Ford Focus sales expected to double in February, pushing through the 20,000 vehicle mark
February on track to be best sales month in more than a decade
Share of high-end SEL and Titanium Focus models up to 26 percent
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 27, 2012 – Ford Focus sales are on pace to double in February, giving the stylish compact hatchback and sedan its best sales performance in more than a decade.
“Fuel prices have been on the rise again, with customers once again moving to smaller vehicles,” said Erich Merkle, Ford sales analyst reporting manager. “We have a 40-mpg, fun-to-drive, well-equipped compact with more power than our competitors. The word is getting out on how efficient the new Focus really is.”
February 2001 saw Focus sales pass through the 20,000 vehicle mark; overall car and truck sales that year numbered 17.2 million vehicles, making February 2012 Focus sales even more striking. Ford’s current sales guidance numbers for the overall market this year are estimated at 13.5 million to 14.5 million vehicles for total sales as a comparison. February 2011 Focus sales totaled 10,879.
“We now have strong inventory going into a higher gas price environment, allowing us to fully participate in this shift,” said Merkle. “Also, we’ve responded to customer demand for a five-speed manual transmission on the highest Titanium trim level.”
Customer demand for the Focus Titanium with five-speed manual transmission pushed Ford to offer that trim package and transmission as a new combination. Interestingly, demand for the manual transmission this year is running much higher than Ford’s expectations (4.5 percent expected vs. 6.7 percent actual). As more Titanium five-speeds enter dealer inventories, Ford expects demand for manuals to increase to nearly 10 percent of total Focus sales.
Since going on sale in March 2011 as a 2012 model, the new Ford Focus has been awarded several prestigious industry and consumer awards, including being named to Car and Driver’s 10 Best list,Automobile Magazine’sAll Stars and most recently Connected World magazine’s Connected Car of the Year 2012.
The city of Chicago will buy 500 Ford Police Interceptor sedans and utility vehicles, the largest commitment to date for the all-new vehicle
Production of Police Interceptors added 230 jobs at the Torrence Avenue plant; additional manufacturing and support jobs are expected
Ford’s all-new, purpose-built Police Interceptor began rolling off the line at Chicago Assembly in January, building on 15 years of leadership in law enforcement vehicles
Ford’s Police Interceptor vehicles can save law enforcement agencies across the country millions of dollars a year in fuel costs
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 24, 2012 – Ford is off to a strong start as the next-generation vehicle of choice by law enforcement agencies across the country.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today the city will buy 500 Police Interceptor sedans and utility vehicles, the largest commitment to date for the all-new vehicles.
“We are pleased and proud Chicago has decided to purchase Ford’s Police Interceptor vehicles,” said Ken Czubay, vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service. “Ford has been the police pursuit vehicle market leader for 15 years, and we know these all-new vehicles can handle the rigors of police work.”
The Police Interceptor sedan and utility vehicles started production at the company’s Chicago Assembly Plant last month, adding 230 jobs at the Torrence Avenue plant with additional manufacturing and support jobs expected in the future.
Ford specially designed and engineered an all-new Police Interceptor sedan and utility to handle the rigors of police work, working hand-in-hand with its Police Advisory Board of law enforcement professionals.
Big cost savings
Ford’s all-new Police Interceptor vehicles can save law enforcement agencies across the country millions of dollars a year in fuel costs. For example, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – the largest in the world – operates a fleet of 6,200 vehicles that patrol an area the size of Connecticut. In 2010, those vehicles drove more than 27 million miles. A fleet-wide 20 percent fuel economy gain would stand to save the department at least $20 million a year with fuel prices hovering near $4 a gallon.
Increased power, enhanced sophistication
Ford’s Police Interceptor engine strategy provides a V6 lineup that performs equal to or better than V8 engines. The lineup comes with two powertrain options, allowing police to choose the powerhouse that best meets their patrol requirements.
A highly efficient 3.5-liter V6 engine delivering at least 263 horsepower and E85 compatibility is 25 percent more efficient than the outgoing 4.6-liter single-overhead-cam V8 it is replacing.
In addition, the all-new 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 twin-turbocharged, direct-injection engine will deliver at least 365 horsepower and 350 lb.-ft. of torque across a broad rpm range. EcoBoost brings the first ultra-high-performance yet environmentally friendly police pursuit vehicle. The engine offers performance that bests normally aspirated V8-powered police cruisers, and comparable fuel economy and CO2 emissions to the standard V6.
