Ford Pays Homage to Five Decades of the World’s Favorite Pony Car with Limited-Production 50 Year Edition Mustang
- The Detroit News
A crew prepares a Mustang to be raised to the roof of the Empire State Building 1,000 feet above the streets of Manhattan. (Ford)
Ford Motor Co. will put a new 2015 Mustang GT convertible on the top of Empire State Building this week, commemorating a stunt it used to tout the new vehicle nearly 50 years ago.
The Dearborn automaker on Monday released a video that shows how the company will disassemble the Mustang and get it to the observation deck on the 86th floor. Ford will hold a media event to show off the car Wednesday night in Manhattan as part of the New York International Auto Show this week.
The new car is longer and wider than the original Mustang; Ford put a ’66 Mustang on the top of the Empire State Building in fall 1965.
A company working for Ford will disassemble the Mustang into six pieces so it can fit into the Empire State Building elevator that’s only 36 inches wide. It built a mockup of the elevator to ensure that it can get into the elevator. The team has just five hours to get the car up to the top after the observation deck closes at 2 a.m. and before it reopens at 7 a.m.
“If we have an iconic vehicle, it’s Mustang,” Ford executive chairman Bill Ford Jr. said in the Web video. Mustang sales were up 21 percent in March to 9,305 and are up 13 percent this year.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140414/AUTO0102/304140101#ixzz2z0DB5jim
Taurus SHO Named Safety Vehicle in Long Beach; Will Help Pace Field that Includes Its Race Equivalent, the EcoBoost Riley
DEARBORN – Fresh off of its win at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 will be out front before the green flag even waves in Long Beach.
Ford’s Taurus SHO will be front-and-center as the safety vehicle at the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Long Beach Sat., April 12, 2014. The Taurus SHO and Riley Prototypes are powered by the same Ford EcoBoost technology.
Seventy-percent of the engine components are shared between the two. The engine block for the No’s 01 and 02 owned by Chip Ganassi Racing by Felix Sabates and the No. 60 fielded by Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian come straight off of the assembly line with the rest of the F-Series engine blocks. The aluminum heads and blocks are also the same in the Taurus SHO and EcoBoost Rileys.
What’s different? Only the parts necessary to fit a twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 to a Riley prototype. The race, featuring two of TUDOR’s Prototypes and GTLM’s, will be televised live Saturday from 3-5 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (FS1). “We know the Taurus SHO is at home on the street or track, and at Long Beach you’ll see that,” said Ryan Cashman, Taurus Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company. “When fans see the Taurus SHO up front, they can know that much of the same technology in the safety vehicle’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 is also present in the prototypes it’s leading around the race course. It’s a perfect demonstration of how EcoBoost is powering Ford on the street and around the race track.” Team EcoBoost comes to Long Beach after winning Sebring, where drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti powered their No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Riley to victory lane, giving the Roush Yates-prepped twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine program its first win. Three prototypes compete under the EcoBoost banner: The 01 and 02 of Ganassi, and the 60 of Michael Shank Racing. The 02 Comfort Revolution/Big Machine Records Ford EcoBoost Riley finished sixth in Sebring after spending a considerable time out front, while the 60 Need For Speed Ford Ecoboost/Riley also made the top 10 with a ninth-place finish. Before the 2014 season began – the first year for the unified TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – Shank Racing teamed with Ford Racing and its 3.5-liter EcoBoost to break a series of closed-course speed records at Daytona International Speedway that had stood since 1987, setting a new record average lap speed of 222.971 mph around the high-banked oval.
