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Safety Watch List Topped by 2012 Ford Focus

Second consecutive quarter it takes top spot.

by on Oct.02, 2014

The 2012 Ford Focus topped The Safety Institute's quarterly "Watch List" due to steering problems.

Drivers of the 2012 Ford Focus sustained more injuries than those in any other vehicle in the U.S., according to The Safety Institute’s quarterly “Watch List.” It’s the second straight quarter the Focus has topped the list.

The complaints, which are made to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), center on two issues: allegations that the electric power steering shuts down randomly and intermittently as well as complaints about delaminating steering wheels that lacerate drivers’ hands.

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“The steering wheel has sharp metal edges protruding from the top of the wheel,” one person wrote in a complaint. “While driving on the highway, I sliced my finger on the edge. Not a major incident… but upon reviewing the Internet this is apparently a common issue with the Ford Focus… My hope is that Ford will repair or replace the metal on the wheel so it is no longer a danger while driving.” (more…)

Ford Unveils 40-MPG Gas Engine for 2012 Focus

Who needs hybrids?

by on Mar.24, 2011

So much from so little? The new Ford 2.0 I4.

The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine has been a staple of automotive propulsion around the world for decades — in places like Asia and Europe and Australia and Africa, anyway, but not so much here in the States.  Americans have tended to shy away from little 122 cubic-inch engines, but with gasoline at $3.50 and rising, that reluctance is wearing away.

Or so Ford hopes.  With the introduction of the 2012 Ford Focus, there’s a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that promises 160 horsepower, 147 foot-pounds of torque, and, in the specially equipped Focus SFE model, with a 6-speed automatic transmission, 28 miles per gallon in city driving and 40 miles per gallon on the highway (the 5-speed manual transmission gets a rating of 28 city, 36 highway).

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Ford just showed the guts of this new engine, designed for use in a range of small and smaller Ford products well into the future.  The maker is betting that powerplants like the new 2.0 I4 could provide a viable alternative for more costly hybrids and even the more sophisticated — but expensive — Ford EcoBoost for many customers.


Ford Fills a Hole

Torque Hole Filling technology smooths shifts in '12 Ford Focus.

by on Jan.28, 2011

The 2012 Ford Focus' dual-clutch automated manual transmission will feature Torque Hole Filling technology, to help make shifts smoother.

When the Ford Focus goes on sale later this year, drivers should notice the next level in transmission shift quality.

The 2012 Focus will have what Ford calls Torque Hole Filling technology, a concept the automaker first patented a quarter century ago. While Ford has had a patent on the concept since the ’80s, it had to wait for computer technology to catch up.

Ford introduced the dual-clutch automated manual transmission on the 2011 Fiesta. Even without the THF, the transmission, which Ford calls PowerShift, was remarkably smooth. Still, traditional torque-converter automatic transmissions have an edge in smoothness compared to automated manuals.

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But automated manual transmissions promise better fuel efficiency because they use computer-controlled automated clutches rather than inefficient torque converters.

So what is the torque hole? Typical transmissions have a break in power delivery between shifts. So every time the transmission shifts, no tractable power is going to the wheels, so there’s a hole in the acceleration.

THF adds a little engine torque to the driveline to smooth shifts.


Ford Teases Launch of Focus Electric

Official unveiling scheduled for Consumer Electronics Show.

by on Jan.03, 2011

A close-up of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric reveals the battery charging port on the front fender.

Hoping to get potential buyers to plug into the upcoming launch of its new Focus Electric, Ford is offering this little tease of its new battery car, which first popped up on its Facebook site.

The Focus Electric will actually be the second battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, in the Ford line-up, following months behind the launch of the Transit Connect Electric, a battery-powered version of the maker’s compact commercial van.  All told, the Detroit maker plans to roll out five BEVs and plug-in hybrids over the next several years.

While the 2012 Ford Focus Electric will make an appearance at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show, it will actually debut several days earlier at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.  Ford has been a major player at CES and, yet again, CEO Alan Mulally will serve as keynote speaker, for the third time since he joined the automaker in 2006.

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Ford is keeping details of the Focus Electric under wraps until Friday morning, but it has provided a few clues in recent months.  The compact model will reply on a lithium-ion battery pack expected to yield somewhere in the range of 100 miles per charge – though the exact figure could be 20% less using revised federal testing procedures (as Nissan learned when it launched the new Leaf).


2012 Ford Focus To Get Torque Vectoring

Torque split technology designed to power car through corners.

by on Dec.29, 2010

Ford will offer torque vectoring technology on all its 2012 Focus models.

