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Larger Fonts on Ford Cars – for Old Baby Boomers

According to a Ford study, even small changes can make the words in its interior graphics easier for everyone to read, regardless of their age. The effect is even more visible on aging Baby Boomers, who apparently have poor eyesight! This is why the car maker has decided to begin the production of Ford’s Edge and Explorer SUV models with 40% larger fonts, starting next year. Gradually, these new fonts will be used on other Ford models too, on interior display screens control and A/C controls.

The change is the result of Ford’s tests involving some of its young engineers and local retirees. It’s actually the expressions of their desire to improve display fonts reading for Ford drivers.

“Today, aging consumers are of great interest to companies including Ford. For the first time, people age 65 and over will outnumber children under the age of 5. It’s a transformation that’s changing the world, along with all kinds of products in it.” (according to Ford’s statements).

We definitely agree with this decision, once Ford bases its arguments on safety for persons of all ages, not particularly for old Baby Boomers. This is because we personally believe that increasing fonts isn’t actually a safe solution for the latter category: maybe it would be better, once Baby Boomers realize they have eyesight problems, to stop driving, and not to overlook their situation with larger fonts, because this can easily lead to car accidents.

Whatever, nobody knows its actual effect, but we cannot wait to see how drivers will receive this change.

What is your opinion?

[Source: Cascoop, Photo]

Ford’s Tiniest Engine in the Works

For a couple of years, Ford has been working to building the smallest engine ever. It first started with Start concept car in 2010, and continued with B-Max in 2011. Actually, we are now talking about their efforts to increase the fuel efficiency on its cars, by developing small, but more powerful engines. So, Ford engineers have been preoccupied to make this mechanically and physically possible, by increasing thermal efficiency and reducing friction.

According to Ford, despite its dimensions, the turbocharged 1.0-liter Ecoboost engine will be able to provide the torque and power of a 1.6-liter four-cylinder.

“The 1.0-liter engine is a little dynamo.”

said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development.

By using the system that Ford is currently developing for the manufacturing program, the fuel could be saved and the emissions cut, because it shortens the period required to get to the optimum operating temperature.

“Not only is it one of the most technically advanced and efficient engines we’ve ever designed, but it will introduce a number of new technologies to the Ford engine lineup.”

declared Joe Bakaj, Ford vice president of Global Powertrain Engineering.

In addition to this small engine, Ford is working at an eight-speed automatic transmission, which will also increase the fuel economy up to 4%.

As a future plan, Ford has in mind to offer the engine worldwide in its small cars, but more information about this will be provided in the Frankfurt auto show, in September 2011.

What do you think about Ford’s plans for their tiniest engine?

[Source: Wired, Photo: Start concept car 1, Start concept car 2, B-Max]

In-car Monitoring of Driver’s Health – from Ford

Driver’s health seams to be an important concern for Ford. Otherwise we cannot explain their ongoing activity of developing an in-car monitoring system which to help people with chronic illnesses (such as diabetes, asthma or allergies) – unless the 78 percent of U.S. consumers who expressed their interest in mobile health solutions, from a recent survey conducted by CTIA-The Wireless Association and Harris Interactive.

The system would empower people with self-help information while they drive, being the industry-first voice-controlled in-car connection. In order to succeed doing this, Ford uses Healthcare Experts Research SYNC Health, Wellness Connectivity Services and leading healthcare industry experts.

“Ford SYNC is well known in the industry and with consumers as a successful in-car infotainment system, but we want to broaden the paradigm, transforming SYNC into a tool that can help improve people’s lives as well as the driving experience.”

declared Paul Mascarenas, the chief technology officer and vice president at Ford Research and Innovation.

Combining Bluetooth, cloud services and Ford apps with some medical devices, a series of important health-related information and alerts can be provided, such as glucose level, allergies, all those being connected to the WellDoc platform. Ford’s innovating idea is to introduce this entire monitoring system in production process. In addition to all that we have already mentioned, the goal is the application to incorporate driver’s heart rate and stress levels, too.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLqfhshd_A0[/youtube]

This could be really useful for auto makers in identifying driver’s stress sources while driving and try to improve, minimize or correct those issues.

What do you think about Ford’s initiative?