DEARBORN - The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST will need a bigger trophy room. The hot hatch has earned 22 awards since going on sale last year, most recently being named a 2014 Automobile Magazine All-Star (www.automobilemag.com/2014allstars). “High-technology hot rods like Fiesta ST have helped make fast driving possible for buyers of small cars – even those with modest budgets,” said Jean Jennings, editor-in-chief, Automobile Magazine. “It’s a bullet on the road, with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that sounds like a mini-Ferrari when flogged, supportive Recaro seats and clean shift action. Designed and engineered collaboratively by Ford’s U.S. and European operations, Fiesta ST is a testament to the success of the One Ford global vehicle development philosophy.” Amy Marentic, Ford marketing manager, global small and medium cars, said there’s really nothing else on the market quite like Fiesta ST. “It’s fun to drive, full of high-tech features and packaged at an affordable price,” she said. “It’s no wonder Fiesta ST is not only winning awards, but that the honors range in scope from performance to value and everything in between.” Fiesta ST is the most-awarded performance subcompact Ford has ever made. The car has earned these awards: Automobile Magazine, 2014 All-Star Top Gear (U.K.), Car of the Year Echappement (France), Sports Car of the Year Auto Express (U.K.), Best Hot Hatch Scottish Car of the Year, Best Hot Hatch Car (Spain), Top 11 Sports Cars Sunday Times (U.K.), No. 1 Hot Hatch Autocar (U.K.), Best Value Driver’s Car Car and Driver, 10 Best Gear Patrol, GP100 Top Gear Popular Mechanics, 2014 Automotive Excellence Award for Handling Esquire Magazine, Small Car of the Year Culture Map – Houston, Hot Compact of the Year Autobytel, 2014 Compact Car of the Year MotorWeek, Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Subcompact Car Hagerty, 2014 Hagerty Hot List About.com, Best New Cars of 2014 China Auto Pictorial, Performance Car of the Year Top Gear (China), Best Performance Car in 2013 National Business Review, Sports Car of the Year 2013 U.K. Car of the Year, Best Performance Car kbb. com, 10 Coolest New Cars Under $25,000 of 2014 Team members behind Fiesta ST and other Ford vehicles are notable on their own terms. Ford won Dynamics Team of the Year, while Team RS lead for vehicle dynamics David Put was named 2013 Dynamicist of the Year by Vehicle Dynamics International. This jury of automotive journalists from around the world hailed the work of members of the Ford team as a “stand-out in all segments.” “If you have not driven a new Ford in the last year, go do so now,” said Phil Morse, judging for Vehicle Dynamics International. “The vehicle dynamicists have apparently been turned loose and allowed to run amok, resulting in cars that are subtle, responsive, and an absolute pleasure to drive.” Along with all the accolades it is collecting, Fiesta ST is winning the attention of customers Ford had hoped would find the hot hatch an appealing option. Some facts about buyers of Fiesta ST: 50 percent are under 35 years old, compared to 23 percent of Ford brand customers Average age is 39, 10 years younger than Ford brand customers 54 percent have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 50 percent of base Fiesta buyers 30 percent have a household income of at least $100,000, compared to 26 percent of base Fiesta buyers 30 percent live in California This is a demographic that’s considered a difficult target for automakers. “Common knowledge had it that this group didn’t care about driving, or if they did, they opted for import brands,” said Marentic. “But the feedback we’re getting from customers and the awards Fiesta ST keeps winning prove again and again we really accomplished something special.” Customer feedback shows Fiesta ST drivers take their car to the track to run, but they also use it as a daily driver. The car is designed to be fun, but it rewards drivers with exceptional fuel economy – Fiesta ST returns an EPA-estimated 35 mpg on the highway. Another perk of purchasing Fiesta ST is that owners are offered the chance to learn firsthand the capabilities of their performance car at Ford’s ST Octane Academy, a complimentary program for drivers of the new hatchback, as well as owners of 2013 and 2014 Ford Focus ST. ST Octane Academy provides Fiesta ST and Focus ST owners with a full immersion into the Ford ST experience, along with driving instruction and extensive course time with professional instructors. The intent is to demonstrate to owners the performance capabilities of their car and help improve their driving skills – all while having fun.
Mega-high-roof limo has all the comforts of your stately pleasure dome… to go!
“I remember playing hide-and-seek in our van lot when I was a kid,” said GAS president and second-generation Galpinite Beau Boeckmann. “So it’s only fitting that it has all come full circle now with the Skyliner.”
The Skyliner Concept started as a mere Transit van itself, but the thing about Transit vans is that you can make into them just about anything you want to. Ford is going to offer “60-plus” versions of the massive rolling blimp hanger.
GAS took a long-wheelbase, high-roof version and went to town. Outside, its bright silver color makes it look svelte.
“It started out black and then we went to silver to give it that ‘wow’ effect,” said design manager Melvin Betancourt.
