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Posts Tagged ‘2012 ford c-max’

Ford to Invest $400 Million in Kansas City Plant

Automaker hasn't announced what vehicle it will build there.

by on Jan.19, 2011

Ford will invest $400 million in its Kansas City factory to produce an unspecified vehicle, while retaining 3,750 jobs.

The plant currently builds F-150s and Escapes, but Escape production is moving to Louisville.

Speculation about the vehicle that will be built at Kansas City centers on the 2012 C-Max, a seven-passenger microvan that is similar is size to the Mazda 5.

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“This investment and promise of a new vehicle to be built in Kansas City reinforces Ford’s commitment to U.S. manufacturing and American jobs,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.

“Investing in our plants, products and people is critical to Ford’s ability to compete with the best in the business. Ford is committed to doing everything it takes to work with its partners, including the United Auto Workers, to remain competitive.”

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First Drive: 2012 Ford C-Max

Getting the max out of the minivan.

by on Dec.20, 2010

Ford introduces a hands-free liftgate system on its new 2012 C-Max.

When it’s time to set up a joke on late-night television, there are several things that will always get you a laugh.  Mention New Jersey, for one.  Or minivans.  The much-maligned people mover is seemingly a stand-in for everything worth jibing about with suburban American life.

Which is funny because, when it comes down to practicality, perhaps no vehicle more serious about doing its job than the classic American minivan.  They’re roomy, safe, practical, efficient and, well, try to squeeze nearly as much stuff into the back of an SUV, or simply get the kids in and buckled up without that signature sliding door.

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Which is why, despite the most dire predictions, the minivan market hasn’t dried up and blown away. If anything, it’s regaining strength after hitting last year’s segment low – and giving hope to Ford Motor Co. that its newest offering will finally help the maker capture a solid share of what it prefers to call the “people-mover segment” with the all-new 2012 Ford C-Max.

Call it what you will, but this compact 7-seater could finally give Ford a shot at buyers who have long ignored offerings like the Windstar and Freestar (Click Here for more.) And if we see the serious run up in fuel prices many predict, the C-Max could become a serious alternative to the bigger minivans that currently comprise the vast majority of what’s available in the U.S.

The 2012 Ford C-Max is surprisingly roomy, despite its compact footprint, attractive, affordable and fuel efficient.  It also offers a number of interesting innovations – including a new hands-free liftgate that we expect competitors like Chrysler, Honda and Toyota racing to reverse-engineer.

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Opinion: Can C-Max Succeed Where Other Ford Minivans Have Failed?

Domestic maker struggled for alternative in segment increasingly dominated by imports.

by on Dec.20, 2010

Coming to America - under the Ford C-Max nameplate, the European version of this "people mover" carries a Grand C-Max badge.

More than a quarter-century after Chrysler launched the first truly mainstream minivan, Ford Motor Co. remains a company in search of its own alternative.

It’s not that Ford hasn’t tried; far from it.  It has tried repeatedly to crack a segment of the market that once generated sales of well over one million vehicles annually – most notably with the long-running Windstar.  The first time out of the box, Ford boasted that its approach offered 99 advantages over Chrysler’s competing entries, which then included such models as the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan.  But buyers would have nothing of it.

Time and again, Ford fell short, finally abandoning the classic minivan segment after the abortive Freestar fell flat.

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If you can’t dominate an existing market segment, automakers have come to believe, the best approach is to create a new segment of your own – which Ford tried, two years ago, with the introduction of the Flex “people mover.”  Flex is a solid and impressive vehicle, all the more so after you spend some time behind  the wheel.  But its long, boxy shape and the lack of sliding doors – a minivan staple – have hurt it in the market, where Flex continues to lag far behind the two current Chrysler minivan offerings, as well as the various Japanese competitors that have increasingly gained strength over the years.

But Ford will be back, even if the company does continue to stick with the term, people mover, rather than minivan, for the 2012 C-Max that it formally unveiled in Europe, earlier this year – and which will get its first American showing at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show.

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