[Source: Autoblog, Photo]

Ford Freestyle, Under NHTSA Investigation

2006 Ford Freestyle

It seems that Ford’s Freestyle crossover is under the investigation by the NHTSA, after 238 complaints regarding unintended “lunging” at slow speeds when the foot of the driver is not on the car’s accelerator pedal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating approximately 170,000 units, representing the model years 2005 through 2007. 18 crashed resulted from this defect, and one of them caused a minor injury to a pedestrian in a residential driveway. NHTSA said that his knee was bruised and they also said that this problem is more severe when the Freestyle’s AC system is on or when the driver turns the steering wheel sharply.

Source: NHTSA via Automotive News | Photo: Edmunds

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Ford Mustang Mayhem Package Revealed

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

At the beginning of this week, Ford has revealed its “Mayhem” package for the 2012 Mustang V6 model. It comes with a sport-tuned suspension, an updated electronic stability system and a strut tower brace. Other goodies that are offered with this package include the bespoke 19-inch alloy rims that are wrapped around in Pirelli rubber, as well as a high-performance braking system and a 3.31 rear axle ratio.

The name “Mayhem” was chosen after Ford conducted a Facebook contest, where they’ve received more than 3,000 submissions.

As a reminder, the most affordable Mustang is the one with the V6 3.7-liter engine that produces 305 hp (309 PS / 227 kW) and has a peak torque of 280 lb.-ft (379 Nm). Mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, it can return 19 mpg (city) and 29 mpg (highway).

Source: Ford via WCF | Photo: AutoBlog

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Ford’s Recycled Carpet, Used For Cylinder Head Covers

Starting with last year, Ford has been using a material called EcoLon, which is a nylon resin, in its cylinder head covers. This material is made entirely out of recycled carpet and the company said that they have managed to save more than 4.1 million pounds of carpet from landfills. By doing this, they’ve reduced the consumption of more than 430,000 gallons of oil.

Dana Holding Corporation is responsible for producing these non-metal cylinder head covers, which are used for the 3.0-liter Duratec power unit in Ford’s Escape and Fusion models. In addition, these covers are also suitable for the 5.0-liter engine, used in the F-150 pickup truck and the legendary Mustang.

This is truly a premiere in the car industry, as it is the very first automotive product of its kind that has been made from post-consumer recycled nylon. In order to repurpose the nylon, Wellman has to grind the used nylon carpeting into fiber and recaptures the material through a proprietary and patented process. The end result is a nylon resin of high quality, which Dana then uses for molding into the engine’s cylinder head covers through its injection-molding process.

Source: Ford via AskPatty

Ford Plans On Introducing 15 New Models In China

The 2011 Shanghai Auto Show is just around the corner and Ford has recently announced that they will be introducing 15 new models and double workforce by 2015 in what is at the moment the world’s largest automotive market. For achieving this ambitious objective, the Blue Oval will have to double its dealership network in China, from 340 today to about 680.

The first model that the North American automaker will introduce is the new generation of the Focus, which is slated to go into production next year at an all-new plant in Chongqing in which the company invested $490 million. Initially, this factory will have a capacity of 150,000 cars annually.

The company also said that they will double their workforce in China by 2015, adding 1,200 jobs. This year, Ford will create 550 jobs in various departments, like manufacturing, engineering, marketing sales & service, IT, finance, communications, legal division and government affairs. These new jobs will be at the automaker’s operations in Chongqing, Nanchang, Nanjing and Shanghai.

The market in China is very important for Ford and they are targeting a 70% growth in the next years that will come from the Asia Pacific and Africa region.

Source: Ford via Carscoop

Ford Plans On Using Bubble-Infused Plastics For Shaving Off Hundreds Of Pounds

Just about every car manufacturer in the world today wants to make lighter cars that are more fuel efficient and friendlier to the environment. Following this trend, Ford will be using bubble-infused plastics on future cars that will shave off from 200 to 750 pounds. Dubbed MuCell, this technology was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and consists of pumping tiny bubbles of nitrogen or carbon into standard injection-molded plastics.
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Ford Explains Its Complex Pothole Testing Methods

Although the government in England spends a lot of money in fixing the country’s potholes, Ford is eager to demonstrate it still tests its automobiles for their ability to resist big pavement gaps. The automaker said that its cars undergo thorough tests consisting of thousands of miles across two proving grounds in order to make sure that the vehicles don not sustain damage when they face uneven surfaces.
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Ford’s Digital Child Crash Dummies

No matter how safe the car manufacturers try to build their car models, the reality is that accidents still occur, involving both adults and children passengers. This is why automotive companies do their best to reduce the impact and to limit the effect of a car crash on human body. As we all imagine, our body reacts different on different age, so that the protective measures in case of accidents must be distinctive.