Inside are four custom seats that the build crew refers to, fairly accurately, as, “thrones.” The two front thrones swivel to face rearward for conversation. With all four seats facing the front, passengers can watch a movie on the screen that drops down from the ceiling. A rear projector runs the movie from the van’s 16-terabyte infotainment system. Twenty five Focal audio speakers provide the sound. There’s also a full bar, refrigerator and a hand-laid wood floor.
“This thing is so awesome,” marveled Mad Mike Martin, whom PMR fans will know from the show.
When asked how much the Skyliner cost, Boeckmann just said, “We don’t quite know exactly how much.”
Published: April , 2014 By Staff Report
Apr 9, 2014 | Dearborn, Mich.
- Ford Focus ranks as the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world, based on just-released Polk new vehicle registration data for the 2013 calendar year
- Focus gains momentum with 50 percent sales growth in Chinese market
- New Focus four-door sedan globally unveiled, featuring leading combination of technology, fuel economy and power
Ford Focus retains its title as world’s best-selling vehicle nameplate for 2013, according to Ford analysis of the just-released full-year Polk new vehicle registration data from IHS Automotive. The news comes as a new Focus four-door sedan prepares to make its debut at next week’s 2014 New York International Auto Show.
Registrations of the compact Focus were up 8.1 percent with 1,097,618 cars sold worldwide last year. That compares with global Focus sales of 1,014,965 in 2012.
Market gains for Focus continue to be driven by consumer demand in China. China registrations were up 50 percent in 2013 to 403,219 vehicles, up from 268,354 vehicles in 2012. China now is responsible for just more than one out of three Focus vehicles sold globally, based on Polk data.
The debut of the new Focus four-door sedan and the Focus Electric in New York follows the Geneva Motor Show debut in March of the Focus five-door hatchback. A new version of the performance Focus ST will be shown later this year.
The redesigned Ford Focus offers a bolder exterior design, a more intuitive and upscale interior, a host of technologies uncommon for a compact car and the additional powertrain option of Ford’s award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost® engine with a new six-speed manual transmission in the U.S.-spec Focus. While U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available, Ford expects the 1.0-liter EcoBoost Focus to raise the bar in fuel efficiency among non-hybrid compact vehicles.
For 2015, Focus adds an SE Sport Package, which includes new body treatments, paddle shifters (requires automatic transmission), a revised touring suspension, 17-inch black gloss aluminum wheels and P215/50 HR-17 tires.
The paddle shift feature provides drivers an additional element of control by allowing them to simulate the manual gear selection aspects of a manual transmission and extract more power from their engines.
Also notable for 2015, Ford’s popular MyKey® feature will be standard on all trim levels. An all-new heated steering wheel will be available as well as 10 different wheels as factory options.
“It is remarkable to see Focus again lead the industry as the No. 1-selling vehicle nameplate on the planet,” said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president, Ford Motor Company Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln. “With the new car, we’ve raised the bar again, showcasing Ford’s commitment to continuous improvement – adding better technology for drivers and a sleeker, more modern exterior across the entire Focus family.”
While the latest Focus is essentially the same worldwide, color preference varies. In the U.S. market, Sterling Gray is the most popular at 21 percent of sales, with Tuxedo Black second at 15 percent. In China, Crystal Solid White is overwhelmingly the most popular with just more than 50 percent of sales. Candy Red is second at 17 percent.
Fiesta world’s best-selling subcompact Ford’s analysis of Polk new vehicle registrations also confirms Ford Fiesta earned the top spot as the best-selling subcompact car globally, with 735,299 registrations for 2013.
Together, registrations of Ford’s small cars – Fiesta and Focus – totaled 1,832,917 vehicles last year, which is a 4.3 percent increase from 2012.
Award-winning 1.0-liter EcoBoost In addition to a host of styling and technology advances, the new Focus will offer the efficient, fun-to-drive 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine with a six-speed manual transmission. Automotive journalists globally named it International Engine of the Year for 2012 and 2013.
“The 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is proof that excellent fuel economy and performance can come in one package,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development. “Focus is already known for bringing together efficiency and fun, and our latest offering will bring consumers a whole new level of enjoyment – on the road and in what they’ll save at the pump.”
