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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Ford Hopes To Sooth Dealers This Week

      Now if they could only do the same for their employees

    Since becoming the CEO of Ford, Jim Hackett, and his management staff has had a difficult time of convincing folks about the ambitious restructuring plan that will see the lineup become more dependent on crossover and trucks, and job cuts. One group that has been quite worried about the plan are dealers.

    "There's been a lot less exposure to senior management. There's just not enough information flowing down to dealers about where the company's headed," said Jack Madden, owner of Jack Madden Ford to Automotive News.

    Ford is hoping to ease dealers later this week at the company's national dealer meeting in Las Vegas. Aside from seeing a number of new products, including the next-generation Escape and Explorer, Hackett and his team will be taking questions from dealers about the future direction of the company. 

    "It's the right medicine at the right time," Rhett Ricart, CEO of Ricart Automotive Group in Groveport, Ohio.

    "I think it will be a huge jolt for dealers' attitudes."

    Dealers aren't the only group who are wanting more information. Ford's 70,000 salaried workers around the world have been told that the $11 billion restructuring plan will include job cuts, but not providing any specifics on numbers or how or when the cuts will take place. The cuts were announced in a video message sent to employees.

    "In Ford's history, we have streamlined organizations but we rarely removed work, causing each team member to have to do more with less," Hackett said in the video, according to a transcript Ford provided to AN. Employees were told the upcoming changes would be made using "a cascading process that will involve many of you" and that they will work to eliminate "low-value" tasks. 

    "While redesigning the organization is important and it's necessary work, it's not going to be easy. But it is fundamental to us becoming the business we need to be," said Hackett.

    Ford say the message wasn't about job cuts and "said employees have appreciated the way it is handling the news." But AN reports that some employees became confused with the message being provided. Some experts say giving employees information about impending job cuts early on allows for more preparation and gives more time to look for another job. But some point out the way Ford announced the move could actually damage morale. 

    "In an absence of any information, it's stressful. People are going to be looking for more direction from the company," explained Carol Olsby, a human-resources consultant and author.

    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    Edited by William Maley



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    I have to agree with the stress it puts on people, Ford does not seem to have a clear plan to get out to their employees yet. Maybe if they are going to cover details at the dealership meeting, it would have also been the week to roll out a better message to the rank n file than just a vague video email.

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    8 minutes ago, dfelt said:

    I have to agree with the stress it puts on people, Ford does not seem to have a clear plan to get out to their employees yet. Maybe if they are going to cover details at the dealership meeting, it would have also been the week to roll out a better message to the rank n file than just a vague video email.

    It's always a bad idea when you have to ahve products from 50 years ago to park behind you when you are talking about your corporate image and ideas being relevant.

    Hopefully Chaos continues at Ford...but I really think they are going to pull it together.  I actually see a fairly bright future for Ford.  Focusing on their core business, their dominance in Trucks, the SUV lineup, the new Navigator and the Aviator, Transit...Mustang...they will be just fine.

    A bright future!

    Everywhere but my driveway that is...

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    When was the last time a Ford Fusion outsold a Malibu or a Camry or Accord?  When did the Taurus outsell an Avalon or an Impala?

    I think Hackett sees the writing on the wall and must change Ford or be buried alongside Mercury.

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    ^ If the business case for going forward with a model / line is ONLY being #1 in sales or 'gettng buried'... MAN is consumer choice going to tighten up!!

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    18 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

    When was the last time a Ford Fusion outsold a Malibu or a Camry or Accord?  When did the Taurus outsell an Avalon or an Impala?

    I think by the time it hit its second generation the Fusion has always ans still outsells the Malibu.  They trail the usual Camry/Accord/Altima.

     

     

     

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    2 hours ago, frogger said:

    I think by the time it hit its second generation the Fusion has always ans still outsells the Malibu.  They trail the usual Camry/Accord/Altima.

     

     

     

    But they are not making much of a margin at the end of the day or they would still be selling it.

    Also...Toyota and Honda brought out fresh new designs while Ford let the fusion rot on the vine.

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    *Soothe

    Seems like things are pretty bad over there.  The misinterpreted announcement about cars going away really stirred the pot I guess.

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    3 hours ago, ocnblu said:

    *Soothe

    Seems like things are pretty bad over there.  The misinterpreted announcement about cars going away really stirred the pot I guess.

    Actually enjoying the Chaos myself. Still...I think the decision to stop building most of those cars in the United States is entirely sane and rational. 