According to this idea, Ford Motor Company have officially announced that they had started building a digital human child, as they did the adult version too. This new digital child crash dummy would have all the characteristics of a human body in childhood, complete with its internal organs, skeleton structure and brain, all as a part of their safety research. By this, Ford hopes to find out how things differ, and what they can do to make things better.

For building the digital model, the researchers started from monitoring and studying injury patterns for children, who are generally much more vulnerable in car crashes. To this, Ford will add the date medical scans (children’s MRIs and CAT scans) provided by volunteers and anatomical texts in order to generate information about child geometry and body, so they to understand how crash forces affect children and to come with ideas to prevent them.

This kind of research from Ford is admirable, because it helps car tests to become more accurate, and hopefully the future cars will be as safe for kids as they try to be for adults.

[Source: Coolest-gadgets, Photo: Facebook Ford]

Ford Not Happy With Ferrari’s F-150 F1 Car Name

Ferrari named the F1 car for this season “F150” in order to commemorate 150 years that have passed since the unification of Italy. However, Ford had a problem with Ferrari’s choice for the F1 car name as they said that it is similar to the Blue Oval’s F-150 nameplate, which as a consequence causes “irreparable harm” to the trademark.

Ford initiated a lawsuit against Ferrari which also included the www.ferrarif150.com website, accusing the Italian automaker of trademark infringement and cyber theft.

The Blue Oval aimed to prevent Ferrari from using the F150 name in the US, and expected the Italian manufacturer to give up any profits or revenues earned through the usage of the nameplate in the United States.

In addition, Ford wanted $100,000 in damages under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act that protects against trademark infringement due to the use of confusing Internet domain names.

I for one was very surprised to find out that Ferrari gave up without a fight and they changed the car’s name to “F150th Italia”, a name that was first used in a routine F1 test report posted on the company’s official website.

I’m really disappointed with both of the parties. First of all, I don’t think that Ford would have suffered if Ferrari used this trademark for their F1 car – they’ve exaggerated more than a bit. Second, I don’t understand why Ferrari simply gave up and changed the car’s name.

Source: CarScoop

Preview – 2011 Chicago Auto Show PART 2

If you haven’t read the first part of our article, now would be a great time to do it. Let’s continue where we left off yesterday and see what the Blue Oval will be bringing to the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302

The most interesting car will definitely be the Mustang which will be exhibited in various versions, like the GT, the V6 and the Shelby GT500. In addition, Ford will be bringing the Boss 302 which will be below the GT500 but above the GT. The V6 model will come with a 3.7-liter that outputs 305 hp while the GT will get a more powerful V8 5.0-liter, good for 412 hp. The Boss 302 will carry GT’s engine but it will produce 444 hp. The top-of-the-range Shelby GT500 will be fitted with a V8 5.4-liter supercharged engine that will output 550 hp. Regarding the available gearboxes, both the V6 and the GT will get either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The Boss 302 and the Shelby GT500 will be available only with a 6-speed manual transmission.

The new generation of the Focus will also be brought to Detroit. The car will be available as a 4-door sedan or a 4-door hatchback and will get one of the following trims: S, SE, SEL and Titanium. Regardless of the trim level, the new Focus will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter engine that can run either on gas or E85 ethanol-blended fuel. The engine will output 155 hp and can be mated with either a 5-speed manual or the new 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual gearbox.