The smallest engine in Ford’s growing EcoBoost family – already available in Fiesta – will come standard in Focus with an Auto Start-Stop feature that automatically shuts down the engine at stops and instantly turns it back on at takeoff.
EcoBoost technology combines smaller-displacement engines with turbocharging, direct injection, variable valve timing and proprietary Ford software to bring customers outstanding performance and fuel economy. Ford EcoBoost engines can deliver significantly better fuel economy than larger-displacement gasoline engines.
New Focus customers also will enjoy a quieter ride, achieved by thicker carpets and side window glass and improved engine-bay insulation.
Stylish new Focus The new Focus arrives with a bolder look. It features a restyled hood and grille, signature LED lighting for headlamps and taillamps, new rear lamp clusters and a restyled trunk lid. Four-door and five-door versions will be available in the United States.
Inside, colors and materials have a clean, modern look, with satin chrome detailing, new seat trims and switches, and an available heated steering wheel. A new center console incorporating adjustable cupholders improves storage capacity.
Advanced technologies A package of sensors brings a new level of convenience for compact car customers by adding driver-assist technologies, including a rear view camera, available Blind Spot Information System and a lane-keeping system.
Standard on Focus for the first time, the rearview camera will appear on either a 4.2-inch screen or the 8-inch screen that comes with MyFord Touch®-equipped cars.
BLIS® uses two advanced multiple-beam radar modules, the same used with cross-traffic alert, which are packaged in both rear quarter panels. The radar identifies when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the corresponding sideview mirror, providing a warning that a vehicle is approaching.
Should a Focus driver start to drift out of the current lane without a turn signal activated, the lane-keeping system provides a warning through a series of steering wheel vibrations that mimic a rumble strip. If the unintended lane departure is not corrected by the driver, the aid function of the system actively applies steering to help the driver direct the car back toward the center of the current lane.
The new Focus benefits from advancements in exterior styling, interior design, powertrain and technology, as well as suspension and chassis upgrades.
These include a new shock absorber valve design providing improved interior quietness, and a change to the rear suspension to give drivers a more connected feel to the road. The electric power-assisted steering has been retuned to make the driver feel even more connected to the road.
Enhanced SYNC AppLink Focus drivers will have access to powerful new capabilities thanks to a host of functions developers can integrate as they modify their apps to communicate with enhanced SYNC® AppLink™.
Android and iOS smartphone users can download more than 60 AppLink-enabled apps from the Apple App Store and Android market.
New functions include:
- Connected apps can access a variety of real-time vehicle data such as speed, acceleration, odometer and location information that can be used by the app to further customize and personalize the owner experience. For example, access to the in-vehicle GPS signal can enable more precise and accurate location-based services than phone sensors
- More consistent user experience thanks to voice pass-through capability. This enables developers to use on-device or cloud-based voice-recognition systems to evaluate driver commands, meaning drivers can use the same set of voice commands to control an app when connected to the vehicle as they would use when not connected
- Notifications read aloud as a driver enters the car, with no need to touch the phone. Best of all, alerts are available any time a mobile device is connected to SYNC AppLink, even if the app is not currently active. This means a driver could get an alert about a traffic jam ahead while listening to the radio or using another app
Ford builds the Focus in eight manufacturing plants on four continents. Facilities in Germany, the United States, Russia, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan and Argentina have a combined capacity to build more than 1.5 million Focus cars annually at a rate of more than two per second.
Since the launch of Focus in 1998, the best-selling vehicle nameplate in the world for two years running has sold more than 12 million vehicles globally.
Published: April, 2014 By Staff Report
Apr 7, 2014 | Dearborn, Mich.
Ford Transit Connect Wagon Earns Government’s Highest Safety Rating
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon a five-star Overall Vehicle Score in its New Car Assessment Program
- 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon offers owners comprehensive safety systems to help ensure occupant safety
- Transit Connect Wagon is available as a five- and seven-passenger people mover that offers the most flexible seating in its class
The 2014 Ford Transit Connect Wagon has earned a five-star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the government’s highest possible overall rating.
Last year, the European version of Transit Connect Wagon, known as Tourneo Connect, earned a five-star rating from the European New Car Assessment Program, the highest possible score from the consumer advocacy group. Transit Connect Wagon – available as a five-passenger or seven-passenger people mover in North America – went on sale here earlier this year.
