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Ford Aims to Edge Out the Competition with All-New 2015 Edge CUV

Crossover will target Europe for 1st time.

by on Jun.24, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Edge adopts the same C/D platform as the maker's Fusion sedan.

Ford hopes to maintain its Edge when it launches an all-new version of its midsize crossover later this year, the 2015 Ford Edge marking the nameplate’s debut in the European market.

The new crossover-utility vehicle, originally introduced for the 2007 model-year, the Edge quickly gained traction in the booming U.S. CUV market, and it has been a major factor in Ford’s rapid growth in China. Now, the maker hopes to repeat that success in Europe as it launches an all-new version of the Edge that it boasts is more refined, more powerful and more fuel efficient.

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The new Edge also serves as the latest example of retiring CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, the 2015 crossover migrating to a new platform that it shares with a variety of other key Ford products including the midsize Fusion sedan, the 4-door European Mondeo and S-Max people-mover, as well as the latest version of the Lincoln MKZ.

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First Drive: Ford Fiesta 1.0-Liter EcoBoost

Everything you know about small engines is wrong.

by on Nov.27, 2012

The 2014 Ford Fiesta update will get a new 1.0-liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

In the wake of the twin oil shocks of the 1970s, automakers flooded the market with a variety of high-mileage powertrains that were, well, less than impressive.  That included smoke-belching and rough-riding diesels as well as pint-sized engines, including some 3-cylinder alternatives that could shake the fillings out of your teeth.

The latest European import diesels have begun to reshape the way Americans think about that technology, sales for products like the Volkswagen Passat TDI surging fast. Now, Ford is ready to rewrite the rules on micro-sized engines, with a diminutive 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder EcoBoost scheduled to debut in the subcompact Fiesta line next year.

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The package is the latest of four EcoBoost engines Ford has introduced in recent years, a line-up that the company bills as a serious alternative not only to conventional gasoline power but even battery-based hybrids. Motorists have so far taken to the technology, EcoBoost sales soaring in products ranging from the midsize Fusion sedan to the big F-150 pickup. But will the new 3-cylinder offering deliver in the 2014 Ford Fiesta?

To find out, TheDetroitBureau.com took an early flight out to Los Angeles, in advance of the upcoming LA Auto Show, to get a day’s driving behind the wheel of a 2014 Fiesta equipped with the new 1.0-liter engine.  Our initial experience was, in a word, “impressive.”

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First Drive: 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Finally, a real challenger to Prius?

by on Aug.28, 2012

Ford hopes the distinctively designed C-Max Hybrid can challenge the dominance of the Toyota Prius.

Toyota has ruled the hybrid segment since the original Prius rolled onto the U.S. market a dozen years ago — and up until now Ford Motor Co. has trailed a distant second with its well-regarded Escape Hybrid.

But Ford is changing gears, having retired the gas-electric version of the Escape in favor of a new version of the updated crossover now powered by the maker’s well-received EcoBoost drivetrain. That doesn’t mean Ford is walking away from the battery-car market.  Far from it.  If anything, it is rolling out an assortment of hybrids and even more advanced vehicles that, it hopes, will gives the Detroit maker a chance to challenge Toyota’s perceived leadership in green automotive technology.

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Key to Ford’s bid to reduce Toyota’s dominance is the 2013 C-MAX hybrid, which comes with a five-door body style popular in Europe — and a completely new hybrid powertrain under the hood.  The C-Max is being positioned as a direct challenge to Prius and will be Ford’s first model line offered only with hybrid or plug-in hybrid power.

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First Look: Ford Focus ST and Focus ST-R

A different take on performance.

by on Sep.12, 2011

Ford will unveil the long-awaited Focus ST at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The name SVT may be missing, but if the new Focus ST and Focus ST-R are any indication, Ford Motor Co. is getting serious about performance again, rather than limiting its muscle options to the likes of the Lightning pickup truck and Mustang pony car variants.

The two new offerings, which include the track-ready Ford Focus ST-R will make their long-anticipated debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this week, with Ford insiders hinting there may be even more in the works for the biennial event, the season’s largest European car show.

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Significantly, the Focus ST underscores CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, as it is the first of what the Detroit automaker can accurately bill as a “global performance car.”  Others, it appears, are likely to follow.  And there will be an emphasis on using higher-performance versions of Ford’s EcoBoost technology.

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Ford Opts for Hybrid-Only Strategy for New C-Max

Planned people mover will be launched with hybrid and plug-in powertrains only.

by on Jun.09, 2011

Ford will offer the C-Max with only a choice of two hybrid drivelines, including the extended-range C-Max Energi plug-in.

This story has been updated from the original to include more detail and official Ford comments on the C-Max project. TheDetroitBureau.com Editor Joe Szczesny contributed to this report.

Ford Motor Co. planners have shifted direction for the upcoming launch of the all-new C-Max microvan.  The new people mover will be sold only as a hybrid model, becoming the first dedicated gas-electric offering in the Ford line-up.

While Ford has decided to scrub a gas-powered, three-row version of the C-Max, the 2-row 5-seater will give U.S. buyers a choice of two battery-based drivetrains: a conventional hybrid, similar to the system now used in models such as the Ford Escape Hybrid, and a new plug-in version, the first time Ford has used that technology, which will allow a motorist to run extended distances on battery power alone.

