April 26, 2010

Ford Showcases New Technologies, Products At Beijing Auto Show

With its largest, most interactive display ever, Ford is highlighting an impressive array of new products and technologies at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show while the company gears itself to capitalize on growth in China and across the Asia Pacific and Africa region.  Ford is previewing the global next-generation Ford Focus and a future small-displacement Ford EcoBoost engine.

The next-generation Focus and the promise of significant fuel-economy improvements from the smallest-yet Ford EcoBoost engine are just part of a major display of Ford's momentum in China.

The Ford stand at the Beijing Auto Show is the brand's biggest ever stand in China.  About 25 percent larger than the Ford Beijing stand in 2008, it features 17 interactive stations for consumers to experience, as well as compelling new products and technologies on display.

Ford is unveiling a new production model "“ the new Ford Edge mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) "“ for the China market.  Also, following through with the promise made at the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show, Ford is announcing that a 2.0-litre EcoBoost-powered version of the Ford Mondeo will be introduced in China before the end of 2010. Ford EcoBoost combines direct petrol injection and turbocharging in smaller-displacement engines to give customers outstanding fuel economy and reduced CO2 with the spirited performance they expect from a larger engine.

The Beijing Auto Show also showcases Ford's rapid advancement as a technology leader with the introduction this year of the renowned MyFord TouchTM driver connect technology, powered by SYNC, just one of Ford's Drive Smart technologies being showcased at the event.

SYNC, developed by Ford and Microsoft, is an award-winning voice-activated hands-free communication and entertainment system that harnesses the integrated connectivity of customers' mobile devices. More than 2 million vehicles equipped with SYNC have been sold in North America.

With the China debut of SYNC, the Beijing Show will be a key proof point why Ford is building a reputation globally as a technology leader as Ford builds momentum after a record year of sales with great products like the Ford Focus and the new Ford Fiesta. Customers are recognizing increasingly that Ford stands for unique strengths and appeal.

"The momentum behind the Ford brand is growing even stronger," said Robert Graziano, chairman and CEO, Ford Motor China. "We capped years of steady growth with another record year in 2009, and the energy continues to build, fuelled by great new products and exciting technologies. The Beijing show is a great demonstration of how the ONE Ford global strategy is paying off for customers in China."

Previewing next-generation Ford Focus

The sleek, stylish, next-generation Ford Focus makes its first appearance in China, part of a rapid global debut tour of the world's top motor shows of the vision for the next Ford C-car flagship.
Signalling the worldwide importance of Ford's plans to deliver a portfolio of C-segment vehicles from a new global platform, the sporty next-generation Focus five-door model is fresh from its appearance last month at the Geneva Motor Show following its global debut in Detroit in January.

The new Focus hatchback will be one of up to 10 unique models to be built from Ford's new C-car platform.

When it goes into production in China in 2012, Ford expects global volumes of its new C-car family to reach 2 million units annually.  It will be sold in more than 120 markets worldwide.  It will be nearly identical in all markets, with 80 percent parts commonality around the world.

Ford Start Concept with 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine

Small, green, smart and fun, the Ford Start Concept revealed at the 2010 Beijing Auto Show is a pure, bespoke concept car from Ford Motor Company making its global debut in China.  The Ford Start Concept plays an important role to preview the latest in Ford green technology with its groundbreaking 1.0-litre, three-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engine.

The Ford Start Concept was inspired by the world's fast-growing mega cities and the unique needs and mindset of their inhabitants. With heavy traffic, limited parking and fuel efficiency being key concerns among urban drivers, the Ford Start concept provides a vision into a future sporty, small-car package that meets a multitude of primary driving objectives, particularly among first-time buyers.

The Ford Start concept is more than a design exploration into the feasibility of a future small car, however.  That's because it previews the smallest engine yet in the growing Ford EcoBoost engine family.

The powerful new Ford EcoBoost 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is engineered to bring the EcoBoost promise for fuel efficiency to small cars with compact engine compartments. This very real technology will come into production in the near future to deliver CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km but power and drivability comparable to larger petrol I4 powerplants.

The Ford Start Concept also has adopted smart phone technology to perform a multitude of in-car functions. This aspirational design concept uses lightweight material and efficient aerodynamics.

New Ford Edge debuts in China

The Beijing Auto Show marks the debut of the popular mid-size SUV, Ford Edge, which will join the Ford product lineup in China.  Ford Edge features a flowing, harmonious design that packages style and technology in a quiet, comfortable, five passenger cabin environment.

The new all-wheel-drive Edge will deliver segment-leading fuel economy, increased levels of quietness, a strong new design with quality materials and MyFord Touch driver connect technology that will change the way people experience their vehicles.  The voice-activated technology also will be offered in Mandarin "“ a first for Ford Motor Company in the China market.

More than 330,000 have been sold since it was introduced four years ago. The debut in China follows the unveiling of the newest iteration of the model just weeks ago in North America.

Ford Edge will be launched in China by the end of 2010.

Ford Mondeo EcoBoost

Ford has announced that its exclusive Ford EcoBoost engine technology, featured at the Beijing Auto Show, will be introduced for the first time in China in the Ford Mondeo range. Starting later this year, the Mondeo will be offered with a 2.0-litre I4 Ford EcoBoost engine.

