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Posts Tagged ‘Ford Focus’

MPG Picks “Vehicle of the Year” Finalists

Awards season gets underway.

by on Oct.07, 2011

The Fiat 500 is one of the finalists for the inaugural MPG Vehicle of the Year award.

Billing itself as the largest automotive media association in North America, MPG members have selected cars from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group as finalist for their first MPG Vehicle of the Year Award.  The presence of each of the domestics is significant considering California is the home of the imports, a market where you might go all day without seeing Detroit sheet metal.

The finalists for the new honor, which is certain to command broad attention, include the 2012 Audi A7, 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, 2012 Fiat 500, 2012 Ford Focus and 2011 Hyundai Elantra. The Fiat 500 is sold by Chrysler across North America — and built at a Chrysler plant in Mexico.

Award Winner!

The five finalists for the “VOTY” were chosen by a panel of 18 MPG journalist members who drive and review new vehicles on a regular basis. All MPG journalist members will evaluate the final five vehicles and vote on the winner at the organization’s annual Track Day event in mid-October. The winner of the award will be announced during the LA auto show’s press days, next month.

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Hatchbacks are Hot at Ford

Evos Concept suggests more coming, product chief Kuzak hints.

by on Sep.06, 2011

The face -- and backend -- of the future for Ford? The Evos Concept suggests even more hatchbacks are in the pipeline.

Hatchbacks are hot at Ford Motor Co. and the maker’s new Evos Concept – which officially debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show next week – suggests that even more 3- and 5-door models are in the works, according to the maker’s head of global product planning.

Long considered unacceptable to U.S. motorists, hatchbacks are gaining ground fast with younger buyers and influencing even older motorists to take another look.  That convinced Ford to go with a 5-door design for the Evos Concept which introduces a new look that “will become increasingly familiar” to the company’s customers around the world,” said product czar Derrick Kuzak.

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“The (hatchback) body style is becoming increasingly popular worldwide and especially in North America,” Kuzak told TheDetroitBureau.com, in sharp contrast with years past.

Where hatchbacks were offered on past-generation Ford products sold in the U.S., said the product chief, they accounted for perhaps 20% of total sales.  Now, Kuzak noted, “It’s just the opposite,” hatchbacks generating 60 to 70% of demand for models like the 2012 Ford Focus and 2011 Ford Fiesta.

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Ford Teaming up with Zipcar

Partnership targets potential buyers on college campuses.

by on Aug.31, 2011

Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Zipcar Chairman Scott Griffith with a Zipcar Ford Focus.

Ford Motor Co. is teaming up with car-share service Zipcar to put 1,000 Ford vehicles onto college campuses across the U.S.

The Zipcar service is designed to offer easy access for those who need a car for brief periods – such as commuters or college students who might need to run quick errands.

The company already has partnerships with a number of other manufacturers and is also pioneering the use of electric vehicles.  There are more than 600,000 registered users who already have access to a fleet of 9,000 vehicles. But the alliance with Ford will become Zipcar’s biggest partnership yet.

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Initially, Zipcar will field 650 Fords, including the Focus compact and the Escape crossover.  Ultimately, as many as 1,000 Ford will go into service during the two-year pilot.  The Detroit maker is sponsoring a special reduced-rate program for students – and sees the alliance as a way to reach young buyers who traditionally haven’t had Ford on their radar, says CEO Bill Ford, Jr.

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Consumer Reports Pulls Recommended Buy on 2012 Honda Civic

“Scores too low,” says influential publication, echoing extensive criticism of redesign.

by on Aug.01, 2011

Already battered by poor reviews, the 2012 Honda Civic has now lost its Recommended Buy endorsement from Consumer Reports magazine.

Already battered by both weak reviews and production problems that have led to shortages of the latest redesign, the influential Consumer Reports magazine has pulled its recommendation of the 2012 Honda Civic which “scored too low” in its latest shoot-out among compact cars.

The news is another setback for the third-largest Japanese automaker, which had been counting on the 2012 Civic to overcome recent problems with various niche offerings, such as the Insight hybrid and Accord CrossTour.

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In an increasingly competitive compact segment, the 2012 Honda Civic scored what the magazine described as a “mediocre” 61 points, down 17 points from the score of 78 for the previous-generation Civic.

“While other models like the Hyundai Elantra have gotten better after being redesigned, the Civic has dropped so much that now it ranks near the bottom of its category,” said David Champion, Consumer Reports’ lead auto tester.

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A Hatchback Comeback?

No longer just econoboxes.

by on Jul.20, 2011

Redefining the hatchback, the new Audi A7

When Chicago’s Dee Brustein graduated college earlier this year, her parents chipped in to help her buy a new Ford Fiesta.  The one they had in mind was a sedan.  Dee, with her degree in engineering, wanted something that was both more practical and hip.  So she opted for the 5-door hatchback.

“They just couldn’t understand,” laughs the 22-year-old.  “They’re Boomers, and to them, hatchbacks aren’t cool.  But I think it looks nicer and it has a lot more room and that will help me because I figure I may wind up moving a few times as I start my career.”

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Hatchback or sedan?  That’s a debate a lot of folks are having these days, and not just on the consumer side.  Ford officials acknowledge they were originally unsure about offering a five-door body style when they introduced their first subcompact into the U.S. market in decades.  But so far, it’s proven unexpectedly popular, accounting for about half of all the Fiestas sold in the U.S. – and hatchbacks make up 41% of the sales for the larger, newly-redesigned Ford Focus.