“Transit Connect Wagon gives people on the go a unique-looking, fuel-efficient vehicle that also provides a high level of safety,” said Steve Kenner, director of Ford’s global automotive safety office. “The suite of safety and driver-assist features available on Transit Connect makes it a great choice for families and businesses.”
Safe and tough Transit Connect Wagon’s driver and passengers are protected by its body structure – more than half of which is built with high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels, including 16 percent boron steel. Transit Connect Wagon features driver and passenger side airbags for front-row occupants, as well as side curtain airbags for all seating rows.
Customers looking for a flexible people mover benefit from stringent testing conducted during the development of Transit Connect Wagon. The vehicle has been designed and engineered to meet rigorous global commercial vehicle durability standards – the equivalent of more than 3 million miles. This includes more than 250,000 miles of demanding on-road conditions.
Driver-assist and safety features Transit Connect Wagon is available with a full complement of driver-assist and safety features, making it attractive to families and businesses alike.
Available driver-assist features include a rear view camera, and forward and rear-sensing systems. The rear view camera shows what is behind the vehicle on a screen located in the center dash panel. The display’s guidelines and zoom feature help the driver align the vehicle, which is especially beneficial when towing.
At low speeds, ultrasonic sensors in the rear bumper alert the driver to objects behind the vehicle, while front sensors warn of objects at the front. The closer an object is to the vehicle, the faster the beeps sound, escalating to a constant tone.
Industry-exclusive Ford MyKey® technology is also available for Transit Connect. MyKey can be programmed to limit top speed and audio volume, encourage safety belt use and restrict incoming calls and texts to a paired cell phone. MyKey encourages safe driving habits in new drivers and can also serve as a useful tool for business owners to help them manage their fleet.
The vehicle also features an electric windshield defroster – a series of heating filaments within the windshield that can be used to more quickly clear ice, snow and mist.
– Ford to increase durability testing to 10 million cumulative miles for 2015 F-150 – Extensive testing proves this all-new F-150 lives up to Built Ford Tough standards – Ford went to new extremes – from mountaintops to frozen lakes – to put the truck through its paces
The all-new 2015 Ford F-150 has already scaled the highest points of the Continental Divide and experienced the most extreme weather conditions as Ford has set out to engineer its toughest truck yet.
Before the first 2015 F-150 rolls off the assembly line, it will have been subjected to 10 million miles of combined real-world and simulated durability testing.
“We wanted to build the toughest, most capable F-150, while making it as much as 700 pounds lighter,” said Pete Reyes, Ford F-150 chief engineer. “We challenged the team to torture the truck harder than any F-150 before it.”
The new F-150 towed trailers over mountain passes in temperatures above 120 degrees, withstood frame-punishing terrain on an off-road course and conquered a frozen lake at minus 40 degrees. It endured high-humidity chambers, salt vats and riverbeds. The F-150 towed heavy loads up grueling, steep roads. Robots slammed its doors and tailgates, and dropped heavy objects onto the bed of the truck. It persevered through twisting and shaking from multiple directions.
Some Ford tests are so extreme that a five-day period equals 10 years or 150,000 miles of abuse by the roughest customers. Reyes is quick to remind customers that the extreme tests Ford runs are conducted in controlled settings. “I discourage anyone from trying to create their own top 10 list,” he said. “Leave the testing to us.”
The all-new F-150 has been through hundreds of torture tests. Here are the 10 toughest:
Seven-channel input: Ford built a special torture rack that violently twists and shakes the truck seven ways – simultaneously – for five days, simulating the equivalent of 225,000 miles. This testing isn’t random. After running a fully instrumented truck through durability courses, engineers recorded the forces the road surface put on various vehicle components. Those forces are replicated in seven channels – four up and down, two side to side and one lengthwise down the center. The frame and body are stressed to see how well the truck performs in situations that might bend the frame.
Silver Creek: The famous Silver Creek durability course in Romeo, Mich., combines two extremely rough roads. One section of the route has 15 distinct types of chuckholes, while the other is made from broken pieces of concrete. Test drivers beg off this route after one pass because the pounding and speed is so intense. Imagine hitting a crater-sized pothole every five feet for miles – going 20 mph. With this road surface, 500 miles is equal to 20,000 miles on the country’s roughest roads.
