Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ford's New Small-Vehicle Platform Is Turning Heads

Start with the ingredients needed to build an exceptional new small car: smart design, high-quality underbody and powertrain, and streamlined production.

The result is the revolutionary 2012 Focus. Now transform the recipe. Take that smallcar platform and design a sleek, versatile and compact SUV; then create a clever multi activity vehicle that has anticipated a family’s needs. Keep innovating. That is how Ford uses a forward-thinking formula to build 10 unique world-class small vehicles from a single platform. Meet the dynamic C-segment lineup.

How does the C-segment platform make Ford an even better car company? Building many cars off one platform provides Ford with economies of scale that, in turn, allow the company to offer vehicles with some of the most sophisticated features in the world at affordable prices. Any one of the Ford C-platform models could redefine the world’s expectations of a small car, delivering an unprecedented level of technology, features, craftsmanship, ride quality and quietness. “The new C-sized family from Ford will be the strongest demonstration yet of how we’re harnessing the company’s global resources to deliver real customer benefits,” says Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development for Ford. “The scale we’re generating makes it possible to deliver all that.”

Lest you think a single platform means limited style, take a look at the range of silhouettes. Every C-platform vehicle employs kinetic design language, which makes them look like they’re in motion even while they’re standing still. They’re unique unto themselves, yet they all reflect Ford Motor Company President and CEO Alan Mulally’s “ONE Ford” strategy, in which the fleet is similarly excellent—and distinctly recognizable—the world over. The C-platform exemplifies the commitment Ford has to giving you exceptional value in today’s changing automobile market.

That’s vital because, as Kuzak points out, “people downsize cars, not expectations. They want the amenities they’re used to in larger vehicles. They want a small car that is fully appointed with the right materials, craftsmanship and quality.” Without a doubt, they’re going to want a C-car.

If you boil down the many benefits of an all-electric vehicle to one simple fact, it may just be this: no more trips to the fuel pump. An all-electric version of the flagship Focus is due late this year, and it should come as no surprise that the first fuel-free rechargeable passenger car from Ford has been done right. The 2012 Focus Electric will have a better miles per- gallon equivalent than the Chevrolet Volt* and will have about half the charging time of the current Nissan Leaf using 240-volt charging. “Its advanced powertrain will deliver zero emissions without compromising driving enjoyment,” Kuzak says. “And its suite of smart driver information technologies will transform the way customers think about energy usage and their transportation needs.”

Indeed, you’ll love that the Focus Electric’s connectedness goes well beyond the wall plug. It comes with a unique execution of SYNC® with MyFord Touch™ driver connect technology; electric-vehicle-specific features will allow you to keep tabs on battery charge, distance to your charging point, expected range surplus and other helpful data that make it easy to live with an electric vehicle. The driver interface allows you to change settings to optimize your range, and at the end of each trip it displays cool info such as how many miles were gained through regenerative braking, how much energy was consumed and the amount of money you saved compared with a gasoline vehicle. You can even monitor vehicle settings and charging remotely from your smartphone. And when it comes time to plug in, a Value Charging technology powered by Microsoft®** tells you when to charge to get the cheapest utility rates. Also, if some distant cousin shows up with an electric vehicle made by another company, you’ll be able to graciously let him or her charge up in your garage because of the fact that Ford had a leadership role in creating the industry standards for electric-vehicle plugs.

On the open road, the Focus Electric shares many of the dynamic driving characteristics of the zippy, gas-powered edition, including the European-engineered steering, handling and braking. The difference, of course, is the all-electric powertrain and single-speed transmission, which give you off-the-line responsiveness with the speed of switching on a light. And the engine smoothly accelerates to a projected top speed of 84 mph.

It’s time for a fresh take on the compact family vehicle. Introducing the C-MAX, an all-new, unique multiactivity vehicle that features twin sliding rear doors and flexible 5+2 seating— so everybody in your brood can easily fit comfortably for any occasion. This vehicle embodies an entirely new realm of performance, convenience and versatility. Take, for instance, the optional hands-free liftgate. So long as you have your Intelligent Access key fob in your pocket or bag, you don’t have to dig for it while balancing armloads of groceries and a wriggling dog on a leash. Just wave your foot under the rear bumper and the liftgate opens on its own. You can even set how high you want it to rise.

That is only the beginning of what the C-MAX has to offer. Another hallmark of the car’s versatility is the flexible 5+2 seating configuration, which features an ingenious mechanism that allows the middle seat in the second row to fold down and flip beneath the right-hand seat, instantly creating walk-through access to the third row. Everyone sits up high in the C-MAX—the better to enjoy the view through the optional fixed panoramic roof—and the driver enjoys a veritable command center, with optional push-button start, an elevated gearshift and easy access to the car’s plethora of other technology. Tune in to optional HD Radio®, monitor the optional rearview camera, or, with optional SYNC with MyFord Touch, call someone on your phone’s contact list, have text messages read to you, check the weather or traffic, get directions or control the cabin temperature—all using simple voice commands. That keeps your hands on the wheel and your focus on the road.

Step on the gas, and you’ll be impressed with the punch you get from the optional allaluminum 1.6-liter EcoBoost™ I-4 engine, as well as how little fuel it uses, thanks to the car's combination of direct-injection turbocharging and twin independent variable camshaft timing. The multi-link rear suspension and new torque-vectoring control allow you to take sharp corners with confidence, and the car's safety features go so far as to monitor tire pressure and notify you of any inconsistencies. And when you arrive at your destination, the optional Active Park Assist will guide the vehicle smoothly into the best-suited parallel parking space, to the cheers of everyone onboard. Even more good news: The C-MAX will also be available in a shorter, five-passenger hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid model.

Source: Ford

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