Saturday, November 30, 2013

Henry Ford and Ford Community Programs Celebrated on New Float in Nationally Televised Parade on Thanksgiving Day

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  • Ford Motor Company’s new float for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van was unveiled by Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford to hundreds of Ford employees today in front of Ford World Headquarters
  • A giant likeness of company founder Henry Ford has the seat of honor on the float; his great-great-granddaughter Elena Ford will ride on the float on Thanksgiving Day
  • The 100-foot-long float also recognizes Ford’s continuing commitment to community development through the activities of Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Volunteer Corps
Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford today unveiled the company’s new float for America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Art Van to hundreds of Ford Motor Company employees gathered outside Ford World Headquarters. The 100-foot-long float celebrates Henry Ford’s vision to open the roadways and make a difference in communities worldwide.

The float includes a giant likeness of Henry Ford sitting in front of a birthday cake that marks the 150th anniversary of his birth. Also featured are a giant globe and a Ford Focus, the world’s best-selling vehicle nameplate, in recognition of the company’s global reach.

Six giant screens on the float show the contributions that Ford Motor Company Fund and Ford Volunteer Corps members make around the world.

One of the country’s largest and longest-running parades, America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Art Van will take place this Thursday in downtown Detroit.

“The parade is a great Detroit Thanksgiving Day family tradition, as well as an opportunity to celebrate our communities and encourage our neighbors to get involved,” said Bill Ford. “This new float is an exciting way to recognize both the legacy of our company’s founder and our investment in communities through funding of creative programs and the work of our Ford Volunteer Corps.”

Elena Ford, vice president for Ford global dealer and consumer experience and great-great-granddaughter of Henry Ford, will ride on the float in the Thanksgiving Day parade. Forty members of the Ford Volunteers Corp will walk alongside the float.

“Henry Ford and his legacy helped shape our region – and the world,” said Tony Michaels, president and CEO, The Parade Company, which puts on the Thanksgiving Day parade. “We appreciate what Ford Motor Company continues to provide for our community.”

As official parade vehicle, more than 40 Ford cars and trucks will take part in the festivities, including F-Series, Mustang and other Ford vehicles that will carry celebrities and pull floats.

The nearly three-mile-long parade starts at 8:45 a.m. at Woodward Avenue and Kirby Street near the DIA. The parade will be featured locally on WDIV-TV and WJR-AM, and the first hour will be aired in 140 markets across the country.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Evolution of the Fifth-Generation Ford Mustang

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  • The fifth-generation Ford Mustang reestablished the look of classic Mustangs, with a fresh twist called retro-futurism
  • The 2005 Mustang was built on a new rear-wheel-drive platform that was unique to Mustang, the first time in the car’s history it did not share a platform with other cars
As the end of the last millennium approached, computer programmers everywhere scrambled to make sure the world wouldn’t go dark when clocks ticked over to Jan. 1, 2000, and designers at Ford again turned their attention to the future of Mustang.

After a near-death experience a decade earlier when the Mustang name was very nearly applied to a front-wheel-drive coupe that ultimately became the Ford Probe, the pony car gained a new lease on life with the success of the fourth-generation car that debuted as a 1994 model. Yet despite being extensively reengineered from the third-generation “Fox-body” Mustang, the fourth-generation car, code-named SN95, was at its core a 20-year-old platform by 1999.

It was clearly time to move Mustang to a new platform in order to remain competitive in the 21st century automotive market. After twice considering a front-wheel-drive architecture before producing the SN95, the powers that be heard the message from the Mustang faithful.

Then-Chief Nameplate Engineer Hau Thai-Tang was tasked with leading the development team for the fifth-generation Mustang, known internally as S197. The look of the new car would be the responsibility of J Mays, who had succeeded Jack Telnack as Ford’s global vice president of design in 1997.

With the acknowledgement the new Mustang would undoubtedly be rear-wheel drive, the question arose of what platform to use. The only rear-wheel-drive platforms available in the Ford lineup were the full-size Panther platform used for the Crown Victoria and the midsize DEW98, which underpinned the just-launched Lincoln LS and the upcoming 2003 Thunderbird roadster.

Based on the size of the car, the DEW98 was the obvious starting point for a new Mustang. One of the longtime complaints against Mustang in terms of the car’s dynamics was understeer caused in part by a less than ideal weight distribution that put about 57 percent of the weight over the front wheels.

In 1999, Ford Racing built a pair of Mustang FR500 demonstrators to showcase the then-new 5.0-liter “Cammer” crate engine. In addition to the twin-cam V8 engine, these demonstrators were further set apart from the conventional SN95 Mustang GT by a five-inch wheelbase extension that shifted the front axle forward relative to the engine. The handling benefits of the FR500’s longer wheelbase led the S197 team to adopt a six-inch-longer wheelbase for the next Mustang, which brought front weight bias down to just 54 percent.

After largely abandoning traditional design cues in the 1979 third-generation model, longtime Mustang design elements began to reappear on the 1994 SN95 with the incorporation of tri-bar taillamps, side scoops and the galloping horse in the grille.

In an increasingly crowded automotive landscape, Mays believed cars needed a distinct look in order to stand out and grab car buyers’ attention. A car needed to clearly exhibit its design DNA, and by this time Mustang had plenty of heritage to tap into.

“When you’re designing a new Mustang, you’re the steward of 40 years of automotive history,” said Mays in 2004, when the fifth-generation Mustang debuted. “If you don’t get it right, you’ve got 8 million Mustang fans to answer to.”

Design is often constrained by the mechanical hard points that are integral to the functionality of the car. In the case of the new Mustang, the decision to go with a longer wheelbase actually turned into a major benefit for the car’s appearance. The relatively short wheelbase of the SN95 meant it had somewhat stubby proportions compared to the first-generation Mustang of the 1960s. While it was clearly a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive machine, it didn’t really exhibit the long-hood, short-rear-deck proportions traditionally associated with sports cars.

The 107.1-inch wheelbase of the S197 gave the designers room to literally stretch the car, in addition to the dynamic benefits it provided.

“We wanted to capture the essence of the car,” said Mays. “We looked at what made the best Mustangs good and the lesser Mustangs not as good.”

By the second half of 1999 and into early 2000, designers were sketching a wide array of different themes, most of which incorporated Mustang DNA in some way but that didn’t necessarily resemble a Mustang.

Many of the proposals incorporated variations of the “New Edge” design language that first appeared on the 1995 Ford GT90 concept and later made it to production on the 1999 Mustang, 1998 Mercury Cougar and 2000 Focus. When combined with the S197 proportions, the result was often quite brutal-looking.

Even with a forward-leaning grille, side scoops, fastback greenhouse and tri-bar taillamps, most of these proposals just didn’t capture the iconic look of Mustang.

Eventually, themes started to emerge that harkened back to some of the most admired Mustangs of the 1960s. Standing in isolation, these cars exhibited the sculpted flanks, set-back bucketed headlamps, forward-leaning grille, fastback 2+2 profile and, of course, tri-bar taillamps in various forms.

However, when set next to vintage Mustangs, the S197 was clearly a more contemporary design with a rising beltline that gave the car a near-wedge profile. Mays called the effect “retro-futuristic.” At first glance, the S197 was immediately recognizable as a Mustang, with a very strong connection to the 1967-68 models in particular, but it also had contemporary elements.

Despite inclusion of classic Mustang cues, it was a relatively clean design. Its faired-in bumpers and absence of chrome made the new car distinct from earlier Mustang models. Relative to its immediate predecessor, the SN95, S197 had a much more integrated look, the pieces seemingly incorporated organically rather than forced on.

At the same time the design team was refining the sheetmetal, Thai-Tang’s engineering team was evolving the platform. While it may have started as a derivative of DEW98, by the time it was complete little more than part of the floorpan and transmission tunnel were left. For the first time since its 1964 debut, Mustang actually had its very own platform in S197, one not shared with any other car in the Ford family.

In 1963, Ford took a prototype first-generation Mustang and modified it to create the Mustang II concept, giving the world the first preview of the design direction for the production car that would arrive less than a year later. In 2003, Ford repeated that process, creating two concepts, a coupe and a convertible that previewed the production model that debuted at the 2004 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

Since going on sale in the fall of 2004, the fifth-generation Mustang has spawned several special editions including the 2008-09 Mustang Bullitt, 2012-13 Mustang Boss 302 and the supercharged Mustang Shelby GT500 that has been available since 2007.