Ford EcoBoost is a fuel-efficient powertrain technology that combines turbocharging with a direct injection fuel delivery system to deliver class-leading power and torque levels from an I4 engine to levels comparable to a larger V6 engine.  EcoBoost promises fuel economy improvements of up to 20 percent and reductions in CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent.

The 2.0-litre Ford Ecoboost I4 is the first engine in the EcoBoost line-up to go truly global.  In Europe, Ford has announced its application on Ford S-Max, Galaxy and Mondeo models. Ford Edge models in North America are slated to receive the engine later this year.  In Australia, Ford Falcon also will be offered with four-cylinder Ford EcoBoost engines in 2011.

Premiere of MyFord Touch, powered by SYNC

Ford is introducing its new MyFord driver connect technology, designed to be both powerful and intuitive for Chinese drivers.  It combines the best of proven interfaces in consumer technology "“ including MP3 players and mobile phones "“ with a new generation of Ford's award-winning SYNC system.

Showing MyFord Touch in the new Ford Edge SUV, Ford is demonstrating how easy it is for Chinese drives to relate to the new technology the first time behind the wheel.

First conceived to control the basic functionality behind Ford's driver connect technology, MyFord, SYNC has grown to make it easier to adapt to changing technology with personal electronic devices.  It has now evolved from a standalone module providing voice-activated control for mobile devices to a fully integrated platform for Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord "“ a technology soon to be part of the global interior architecture for all Ford vehicles.

Among the new features added to MyFord through the advancements in SYNC technology is a simplified voice recognition command structure.  Utilizing a flattened syntax, drivers can perform more tasks using fewer words thanks to the expanded SYNC vocabulary.

Building on Ford success in China

Ford arrives at the Beijing Auto Show riding on a wave of momentum from its best sales year ever in China and across the Asia Pacific and Africa region.

Ford China scored record full-year sales in 2009, driven by record Focus sales and an outstanding launch of the new Ford Fiesta, the new global small car from Ford.
Focus sales in China passed the 500,000-unit milestone last month, and Fiesta sales of 79,000 units across Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa region represented a 273 per cent increase.  In China alone, Fiesta has won more than 50 awards.

The Asia Pacific and Africa region of Ford Motor Company achieved its best-ever full-year sales performance in 2009 of 508,793 units, or a year-over-year increase of 15 percent.  A number of countries, including Ford China, delivered better-than-expected sales for each of the twelve months of 2009, with China and Vietnam both achieving record full-year sales in 2009.

Ford Focus remained the best-selling Asia Pacific and Africa nameplate in 2009, achieving its best-ever full-year sales in the region of 164,719 units, up nearly 20 percent from 2008, including best-ever full-year sales of the Ford Focus in China, Indonesia and Vietnam.  Ford Mondeo achieved best-ever full-year sales in Asia Pacific and Africa in 2009 with an increase of 10 percent to 49,837 units.

Ford is investing to build on its success across the region and take advantage of the region's clear growth potential.

"The Asia Pacific and Africa region will account for the largest percentage of future growth of Ford Motor Company's global operations over the next 7-10 years," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Company group vice president and president, Asia Pacific and Africa.  "We're aggressively and successfully restructuring the business to accommodate this expansion."

Hinrichs said that despite the global economic slowdown, Ford's investment and expansion strategy in the Asia Pacifica and Africa region has remained unchanged and on schedule.
"We remain fully confident in the mid and long-term growth prospects for our business in the region and the expected future growth of the overall industry," Hinrichs said. "Reflecting this confidence, Ford Motor Company has invested more than US$3 billion in the Asia Pacific and Africa region since 2006 to optimize and expand our manufacturing footprint, maximize business efficiencies, and build vehicles in locations to meet current and future demand."

In addition to the $490 million investment for the new state-of-the-art assembly plant for the next-generation Ford Focus in Chongqing, Ford investments across the region include:

* Ford India invested US$500 million to expand its operations in Chennai to become a regional centre of excellence for small car production, plus build a fully integrated and flexible engine manufacturing plant. Annual capacity of vehicles doubles to 200,000 units.

* Ford and Mazda have just celebrated the official completion of a new $500 million passenger car plant at AutoAlliance Thailand (AAT) now gearing up for production of the new Fiesta.

* Ford Australia announced an investment of AU$230 million to improve the fuel efficiency and environmental impact of its Australian-made models. This includes the first global application of Ford's advanced 2.0-litre 4-cylinder EcoBoost engine in a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the Ford Falcon, starting in 2011.

* Ford South Africa announced an investment of over ZAR3.0 billion (approx. US$435 million) to expand its operations for the production of Ford's next-generation global compact pickup by 2011 at its Silverton, Pretoria facility, and Ford's next-generation turbocharged diesel Puma engine by 2010 at its Port Elizabeth plant.

Ford employs more than 25,000 people in the Asia Pacific and Africa region, and the company's operations in the region include 17 manufacturing and assembly facilities in eight countries, including joint ventures.


Image Caption: Ford Start Concept with 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine. Courtesy Ford


On the Net: