Ford


 2009 Ford F-150

The automaker announced last Wednesday at the media preview of the Chicago Auto Show that a set of high-tech features for its F-Series trucks and E-Series vans including the best-selling F-150. The auto show is open to the public from February 8 to 17.

The high-tech offers of the 2009 Ford F-150 include a broadband-capable in-dash computer, Tool Link tracking system that has embedded radio frequency identification (RFID) capabilities for logging tools and inventory on the truck; and Crew Chief, a telematics and diagnostics system. These features are expected to be available in Ford’s new vehicles in the fall.

The truck’s built-in computer, powered by Microsoft Auto, is located in the middle of the dashboard. It offers a 6.5-inch touch screen, 2GB of memory capable of entertaining expansion, and a USB port.

The Tool Link feature lets users mark their tools with RFID tags. When the tools are not returned to the pickup boxes, the computer flashes a warning on the computer screen.

“It helps contractors and tradespeople guarantee they show up at the job site with the right tools for each job – and that they don’t leave equipment behind,” said William Frykman, the automaker’s product development manager. Additionally, the computer also tells fleet managers precisely where the truck is. This is an effort to make easier truckers work. The system also features an 8-foot steel cable used to avoid auto theft.

The new F-150 truck offers V-8 engines ranging from a 4.6-liter to a 5.4-liter engine which can run on E85. The truck is also equipped with either a four-speed or a six-speed automatic transmission to bolster performance and handling.

“Our truck customers are smart – and they work hard,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president. “Ford Work Solutions provides truck customers new technologies and tools to help them work even smarter and further boost their productivity.”

The new vehicles are engineered for business. And there are two companies responsible for that milestone – Garmin International and Sprint Mobile Broadband Network. Internet access is provided via the Sprint and navigation capabilities by Garmin.

Separately, the automaker announced Wednesday the Transit Connect, a compact van engineered to respond to the needs of small-business owners. Already on the roads in Europe, it is now coming to North America. The van features a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission. The cargo space can accommodate loads that are 6.5 feet long and 4.7 feet wide.

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Texas is facing a great pickup battle having Ford, Chevy, Dodge, and Toyota as contenders. Toyota Motor Corp., meanwhile, works to lure true truckers in Texas to win over more customers. This is why it has unleashed its redesigned Tundra to steal a portion of Ford F-150’s sales. But the best-selling pickup is not the only potent rival. There is the new Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram. Moreover, the Japanese automaker is expected to exert extra effort in order for its goal to materialize.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, Ford F-Series dived nearly 3.6 percentage points across the nation to hold 30.7 percent of the market. In Texas, the models lost 5.5 points to fall to 31.9 percent, reported the Michigan-based R.L. Polk & Co. In comparison, the Tundra, sources divulged recorded nearly 3.5 points nationwide and 3.7 in Texas in its first year since a major redesign.

“Those numbers might not seem huge, but when you consider truck buyers are second only to luxury buyers in terms of loyalty, Ford’s drop and Toyota’s climb are significant,” said Lonnie Miller, the director of industry analysis at Polk. “There’s no doubt been a very aggressive push by Toyota.”

“We certainly had a lot more full-size pickups traded in for Tundras in ’07,” said Tom Shopoff, the director of truck support for Gulf States Toyota, a network of dealerships that includes statewide Tundra best-seller Fred Haas Toyota World in Spring. “We have a tremendous product.”

But Shopoff predicted the Tundra would see a bubble burst. “You’ve seen the big bubble,” he noted.

Increased competition from Toyota comes at a time when auto sales in general and pickup sales in particular, are down, according to Houston Chronicle. Auto sales in 2007 fell 2.4 percent, and large pickups were down 2.7 percent, Libby said in an interview.

“That means more competition, which in turn means more incentives and lower prices,” Libby concluded. “The winner in all this is the consumer.”

2005-ford-focus.jpg

I’m browsing through the net and I happened to found this interesting topic.

Cars.com, one of the most trusted websites that offer automotive pricing and other information provide consumers some info about the vehicle models that are “wallet-friendly”. Why wallet friendly? Well, it is because these car models costs less than or bigger than $10,000.

Patrick Olsen, managing editor of Cars.com said:

“Whether it’s a thrifty ride for a college student, a grocery-getter for the family or something for the daily commute, lots of shoppers seem to want the same thing: a late-model, low-mileage car that’s reliable, safe and fuel-efficient.”

Top 10 best inexpensive used cars according to Cars.com.

2005 Ford Focus ($10,500 – $13,000)

“The restyled 2005 Ford Focus offers nimble handling with few of the equipment recalls that beset the early-2000s original. “

2003 Ford Taurus ($10,500 – $12,000)

“The Ford Taurus is a sound used-car choice for families and sensible for young drivers. Both the wagon and sedan offer generous cabin and luggage space, not to mention top reliability and crash-test scores.”

