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Ford Unveils New Kuga at Tech Congress

Automakers focusing reaching tech crowd with debuts.

by on Feb.22, 2016

Ford debuted the new Kuga at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, rather than at the Geneva Motor Show.

With the auto show circuit underway, most would expect Ford’s latest new model introduction to come at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Not so, as the new Ford Kuga SUV debuted at the Mobile World Congress today.

The new European SUV along with an announcement that the automaker’s latest Sync iteration, Sync 3, is coming to Europe later this year, at the show in Barcelona, Spain, is just one more example of the importance makers place on technology shows to capture the attention of buyers.

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Ford CEO Mark Fields not only rolled out the new car, he also said the company would triple the amount it invests in new technologies that not only make for safer, more entertaining vehicles, but ultimately will lead to the production of self-driving cars. (more…)

Ford Fusion Gets Pothole-Protection Program

Maker loading up sedan with technology to beat competition.

by on Feb.19, 2016

The 2017 Ford Fusion Sport gets the maker's pothole-detection technology standard.

Every year, U.S. drivers spend $3 billion repairing damage to their vehicles due to potholes; however, Ford is looking to help Fusion owners keep that money in their pocket in the years ahead.

The automaker is expanding the availability of its pothole-detection technology to its 2017 Fusion Sport model. Previously an option for its Lincoln line-up as well as the Ford Expedition full-size SUV, the technology, which will be standard equipment on the new Fusion Sport, could save drivers as much as $300 in repair costs.

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The car’s computer detects when the car is running over a pothole, then instantly adjusts the shock absorbers to keep the tire from dropping into the depression. (more…)

Ford Hitting 1 Million EcoBoost Sales in 2015

Ford F-150 sells 64% of new models with gas-saving engines.

by on Nov.12, 2015

Sixty-four percent of F-150s roll off the line with an EcoBoost engine under the hood.

What started off as a new engine entry blanketed in skepticism is now one of Ford Motor Co.’s biggest success stories. The EcoBoost family of engines is going to hit 1 million in annual sales for the first time this year.

Introduced in 2009 as a 3.6-liter V6 for the Taurus SHO, the family has grown dramatically as Ford has pitched the turbocharged engines as greener than the competition: smaller engines using less gas but delivering the power and performance of larger models.

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While many scoffed at the claims made by the automaker about the performance and durability of the EcoBoost, the engines have lived up their billing. Right now, there are seven different EcoBoost engines and another is expected to arrive sometime next year for the Ford Escape. (more…)

Ford Aims to Speed Up, Simplify with Launch of Sync 3

Maker hopes to overcome problems, increase appeal of third-gen infotainment system.

by on Dec.11, 2014

Ford introduced Sync 3 today. The new infotainment system is supposed to look and act like a smartphone.

Ford Motor Co. has completely redesigned its popular – if oft-criticized – Sync infotainment system, hoping to resolve ongoing problems while expanding the range of features and improving the system’s usability.

During a demonstration at the maker’s suburban Detroit product development center, Ford officials noted that, among other things, the new version of Sync will directly link up with Apple’s voice-activated Siri assistant, while accessing more than 40 cellphone-based apps. Behind the new capacitive touchscreen display, Sync now uses a faster microprocessor – and software developed in partnership with Panasonic, Ford abandoning its earlier alliance with tech giant Microsoft.

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“We tried to make it look and act more like a smartphone,” explained Ford’s Global Product Development Director Raj Nair. (more…)

New Ford Tech Will Aid Drivers Park, Reduce Traffic Gridlock

Maker also seeks tech solution to driver distraction.

by on Jun.27, 2012

Ford Traffic Jam Assist system.

With Nevada already licensing prototype autonomous vehicles, automakers are racing to come up with new technology that can simplify the task of driving, maneuver through traffic and reduce the endemic problem of driver distraction.

At a preview of its 2013 line-up Ford also revealed some of the high-tech driver assistance systems it is hoping to introduce over the next several years, including one that could reduce traffic gridlock, another that simplifies the task of backing into a tight parking spot.

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“Developing these technologies is part of the first step in a journey toward a more connected future,” said Paul Mascarenas, Ford chief technical officer and vice president, Research and Innovation. “It’s an undertaking we believe will save time, conserve resources, lower emissions, improve safety and help reduce driver stress.”


Ford Sets up Shop in Silicon Valley

New R&D center part of shift in thinking about car as mobile “platform.”

by on Jan.06, 2012

Ford's new Silicon Valley center will be located near key tech giants like HP, Microsoft and Google - as well as Stanford University.

Ford Motor Co. is setting up a new research lab in California’s fabled Silicon Valley, underscoring the Detroit maker’s efforts to turn the car into a mobile “platform,” rather than just a mechanical conveyance.

The new facility will help Ford develop a variety of new features and apps for its future products, from high-tech safety systems to advanced infotainment systems, company officials note.  It will be used to develop partnerships with both established technology firms – such as Microsoft, which developed the underlying software behind Ford’s popular Sync system – and start-ups.