Ford is anything but unique.

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Ford Reveals Aggressive Product Plan for Europe

“We’ve come through the worst,” says Odell.

by on Jun.15, 2011

Ford lays out plans for all-new products, including the replacement for the Focus ST.

Ford is planning to introduce an array of 20 new or significantly freshened vehicles in Europe over the next three years and will use existing plants in Spain, Germany, Romania and Turkey to carry out the plan.

The program is designed to help Ford turn things around after a devastating downturn worsened by the 2009 economic crisis.

“We’ve come through the worst of the economic crisis as a strong and profitable company, and we have a full pipeline of exciting vehicles coming to market,” said Stephen Odell, chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe, “Now we are taking the right actions to grow profitably in Europe.”

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With the automaker pressing ever further with its One Ford strategy, however, the plans for Europe will be felt around the world, notably in the United States, where next-generation models, such as the Fiesta and Ford also will be introduced.  The changes coming in Europe, meanwhile, are designed to support CEO Alan Mulally’s plans to grow global sales by more than 50%.

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Ford Confirms Plans to Boost Sales 50% by Mid-Decade

China, other emerging markets forecast to fuel demand.

by on Jun.07, 2011

Ford CEO Mulally is expected to announce plans to push for a 50% global sales bump.

This is an update of an earlier report on TheDetroitBureau.com.

Ford Motor Co. has confirmed it expects to boost global sales by 50% by mid-decade, the lion’s share of that increase coming from emerging markets like China.

That would boost the maker’s worldwide sales from 5.3 million last year to around 8 million, putting it on a par with industry giants like General Motors, Volkswagen and the 800-pound gorilla of the auto world, Toyota, which sold 8.42 million vehicles in 2010.

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Notably, Ford is expecting to put an increasing emphasis on small cars, rather than the trucks that long dominated its product line-up.  It is projecting that small vehicles will account for 55% of its worldwide volume by 2020.

Though Ford is looking at growth in all its key markets, including North and South America, as well as Europe, Mulally is expected to put an emphasis on its Asia-Pacific-Africa division.  Currently, those regions account for 15% of total Ford volumes worldwide, but the maker expects to bump that to a full third by 2020.

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Ford Reportedly Aiming For Huge Bump in Sales

Maker sees the future in Asia.

by on Jun.07, 2011

Ford CEO Mulally is expected to announce plans to push for a 50% global sales bump.

Ford Motor Co. will aim to boost its global sales by as much as 50% by mid-decade, CEO Alan Mulally is expected to announce today.

That would see its sales jump from 5.3 million last year to around 8 million, putting it on a par with industry giants like General Motors, Volkswagen and the 800-pound gorilla of the auto world, Toyota, which sold 8.42 million vehicles in 2010.

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Though Ford is looking at growth in all its key markets, including North and South America, as well as Europe, Mulally is expected to put an emphasis on its Asia-Pacific-Africa division, according to a report in the New York Times.  Currently, those regions account for 15% of total Ford volumes worldwide, but the maker expects to bump that to a full third by 2020.

“We’re clearly transitioning into a growth mode after going through a horrific recession and industry collapse,” Mulally told the Times. “We are now positioned to serve customers where the market is growing.”

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China Critical to Ford’s Future

Maker struggling to catch up to key competitors, GM and VW.

by on Apr.18, 2011

Ford showed the Start Concept at Beijing, last year.

Chinese car buyers will get their first good look at the new Ford Focus, this week, at the biennial Shanghai Motor Show.  The compact model is a critical part of the maker’s global OneFord strategy – but could be even more crucial if Ford hopes to finally gain some traction in the world’s largest and fastest-growing automotive market.

The Detroit maker, which has been building momentum in the U.S., Europe and some of the other key emerging markets, continues to struggle in China, where its share lags not only market leaders like General Motors and Volkswagen, but even relative newcomers such as Hyundai.

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But with a planned marketing blitz that includes the Focus and a wide range of additional products, Ford executives insist they can make up for lost time.

“Together with our partners, we are leveraging the strength of the One Ford plan and our global platforms to bring 15 new vehicles to China by 2015, reinforcing our commitment to offer a full portfolio of vehicles for our Chinese customers,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa.

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Ford Hits Nearly 70 MPG with Focus ECOnetic

1000 miles on a single tank.

by on Apr.07, 2011

1,000 miles on a tank of diesel.

Imagine driving from Boston to Atlanta without tanking up.  Besides needing to find a restroom fast, you might be amazed by the money you’ve saved.

For the moment, unfortunately, you’ll have to head to Europe to enjoy that sort of fuel economy, as there are no immediate plans to bring the new Ford Focus ECOnetic to the U.S.  But, who knows, with the current run-up in fuel prices and the fact that the upcoming American version of Ford’s new compact sedan could readily borrow the new diesel drivetrain debuting on the Continent.

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With the launch of the Ford ECOnetic, the maker lays claim to having the most fuel-efficient model in its class – in fact, the five-door matches and exceeds the mileage of most smaller models, as well.

How does the ECOnetic work its magic?  It delivers nearly 70 mpg — about 10 mpg over its already efficient predecessor — with the use of an updated 105-horsepower 1.6-liter Duratorq diesel that integrates a new injection system, a redesigned turbo, enhanced charge cooling and a variety of features to reduce internal friction.

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