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“This is our Prius fighter,” said Jim Farley, Ford vice president of global marketing, sales and service, said Thursday as he showed off  the hybrid version of the C-Max multi-purpose vehicle during a press conference at a Ford transmission plant outside Detroit.

There are several reasons for the change in strategy.  For one thing, Farley had argued that the maker needs a true high-tech halo car, much like the Toyota Prius, that is offered solely with hybrid technology.  Though Ford has greatly expanded its gas-electric line-up – and plans to have five battery-electric or plug-in models on the market before mid-decade – it doesn’t have a visually distinctive model that effectively says “hybrid.”

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First Look: 2013 Ford Taurus

A higher-mileage "rolling showcase" of technology.

by on Apr.20, 2011

Ford updates the Taurus for 2013, adding new features and a second EcoBoost engine rated at 31 mpg highway.

Just three years into its latest run, the Ford Taurus is getting  an update designed to enhance its appeal through a mix of design changes, technological updates and, perhaps most significantly, more fuel-efficient powertrains.

The 2013 Taurus will become the first Ford product to offer two versions of Ford’s new high-mileage EcoBoost engine technology, one capable of delivering up to 31 miles per gallon, a significant figure for such a large sedan.

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The new Taurus is “a rolling showcase of our best technologies and features,” proclaimed Ford’s global product czar, Derrick Kuzak, during a New York Auto Show preview.

The Taurus is one of the best-known nameplates in the American market, industry studies have shown.  First introduced in 1986, the sedan became an instant best-seller before Ford began to shift focus to its more profitable light truck models.  The nameplate was briefly allowed to lag, but when he joined the company four years ago, then-new CEO Alan Mulally pressed for its return.

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First Look: 2012 Ford B-Max

To B or not to B…

by on Feb.28, 2011

Ford European designer Stefan Lamm shows off the maker's new B-Max multi-purpose vehicle.

If Ford was hoping to make a splash with its newest microvan, the 2012 B-Max, it couldn’t have lucked into a better time to pull off the covers.

With the Mideast in turmoil and the Libyan crisis, in particular, pushing oil prices back up towards record levels, small cars are poised to become big business.  The question is just how far buyers are willing to downsize.

The new model, officials dubbed a Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or MPV, in Europe, will make its formal debut at the Geneva Motor Show, tomorrow, though Ford gave a handful of media a preview of the 2012 B-Max a day ahead of schedule.

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For those unfamiliar with industry logic, the “B-“ refers to the size of the van’s underlying platform.  It also reveals that the Ford B-Max shares its “architecture” with the subcompact Ford Fiesta, which made its return to the U.S. market last year.

But there’s a double-meaning, in that the B-Max doesn’t have the normal B-pillar.  More on that in a moment.

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First Look: 2012 Ford C-Max Energi

Ford unveils hybrid, plug-in versions of new C-Max microvan.

by on Jan.10, 2011

Ford first plug-in hybrid, the 2012 C-Max Energi.

With some experts now forecasting gas prices of $5 a gallon in the not-too-distant future, the spotlight is shining ever brighter on electric propulsion.  But there’ll be a number of different “flavors” of battery power suggests Ford’s global product development chief, Derrick Kuzak.

The maker’s new C-Max microvan is a good example.  The 7-passenger people mover will be offered with a variety of different propulsion systems including both a conventional hybrid drive and Ford’s first-ever plug-in hybrid system – both of which are making their debut at this year’s Detroit Auto Show.

The standard hybrid will use Ford’s next-generation gasoline-electric drivetrain, lighter, smaller and more efficient than the one currently offered in such models as the Fusion Hybrid and Escape Hybrid.  One reason is the switch from older nickel-metal hybrid technology to the newer lithium-ion batteries, which are themselves 25% smaller and 50% lighter.

That should permit the C-Max Hybrid to match or even exceed the 41 mpg highway fuel economy of the current Fusion, despite the van’s larger mass and capacity, said Sherif Marakby, the director of Ford’s electrification program.

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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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First Drive: 2011 Ford Explorer

Best-in-class?

by on Dec.13, 2010

The 2011 Ford Explorer aims to throw sand in the face of its competition.

Few products have dominated the market like the original Ford Explorer.  It was the poster child for the light truck boom of the ‘80s and ‘90s, as millions of Americans traded in their sedans, coupes, wagons — and later, their minivans — for sport-utility vehicles and pickups.

At its peak, the Explorer was racking up sales of as much as 445,000 a year, making it a single nameplate franchise bigger than brands like Subaru, Mazda and virtually every one of the German marques.  But for Ford, the good times couldn’t last.  And whether it was due to the Firestone/Explorer rollover debacle or simply shifting trends – as crossovers began to overtake classic SUVs – Explorer sales took a sharp tumble soon after the start of the new millennium.

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Through the end of November, Ford has sold just 51,000 copies of the outgoing Explorer.  But the maker is far from ready to write the old workhorse off.  Anything but.  The 2011 model is getting ready to roll into showrooms and it justifies the term “all-new” better than most launches we’ve seen in recent years.  It also offers the possibility that a new generation of buyers may soon discover the Explorer name – while past owners will be drawn to the showroom to check out what is arguably the best offering in its segment.

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