The world didn’t end on Jan. 1, 2000, and the fifth-generation Mustang has proven to be a huge success, selling more than 1 million copies by the car’s 49th birthday on April 17, 2013.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ford Special Service Police Sedan Becomes EPA-Rated as Most Fuel-Efficient Police Vehicle Sold in the U.S.

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  • New model achieves EPA-certified mileage rating of 20 mpg city, 30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined
  • Vehicle’s special service police designation designed to meet the needs of detectives, administrators, campus police and law enforcement agencies looking to maximize fuel efficiency, lower operating costs
Ford’s latest police vehicle is the most fuel-efficient police car sold in the United States, with an EPA-estimated rating of 20 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.
The special service police vehicle combines the durability of Ford’s Police Interceptor sedan with the fuel efficiency of its 2.0-liter EcoBoost® engine.

The fuel savings potential of the new special service police sedan compared with the most fuel efficient competitors is significant, especially for larger fleets spending tens of thousands of dollars per month on gasoline for police vehicles.

Both Dodge and Chevy’s most efficient police sedans achieve an EPA-estimated rating of 21 mpg combined; neither hit the 30 mpg mark on the highway cycle.

Based on the EPA-estimated ratings, when driven 30,000 miles per year – common for police-agency work – and with gas prices at $3.21 per gallon (national average based on EPA survey Nov. 18), the Special Service Police package could save agencies approximately $1,720 over three years compared with the most efficient competitors in the market today, which are rated at 21 mpg combined.

For police agencies operating fleets as large as 150 vehicles, the savings estimate over three years jumps to approximately $257,940. Agencies operating smaller fleets of only 50 vehicles could still see their three-year savings add up to approximately $85,980.

“Agencies looking to reduce their fuel expenditures, especially for non-pursuit vehicles in small rural agencies, universities and for detective work will want to take a look,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford police marketing manager. “We’ve had great feedback on the vehicle and had a lot of agencies asking about it.”

The addition of the 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine means agencies will have four powertrain choices in the Police Interceptor sedan, including a V6 lineup that outperforms V8 engines of years past.
Police Interceptor sedan is available with a 3.5-liter V6 with front-wheel drive, a 3.7-liter V6 with all-wheel drive and the powerhouse 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine with all-wheel drive – allowing police to choose the powerplant that best meets their patrol requirements.

To help achieve best-in-class fuel efficiency, the special service police sedan will offer Active Grille Shutters that manage airflow to optimize the balance between engine cooling and aerodynamics. With the addition of the new engine, Ford remains confident in its “Power of Choice” strategy that includes not only retail customers, but fleet customers as well.

The new Special Service Police sedan equipped with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost retains all the essential police DNA that goes into pursuit-rated Police Interceptor sedans, including safety and durability features. Plus it is upfit-friendly and purpose-built. Commonality of parts remains an integral part of the special service police sedan.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ford Social VIP Experience

Ford Social treated a handful of members to the VIP treatment at the 2013 Ford EcoBoost 400 NASCAR race in Homestead, Florida. Listen to what they had to say about the experience! You could be next -- become a member at!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ford to Reveal All-New Mustang Dec. 5; Teams with Facebook and Instagram for 15-Day Countdown

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  • Ford to reveal all-new Ford Mustang to the world Dec. 5
  • Mustang is the most “Liked” vehicle on Facebook with more than 5.5 million fans, and more than 1 million photos tagged on Instagram; Ford leverages fans and followers to build anticipation for reveal
  • Fifteen-day #MustangInspires film series features short videos developed by 15 top Instagrammers influenced by photos about what Mustang represents to its fans
Ford will take the cover off the all-new Mustang Dec. 5, the sixth generation of the iconic pony car that will celebrate 50 years in production next year.

To count down to this highly anticipated moment, over the next 15 days Ford is teaming up with Facebook and Instagram to showcase what Mustang has meant to its millions of fans the last 50 years and how it continues to inspire people around the world.

“Mustang has come to be much more than just a car for its legions of fans spanning the globe from New Zealand to Iceland and Shanghai to Berlin,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president of Ford global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. “When you experience Mustang, it ignites a sense of optimism and independence that inspires us all.

“Today, we kick off the countdown to the all-new Ford Mustang,” added Farley, on hand for an event leading up to the Los Angeles International Auto Show. “With a new design and greater refinement, world-class power and performance plus innovative new technologies, Mustang is ready for the next 50 years.”

Ford is counting down to the next chapter in the Mustang story by inviting people to share their photographic stories of inspiration using the #MustangInspires hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. The tagged photos and videos will appear on

“Everybody has a Mustang story, and the emergence of social media has helped the Mustang community share and connect these personal moments in not just words, but photography and video,” said Farley. “Mustang is the most ‘Liked’ car of all time on Facebook, with more than 5.5 million fans. There is no better way to build excitement for what’s next than by encouraging even more sharing of the Mustang story through these very personal, emotional mediums.”

To build even more anticipation for the all-new Mustang, Ford is using Instagram ( to release the first image of the new car, giving fans a tease of what to expect on Dec. 5.

Fan-submitted photos will provide inspiration to 15 of the top Instagram video creators from around the world to develop an online short film series.

Ford will share an original #MustangInspires video each day of the countdown film series, culminating in the worldwide reveal of the all-new Mustang.
Click here to view the first video in the series.

“In April 1964, Ford conducted its first-ever simultaneous international product reveal when the original Mustang was unveiled to media in New York and 11 European capitals,” said Farley. “Since then, Mustang has become embedded in popular culture, with thousands of appearances in film, television, music and video games – and more than 600 owner clubs around the world.”

On Dec. 5, the all-new Ford Mustang will make its debut in six cities on four continents. The reveal events will take place in Dearborn, Mich.; New York; Los Angeles; Barcelona; Shanghai and Sydney.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ford Motor Company and Mustang Club of America to Mark 50 Years of Mustang with Twin Birthday Celebrations

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  • A celebration of Ford Mustang will take place April 16 through April 20, 2014, to honor 50 years of the iconic car
  • Open to enthusiasts from around the world, the event is so large it will be held at two locations – Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • Fans will enjoy a wide range of events from car cruises to live bands, ride-and-drives, exhibits, celebrities and open-track exhibitions
The celebration of 50 years of Ford Mustang will be so large Ford Motor Company and the Mustang Club of America plan to simultaneously hold it at two locations from April 16 through April 20, 2014. Open to everyone, not just Mustang owners and MCA members, the event will be held at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas.

“Working closely with Ford, we want to make the official Mustang 50-Year celebration the most important car event of 2014,” said Ronald D. Bramlett, Mustang Club of America executive director of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration. “We hope everyone who loves this iconic car will join us to share their personal Mustang story.

“Whether you love modern or vintage Mustangs, Shelby or Boss, racing or cruising, a new fan or have been enjoying the lifestyle for years, we’ll have something memorable for everyone at both locations.”

Charlotte Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, two of the most prestigious racetracks in the United States, are positioned to allow the maximum number of enthusiasts worldwide to attend the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration. MCA will also organize “Pony Drives” so Mustang owners can travel in an organized group to each venue.

“Mustang enthusiasts are among the most passionate fans in the world,” said Steven Ling, Ford car marketing manager. “These twin events are really for them. We’re proud to be part of this celebration of a car that’s often called the soul of Ford Motor Company.

“Everyone has a Mustang story, and we will give people a forum to express those stories with others who also love this car.”

The original American pony car has been extremely successful for Ford, with more than 9 million sold throughout its lifetime. A key aspect to its success is that the car has always been offered in a variety of configurations, appealing to a wide variety of people.

“One of the highlights at both venues will be a display featuring examples from each of the first 50 model years of Mustang,” said Bramlett. “We’ll include cars released in April 1964 to the latest models out of Flat Rock Assembly Plant.”

Since the Ford Mustang was launched at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, it has become an important part of pop culture. Mustang has more than 3,000 appearances in film and television, plus hundreds of musical references. With nearly 5.5 million fans, Mustang is the world’s most popular automotive nameplate on Facebook.

Always evolving, each new model year of Ford Mustang has been embraced over the decades, offerings people a way to express themselves. Mustang has been a canvas for personalization. From 600-horsepower-plus versions that can exceed 200 mph to the most affordable models that get more than 30 mpg and deliver more than 300 horsepower, Mustang’s universal appeal has made it a symbol of Americana.