Another model brought by Ford will be the 2011 C-Max. This 7-seater minivan is going to be available with either a Mazda5-sourced 4-cylinder 2.5-liter power unit that outputs 168 hp or a 4-cylinder 1.6-liter turbocharged carrying 168 hp while running on regular gas and 180 hp with premium gas. Both of the engines will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The last model Ford will be bringing to this year’s Chicago Auto Show is going to be the 2011 Explorer. Available in three trim levels: Base, XLT and Limited, the car can get either a FWD or an AWD. Regardless of the trim level chosen, the car will be fitted with a V6 3.5-liter that outputs 290 hp while the 4-cylinder 2.0 power unit that churns 237 hp will be optional for the XLT and Limited trim levels. All of the models will come with a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 GMC Sierra HD

At GMC you will be seeing the Sierra HD which is the heavy-duty version of the Sierra 1500. This monster will be available with a choice of two engines: V8 6.0-liter that produces 360 hp and a V8 6.6-liter that will offer 397 hp. Both of them will be linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Koreans at Hyundai will be bringing their beautiful 3-door coupe Veloster model which they launched at Detroit a couple of weeks ago. The car will be available with a 4-cylinder 2.6-liter that cranks 138 hp, mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission.

Another beautiful car brought by Hyundai will be the Elantra which will be produced in the United States. This 4-door sedan is going to be available in two trim levels: GLS and Limited. Both of them will be equipped with a 4-cylinder 1.8-liter that produces 148 hp. The base model will get a 6-speed manual transmission while the top-of-the-range will feature a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 Hyundai Equus

The Equus model is Hyundai’s flagship model and will make its appearance at Chicago next week. The car is 7 inches longer than the Genesis sedan and will carry its engine which is a V8 4.6-liter that produces 385 hp while running on premium gas and 378 hp with regular one. The power unit will be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

2011 Infiniti QX56

A new car that is going to be produced in the US except the Elantra will be Infiniti’s QX56. In comparison to its predecessor, the new generation is longer, wider and lower. As standard, the car will get a V8 5.6-liter engine that outputs 400 hp, mated to a 7-speed automatic gearbox. The QX56 will be available with a RWD system or an AWD one.

2011 Jaguar XJ

Without any doubt, one of the most beautiful cars that will be presented at the 2011 edition of the Chicago Auto Show will be the Jaguar XJ. Available in standard or “L” versions, the car will be offered with three trim levels. The “L” version is 5 inches longer than the regular one. Both of them can be acquired with these trim levels: XJ, Supercharged and Supersport.  All of them will have the same engine which is a V8 5.0-liter that will output 385 hp for the Base model, 470 hp for the Supercharged and 510 hp for the top-of-the-line Supersport. The engine is going to be mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Supersport model can only be purchased through a special order.

2011 Kia Optima

Hyundai’s sister Kia will be bringing the mid-sized sedan Optima and the Sportage SUV. The first one will be available in three trim levels: LX, EX and SX. Joining the lineup will be a hybrid version. The first two trim levels will be equipped with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 200 hp while the SX carries a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter turbocharged power unit that churns out 274 hp. The base model will get a 6-speed manual while the EX and the SX will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid version will be fitted with a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter engine with an electric motor, linked to a 6-speed automatic gearbox.

The Kia Sportage will carry Hyundai’s Tucson platform and will be available in three trim levels: Base, LX and EX. All of them have a 4-cylinder 2.4-liter that outputs 176 hp. The base model gets a 6-speed manual and the EX and LX will be fitted with a 6-speed automatic.

Come back tomorrow for the third part of our preview of the 2011 Chicago Auto Show.

Top 10 – Best-Selling Models This Year ?

The car industry went through hell in 2008 and 2009 when the annual domestic sales in the US plummeted to approximately 10 million units which is a lot less in comparison to 2005 and 2006 when people bought almost 16 million cars. This downfall in the economy drove the all-mighty General Motors and Chrysler into the dreadful Chapter 5 and caused tens of billions in losses among their financially stronger competition.

Luckily, last year things took a turn for the better as the annual sales rates went up by 2 million, despite the fact that Toyota added a couple more pages to their recall book. Thanks to the fact that the economy is showing signs of improvement, consumers are visiting the showrooms more often now.

The guys over at 247Wallst.com were curious to see which cars will be the most popular this year in the United States and for this reason they came up with ten models that they think will be quite successful among buyers.