Among the numerous features Ford Motor Co. will offer on its new 2012 Focus model will be something called torque vectoring control, a system designed to help power the car through corners.

The new system is designed to shift torque to the outer wheel as the Focus goes into a turn, both maximizing grip and improving performance.

Ford becomes the first automaker in the compact segment to offer torque vectoring, notes Focus program manager Rick Bolt.  “Because torque vectoring control is on all our Focus models, it will elevate skill sets across a broad range of drivers,” he contends.

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But Ford is just the latest on a growing list of manufacturers offering torque vectoring technology.  Other makers that have adopted the concept include Audi, Acura and Subaru.  The concept goes a giant leap beyond the time-tested limited-slip differential offered by most modern automakers.  And with all-wheel-drive models can help overcome a tendency to push through corners.


Ford Can’t Ease Up, Says Chairman Bill Ford

Maker’s success could be its undoing.

by on Dec.16, 2010

Ford has to maintain the pace of change, says Chairman Bill Ford, left, shown with CEO Alan Mulally, in front of the new 2012 Ford Focus.

Few automakers have gone through more substantial change, in recent years, than Ford Motor Co., and it is paying off with increased sales, margins and profits.  But could that actually be the automaker’s undoing?

Success is a two-edged sword, acknowledged Ford’s top executives, including Chairman Bill Ford, in a series of conversations with, and if the company rests on its laurels, they believe, it could once again wind up in the precarious position it found itself going into the recession.

Ford’s turnaround has been costly and difficult.  It required the closing of a number of plants, the sale of foreign-based brands like Jaguar and Volvo, the closing of the Mercury division, and the piling on of debt.  But by avoiding a federal bailout last year, Ford has scored with consumers who applaud its self-determination and reward the maker with their business, said Chairman Ford.

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In times past, he quickly adds, the automaker might have smugly settled into a business-as-usual mode.

“In the past, whenever we’ve made it out of the bad times, we’ve stopped changing,” and that, acknowledges Ford, is how it has repeatedly gotten into trouble.

“The world around us continues to change,” stresses the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford.  “We need to recognize this isn’t a static world and find ways to continue driving change through the organization,” even when the crisis is over.


Where The Rubber – And Old Blue Jeans – Meet The Road

Ford recycling old clothing for use in new Focus model.

by on Nov.30, 2010

The 2012 Ford Focus will make use of recycled jeans and other materials.

While some folks routinely give old clothes to charity, those worn jeans and torn sweaters are far more likely to end up in the landfill.  But Ford Motor Co. has found yet another, better use for those old bell bottoms.

With the debut of the 2012 Focus, cotton from recycled clothing will be transformed into carpet backing and sound-deadening insulation.  Each car will use the equivalent of about two pairs of classic American jeans, the company says.

“Ford is continually looking for greener alternatives,” notes Carrie Majeske, the automaker’s product sustainability manager. “One of our key goals is to use more recycled or renewable materials without compromising performance or durability. Recycled content is a way to divert waste from landfills and reduce the impact of mining virgin material.”

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The use of recycled and non-traditional materials dates back to the days of Henry Ford himself, a strong advocate for the use of soy-based materials – some of which came from the soybean crops grown on his vast land holdings near Ford Motor Co.’s Dearborn, Michigan headquarters.

The maker continues to use soy foams for seating, along with recycled plastics and even re-purposed rubber from tires, for applications ranging from interior panels to pedal covers.


Ford Adding New Small Car to Mercury Line-up.

Model should share global C-car platform 2012 Focus.

by on Feb.15, 2010

Mercury will be getting a new small car, the company hinted to dealers, based on the same platform as the 2012 Focus, shown here.

Mercury dealers, long left feeling like part of the automotive lonely-hearts club, apparently got an unexpected valentine from Ford officials, over the weekend.  After leaving the brand struggling with an aging line-up, Mercury is apparently set to get a new small car offering based on the same platform as the next-generation Ford Focus.

A preview of the downsized Mercury is likely for upcoming New York Auto Show, senior officials, including Ford’s President of the Americas, Mark Fields, revealed during a meeting with dealers at the annual National Automobile Dealers Association convention, in Orlando.

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The new Mercury will be a part of the so-called “One Ford” strategy launched by Ford CEO Alan Mulally, shortly after joining the company three years ago.  A total of 10 different products are expected to come off the Global C-Car platform, including the replacement for the current Ford Focus, due to debut in the U.S. market as a 2012 model.  A new Mercury version would likely come at about the same time, according to sources.