Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ford At Detroit Auto Show

2011 Ford Mustang GT with 5.0-liter V-8

Thirteen months ago at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, Ford introduced their almost all-new 2010 Mustang. Back then, the new 'Stang was a redesigned car that oozed visual chrismal with a brooding face and slick sequential rear turn signals. At the time, Ford didn't have the development dollars necessary to revamp the Mustang's engine line-up along with the car's new exterior and interior.Challengers, eh?

2012 Ford Focus

With all the attention Ford has already generated with their all-new, sub-compact 2011 Ford Fiesta, the bigger small-car news coming from Detroit will be the world-debut of the 2012 Ford Focus.

The all-new Focus is an incredibly important new car for Ford Motor Company. It's reported to be a true world car, with major componentry shared with European Focus models. The Focus is one-size larger than the Fiesta and further bolsters Ford's line of cars that is already outselling their trucks by a factor of 3:2.

For cues on what the new Focus might look like, it's based on the C-Max, already introduced in Europe.

There will be more from Ford at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. The Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossover twins are also due for some freshening, and based on our sources at Ford, the MKX will show in Detroit.

Curiously, we've heard nothing about any new Mercury concepts or models for 13 months, so FoMoCo may surprise us with one. Or maybe the news will be of Mercury's demise now that the Lincoln brand is getting stronger.


2010 Ford Transit Connect

2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid

* Ford swept the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards today at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), winning both prestigious awards for the
2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the 2010 Ford Transit Connect, respectively
* It is the third time in 17 years that one manufacturer has won both awards
* The Ford Fusion Hybrid is America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan with an EPA-estimated 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, topping the Toyota Camry hybrid by 8 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway
* The Transit Connect is an industry-exclusive vehicle developed to be a smart new choice for small business owners; it offers double the fuel economy of full-size vans, generous and accessible cargo space, and the agility and maneuverability to operate in crowded urban areas

DETROIT, Jan. 11, 2010 – Ford Motor Company scored a historic doubleheader today, capturing both the North American Car of the Year and North American Truck of the Year awards for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2010 Ford Transit Connect, respectively, at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). It is only the third time in 17 years that one manufacturer has won both titles.

"Winning both of these prestigious awards is confirmation that the ONE Ford plan is working, delivering industry-leading products for our customers," said Mark Fields, president of
The Americas.

The North American Car and Truck of the Year awards recognize vehicles based on factors including innovation, design, safety, handling, driver satisfaction and value for the dollar. A jury of 49 automotive journalists in the United States and Canada vote for the vehicles, which must be "all-new" or "substantially changed" from the previous model to qualify for the award.

The Fusion Hybrid edged out finalists including the Buick LaCrosse and Volkswagen Golf/GTI to win the North American Car of the Year award. It is the fourth hybrid vehicle in 17 years to win recognition as North American Car (or Truck) of the Year. It also is the second hybrid win for Ford – the most hybrid wins for any automaker. The Ford Escape Hybrid was named North American Truck of the Year in 2005.

The Transit Connect bested finalists including the Chevrolet Equinox and Subaru Outback to win the North American Truck of the Year award. It is the sixth Ford truck to win the award – the most wins of any automaker in the 17-year history of the awards program. It also is the second year in a row that Ford has captured the title. Last year, top honors went to the 2009 Ford F-150.

Fusion Hybrid a winner out of the gate
The North American Car of the Year award is the latest in an impressive string of awards and accolades for the Fusion Hybrid. Most recently, the vehicle was honored as CAR and DRIVER Magazine's "10Best" Cars for 2010, one of AUTOMOBILE Magazine's 2010 All-Stars, and the entire Fusion lineup captured the acclaimed MOTOR TREND Car of the Year® award.

The all-new Fusion Hybrid arrived in dealers in March, complete with a powertrain system that combines the best attributes of the gasoline engine and electric battery-driven motors to deliver the optimal experience for the customer in terms of driving performance and fuel economy.
The Fusion Hybrid also offers drivers a way to be more connected to the hybrid driving experience thanks to Ford's SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide, a unique instrument cluster execution that helps coach them on how to optimize the performance of their hybrid.

Other class-exclusive technologies and features that set the Fusion Hybrid apart from the competition include Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®), Ford SYNC®, SIRIUS Travel Link™ and more total passenger and luggage capacity than the Toyota Camry.

Despite the slump in overall industry sales, 2009 was a record-breaking year for the Ford Fusion. Sales are at an all-time high, with the Fusion Hybrid accounting for almost 20 percent of total Fusion retail sales. Perhaps even more significant, more than 60 percent of Fusion Hybrid sales have been to customers coming from import brands – mostly Toyota and Honda.

