Ford rolls along: Innovation is key in 2012
BY AL VINIKOUR For Sun-Times Media February 11, 2012 4:29PM
2012 Ford Focus
Updated: February 24, 2012 1:26PM
Just like Old Man River, Ford Motor Co. keeps rolling along. When its two domestic colleagues were in the throes of economic collapse, Ford put its head down and not only kept to basics and laid the foundation for future projects and technologies, but did so without taking a cent of government funds.
Come 2013 there’s going to be a Mardi Gras of new offerings and innovations, but Ford didn’t hold back in developing new, innovative vehicles for the 2012 model year.
Among the debuts for 2012 are the all-new Ford Focus and the 2012 Focus Electric. The new Focus combines expressive design and an awesome array of smart new technologies seldom associated with a vehicle in this segment. It was developed globally under the company’s One Ford strategy and is a perfect example of how Ford can scale to meet the universal needs of worldwide customers yet fine-tune to suit regional preferences.
The new Focus comes in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback configurations and offers four distinctive trim levels: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. Focus brings C-car interior space to that of larger rivals. It’s a serious challenger to competitive vehicles from Toyota, Honda and even Audi. You don’t go hunting big game like that unless you have a powerful gun.
Special attention was paid to making Focus a quiet vehicle by providing a windshield with a special acoustic layer that significantly reduces wind and road noise. Increased side and rear glass thickness enhances this even more.
A completely new 2.0-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine powers Focus. It delivers 20 more horsepower than the previous Focus 2.0-liter unit and increases fuel economy by more than 10 percent. The engine is mated to the latest six-speed Ford PowerShift automatic transmission. Focus also offers a five-speed manual. Among standard and available smart technology is active park assist; SYNC with traffic, directions and information; HD Radio with iTunes tagging; a Wi-Fi hot spot and intelligent access with push-button start.
The 2012 Ford Focus is manufactured at Ford’s Michigan assembly plant in Wayne. It has a base price of $14,695 – the same as last year’s model.
The all-new 2012 Focus Electric is the first zero-emissions passenger car from Ford. It is fully rechargeable in three to four hours at home using a wall-mounted 240-volt charge station. It is the flagship of a series of electric vehicles Ford will offer in future years. Other than engine power it shares the mechanical composition and driving dynamics found in its gasoline-powered sibling. An onboard set of driver information systems are provided in the Focus Electric. The vehicle is powered by an advanced lithium-ion battery system engineered by Ford in cooperation with LG Chem. It has a suggested base price of $39,995.
Although similar in appearance to last year’s model, the 2012 Ford Mustangs have been tweaked with a variety of things from technology to some mind-numbing horsepower ratings. For instance, the return of the legendary Boss 302 becomes the quickest, best-handling straight-production Mustang ever offered by Ford. It’s upgraded nearly every vehicle system: engine output, brakes, suspension, interior and exterior. All were examined to optimize weight, aerodynamics and track performance. Horsepower is 444. If that’s not enough power for some then they’ll have to bump up to the Shelby GT500, which boasts 550 horsepower. Even the V-6 engines in the Mustang are 300+ horsepower.
Ford has a large number of vehicles covering every segment but the ones listed here encompass the vehicles receiving the most drastic revisions. As the year rolls on Ford will be unveiling a stable of 2013 vehicles that will totally change the face of the division.
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