2011 Ford F-150

First, the Ford F-Series of course, as it has been the top-selling vehicle in the United States for decades. The high demand of light-trucks is traced back to the early days of automobiles and it should come as no surprise to anyone if the F-Series will remain master of his domain in 2011. The starting price for this car is around $23,000. According to a forecast published by 24/7 Wall St., Ford will be selling approximately 535,000 units of their hit F-Series this year.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado

The Chevrolet Silverado promises to be another successful light-truck in the US this year. This car segment has to be one of the most crowded and the Silverado will have to face up some serious competition coming from the GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram and the Toyota Tundra. A forecast for 2011 shows that Chevy will sell about 310,000 units of their Silverado model.

2011 Toyota Camry

Their guess is that the Toyota Camry will also be preferred by many of the US car shoppers. The Camry is one of those Japanese cars known for being fuel efficient and offering a high quality level. 2010 was not so good for this model, because of Toyota’s long history with recalls. The starting price for this model is $20,000 and according to the estimates made, the Japanese automaker will sell about 305,000 units.

2011 Honda Accord

No top of best-selling cars would be relevant without the Honda Accord. Although last year wasn’t very good for the model, mostly because of the outdated model, the freshened one which will be launched this April promises to bring more people to the Honda dealerships. The Japanese automaker will sell about 280,000 cars according to the same sources.

2011 Toyota Corolla

Another Japanese car, this time we are talking about the Toyota Corolla (which frankly I never liked), a model that has always been priced below the aforementioned Camry. Targeted to take customers away from the Honda Civic or other “value” based cars that come with smaller power units, the Corolla offers a pretty good package, except for the rather boring and unattractive look. 24/7 Wall St. says that Toyota will be rolling out about 270,000 units of their Corolla model which has a base price of $15,000.

2011 Chevrolet Malibu

The flagship of GM’s Chevrolet division is the attractive Malibu, a model launched back in 2008. The new one was an instant hit and the cheapest you can get will set you back $22,000. How many units Chevy will sell this? Estimates say that about 265,000.

2011 Honda Civic

It seems that the US market will be invaded this year with Japanese cars as on the 7th place we find the Honda Civic. Back in the days, the car was one of the smallest sedans money could buy in North America. Since then, the car has grown in size and power in order to appeal to a broader audience. Just like the Accord, the Civic sales figures have decreased last year due to the “rusty” look. Honda should sell about 245,000 units of their very popular model.

2011 Ford Fusion

Introduced about five years ago, the Ford Fusion is a looker, at least in my opinion. The model is positioned as a mid-size sedan, right between the Focus and the Taurus. Last year it was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year. You can have one if you are willing to spare at least $18,000. 24/7 Wall St. forecast says that about 235,000 people will buy it.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

Here is a personal favorite – the Hyundai Sonata which I think that will do way better than the estimated 225,000 units. Hyundai is one of the few automakers that have grown in the recent years when the recession affected almost all of the automotive industry. With the introduction of their new model which is drop-dead gorgeous, Hyundai will have a very bright future in the year to come.

2011 Nissan Altima

To round up the top, the Nissan Altima is another mid-sized sedan, popular for its fuel efficiency. Last year the sales went up, but not by much. Like the Honda models, the Altima is an aging model. If you like it, you can have one for at least $20,000. Nissan will probably sell around 205,000 units of this model.

Here is the top for the best selling cars in 2010 in the US:

  1. Ford F-150 – 528,349 units; (413,625 in 2009);
  2. Chevrolet Silverado – 370,135 units; (316,554 in 2009);
  3. Toyota Camry – 327,804 units; (356,824 in 2009);
  4. Honda Accord – 311,381 units; (290,056 in 2009);
  5. Toyota Corolla – 266,082 units; (296,874 in 2009);
  6. Honda Civic – 260,218 units; (259,722 in 2009);
  7. Nissan Altima – 229,263 units; (203,568 in 2009);
  8. Ford Fusion – 219,219 units; (180,671 in 2009);
  9. Honda CR-V – 203,714 units; (153,431 in 2009);
  10. Dodge Ram – 199,652 units. (177,268 in 2009).

We are eager to find out which cars will be a hit in terms of sales. We will have a preliminary top 10 after the first half of 2011. Stay tuned.

Source: 247Wallst.com

Billet Ford Oval Pub Table

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Ford Trucks Logo Plastisol Key Chain

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