Power Hop Hill: This washboard Ford test track in Romeo was created to replicate a steep, off-road dirt trail in the Hualapai Mountains of northwest Arizona. The severe 11 percent grade – steeper than the final section of most ski jump ramps – stresses engine and transmission components when the wheels lose contact and then return to the surface.
Drum drop: Ford engineers dropped 55-gallon drums into the bed of the truck on an angle, making sure all of the force came down on the sharp rim of the drum. Engineers in Dearborn, Mich., then measure the impact and make adjustments until the cargo box floor is suitably tough.
Corrosion bath: The 2015 F-150 is the first high-volume vehicle with a high-strength steel frame, and body panels made of high-strength, aluminum alloy – the same material used to make armor-plated tanks and navy warships. An advantage aluminum has over steel is that it doesn’t produce red rust. So Ford had to go beyond the usual tests that include driving vehicles through countless salt baths and soaking them in high-humidity chambers. The company developed a modified corrosion test using an acidified spray to be more aggressive on the high-strength, aluminum alloy. After simulating 10 years of exposure, the aluminum material showed virtually no signs of degradation.
Davis Dam: Run a half-marathon at Olympic-sprinter speed while carrying a 600-pound duffel bag in 120-degree temperatures, all up a 6 percent grade. Then do it 250 more times. That’s the Davis Dam durability route that stretches from just outside Bullhead City, Ariz., to the top of Union Pass. The F-150 climbed for 13 miles at posted speeds (varying from 35 mph to 65 mph) while pulling maximum trailer loads and running the air conditioning full blast in the heat of an Arizona summer.
Stone Peck Alley: There’s a special place in Romeo where paint jobs come to prove their mettle while testers work to protect the metal. To test paint for the all-new F-150, engineers drove the truck 150 miles over gravel roads, then another 150 miles over pellets of extremely jagged scrap iron that is first passed through a blast furnace. Oversized tires spray the stones and scrap iron at every surface of the truck.
Engine thermal shock: F-150 engines are first placed in a special cell and hooked to equipment, called a dynamometer, which simulates pulling a heavy trailer at full throttle up a steep grade. Next, thermal shock testing takes engines from the coldest polar vortex to extreme heat in just seconds. The engine coolant and oil are quick-cooled to minus 20 degrees in as little as 20 seconds, then the engine runs at maximum power while coolant and oil temperatures stabilize, first at 230 degrees and then at 270 degrees, before being chilled again. This process is run 350 times over more than 400 hours to prove the durability of the engine block, seals, gaskets, cylinder heads and liners.
Rock and stop: Serious off-roaders navigate difficult terrain using the same drive/reverse/drive technique many drivers use to get unstuck from snow. Ford performs 500 aggressive starts on a stand specially designed to torture rear axles. The stand creates impacts at nearly 2,000 lb.-ft. of torque. This is more torque than the truck is capable of making – 130 percent more and then some – just to be certain the rear axle and all of its parts can withstand the abuse.
Twist ditch: F-150 customers need to trust their trucks in off-road terrain. The twist ditch is a set of parallel dirt mounds built to create a situation in which one front wheel hangs in the air while the opposing rear wheel leaves the ground repeatedly. Only two small patches of rubber are left to make contact with a slippery surface and maintain traction. These ditches can put incredible stress on the truck’s body and frame.
Here is the video!
The front grill of the 2015 aluminum Ford F-150 on display during the ‘Tough Tested Ford F-150′ media event at the Ford Innovation and Research Center in Dearborn, Michigan on Wednesday. / Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press
By Alisa Priddle
Detroit Free Press Business Writer
Areas where aluminum is bonded to steel, such as fasteners, are very susceptible to rust. Ford developed a painted adhesive with flakes of aluminum or zinc that prevents corrosion. / Photos by Eric Seals/Detroit Free Press
The 2015 Ford F-150 may be a lightweight, but the automaker has gone to extremes to ensure the aluminum-bodied successor is more durable than the steel-bodied pickup it will replace.