Rigorously tested, police-tuned Throughout its development, Ford’s new Police Interceptor has been put through the paces, undergoing a battery of torture tests to ensure its individual components can hold up to the rigorous driving styles of police professionals.
Certification testing designed by the Michigan State Police and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department evaluates the durability and capability of the vehicle through a variety of tests where its systems are pushed to the limits for nearly an hour and a half – far exceeding the demands most patrol cars ever experience.
To meet the rigors of the durability testing, the brakes have been increased in size and performance. The cooling package is purpose-built as well, featuring a heavy-duty alternator and larger radiator. Its honeycomb grille is designed to work in harmony with the interior components, offering more airflow throughout. Plus, the standard 18-inch steel wheels are vented, designed to work in concert with the enhanced brake system.
Functional, inside and out Front seats have been specially designed, with a lower bolster removed to better accommodate officers’ utility belts. Inserted into the seatback are anti-stab plates, designed to protect front-seat occupants.
The Police Interceptor second row also has been optimized to address police-specific needs. The vinyl seats are specially sculpted and set back to improve second-row space and maximize legroom. The back door hinges are modified to open up another 10 degrees versus traditional rear doors.
The Ford Police Interceptor also is equipped with a column shift specially designed so the console area is free for the ever-increasing amounts of aftermarket police equipment necessary for officers to do their jobs. The new vehicle also features:
BLIS® (Blind Spot Information System): The system uses two radar sensors in the rear quarter panels to detect vehicles in surrounding lanes. If a vehicle enters the driver’s blind-spot zones, the system alerts the driver with a warning light in the sideview mirror
Cross-traffic alert: This system uses the existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic when slowly backing out of a parking spot. This industry-exclusive system functions only while the vehicle is in reverse and warns when cross-traffic appears within three car-widths
Rear view camera: When the vehicle is in rear camera mode, a color image with guidance markers on the rearview mirror will assist the driver in backing up
Reverse Sensing System: An audible tone will alert the driver to certain objects up to 6 feet behind the vehicle
Standard AdvanceTrac® ESC (electronic stability control): This helps maintain the intended path by measuring side-to-side yaw, or skidding, by the vehicle’s speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When wheel slip is sensed, AdvanceTrac reduces engine torque and applies selected brakes
Ford SYNC®: The Ford-exclusive, hands-free information system has the potential to be customized and remapped to work specifically with police aftermarket equipment such as lights and sirens, allowing officers to focus on the task at hand
In advance of being shown nationally during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, Ford will offer a sneak peek of the “Mustang Inner TV” ad tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST via a Google Hangout and later on YouTube and the Mustang Facebook page
The 2013 Ford Mustang ad shows how customers unleash their “inner Mustang” by depicting changing Mustang styles to suit the tastes of a wide range of consumers
The new ad builds on the success of the Mustang Customizer (http://ford.com/mustang/customizer), which has generated more than 4 million digital Mustangs built since launching in the fall
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 23, 2012 – In advance of being shown nationally during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26, Ford will offer a sneak peek of the “Mustang Inner TV” ad tomorrow at 11 a.m. EST via a Google Hangout and later via YouTube and on the Mustang Facebook page.
Ford’s Google Hangout can be watched at the company’s Google Plus page:
Conventional advertising is usually about the product and not the customer. Companies seek opportunities to sell their item, touting its benefits, performance and how it will improve lives.
“We know that Mustang owners are incredibly passionate about their car,” said Matt VanDyke, director of U.S. Marketing Communications. “Rather than just show features and benefits, our new ad demonstrates how people see the product as an extension of who they are. We believe that everyone has an inner Mustang just waiting to be unleashed.”
“This ad was created to work in tandem with the success of our Mustang Customizer and downloadable app, which allows anyone to create their very own Mustang, selecting colors, accessories and decals to complement the amazing design,” said Lee Jelenic, Ford Car Marketing Communications manager. “Mustang owners are unique, independent, and like their cars to reflect their personalities. The Customizer site and this spot pay homage to that.”
Since the fall, the website and application have been incredibly popular, generating more than 4 million digital Mustangs built and a 62 percent increase in the size of the Mustang Facebook community, from 1.6 million to 2.6 million fans. The app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times. Twenty-five percent of Mustang digital customizations occurred via the mobile application.
“These results confirm the potential we saw in developing a social platform that lets Mustang owners have fun with the brand, interact and share,” said Scott Kelly, Ford Digital Marketing manager.