Twin celebrations

The tentative schedule for both venues is:

  • Wednesday, April 16 – The first official day of the Mustang 50th Birthday Celebration will feature vendors and exhibits as pony drives and members arrive
  • Thursday, April 17 – With April 17, 1964 acknowledged as the official birthday of Ford Mustang, Mustang Club of America will conduct opening ceremonies followed by a host of activities. Fans will enjoy a birthday celebration complete with cake and everyone singing “Happy Birthday.” Track time, Ford ride-and-drives, hot laps and other interactive activities are planned. Car displays, vendors and special exhibits will all be there to celebrate Mustang’s 50th
  • Friday, April 18 – The event will be in full swing with track events such as road racing, drag racing and other interactive driving events. Car displays, vendors and special exhibits will be on hand. MCA will have a themed dinner with live entertainment
  • Saturday, April 19 – Festivities will follow the same pattern as Friday. The evening will feature the Saturday Night Banquet, with guest speakers and entertainment
  • Sunday, April 20 – Easter Sunrise Services will be offered at both tracks. There will be parade laps around both speedways, and other memorable activities and photo opportunities will fill the day. MCA will have closing ceremonies in the afternoon

Details are being formalized for the event. Information will be continuously updated on a special website, and at the MCA website,

Friday, November 22, 2013

F-Series Surpasses 2012 Sales; Innovations Help Ford Expand Truck Leadership Over Competitors

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  • Ford F-Series sales have now surpassed 645,316 units, the total number of trucks sold in 2012; this year on average, one F-Series pickup sells every 42 seconds
  • F-Series is on track to be the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 32 straight years, and the best-selling truck for 37 straight years
  • Ford continues to outpace the competition, growing sales gap over the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500
Ford F-Series marked an important milestone today, with calendar year-to-date sales already surpassing full-year 2012 truck sales. F-Series sales have now exceeded 645,316 trucks, and are on pace to set the highest yearly sales total since 2006.

In October, F-Series sales of 63,803 trucks were up 13 percent, the sixth-straight month above the 60,000-vehicle mark. The last time Ford sold more than 60,000 trucks for six consecutive months was 2006.

“If our truck business continues at this rate through the end of the year, we will reach 60,000 F-Series sales for eight straight months, putting us on par with 2006, before the economic downturn,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst.

F-Series continues to outpace the segment, even as key competitors have launched new products, according to Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager.

“Through October, our leadership margin is nearly 220,000 units over Chevrolet Silverado and 67,000 over Silverado and GMC Sierra combined,” said Scott. “F-Series has outsold Ram by more than 330,000 units in the first 10 months of 2013, almost 50,000 more trucks than the gap a year ago.

“Despite new entries from our competitors, truck consumers continue to vote us No. 1 – day in and day out – with their checkbooks,” said Scott. “In 2013, F-Series had the highest owner loyalty, and we’ve won the R.L. Polk Automotive Loyalty award in the mid- and full-size pickup category 15 times in the last 17 years.”

Innovation, economic recovery drive F-Series sales

Ford F-Series sales in key markets leading the country’s economic turnaround – including the Northwest, West and Southeast – are outpacing the nearest competitor by 50 percent. F-Series innovations such as EcoBoost® fuel-saving engine technology and the MyFord Touch® connectivity system are helping Ford expand its truck leadership.

Ford’s new F-150 STX value model is targeted at customers hit hard by the economic downturn but returning to work in the housing, energy and other markets that are seeing strong growth. STX sales quickly increased to 10 percent of all F-150 sales in 2013 from 3 percent in 2012. At the other end of the market, a segment Ford pioneered a decade ago, high-end F-Series trucks now lead with more than 50 percent share.

Western housing, tech growth

F-Series is outselling its nearest competitor by more than 65 percent in western markets, where California is experiencing rapid real estate growth and the technology industry is making Oregon and Washington two of the country’s fastest-growing states.

  • From 2008 to 2013, California has sold more F-Series vehicles than any other state except Texas
  • Fuel economy resonates more in the West; 45 percent of customers in northwestern states order EcoBoost compared to the 38 percent average
  • MyFord Touch was added to F-150 in 2012, and resonates particularly well in the Northwest

Central natural gas boom

In the past five years, truck sales in the upper Midwest and Plains states represent the most significant percentage growth in F-Series trucks; this growth is tied mainly to expansion of domestic energy exploration and the renewable energy industry.

  • From 2008 to 2013, F-Series sales grew 156.8 percent in North Dakota – the company’s fastest-growing state by percentage – quadrupling the growth of No. 2, Texas. Montana is No. 3 at 121 percent and South Dakota is No. 4 at 112.5 percent
  • Natural gas-powered Ford vehicle sales expected to rise 25 percent this year
  • The energy sector, along with housing, is driving F-Series sales in the traditionally strong Texas market, with growth of 27 percent since 2008, to 500,000 trucks

The 2014 Ford F-150 is on sale now, featuring the new F-150 Tremor, the world’s first EcoBoost-powered sport truck, and a new compressed natural gas prep option for customers to convert their F-150 to run on clean-burning, inexpensive CNG.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

First CNG-Capable 2014 Ford F-150 Rolls Off the Line in Kansas City

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  • 2014 Ford F-150 launches with gaseous-fuel prep option on the 3.7-liter V6 engine; it will be able to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas
  • By next summer, Ford will offer eight vehicles that can run on clean-burning, inexpensive CNG/LPG and puts the company on track to sell more than 15,000 such vehicles this year
  • Nearly 20 states now offer or soon will offer tax incentives or rebates for CNG-converted vehicles
  • Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers offer a wide variety of CNG options to help customers find the most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs
Ford, America’s truck leader, began production of the 2014 F-150 with the ability to run on compressed natural gas, making Ford the only manufacturer with an available CNG/LPG-capable half-ton pickup.

The 2014 Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 engine is available with a factory-installed, gaseous-fuel prep package that includes hardened valves, valve seats, and pistons and rings so it can operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

When equipped with a bi-fuel CNG/LPG engine package, the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on combined tanks of gasoline and CNG, depending on the tank sizes selected. The Ford F-150 with 3.7-liter V6 has an EPA-estimated rating of 23 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg combined.

“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager.

CNG/LPG engine prep from the factory costs $315 before the customer chooses a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier to supply fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors. Upfits run approximately $6,000 to $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.

CNG conversions can provide stability against fluctuating fuel prices as well as lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.10 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel. The national average for unleaded regular fuel is $3.29 per gallon.

Customers also can accelerate the payback period by taking advantage of a growing number of state incentives. Nearly 20 states – including Oklahoma, Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida – offer or soon will provide tax incentives or rebates for CNG-converted vehicles. In Florida, fleet customers will be eligible for rebates of up to $25,000 beginning in 2014.

Most CNG options

By next summer, Ford will offer eight commercial vehicles with a gaseous-prep option, a number no other full-line manufacturer can match:

  • Transit Connect van and wagon
  • Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab
  • E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis
  • F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab
  • F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550)
  • F-650 medium-duty truck
  • F53 and F59 stripped chassis
  • 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup

Customers are enthusiastically responding to this powerful array of choices. Since reintroducing the option in 2009, Ford has established itself as the leader in CNG/LPG engine sales. The company is on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG-prepped vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.

AT&T is one of many Ford fleet customers that are finding value in CNG. The communications giant recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option.

“We’re almost halfway to our company-wide goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of 2018,” said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president, global fleet operations. “Vehicles such as CNG F-350s from Ford have helped us avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years while reducing our fleet’s emissions.”

Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers

Ford has established a rigorous qualification program for alternative-fuel vehicle modifiers. The QVM program is intended to help modifiers achieve greater levels of customer satisfaction and product acceptance through the manufacture of high-quality vehicles.

Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers offer a wide variety of CNG/LPG options to help customers find the most cost-effective solution to their diverse operating needs. Ford maintains the engine and powertrain limited warranty (five years or 60,000 miles); the modifier is responsible for the system component warranty.

Compressed natural gas

Compressed natural gas is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of approximately 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically.