The lab, which will be located near Stanford University, in Palo Alto, will help by “ushering in a new era of collaboration and finding new partners to help us transform what it means to be an automaker,” explained Ford’s Chief Technical Officer Paul Mascarenas, who suggested the move is “a very natural extension” for the second-largest of the U.S. makers.

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Ford has put a heavy emphasis on technology in recent years – as have many of its competitors.  Mark Fields, Ford’s President of the Americas, frequently talks about “democratizing technology,” by taking high-tech systems previously found in limited use on luxury products and putting it into high-volume production on mainstream models like the new Ford Fusion.


Ford Forwarding Fix for MyFordTouch System

Technology problems led to sharp slump in quality ranking.

by on Nov.07, 2011

The new fixes should make the MyFordTouch system faster and easier to use.

A quarter-million U.S. motorists will be getting an envelope in the mail from Ford Motor Co. early next year.  Inside they’ll find a small flash drive that the maker says will fix problems owners have been reporting with vehicles equipped with the MrFordTouch and MyLincolnTouch infotainment systems.

Ford has been one of the most aggressive makers in the industry when it comes to rolling out the latest in-car technologies.  It’s helped draw in customers who might have otherwise steered away from the domestic brand – but flaws with the latest MyTouch systems have also resulted in serious customer frustration which, in turn, has hammered Ford’s quality rankings.

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Ford plunged from 10th to 20th place in the latest Consumer Reports Reliability Index, while also taking a tumble in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey..

The fix?  A free software upgrade.


Patent Trolls Target Ford

Small firms claim Ford stole patents.

by on Jul.06, 2011

A new lawsuit claims Ford has infringed on a number of patents with its Sync system and other technologies.

Patent trolls are after the Ford Motor Co.  Eagle Harbor and another firm, MediusTech LLC, of Bainbridge Island, Washington, have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Tacoma, Washington, alleging the Detroit maker infringed on Eagle Harbor’s patents.

The suit claims Ford is using several automotive technologies, notably including the Sync infotainment system, Active Park assist, blind-spot identification with cross traffic alert, MyKey and stability control, without authorization.

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The lawsuit also claims Ford has used and continues to use the companies’ patented technology in multiple vehicle systems.

“Our representatives began meeting with Ford in 2002 to discuss and disclose our patented automotive systems technology and its applicability for use in Ford vehicles,” said Jeffrey Harmes, general counsel for Eagle Harbor Holdings, LLC.


What Went Wrong With Ford Quality?

Maker boosts sales but takes a hit with “bleeding edge” technology.

by on Jun.24, 2011

A Touch of the devil? Problems with the MyFordTouch system hurt the maker's overall quality score.

Ford Motor Co. wants to function “more like a consumer electronics company,” CEO Alan Mulally has repeatedly stressed, something the maker is backing up with an array of in-car technologies that notably include the popular Sync infotainment system and the latest iteration, MyFordTouch.

The focus on what some call “bleeding edge” technology has paid off in many ways. Mulally, for one, has repeatedly keynoted the Consumer Electronic Show three times, an honor more traditionally granted the likes of a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. And Ford suggests that Sync has been a major factor in the buying decision for many customers, especially younger motorists who expect to be connected 24/7.

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But there’s a downside, as the maker was reminded this week.  Ford was pummeled in the latest J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, a closely-followed measure of out-the-factory-door quality.  (Click Here for the full report on IQS.) Just a year ago, the maker shot to 5th place, topping rivals like Honda and Toyota to become the highest-ranked mainstream brand.  But this year, Ford plunged to 23rd, behind not only the major Japanese brands but long-time quality laggards like Chrysler and its Ram truck brand.

“Ford dropped notably last year,” said Dave Sargent, the head of global research for Power, the California-based market research firm, adding that, “If it weren’t for MyFordTouch, we wouldn’t be talking about Ford.”


Ford Shows Seats That Can Monitor Your Heart and Vehicles That Talk to One Another

Detroit maker aims to position itself as industry tech leader.

by on Jun.22, 2011

Ford plans to expand the use of inflatable seatbelts that first debuted on the 2011 Explorer.

Seats that can monitor your heart or warn of an impending diabetic attack; vehicles that chat with each other – and with stoplights – Ford Motor Co. lifted its kimono this week to reveal an array of high-tech systems the Detroit maker hopes will help position it as an industry leader.

The challenge is significant, however, in the world of digital, in-car technology.  Where a breakthrough powertrain or vehicle design might give a maker a several-year lead, it’s much more difficult to stay ahead in terms of electronics – as Ford is discovering now that most of its key competitors are taking aim at its popular Sync system.

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Ford invited journalists to its Dearborn headquarters this week to show of the latest and greatest innovations now under development, starting with Sync.  Ford is tweaking its voice-operated system to make it more user-friendly, adding bigger on-screen fonts and improving software and voice recognition.