2003 Mazda Prot̩g̩ ($8,500 Р$15,000)

“Those wary of Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla homogeny should consider the Mazda Protege.”

2003 Mercury Sable ($9,000 – $13,000)

“The Ford Taurus’ upscale twin offers slightly better reliability ratings and the same stalwart crash-test scores.”

2002 Buick LeSabre ($9,000 – $12,000)

“The Buick LeSabre is a comfortable car for drivers young and old, and the ’02 model came chock full of safety features.”

2002 Chevrolet Impala ($9,000 – $11,500)

“The Impala is Chevy’s workaday sedan, and the 2000-05 iteration arguably boasted sharper styling than its anonymous successor.”

2002 Ford Windstar ($7,500 – $15,000)

“Minivan lovers can fill the Ford Windstar with up to seven people, and there are plenty of bells and whistles for those who want them.”

2002 Honda Accord ($10,000 – $13,000)

“The sixth generation, built from 1998 through 2002, delivered excellent reliability and respectable crash-test ratings.”

2002 Honda Civic ($10,000 – $12,000)

“The Honda Civic combines thriftiness and refinement in a way few others can, making it an excellent choice for those who often drive solo.”

2002 Oldsmobile Aurora ($10,000 – $13,000)

“The Oldsmobile Aurora is proof you can buy a used luxury car for around $10,000. The restyled early-2000s model earns high marks for reliability and crashworthiness.”

Freeman Thomas

If there’s one thing that can save Ford Motor Co., it is another hit, says Freeman Thomas, Ford’s director of strategic design. Today, Thomas and his team at Ford’s advanced design studio in Irvine, Calif., are trying to do it again. Good thing Thomas knows a thing or two about designing hits.

Before defecting to the Dearborn automaker a couple of years ago, Thomas was the design guru at Chrysler Group. There, he designed the concept that became the Chrysler 300. Thomas also played a key role in designing the concepts that led to the Volkswagen New Beetle and Audi TT. Thomas calls design the great differentiator — the thing we auto purchasers buy when they are shopping for a car that says “me.” But great design is unworkable without great risk. “The auto industry is a dinosaur,” Thomas says.

Like many attendees, Mulally loved Ford’s stunning Interceptor concept. Even though it will not be produced, the Interceptor serves as a platform for several design cues that Thomas says will be incorporated into future Ford products.

So, does Thomas think he has another game-changing hit in his studio today? “I definitely do,” he says. “But I can’t tell you what it is.”

Ford LogoThe American auto maker Ford Motor Company expressed its interest in purchasing a Romanian Plant which was formally owner by a South Korean company Daewoo after the General Motor Corporation dropped the deal out.

The plant will no longer produce vehicles on the plant according to its AVAS head, Teodor Atanasiu.

The factory had been owned by Daewoo Motors, a Korean carmaker that was mostly bought up by General Motors in 2001.

Beside General Motors, the Russian automaker GAZ, Chinese from Chery and the Indians from Tata Motors showed interest for Daewoo Automobile Craiova .

2008 Mercury Mariner Interior

Here take a look at the detalis of the new 2008 Mercury Marine.

The 2.3-liter, 16-valve Duratec 23 4-cylinder capable of producing 153 hp at 5,800 rpm and 152 lb ft of peak torque rotating at 4,250 rpm. Customers can also choose the 3.0-liter 24-valve V-6 Duratec 30 engine with 200 hp and 193 lb ft of torque. Both of these engines are mated to a standard 4-speed automatic gearbox to complete the powertrain package.

2008 Mercury Mariner according to a Ford official press release: Accessory delay; Four-wheel disc brakes; Power locks, windows and mirrors; one-touch, up/down driver window; Two 12V power points; Remote keyless entry; Driver/passenger power adjustable manual fold electric mirrors; AM/FM MP3 and satellite-ready, single-CD player with four speakers; Audio input jack; Ice Blue Lighting; Message Center; Two-way manual driver seat; Premium cloth seats; 60/40-split bench seat with premium cloth seating surfaces; Electric Power Assist Steering; Chrome exhaust tip; Privacy glass; Air conditioning; Floor mats; Side repeater lamps; Rear cargo light; 60/40-split rear seat with tip-fold-flat latch and two-way adjustable head restraints; 16-inch six-spoke wheels and all-season tires; AdvanceTrac® with RSC®; Safety Canopy™ side air curtains; Seat-mounted side air bags; LATCH; SecuriLock® passive anti-theft system; Reverse Sensing System.

Ford Motor Company did not release yet the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for this model.