Another benefit of this alternative fuel includes cleaner emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency certifies CNG usage can result in up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

With Self-Parking Technology and Obstacle Avoidance Capability, Ford Edge Concept Is Tomorrow’s Utility Today

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  • Ford Edge Concept revealed today at Los Angeles Auto Show offers strong hints at the technology, dynamic design and premium craftsmanship that will define the company’s next global utility vehicles
  • Advanced, automated driving technologies include self-parking and obstacle avoidance systems currently under development by Ford; these technologies preview a future of semi- and fully autonomous driving options, delivering tomorrow’s technology today
  • Sleek exterior design communicates athleticism, confidence and capability; interior finished with premium materials and craftsmanship surpassing segment expectations
  • Ford utility vehicles will be America’s best-selling utility brand for three straight years in 2013, outpacing the nearest competitor by 32 percent through October of this year
Ford, the company that defined the crossover utility vehicle segment, today introduced new automated driving technologies in the Ford Edge Concept. The technologies include a push-button and remote-operated parking feature customers could use from either inside or outside the vehicle.

“The original Ford Edge offered customers in North America a fresh, compelling choice for an accommodating, efficient and safe medium utility vehicle,” said Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “The next-generation Edge – previewed in the Ford Edge Concept – will build on these cornerstones to create a global vehicle with technology to make life easier, and design and craftsmanship to appeal to customers around the globe.”

Key attributes of the Ford Edge Concept – a sleek, sporty appearance; capability; fuel efficiency; and technology that assists the driver – are in line with what customers value around the world, which is driving global growth in the utility vehicle segment.

Data provided by IHS Automotive indicate global utility vehicle sales grew 45 percent between 2007 and 2012. The utility segment now accounts for more than 13 million sales annually – 17 percent of the global automotive market.

Utility vehicle sales in China are projected to grow significantly, by more than 100 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to IHS Automotive. In South America the utility segment is projected to grow 39 percent, and in Europe it is projected to grow 27 percent over the same period.

The current Ford Edge remains a segment sales leader in the United States. Edge is especially well-received in Southern California, where it accounts for nearly one in four sales this year of five-passenger medium utility vehicles. With market share of 23 percent, Ford Edge is the best-selling five-passenger utility vehicle in Southern California, according to Ford analysis of retail registration data from R.L. Polk.

Moreover, U.S. Ford-brand utility sales overall are up 12 percent through October compared to last year, and Ford utility vehicles will be America’s best-selling utility brand for three straight years in 2013, as it is outpacing the nearest competitor by 32 percent through October.

Advanced features to make smarter vehicles and better drivers

Driver-assist technologies and semi-automated features in Edge Concept hint at a future offering even more intelligent and capable vehicles from Ford. These sensor-based technologies form the building blocks for the future of automated driving, and will help make driving safer and more efficient.

“The rate of change in vehicle technology right now is unprecedented,” noted Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development. “Our engineers around the world are advancing the systems that will ultimately help make drivers smarter, safer and more efficient. From advanced engine systems to collision avoidance and automated driving systems, Ford will continue to lead in delivering the technologies consumers want and need.”

Ford Edge Concept

Fully assisted parking aid, a prototype technology, lets customers park their vehicles at the touch of a button, or even by remote control. The concept builds on Ford’s current active park assist feature. It can find a perpendicular parking space using ultrasonic sensors. From inside, the driver pushes a button to activate the system; from outside the vehicle, fully assisted parking aid can be remotely activated, allowing customers to wait until the vehicle has pulled out of a tight parking spot before entering.

Using similar sensor and automated vehicle control technology, Ford has also begun a research project designed to refine advanced obstacle avoidance systems. In this case, the research and development vehicle is able to issue warnings if it detects slow-moving or stationary obstacles in the same lane ahead. If the driver fails to steer or brake following the warnings, the system will automatically steer and brake the vehicle to avoid a collision.

Adaptive steering, another new technology from Ford featured on Edge Concept, makes steering at low speeds dramatically easier, and steering in all conditions feel more confident and engaging. The technology, which builds on Ford’s electric power-assisted steering system, controls the relationship between how much the driver turns the wheel and how much the road wheels turn. This means that low-speed steering – such as pulling into or out of a parking space – requires much less turning of the wheel.

Tomorrow’s technology available today

Developing technology that can help people around the world feel more confident and secure is a high priority for Ford. Ford Edge Concept features many of the automated driver-assist technologies – the building blocks to fully automated vehicles of the future – that the company offers on its global products today. These include:
  • Active park assist, which can ease the stress of parallel parking by using sensors and the steering system to guide a vehicle into a parking spot; the driver controls the gas and brake pedals. Available on 12 Ford models today
  • Lane-Keeping System, which uses a forward-facing camera that can scan the road surface for lane markings. The system can evaluate if the vehicle is drifting out of its lane and then alert the driver by vibrating the steering wheel. If the driver does not respond to the vibrations, the system provides steering torque to nudge the vehicle back toward the center of the lane. Available on 11 Ford models today
  • Adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support, which uses radar to detect moving vehicles immediately ahead, and can modify cruising speed if necessary. Available on 10 Ford models today
  • Blind Spot Information System, which uses radar sensors in the rear corners that monitor the spaces next to and just behind the vehicle. On the road, these sensors trigger a warning light in the mirror when there is another vehicle in the driver’s blind spot. Available on 13 Ford models today

Ford Edge Concept

Sleek, athletic exterior design defines Ford Edge Concept

The technologies in the Ford Edge Concept complement the vehicle’s exterior design, which is carefully sculpted, fluid and athletic. The side view is highlighted by a D-pillar line that comes down the rail, takes a jog and returns.

Strong shoulders on Ford Edge Concept add to the feel and appearance of a runner in the starting blocks. The rearward slope of the grille influences the shape of the hood, which is both muscular and more compact. In a unique execution, the three-bar grille is connected to LED headlamps in a premium fashion.

To aid the fuel efficiency of a next-generation EcoBoost® engine with start-stop technology, the Edge Concept has a new high-tech application of Active Grille Shutters. The shutters automatically open and close to maintain ideal engine operating temperature and maximize aerodynamic efficiency. When activated, a panel slips down from above, then two more move into place, appearing as if they radiate from the Ford oval. The brighter finish gives a stunning contrast to the black background.

To improve efficiency further, unique air curtains are positioned on the lower part of the fascia. The air curtains and ducting are designed to guide air from the front of the vehicle, out through the front wheel wells and down the vehicle side.

LED lighting is used on both the headlamps and taillamps of the Ford Edge Concept.

Ford Edge Concept

Functional and decorative design elements combine to create a stunning display – these technical graphics are a hallmark of modern Ford design. The headlamps light up in complete white, creating an uninterrupted, homogeneous display. Individual LEDs light up crystal cubes on the high beams.

The turn signal transforms from a chrome-appearing piece into bright amber, lit from behind through microscopic holes in the bezel, adding to the laser-thin appearance of the headlamps. The taillamps are executed in a similar fashion, cleverly and stylishly connected to the backlight.

The exterior is painted in Copper Flame, a modern interpretation of a premium color currently popular on Ford cars.

Elevated craftsmanship, elegant colors and rich materials

The interior of Ford Edge Concept is open and airy, with a level of craftsmanship and material quality that consumers around the world will appreciate.

“We wanted the interior to be consistent in its dynamic character with the exterior of the Ford Edge Concept,” said Hak Soo Ha, interior design manager. “We call the interior environment Dynamic Sanctuary, because it combines the energetic character of the exterior with a more premium cabin execution. The shapes provide a dynamic, in-motion impression that soothes rather than fatigues.”

Premium interior elements include:

  • Leather-wrapped and hand-stitched instrument panel
  • 10-inch touch screen center display with MyFord Touch®
  • Dynamic center stack with premium mechanical switchgear
  • Unique gear shifter
  • Bright work on the armrest, door-release bezel and air registers
  • Floating binnacle top
  • Unique steering wheel
  • Scuff plate with bright silver finish, matte black paint and LED-lit “Edge”

Ford Edge Concept

High levels of craftsmanship and rich materials unify the interior of Ford Edge Concept. Copper is used as the accent color in the carpet, instrument panel and other areas for its premium appearance, complementing the exterior paint color.

Premium black Nubuck wraps the upper instrument panel, center console and door elements, enhanced by elegant stitching. The heavy, oiled-grain texture has a feel similar to leather used on high-end furniture; this is juxtaposed with smooth leather on the touchpoints.

The vehicle’s leather seats are executed with a distinct perforation pattern, as well as premium stitching and accent plating in the head restraint and top of the shoulder bolster.