When the all-new 2015 model goes on sale in the fourth quarter, it will continue to have a steel frame, but the entire body will be made of lighter-weight aluminum and the truck sheds 700 pounds, which will contribute to better fuel economy.
General Motors has been stressing its steel-bodied trucks in advertising since Ford revealed in January its plans to switch to aluminum. “We’ve noticed,” said Doug Scott, Ford truck group marketing manager. Ford will step up marketing later in the year when the new truck goes on sale and the ads will highlight aluminum as a game changer, he said. “We won’t be shy about it.”
On Wednesday, Ford engineers offered a behind-the-curtain look at the development and testing since the 2009 decision to incorporate advanced materials never before used in a pickup.
The truck was put through tortuous paces, said Raj Nair, global product development chief. Engineers built 11 prototypes and increased durability testing to withstand 10 million cumulative miles.
“Engineers tried to break it in testing,” Nair said. One prototype competed in the grueling Baja off-road race. The race team did not know their truck had an aluminum body or a prototype of the new 2.7-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine under the hood. They did note the engine was quieter than usual and installed lights in the cabin to signal when to shift gears. Some prototypes were put in the field where mining, construction and utility companies unwittingly tested them.
“They abused the truck,” said engineer Bruno Barthelemy. “It’s kind of sad when you’re the engineer. But we wanted a tough truck, so we developed special tests so it performs better than the truck today.”
Engineer Pete Friedman said the team has worked on better materials and processes for years to troubleshoot possible problems.
For example, though aluminum does not rust, areas where aluminum is bonded to steel are very susceptible to rust. Rob Starbowski, corrosion protection supervisor, worked on an adhesive bonding agent to prevent corrosion on joints where aluminum parts attach to the steel frame. Materials specialist Glen Weber tested fastener finishes and found the solution in a painted adhesive with flakes of aluminum or zinc to prevent corrosion.
John Caris worked on taking weight out of the frame. The current frame is 40% high-strength steels while the new truck boosts that to 77%. Some parts were designed to be smaller and lighter, side rails incorporate thinner gauges of steel in portions and there are now aluminum cross members. It amounts to a 60-pound weight loss.
But 70% of weight reduction is from greater use of aluminum, said Mark Keller.
Other engineers simulated fingertip smudges on interior surfaces and redid some graphics to make sure they would not rub off over time. Artificial light simulated fading of fabrics, leather and plastics because of sunlight. A group of 10 burly men wearing dusty jeans climbed in and out of seats 10,000 times to test the fabric, said chief engineer Peter Reyes.
For 2015, Ford adds a new EcoBoost engine to the lineup: the 2.7-liter turbocharged engine that is more compact and weighs about 370 pounds.
Contact Alisa Priddle: 313-222-5394 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AlisaPriddle.
Vijay Pattni08 April 2014
‘Spacious and aspirational’ S-Max Vignale concept revealed in Milan, gets lots of leather and tech
Half of Ford’s large cars are sold in a high trim; of those, between 10 to 15 per cent want an even higher level of spec and customer service. For you discerning folk then, may we present the Ford S-Max Vignale concept.
It’s been unveiled today in Milan and follows the Mondeo Vignale Concept we saw last year. It’s an attempt to offer the S-Max in a very luggzury specification to make you feel warm and gooey inside, setting aside the notion of one of your offspring actually unpacking his or her lunch on the rear seat.
Speaking of which, this concept comes with Vignale embossed seating with hexagonal quilting and high-quality, soft-touch leather, there is aluminium detailing, tablet docking stations, and an ‘intelligent’ flexible seating concept with thinner seats, to name a few.
The ‘Milano Grigio’ colour tone is matched to this darker interior – taking cues from menswear trends Top Gear has literally no idea about – and there’s leather sweeping across the dashboard and instrument panel, past the glass roof to the boot in a single colour.
Outside, there’s a hexagonal grille first seen on the Mondeo Vignale, 21in alloys, chrome mirror caps and ‘jewellery-like appliques’. In fact, Sonja Vandenberk, chief designer of colour and material at Ford, tells us “the design language itself is on the cusp of the latest fashion and furniture trends, reflecting inspirations in terms of fabrics, leathers, colours and detailing”.
It all looks very dandy indeed, and it will go into production once the Mondeo Vignale reaches customers next year. Fancy one?