Awards and accolades for the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid include:

* MOTOR TREND Car of the Year Award
* One of CAR and DRIVER Magazine's "10Best" Cars for 2010
* One of AUTOMOBILE Magazine's 2010 All-Stars
* 2009 "Top Safety Pick" rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
* 2009 Ward's Interior of the Year Special Achievement Award for Best Graphic Display for SmartGauge with EcoGuide digital instrument cluster
* Great Car for the Long-haul Salesman by Kelley Blue Book kbb.com
* One of America's Top 40 New Cars by MOTOR TREND magazine
* Rated the No. 1 Hybrid Family Sedan by CAR and DRIVER in a recent comparison test by the magazine
* 2009 and 2010 Editors Choice for Fuel Sipper by CAR and DRIVER Magazine
* Best Hybrid for the Money in the Midsize Car segment by cars.com
* One of 2009 Top 10 Green Cars by Kelley Blue Book kbb.com
* The Detroit News Readers' Choice Award for "Best Value"
* 2010 Consumers Digest Best Buy
* Detroit Free Press 2010 Car of the Year
* 2010 Most Environmentally Progressive Car of the Year by Earth, Wind & Power
* 10 Best Engine by Ward's Auto World

The 2010 Fusion Hybrid is built at Ford's Hermosillo (Mexico) Stamping and Assembly Plant.

Transit Connect fills unmet needs of small businesses and fleets
The Transit Connect was brought to the U.S. to fulfill the unmet needs of small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering them a new vehicle choice with significantly improved fuel economy, generous and accessible cargo space, and the agility and maneuverability to operate in crowded urban areas.

Powered by a 2.0-liter I-4 engine with a four-speed automatic overdrive transmission, the
Transit Connect offers double the fuel economy of full-size vans, delivering an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city and 25 mpg highway.

The Transit Connect also has more than double the cargo-carrying capacity of the Chevrolet HHR Panel, making it suitable for a broader range of commercial-use applications. And it offers commercial users a cargo payload of up to 1,600 pounds – a larger payload than the full-size Dodge Ram 1500 standard-cab short-box pickup truck.

The Transit Connect also is available with the industry-exclusive Ford Work Solutions™, a suite of affordable technologies that provides customers with connectivity, flexibility, visibility and security to better run key aspects of their business.

On Transit Connect, Ford Work Solutions delivers three innovative features:

* A wireless in-dash computer that provides full high-speed Internet access, Bluetooth-enabled hands-free calling and navigation. The system also allows customers to print invoices, check inventories and access documents stored on their home or office computer networks right on the job site.
* Tool Link™, a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) asset tracking system that enables customers to maintain detailed real-time inventory of the tools or equipment.
* Crew Chief™, a fleet tracking, telematics and diagnostics system that provides dynamic location and performance data fleet owners need to more efficiently manage their vehicles, quickly dispatch workers to job sites, monitor driver performance for safety and economy, and keep detailed vehicle maintenance records.

Awards and accolades for the 2010 Ford Transit Connect include:

* 2010 Editors Choice for Vans by CAR and DRIVER Magazine
* Detroit Free Press 2010 Truck of the Year
* The Detroit News 2010 Truck of the Year
* 2010 Popular Mechanics Automotive Excellence Award for Best Workhorse Vehicle
* A Great Car for the Small Business Delivery/Utility Worker by Kelley Blue Book kbb.com

The 2010 Ford Transit Connect is built at the Ford Otosan Kocaeli Plant in Kocaeli, Turkey.

2011 Chevrolet Cruze vs. 2012 Ford Focus

Americans vs. Small CarsTiming is everything. Americans have had plenty of chances to turn to small, fuel-efficient cars. Unfortunately, every time they did, they hated what they found.

Who remembers the first Arab Oil Embargo of 1973? Fuel shortages and fist fights at gas stations scared U.S. drivers into considering small cars like the Chevrolet Chevette, Honda Civic, Dodge Colt, Toyota Corolla, Ford Pinto, and Plymouth Cricket. While easier on gas, to a vehicle these cars were cramped, homely, slow, noisy, and cheap. Economy cars from the 1970s were miserable exercises in transportation.

It's no wonder that when fuel got cheap again, American drivers returned to their standard V-8 powered cars and trucks. For the money, the bigger traditional American vehicles made more sense.

Until now.

After generations of neglect, General Motors and Ford Motor Company have finally gotten their collective engineering and manufacturing acts together to offer American drivers small cars worth owning.

Meet The New Chevy Cruze and Ford FocusChevrolet introduced the 2011 Cruze at December's Los Angeles Auto Show. The 2012 Ford Focus made its worldwide debut today (January 11) at the North American International Auto Show held in Detroit.

Together, these cars offer American drivers small cars they can live with. While much differentiates the Chevy from the Ford, one word aptly applies to both: substantial. These are not cheap looking, feeling, or driving cars. Each has a solid presence born from the minds of eager designers and clever engineers who knew they were working on cars that will help make or break their makers.

While AOL Autos has not driven either car, it's clear that the new Cruze and Focus are ready to do battle in America's showrooms. The Chevrolet goes on sale in the U.S. late this year, with the Focus following early in 2011.

Based on what you see on the following pages, which do you want to drive most?

2011 Chevrolet Cruze

Chevrolet learned a few things when they launched their new Malibu as a 2008 model. Perhaps the most important was that people like cars that look more expensive than they are. The Malibu has been a hit for Chevy. Like the Malibu, the Cruze looks handsome, rich, and bigger your mind thinks a small car should.