“The Ford Edge Concept is the latest example of a utility vehicle that delivers the attributes global customers value most – design, fuel efficiency, driving dynamics, and customer-focused technology to help the driver feel more confident,” said Hinrichs.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ford Builds 10-Millionth SYNC-Equipped Vehicle; Car Connectivity Reaches Critical Mass

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  • Six years after launching SYNC®, Ford has produced more than 10 million vehicles with the award-winning connectivity system
  • SYNC’s success is based on an open, flexible and agnostic platform and driven by Ford’s vision for mobile connectivity being a growing consumer trend
  • Ford looks to the future for the next phase of the connected car experience to be based on intelligence through the fusion of cloud computing and sensor data
Just six years after the introduction of Ford SYNC®, the 10-millionth vehicle equipped with this award-winning technology has been produced, transforming the in-car connectivity experience for customers around the world.

“SYNC was more than just a technology breakthrough, it has reshaped how we see ourselves as a company,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln, speaking at the Connected Car Expo to open the 2013 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

“SYNC has helped us to think and act more like a technology company,” Farley acknowledged. “It has forever changed how we look at our business and how we respond to our customers. Ultimately, SYNC embodies what Ford is all about – going further to turn innovative ideas into products that are affordable, attainable and valuable to millions of people.”

Today, nearly all Ford retail vehicles are sold with advanced infotainment technologies, and the company ranks first in ABI Research’s OEM connected automotive infotainment Competitive Assessment, with high ratings for implementation, innovation and price.

When Ford began developing SYNC in 2005, the engineering teams recognized cellphones and digital media players were quickly becoming an increasingly important part of people’s lives. Given how quickly mobile device usage had grown in just a few years, Ford decided a new technology development approach was needed.

The SYNC development team created an architecture based on open protocols like USB and Bluetooth® to enable virtually any device to be connected for media playback and communications. That decision turned out to be more prescient than anyone could have imagined.

“Now it’s clear that building an open, upgradable connectivity platform has been key to the success of SYNC because it has allowed us to stay relevant to the consumer,” said Farley. “With available SYNC, Ford vehicles can keep pace with the latest consumer trends through simple software updates.”

When SYNC was first announced in January 2007 at the International CES, the presentation featured the Apple iPod, Motorola RAZR flip-phone and Palm TREO smartphone. Two days later, Apple ushered in the app economy era with the original iPhone. Because leveraging a smart device’s features was still in its infancy, most consumers used SYNC to access basic features such as hands-free calling and their music catalogs.

Six years on, smartphones are powered by a diverse range of platforms including iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone mobile operating systems. With ample on-board storage, processing power that rivals desktops, and ultrafast wireless data connections, these phones work as well with original SYNC-equipped vehicles in addition to handling new available capabilities such as SYNC AppLink, which uses voice-activated technology to build a hands-free bridge between you and your smartphone applications.

“We have literally turned the car into a platform for app developers, who work with us to add value through new features delivered at the speed consumers expect,” said Farley. “With more than 1 billion smartphones now in service around the world, we expect mobile connectivity will continue to be a foundational element of our strategy going forward.”

While cars and trucks typically stay on the road for more than 10 years on average, people often replace their consumer electronics every couple of years to keep pace with the latest advances in technology.

SYNC availability has expanded to include nearly the entire line of Ford cars and trucks, along with Lincoln products. With 10 million SYNC-equipped vehicles on the road including in Europe and Asia, Ford continues to work on new enhancements that can keep customers on the leading edge of in-car technology.

“At Ford, we’re focused on how data and connectivity can turn devices into intelligent systems that enable insight-driven action,” said Doug VanDagens, global director of connected services solutions for Ford. “In the vehicle, this means the ability to connect to more data from more sources and use that to help the driver. It’s our goal to turn the connected vehicle into an intelligent vehicle.”

Cloud connectivity, on-board sensors and data access are key components for creating this kind of intelligent vehicle experience. Other advances, such as natural language processing and machine learning, could help Ford SYNC provide a more natural interaction between car and driver, enabling a driving experience that’s more personalized and convenient.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ford Fusion Energi with Coca-Cola PlantBottle Technology

PlantBottle™ technology is applied for the first time beyond packaging as part of the interior fabric of a Ford Fusion Energi research vehicle.

The Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid research vehicle uses PlantBottle™ technology for fabric interior including seat cushions, backs, headrests, door panel inserts and headliners .

Fabric made from PlantBottle™ technology is made of up to 30 percent plant-based materials, shows broad potential of leveraging renewable materials that help replace petroleum and other fossil fuels in fuel efficient vehicles.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ford Releases Mobile Shopping App for Fleet Managers

  •  All-new Ford Fleet app for iPad® brings automaker’s complete vehicle catalog to mobile platform for U.S. commercial, government and rental fleet customers
  • App automatically updates as vehicle information and lineup is refreshed
  • App available as a free download at Apple iTunes® App StoreSM or by visiting
Ford Motor Company’s commercial customers now have a new shopping resource designed just for fleet owners and operators.

The Ford Fleet app for iPad® – now available at the Apple iTunes® App StoreSM – brings the full catalog of Ford and Lincoln vehicles to the tablet and, once downloaded, is accessible at any time without Wi-Fi® or cellular connectivity.

The app was specifically designed with fleet customers in mind.

Users will find information about all Ford retail and commercial vehicles, including Transit Connect Taxi, Police Interceptor, trucks and vans, chassis and cutaways – information not available via retail brochures or Ford’s mobile website. Also included in the app is information about commercial lending, quality fleet care, Ford’s Business Preferred Network and a list of Ford fleet contacts.

“Fleet managers have very different needs from a retail customer,” said Kevin Koswick, Ford director of North American fleet, lease and remarketing operations. “In speaking with our commercial, government and daily rental fleet customers, they asked for a fleet-specific app that has more information than our printed pieces, is easily updatable and is something they can take with them on the go.”

Currently available for iPad, other mobile platforms may be rolled out based on user demand.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

2013 Ford F-150 vs. The Competition at Silver Creek

Silver Creek at Ford's Michigan Proving Grounds is one of the grueling ways we test our trucks to make sure they're always 'Built Ford Tough.' Check out how the 2013 Ford F-150 tackles Silver Creek versus the latest competitors.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Techonomy Detroit

During Techonomy Detroit, Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader of open innovation at Ford Motor Company met with Detroit Venture Partners Vice President Jake Cohen and three of their startups in their portfolio to discuss how today's connected car can help bring new innovations to the start up community.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Hits 400,000 Sales, Saving 45 Million Gallons of Gas Annually

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  • Ford F-150 EcoBoost® sales reach 400,000 in the U.S. since launch in February 2011
  • F-Series is outselling the nearest competitor in the western U.S. market by 67 percent, where EcoBoost makes up 45 percent of F-150 sales
  • F-150 EcoBoost owners collectively are saving an estimated 45 million gallons of gas annually, all while towing and hauling more than the competition
  • This estimated 45 million gallons of fuel savings exceeds the estimated fuel savings of all Toyota and Tesla plug-in electrified vehicles sold in the U.S.
DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 14, 2013 – Sales of Ford F-150 with EcoBoost® – launched less than three years ago – have already topped 400,000 units in the United States.

Ford is delivering great fuel economy across our lineup, from EcoBoost in our F-150 and 15 other vehicles to our electrified vehicles,” says Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. “Fuel economy is the No. 1 unmet need for truck customers, which is why the F-150 EcoBoost’s leading combination of fuel economy and capability is resonating so well.”

F-150 EcoBoost helped F-Series surpass 60,000 sales in October, the sixth-straight month it achieved this milestone – and the first time since the period of April through September 2006. This includes outselling the nearest competitor in the western United States by 67 percent, where the housing and technology industries are driving truck sales and where EcoBoost technology is proving particularly popular.

In the U.S. northwest, F-150 customers choose EcoBoost 45 percent of the time compared to the national average of 38 percent. Oregon and Washington – the second- and third-fastest growing states, respectively, according to a June CNN Money report – are key markets for F-150 EcoBoost sales.

Outsaving Toyota, Tesla

Ford’s strategy to deliver fuel-saving technology across its lineup is helping customers conserve at the pump, with F-150 owners making a big dent in gasoline usage.