Mustang Customizer allows users to:
Build the Mustang V6, GT, Boss 302 or GT500 of their dreams by choosing from custom colors, trims, wheels and decals. The site offers a printable parts list that can be taken to a dealer
Battle their Mustang against others on the Customizer Battle page
Share their results with their friends via Facebook
Researchers developing interior lighting in the new Ford Fusion took into consideration the critical role lighting plays in relaying information to the driver
Lighting works with design to create a balance of illumination that reduces eye strain and optimizes driver-vehicle interaction
Lights on or off, the interior also provides expanded functionality and driver comfort, in a sporty, sexy layout
DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 23, 2012 – With the right lighting, everything else falls into place.
The interior lighting in the all-new Ford Fusion proves that out; it moves beyond simple functionality. Ford researchers realize that a person’s attention span is limited, and lighting can play a key role in providing a driver with critical and noncritical driving-related information without diverting attention.
Lighting in a vehicle is about space and dimension, said Mahendra Dassanayake, Ford technical leader for Design, but there’s more to it.
“Lighting gives you a sense of orientation,” said Dassanayake. “It’s a unique combination of functionality and comfort. Lights, graphics and displays are critical to drivers; we need to make sure that information is presented to the customer in an effective way.”
Developing the ice blue color available in the ambient, or accent, lighting palette was critical, since it is a shade that can help keep drivers and passengers more alert. This makes it easier for a driver to absorb all the other messages coming from inside the vehicle.
The same balance has been used to make sure that the ambient colors available in the Ford Fusion enhance the driving experience. Ford researchers have tested how the lighting affects the vehicle’s interior from the driver’s perspective, checking the textures and materials under a multitude of lighting conditions to make sure that glare and reflection are limited on smooth surfaces and that eye strain would be minimized.
Starting with science
It all starts with how the brain recognizes light.
“The brain does not see color,” Dassanayake said. “What we call color of light is actually a form of electromagnetic energy with different wavelengths.
“Light is like a pond, with ripples as the wavelengths. These ripples form and reflect and interact with each other, just like a ray hits a surface and sends a signal and then another sends a signal, and the sensation between the two is what people perceive as blue or red or green.”
Certain levels or combinations of light trigger enzymes in the brain. Those enzymes cause emotional responses within the body – states we recognize as stress or calmness or happiness.
“The emotions are created based on the secretions of these enzymes that are associated with certain light wavelengths,” Dassanayake said. “There are certain triggers.”
So it’s not your imagination – color can affect how you feel. In fact, it affects everything from your buying choices to your blood pressure. For example:
There are shades of yellow that stimulate parts of the brain, bringing clear-headed, decisive action
Green, on the other hand, affects the nervous system, causing us to breathe slowly and deeply, helping the heart to relax by slowing the production of stress hormones
Red – arguably the most attention-getting of colors – likely will evoke the strongest emotions, be that passion or anger
On the Ford Fusion, the palette is ice blue, purple, blue, orange, red, white and green. The palette allows the customer to set and change each color, depending on wants and needs.
With a seven-color palette, customers have several options. “We’re opening this up to let the customer decide,” Dassanayake said. “It’s offering them a choice.”
An interior to remember
But there's more to it: If the stylish silhouette of the Ford Fusion got heads turning in January on the floor of the North American International Auto Show, now it’s time to get to know what’s beyond the surface.
“Buying a car is very similar to dating,” said Interior Chief Designer Michael Arbaugh. “You saw the exterior of the new Fusion, and were drawn to it. Now when you see the interior, you realize it’s more than just looks – you want to be in a long-term relationship.”
The interior is airy and open, with a higher center console that’s been achieved by moving the instrument panel back toward the windshield. The console is complemented by comfortable, thinner seats that support the driver-centric theme, resulting in a cockpit-like layout that’s sporty and sexy while still completely functional.
“We kept the interior focused on the driver,” said Arbaugh. “We knew that our customers would be captivated by the driving experience, and we wanted to provide them with a sophisticated and harmonious ambience.”
Craftsmanship inside the Fusion is key. Dynamic structural elements throughout, like the real metal grills over the speakers, show that every detail of the vehicle has been aesthetically enhanced. Surfaces are softer to the touch, and nothing has been left to chance – even the volume knob is curved to better fit the customer’s fingers.
“The Fusion doesn’t just look sophisticated, upscale and high-quality,” said Arbaugh. “It feels that way, too.
“We think it’s the perfect package, one that will make drivers fall in love.”