The Cruze is already a hit outside the U.S. It's been on sale in Asia for more than a year, and European production started in 2009. U.S. production begins in Lordstown, Ohio later this year. There will be three different trim levels; LS, LT and LTZ. We like the look of the 18-inch aluminum wheels fitted to the LTZ best.

Dimensionally, the Cruze is larger than the outgoing Chevy Cobalt and most of the other cars it will compete against. Main adversaries -- in addition to the new Ford Focus -- include the Toyota Corolla (new in 2009) and the Honda Civic (will be all-new for 2011).

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Interior

Acres of hard, poorly-fitting plastic used to define economy car interiors. Not so anymore.

Looking inside the new Cruze, it's roomy cabin is fully modern. Aluminum finished accents and bold use of color stand grab your attention. The interior's sweeping cockpit design uses high-quality soft-touch plastics and fabrics. Everything fits as it should with clean, even panel gaps.

Ten standard airbags provide impressive occupant protection.

In addition to ample room up front, those in the rear seats enjoy over 36 inches of legroom and 54 inches of shoulder room. This is 5 inches more than the outgoing Cobalt sedan, and used to be a competitive measurement for a mid-size sedan.

The Cruze's Vehicle Line Director, Chuck Russell said, "The key to a high-quality car that works for different worldwide markets is having bandwidth in the car's structure to meet driver demands and crash regulations everywhere we'll sell it."

What Russell means is that the 2011 Cruze was engineered from the beginning for the entire world with no compromises. The Cruze's chassis was designed to handle the speeds of the German Autobahn, and its strength allows for super tight exterior panel gaps of just 3 mm because the structure is so strong.

American-market engines include two fuel-efficient four-cylinder options, a 1.8-liter with 136 horsepower and a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 138 horsepower. Automatic and manual six-speed transmission are available with both engines. Chevrolet promises at least one of these powertrains will deliver 40 miles per gallon highway mileage.

Dynamic safety features like electronic stability control, ABS and traction control are all standard as per new federal safety standards.

2012 Ford Focus

More aggressively styled than the Chevrolet Cruze, the all-new Focus is based on Ford's globally-developed C-Car platform. (Cars of this size are generally talked about as C-Segment vehicles by industry insiders). Ford will begin building two different body styles of the new Focus at a plant in Wayne, Michigan that used to build full-size, gas-swilling SUVs.

After receiving rave reviews for several concept cars including the Iosis (shown at the Frankfurt, Germany motor show in 2005), Ford developed an exterior style they're calling "kinetic design form." Their goal was to make the car look as if it's moving, even when parked. The 2011 Ford Fiesta is the first Ford to bring kinetic design to the U.S.

The Focus's exterior design is sporty, especially as applied to the five-door hatchback. But the sedan is certainly not staid and stuffy.

The Cruze and Focus are nearly identical in length and height. The Focus is an inch wider, but the body rides on a 104.2-inch wheelbase compared to the Cruze's 105.7-inch spacing.

2012 Ford Focus Interior

The new Focus gets a sporty, sculpted new interior. There will be several trim levels, including the range-topping Titanium edition (shown) that is already popular on several of Ford's European models.

At first glance, you might not notice the groundbreaking technology. As on the current Focus, Ford's Sync technology (developed with Microsoft) is optional.

The 2012 Focus offers Sync along with the all-new MyFord Touch system that provides special steering wheel controls and a multiple LCD screens designed into the car's interior.

“This isn’t a new dashboard or a new instrument cluster or an interior redesign,” said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. “MyFord rethinks how information is presented to drivers and how drivers are able to personalize the way they relate to the information or entertainment the car makes available to them. It puts tremendous power at the hands of Focus owners.”

Like many manufacturers, Ford is using advanced engine technologies such as direct fuel injection to simultaneously improve horsepower and fuel economy. The new Focus will be powered by a 2.0-liter four cylinder that produces 155 horsepower, 15 more than the current Focus.

A six-speed manual transmission is standard. The only automatic is a six-speed Ford calls the PowerShift. The transmission is technically a dual-clutch design similar to those used on sports cars from Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, Lamborghini. The PowerShift provides the easy operation that comes with traditional automatics (there is no clutch pedal) with the efficiency and responsiveness associated with a manual. Ford claims a 9-percent increase in fuel economy just from the PowerShift technology.

Highway mileage for the new Focus will exceed the current models 35 mpg by a significant margin.

We expect that Ford will continue to deliver cars that are exciting to drive, and we'll bring you a drive report as soon as we get behind the wheel.

Like when the New York Yankees play the Mets, the Cruze vs. Focus makes for a great cross-town rivalry … especially when the battle happens in Detroit.

The bigger story is that both cars will compete against other C-Segment competitors. The Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic are perennial members of the 10-most popular cars in America. Vehicles like the Subaru Impreza, Mazda3, Hyundai Elantra, and Suzuki SX4each offer product advantages that the newest Chevy and Ford must overcome.

Time to see whether they can do it.

Source: AOL Autos