In fact, F-150 EcoBoost owners collectively are saving an estimated 45 million gallons of gas annually, while out-towing competitive trucks of similar vintage by at least 1,000 pounds. This estimated 45 million gallon savings exceeds the estimated fuel savings of all Toyota and Tesla plug-in electrified vehicles sold in the U.S. through October, and assumes these electrified vehicles use no gasoline, replace the same number of 2010 F-150 V8 4x4 trucks and drive 15,000 miles per year.

Estimated fuel savings are based on the EPA-estimated combined ratings for 2011-13 F-150 EcoBoost models and for the same mix of 5.4-liter V8-equipped 2010 F-150 models, across 400,000 units and 15,000 miles of driving a year. F-150 EcoBoost sales are comprised mostly of 4x4 trucks with EPA-estimated ratings of 15 mpg city and 17 mpg combined, and a smaller percentage of 4x2 trucks with EPA-estimated ratings of 16 mpg city and 18 mpg combined. Ford has had success transitioning many customers to the new EcoBoost offering.

F-150 EcoBoost is a great example of how our customers save at the pump while outworking the competition,” says Scott.

2-millionth EcoBoost

Ford recently celebrated the 2-millionth EcoBoost engine produced globally since the 2009 launch of the engine line. Growing customer demand for EcoBoost-powered vehicles in major markets worldwide is driving engine production higher. Factory output now averages more than 100,000 engines per month, up from 65,000 units in 2012.

Ford EcoBoost can deliver great performance and lower fuel bills, a recipe that is proving incredibly popular with consumers around the world,” says Joe Bakaj, vice president, powertrain engineering for Ford. “EcoBoost engines are attracting new customers to the Ford brand every day, and our plants are working hard to keep up with demand.”

EcoBoost technology combines smaller overall size with turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing to bring customers outstanding performance and fuel economy. This year, EcoBoost will be available on more than 90 percent of North American nameplates, rising to 95 percent by 2015.

[Editor’s note: Toyota and Tesla have sold or registered a total of 42,642 plug-in electrified vehicles in the U.S.]

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Transit Connect Rolls into NY Makers Faire

This compact, nimble van sparked imaginations in an environment known for them. Among them a kid who wants to convert it for amphibious use and a guy who wants to add docking stations for his three phones.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Selling The Ford Mustang – 1960s Style

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  • The ability to easily personalize Ford Mustang helped it appeal to a broad audience from its first days on sale in April 1964
  • Recognizing that there was a Mustang for almost everyone, Ford crafted ads that were similarly personalized to different customers
  • Mustang ads promoted the community of Mustangers while at the same time reminding viewers of their ability to stay individual within the larger group
Advertising has come a long way in the last five decades, something clearly demonstrated by taking a look back at print ads from the early years of Ford Mustang.

For advertising executives, selling the first-generation Mustang wasn’t a terribly difficult job. With its combination of compact size, sporty style, performance, affordability and myriad customization options, Mustang was ideally suited to the mid-1960s.

Mustang was originally conceived as an affordable, sporty car that would appeal to young baby boomers looking for a ride that was distinct from the big sedans their parents drove. As development progressed and then production launched in early 1964, it soon became apparent that young adults weren’t the only drivers in search of something new.

Music, culture and fashion were turned upside down relative to the buttoned-down 1950s and it seemed everyone wanted to break free. More than 400,000 Mustangs were purchased in the first year of sales – 22,000 orders on the first day. It seemed everyone was talking about Mustang.

Still, great word of mouth can always use a helping hand from a good ad. A peek through the Ford Motor Company archive in Dearborn turned up dozens of print ads from magazines and newspapers featuring slogans, and themes that seem like they could have been plucked directly from an episode of AMC's popular Mad Men series.

Having been spawned in an era when the gender equality movement was just taking root, many of those ads clearly reflect the era in which they were created. In many ways these marketing concepts were just being invented nearly five decades ago.

“From its first days on sale, Mustang was touted as ‘The Car Designed to be Designed By You’ thanks to its enormous range of available equipment and color options,” said John Clor, Mustang author and historian. “With so many ways for a customer to personalize a Mustang, it was possible that no two cars would be exactly alike.”

Similarly, the range of ads was crafted to attract different customers to the pony car variant that best fit and enhanced their lifestyle. No one was neglected in the Mustang marketing campaign.

One ad featured the tagline “The Sweetheart of the Supermarket Set” which was designed to appeal to the thrifty young mom with a fuel-efficient six-cylinder Mustang with a manual transmission. “Why see a marriage counselor?” promoted the SelectShift™ automatic transmission to middle-aged couples sharing a pony.

Even Desmond, the stereotypical 98-pound weakling was being drawn into Mustang community with the 289-cubic-inch V8 engine.

One interesting component of many of the ads is that they promoted the idea of drivers being part of the ever growing community of Mustangers while at the same time, remaining individuals by customizing their cars. In this way, people that are inherently social beings can be part of the group without feeling like sheep.

Between the ads, the fast growing community and the car itself, Mustang has been one of the greatest automotive success stories of all time. Nearly 50 years later, more than 8.7 million Mustangs have been sold and many of those early 1960s models remain on the road and loved by their owners.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hot Wheels Ford Transit Connect

This is one of 10 custom Transit Connect vehicles Ford is featuring in their display at the 2013 SEMA show. This is actually a full-size concept collaboration between Ford and Hot Wheels®. Visit Ford Social to see more stories about Ford vehicles at the 2013 SEMA show.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hot Ford Vehicles at the SEMA Show

Former Hot Rod magazine editor, Rob Kinnan, talks about the hottest Ford vehicles at the 2013 SEMA Show

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Snakebit at SEMA: Gene Simmons, Shannon Tweed Unveil Custom 1956 Ford F-100, to Be Auctioned for Charity in 2014

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  • KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his wife, actress Shannon Tweed, unveil custom 1956 Ford F-100 pickup
  • Custom 1956 Ford F-100, aptly named Snakebit, features styling cues that pay homage to classic Shelby Mustangs; power is supplied by Ford’s supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine
  • Snakebit will be auctioned next year by Barrett-Jackson, with proceeds going to help fund a children’s hospital in Tweed’s hometown in Canada
Snakebit, a custom 1956 Ford F-100 with styling cues that salute the great Shelby Mustangs, was unveiled today by KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his wife, actress Shannon Tweed, as part of Ford Motor Company’s display at the Specialty Equipment Market Association show at Las Vegas Convention Center.

Snakebit is part of a fundraising effort to build a children’s hospital in Tweed’s hometown of Saskatoon, in the province of Saskatchewan, one of only two Canadian provinces without a dedicated children’s hospital.

The project was originally conceived by Tom Foster, president of Saskatoon-based customizer Industrial Machine & Manufacturing, as a team-building exercise that could help raise funds for a new children’s hospital.

Called Wheels of Dreams, the project to design and build the custom truck was funded by the Ford dealer association in Saskatchewan. It will be auctioned off in 2014 by Barrett-Jackson.

The winning bidder will get one serious truck. Under the sectioned dual-skinned hood of the 1956 F-100 is a Ford Racing supercharged 5.4-liter V8 breathing through a high-performance exhaust system. A six-speed manual gearbox feeds the estimated 550 horsepower to the 20-inch rear wheels.

The wheelbase has been stretched five inches, while the box has been widened and dressed with a billet machined floor to mimic wood. It is topped with a custom tonneau cover. The headlights and sequential taillights are custom-built, while 18-inch front and the 20-inch rear wheels are also inspired by Shelby Mustangs.

The interior of this metallic gray beauty features handmade panels and two-tone leather. The knobs on the leather-wrapped dash are custom, as are the armrests. The leather bench seat, carefully contoured to match the look of a Shelby Mustang interior, is from Glide Engineering.

“The Wheels of Dreams project symbolizes how people can come together to meet the needs of our children and families by raising much needed funds for the new Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. “Just like the hospital, this concept car project started as an idea and a desire to do something better for our community.

“What began as a grassroots idea, the volunteers and supporters of Wheels of Dreams have turned into a major international fundraiser opportunity that will ultimately benefit our foundation and the children of Saskatchewan who require the services and care of a hospital,” added Boback-Lane.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sketch to Design: The 1994 Ford Mustang

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The story of the fourth-generation Ford Mustang is really that of three separate cars – the 1979 Mustang, the 1989 Probe, and, ultimately, the 1994 Mustang. The three cars and programs spanning the better part of two decades encompass the seismic shifts in the automobile market during that tumultuous era.

