increase takes effect, Ford will build the nation’s best-selling vehicle on five shifts – two in Kansas City and three in Dearborn – allowing the company to better meet increasing customer demand.
F-Series, America’s best-selling truck for 34 straight years, is experiencing a year-to-date total sales increase of 8 percent. The F-150 equipped with a V6 engine remains extremely popular. The fuel-efficient EcoBoost V6 accounted for 42 percent of F-150 sales in September, while the 3.7-liter comprised 15 percent. This is the fifth consecutive month that V6s have outsold V8s in the F-Series.
“Our ‘Built Ford Tough’ F-150 just keeps getting better and better, and this capacity increase at Kansas City will help us satisfy customers who don’t want to wait to own one,” Fields said. “Our new F-150 engine choices include the innovative EcoBoost with best-in-class power, performance, capability and fuel economy our truck customers truly want and value.”
Kansas City Assembly Plant is Ford’s fourth North American facility to be re-tooled to produce new vehicles that are part of the company’s balanced product portfolio of cars, utilities, trucks and commercial vehicles. The company’s commitment to install a new product line requiring this level of investment was enabled, in part, by the recent ratification of the new UAW-Ford Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“The men and women of Kansas City Assembly Plant have a proven track record of building a high-quality product that customers love,” said Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president and director of the National Ford Department. “They are a strong and dedicated workforce, and I know they are up to the challenge of building this exciting all-new product for North American customers.”
In recent months, Ford also worked closely with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the Missouri State Legislature in passage of the 2010 Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act. This legislation provided tax incentives, which also contributed to Ford’s ability to commit to the Kansas City Assembly Plant through new product, new investment and new jobs. 
“Americans and Missourians have been building automobiles for generations. It’s who we are.
It’s in our blood,” Gov. Nixon said. “From major plants like Claycomo, to small suppliers located in every corner of our state, American auto workers keep our country moving forward. It was vital that we keep these folks living and working right here in our communities.”
Ford’s current commercial van, the Ford E-Series, is built at the company’s Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio. Certain E-Series body styles will continue to be available through most of the decade, even after the Kansas City-built Transit goes on sale.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ford Explorer Hits the 100,000-Sales Mark; Fastest-Growing Midsize Utility in the Country

Ford sold its 100,000 Explorer of 2011 this October; first time since 2007.
  • The Ford Explorer crossed the 100,000-vehicle sales mark for 2011, making it the fastest-growing midsize utility in the nation
  • U.S. retail sales of the Explorer are up 290 percent, compared to the same period in 2010
  • Since their introduction for the 2012 model year, sales of 2.0-liter EcoBoost®-equipped Explorer and Edge are running at 15 percent
DEARBORN, Mich., Oct. 24, 2011 – America’s love affair with the Ford Explorer is stronger than ever with more than 100,000 Explorers sold this year – making it the fastest-growing midsize utility in the nation.
“The Explorer continues to be one of the strongest vehicles in the Ford portfolio, and we are excited to see it surpass the 100,000-sales plateau for the first time since 2007,” said Amy Marentic, group marketing manager. “The success of this vehicle is further evidence we are delivering products that people want.”
This year the all-new Explorer has had stronger retail sales growth than any midsize utility, having either tripled or quadrupled sales in all regions of the country. In total, U.S. retail sales of Explorer are up 290 percent compared to the same period in 2010
“With best-in-class fuel economy and technology like MyFord Touch®, terrain management and the world’s first second-row inflatable seat belts, Ford has shown that our dedication to customers’ needs is paying off,” said Marentic.
Explorer’s retail share performance has also increased dramatically. Through August of this year, Explorer accounts for 6.3 percent retail share of the midsize utility segment, a 4.5 point share increase over last year, making it one of the best-selling midsize utilities in America.
Explorer sales in the U.S. have exceeded 100,000 for the first time since 2007.
2011                 100,000 Note: January through early October
2010                 60,687
2009                 52,190

Customers are choosing utilitiesThe utility segment has changed over the last decade. In 2000, utility sales accounted for approximately 20 percent of the market. Today, utilities account for just over 30 percent of all vehicles sold in the U.S., an approximate 50 percent share increase in the last 10 years.
“We know many consumers have a strong need for utility vehicles, even as rising gas prices made fuel efficiency one of their top concerns,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst. “Ford answered our customers’ needs in the utility segment by offering its all-new 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine in the 2012 Ford Explorer and Edge.”
The completely reinvented Ford Explorer powered by EcoBoost delivers a class-leading EPA rating of 28 mpg on the highway, besting Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander by 3 mpg. Since their introduction in the 2012 model year in September, sales of 2.0-liter EcoBoost-equipped Explorer and Edge are meeting expectations, garnering their strongest take rates in Orlando, Fla., Phoenix, Los Angeles, Houston and Dallas.
Ford continues to show its commitment to bringing EcoBoost technology to more than 90 percent of its North American lineup by offering 1.6-liter and 2.0-liter EcoBoost engines on the all-new Ford Escape. Ford’s newest small SUV, the Escape will be introduced at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show.