The 1979 Mustang was born in an era when safety and fuel economy regulations were already the norm. After launching the 1974 Mustang II with only four- and six-cylinder engines, Ford heard the customer demands that Mustang always should have a sporty V8 option. However, they still wanted more interior room, handling refinement and progressive styling. The stodgy shapes of the ‘70s were getting tired, so this thoroughly modern “Fox” Mustang delivered on all fronts.

While the 1979 model had restored much of the spirit of the original 1965 model, its introduction was followed by a confluence of world politics that would begin changing consumer opinions about the segment. The sting of the 1973 OPEC oil embargo with shortages, outrageous gasoline prices, long lines and fuel rationing left a deep scar in the driving public’s mind. Those fears were revisited with the 1979 Iranian oil crisis.

President Carter made his infamous “Crisis of Confidence” speech that year, and fuel economy was again a primary concern of buyers. Frugal and even sporty front-wheel drive offerings from Japanese and German competition were grabbing ever more market share. The world was turning to front-wheel drive as a way to save money at the pump, Ford took notice.

By the mid-1980s, Mustang sales were flagging, and the decision was made to phase out the rear-wheel-drive Fox platform out and move to front-wheel drive. Work began on an all-new platform produced in partnership with Mazda. The plan called for this new car to be introduced as “Mustang” and sold alongside the Fox-platform car, which would be relabeled “Mustang Classic.”

As “Mustang” picked up in popularity, the “Classic” would be quietly put to bed. The entire development budget for Mustang shifted to this FWD program, and by early 1987 prototypes were testing around Dearborn. This huge shift in vehicle strategy began leaking out, and angry enthusiasts began a letter-writing campaign in protest. On April 13, 1987, Autoweek magazine published a cover story titled “The Next Mustang,” which laid out the plan in full.

As hundreds of thousands of letters poured in, the overwhelming public outcry against converting the Mustang to a front-wheel-drive platform led the company to make a rare strategy change. Too much money had been spent to abandon the program entirely. Instead, the new car adopted the name that had been used on a series of aerodynamic concepts, and the Probe was introduced in 1988 as a 1989 model.

The design refresh that was planned for Mustang at the same time went ahead, minus the “Classic” suffix on the badge. In many ways the strategy had not changed – the Probe and Mustang would sit in the same showroom and compete directly. Program management considered this the purest way to decide the future of the Mustang.

The Probe was expected to handily outsell the Mustang and validate the original strategy that created it and lead to end the rear-wheel-drive platform. There was just one small glitch in the grand plan: Mustang sales picked up and Probe sales faltered. The market had spoken, and a new Mustang was ordered in 1989 - with the internal project code of SN-95. Despite the Probe situation, two parallel redesign proposals were launched – another attempt at a front-drive car and a thoroughly contemporary rear-drive layout with traditional long-nose/short-rear-deck proportions.

There was very little money for the unexpected program, so engineers would have to be creative. The front-wheel-drive concept proceeded along interesting lines, using the CT-20 platform that underpinned the compact Escort of the time, an even smaller car than the Probe. Many of these concepts never made it past the drawing-board stages but a significant evolution in styling was evident over the months of design work. A variety of shapes were considered, including radical fastbacks, shooting brakes and two-seaters with combinations of retrospective and futuristic design elements.

Ultimately the only FWD clay model to be produced was a conservative, albeit handsome, car that would have been right at home next to the Probe in the showroom. High-level engineering talks were kicked off to examine the feasibility of packaging the forthcoming 4.6-liter V8, although no transaxle was available to handle the output. Ultimately, the decision was made that the market would simply not support a Mustang based on Ford’s entry-level compact car, no matter how extensive the redesign was. The writing was on the wall, and the CT-20-based effort ground to a halt by the end of 1990 while the RWD concept moved forward.

Mustang, however, remained in a precarious position. Failure would put the car's future in peril entirely, so successful execution was crucial. Because there was no budget for an all-new platform, the new car would ride on an updated version of an existing platform. A shorter wheelbase version of the still-fresh 1989 Thunderbird was considered because it featured a fully independent suspension, but it was deemed too expensive to hit the Mustang price target. Thus a significantly refined version of the existing Fox chassis - dubbed Fox-4 - was approved.

Approximately 80 percent of the platform was reworked and topped with a completely different skin. Program manager John Coletti wanted the car to have a more aggressive character. Rather than a vehicle for every demographic, it would move toward a more performance-oriented position. After eschewing most classic Mustang design cues on the third-generation model, design director Patrick Schiavone brought back some heritage elements like the side C-scallop, open grille with galloping pony emblem, tri-bar taillights and a dual-cockpit cabin.

Early styling proposals were unimpressive, pedestrian even, but eventually three different themes were commissioned. Each was assigned a famous name from mild to wild - Bruce Jenner, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rambo.

In the competition among the three themes, each featured the design cues that said Mustang, but stretched and tweaked in different ways. Jenner was an extremely conservative design – rounded edges, smooth curves and styling in line with what would become the “Ovoid” design language that would eventually debut on the DN101 Taurus in 1996.

Rambo was a highly aggressive design with deep front and rear fascia sculpting, a fastback shape, strong shoulder lines and sculpted fender wells. Schwarzenegger split the difference. The car wore its proportions well and featured a traditional but muscular coupe profile, good interior room and visibility, modern styling and a set of tri-bar tail lights stacked horizontally rather than the traditional vertical layout. This theme was selected as the basis for the 1994 Mustang.

By the time the new Mustang hit the streets in 1993, the Schwarzenegger theme did undergo some additional development. The lower front fascia was opened up for cooling and aesthetic purposes. The hood inlets were tamed down with inserts, and the wing mirrors and spoiler were refined for aerodynamic performance. Speaking of which, for a brief period an interesting roof spoiler was considered for the SVT Cobra coupe version of the car, but was dismissed due to cost issues.

The 1994 Mustang debuted to huge acclaim with Motor Trend naming it Car of the Year and sales figures proved more than satisfactory. The success of the SN-95 Mustang paved the way toward continued production for the Mustang, as well as eventual dominance in its segment. After a “New Edge” design refresh in 1999, SN-95 would return the brand to its previous position as a performance icon, with variants including the Bullitt, Mach 1, and SVT Cobra and the ultimate iteration in the track-bred Mustang Cobra R.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Focus ST Bringing New and Younger Buyers to Ford Brand

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  • In its first year of sales, Focus ST achieves highest competitive conquest rate of all non-hybrid vehicles
  • 32 percent of buyers under 35 years old, compared with 22 percent for Focus overall
  • Average household income for Focus ST is $127,000 annually, compared with $67,000 for non-ST Focus and $107,000 for Ford brand overall
  • Biggest ST markets are Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando
Focus ST is showing signs of success in bringing younger, more affluent customers into Ford showrooms as the car and the Ford ST performance brand mark one year in the market.

Through October, U.S. sales of the Focus ST since launch are just under 12,000 units, with demand strongest in Detroit, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando. Among those buyers, nearly two-thirds, or 65 percent, traded in a non-Ford vehicle to buy their car – the highest percentage of conquest sales for a non-hybrid vehicle among all Ford cars and trucks. The most traded-in brands: Honda, Chevrolet, Mazda and Toyota.

In addition, many Focus ST buyers are young, with 32 percent under 35, compared with 22 percent of non-ST Focus owners. And they have higher incomes, with an average annual salary of $127,000, compared with $67,000 for non-ST Focus customers.

The Focus ST is helping to boost sales of other Ford models, drawing customers to showrooms who then buy a different Ford model, most often a Fusion sedan or Escape utility, said John Felice, vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, citing anecdotal evidence from dealers.

“It’s having the kind of halo effect for other vehicles we’d hoped for when we invested in the ST brand,” said Felice. “We continue to build through word-of-mouth and terrific reviews. As an affordable high-performance vehicle that can serve double duty as a daily driver, it has no equal.”

Ford recently launched the Fiesta ST, the second vehicle in its ST lineup. With a 197-horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost® engine and EPA-estimated highway mileage rating of 35 mpg, Fiesta ST essentially has no direct competition in its price range.

Focus ST, Ford’s first global performance car, integrates advanced and sport-oriented technologies previously unavailable to North American customers. The combination of these technologies into a refined yet high-performance sport compact elevates the category and further cements Focus as the most complete compact car range sold in North America.

Part of the buying experience for both Focus ST and Fiesta ST owners is complimentary precision driving instruction at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah; the exclusive experience includes classroom instruction as well as karting and autocross driving lessons from Miller’s professional instructors.

Focus ST offers Recaro® sport seats, unique 18-inch Y-spoke ST wheels, dual-zone climate control, Xenon headlights and leather appointments throughout the cabin. Its superior chassis rigidity aids the suspension in providing a firm, but quiet and controlled ride. The instrument cluster features ST-unique sport gauges with red needle pointers to monitor turbo boost, oil pressure and oil temperature levels.

Advanced technology such as available SYNC® with MyFord Touch® are available for Focus ST, along with a Sony® Audio System, HD Radio and 10-speaker surround sound.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ford C-MAX Energi, Fusion Energi Overtake Toyota in Plug-In Hybrid Sales

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  • Ford C-MAX Energi and Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles deliver best sales month ever, outpacing sales of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle
  • Sales of Ford plug-in hybrid vehicles in October shatter previous record by 45 percent
  • Ford catapults from zero market share to 34 percent in 13 months in the plug-in hybrid vehicle market
Ford Motor Company took over the No. 1 spot in plug-in hybrid vehicle sales of the Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-MAX Energi in October, outpacing sales of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Ford sold 2,179 Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi vehicles last month, accounting for 34 percent of the total plug-in hybrid market. Toyota sold 2,095 units of its Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle.

It is Ford’s best month ever for plug-in hybrid sales, shattering the previous record of 1,508 vehicles sold in September, a 45 percent increase. Ford’s plug-in hybrid vehicles – Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi – hit this sales milestone just one year after introduction of C-MAX Energi and less than a year since launch of Fusion Energi.

Plug-in hybrid sales are beginning to gain traction in some key growth markets for Ford across the United States.

California continues to account for 38 percent of all Ford plug-in hybrid vehicle sales, but plug-ins are strengthening in the midwestern and eastern regions. New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia combine to make up 32 percent of the C-MAX Energi market. Those same cities make up 34 percent of the market for Fusion Energi. New York alone comes close to unseating San Francisco as the second most popular market for Fusion Energi.

Fusion Energi sales in October doubled in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. from the previous month.

Plug-in hybrid sales for the industry are up 32 percent year-to-date. The industry sold 39,083 vehicles through October, compared to 29,526 vehicles in 2012. October plug-in hybrid sales came within 40 units of setting an all-time monthly record for the segment.

Through September, aggregate data collected through MyFord® Mobile show Ford plug-in hybrids are being driven about 203,000 electric miles a day, enough to drive around the earth nearly eight times, or more than 8,400 electric-only miles an hour. These numbers are rapidly increasing as Ford continues investing in infrastructure while features exclusive to Ford plug-ins help improve driving habits.

Through MyFord Mobile and other features such as SmartGauge® with EcoGuide, data show how driving habits evolve and how electric-only miles rapidly accumulate. After six months of vehicle ownership, nearly 30 percent of all trips are taken gas-free, compared to about 20 percent at the beginning of ownership.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Ford Mustang and F-Series Named ‘Hottest Car and Truck’ of 2013 SEMA Show

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  • SEMA Award honors the most popular vehicles chosen by specialty equipment manufacturers as the best platforms for accessorizing and showcasing this year’s hottest cars and trucks
  • Ford Mustang officially recognized as “Hottest Car” at the 2013 SEMA show for the second consecutive year, while Ford F-Series recognized as “Hottest Truck” for fourth year in a row – a testament to the popularity of Mustang and F-Series with enthusiasts
  • More aftermarket accessories are available for Ford vehicles, including Mustang and F-Series, than for any other automaker
Ford Mustang and Ford F-Series are officially the “Hottest Car and Truck” at the 2013 Specialty Equipment Market Association show. The SEMA Award – presented today – recognizes the most popular vehicles SEMA members feature in their displays at the organization’s weeklong trade show in Las Vegas.

Before this year’s show opened, SEMA officials walked the floor of the giant aftermarket expo and counted the number of new 2013 and 2014 cars and trucks exhibited in booths. More Ford Mustangs and F-Series are on display than any other car or truck – testament to the popularity and appeal of Ford vehicles.

“Ford was the first automaker to share detailed vehicle specs with SEMA members,” said John Felice, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service. “Thirty years later, we’re proud that more aftermarket accessories and parts are created for Ford vehicles than for any other automaker.”

The specialty parts market has grown to a $31 billion industry, which translates into more than 1 million U.S. jobs, according to SEMA.

Ford at SEMA highlights

Ford’s 27,000-square-foot indoor exhibit is home to 57 customized vehicles, including “Vandemonium” – 10 Ford Transit Connect Wagons and cargo vans treated as blank canvas by aftermarket tuners to illustrate the vehicle’s use beyond family or commercial transportation. Aftermarket modifications include eye-catching paint and new fascia, but the customization goes much deeper. The builders incorporated a functionality into the vehicles that captures the spirit of Transit Connect, including creating a mobile boutique, a working bike shop and a portable two-person gaming lounge.

Ford’s exhibit also includes Snakebit, a custom 1956 F-100 pickup, presented by KISS bassist Gene Simmons and his wife Shannon Tweed. Snakebit features Ford’s supercharged 5.4-liter V8 engine and styling cues that pay homage to classic Shelby Mustangs. The truck will be auctioned off next year for charity.

Ford offers race fans at SEMA the opportunity to be among the first to play Xbox One’s “Forza Motorsport 5,” which goes on sale Nov. 22. Enthusiasts can take the new 2014 Ford Fiesta ST for a virtual spin at the exclusive Xbox One demo stations on the show floor, including the custom-designed Fiesta ST MRT Xbox show car.

At the 110,000-square-foot “Ford Out Front” display outside Las Vegas Convention Center, attendees will see how Ford takes customers further on the road, off the road and at the track. Media will have the chance to ride in RallyCross Fiestas driven by Ken Block and Tanner Foust. Fans can also get in on the action, with ride sessions offered for the Fiesta ST and F-150 SVT Raptor used at Ford-sponsored racing schools.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ford Motor Company Launches New Warranty for Ford Genuine and Motorcraft Parts

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  • New warranty provides unlimited mileage coverage for 24 months from time of purchase or installation
  • Parts and labor continue to be covered with any repair completed at any Ford or Lincoln dealership
  • New from Ford is up to $150 in labor coverage for fleets and installers completing repairs with Ford and Motorcraft parts in their repair facilities
  • Ford provides vehicle owners with towing reimbursement for repairs completed at any Ford or Lincoln dealership
Ford Motor Company announced today the launch of a new warranty on Ford Genuine and Motorcraft service parts for unlimited mileage for 24 months from time of purchase or installation.

The Ford backing, clarity of terms, labor coverage and access to Ford’s nationwide network for coverage provides greater value and peace of mind for all customers whether they are general consumers, fleet operators or independent repair facilities.

“Ford is dedicated to constant improvement in all we do. Ford Genuine and Motorcraft replacement parts are approved by Ford engineering,” said Frederiek Toney, vice president, Ford Motor Company and president, Ford Customer Service. “In the unlikely event a part fails, our new warranty demonstrates our commitment to quality, our customers and our intent to provide greater peace of mind and an improved ownership experience.”

Ford also will now reimburse fleets and independent repair facilities up to $150 in labor coverage. Ford continues a No Commercial Exceptions policy as a commitment to fleet customers.
In addition, Ford’s part warranty provides customers towing reimbursement for repairs completed at any Ford or Lincoln Dealership.

How it works

If a service part purchased under the new warranty happens to fail and the repair is completed at a Ford or Lincoln dealership, the entire repair cost, labor and towing will be covered. If the repair was completed at an independent installer or fleet facility, Ford would reimburse up to $150 in labor (the towing would not be covered).

In the case of an individual do-it-yourself customer who chooses to install a part themselves, the warranty covers the cost of a replacement part for 24 months and unlimited miles. The DIY’er labor time is not reimbursable. Labor expense is only reimbursable on repairs completed in a fleet or installer facility.

Ford’s previous service parts warranty was 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever occurred first, and labor was covered if the part was installed by a Ford or Lincoln dealership. Labor was not covered on parts sold over-the-counter to a fleet or installer.