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    10 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    But they are not making much of a margin at the end of the day or they would still be selling it.

    Also...Toyota and Honda brought out fresh new designs while Ford let the fusion rot on the vine.

    Yes, Toyota and Honda still know how to build competitive cars in the US, while Ford has it's collective head up it's arse with it's truck obsession.  When the truck and SUV market eventually comes crashing down, they are going to be f*cked. 

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    On the other hand, Ford still knows how to build SUVs, CUVs and trucks, and toyoyo/honda has their collective heads up their arses with their car obsessions. When the car market eventually comes crashing dow— whooops!!

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    5 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    On the other hand, Ford still knows how to build SUVs, CUVs and trucks, and toyoyo/honda has their collective heads up their arses with their car obsessions. When the car market eventually comes crashing dow— whooops!!

    I actually like the F series the Mustang...and really don't mind some of the SUV lineup. Ford is really winning some respect from me of all people for focusing on the core business and doing it right.

    I think Ford is poised to do well during the next financial downturn. People are NOT going to stop buying trucks for construction, farming, and personal use, the Mustang is an Icon...and lots of people will buy an SUV regardless of economics.

    Ford will look GOOD in about 3 years with this decision.

    Plus the F series has a hell of a lot higher margin than a Civic.  And more owner loyalty as well.

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    ^ Good points.
    Recently I saw segment numbers from the '09-ish oil spike and 'trucks' saw a 17% higher contraction than 'cars' (don't know where CUVs were slotted) - obviously considerable, but I would think far less than many people might have guessed. I read plenty of assurances that 'trucks are dead' back then.

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    13 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    When was the last time a Ford Fusion outsold a Malibu or a Camry or Accord?  When did the Taurus outsell an Avalon or an Impala?

    I think Hackett sees the writing on the wall and must change Ford or be buried alongside Mercury.

    The Fusion has outsold the Malibu for the entire current gen Fusion. I don't think it has ever touched the Accord or Camry though. It's been a solid 3rd place for awhile. 

    Small sample

    2015 Malibu: 194,854

    2015 Fusion: 300,170

    2016 Malibu: 227,881

    2016 Fusion: 265,840

    2017 Malibu: 185,857

    Through Sept. 2018

    2018 Malibu: 107,458

    2018 Fusion: 124,964

    Source: Goodcarbadcar.com

     

    11 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

    But they are not making much of a margin at the end of the day or they would still be selling it.

    I have a feeling it was always fairly tight margins and now that car sales have plummeted(see above comment) there just isn't much money to be had there with sales around and under 200k units compared to 300k units. 

    They also fixed their ridiculous cusomizable-ness that had to have costs through the roof compared to the Accord and Camry which only have a handful trims and not many options per trim. 

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    10 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

     have a feeling it was always fairly tight margins and now that car sales have plummeted(see above comment) there just isn't much money to be had there with sales around and under 200k units compared to 300k units. 

    They also fixed their ridiculous cusomizable-ness that had to have costs through the roof compared to the Accord and Camry which only have a handful trims and not many options per trim. 

    This is exactly why I say the business plan makes sense going forward.

     

    Edited by A Horse With No Name
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    where exactly do they see those 200,000 - 300,000 units getting picked up in the rest of their lineup?

    A lot of Fusion sales are stuff like Fusion "S" which of course sells because it is low price (and low profit).  But to even think they will replace all of that volume (or, all of that profit, even in lesser volume of higher priced models) seems a bit absurd since a lot of dealerships need the unit volume and transaction count as much as any cash flow.

    I mean now do you just sell more and more base level Edges?  Because if you take away the Fusion, not everyone is going want an Escape.  And they won't stomach the sometimes 10k jump from a sedan to a crossover that easily.

    I think a serious auto market bubble is arriving in the next couple years.  50,000 dollar MSRP Blazers  and 65,000 dollar Sierras and such can only mean bad things.  The market and credit won't support this continued escalation much longer.

    And really, at some point, people WILL lose interest in pony cars.  Between CAFE and culture, even the Mustang will get phased out of civility.

    Edited by regfootball

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    8 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    where exactly do they see those 200,000 - 300,000 units getting picked up in the rest of their lineup?

    Where are you getting that Ford is saying/expecting to shift their car customers to CUVs/SUVs?

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    12 minutes ago, regfootball said:

    where exactly do they see those 200,000 - 300,000 units getting picked up in the rest of their lineup?

    A lot of Fusion sales are stuff like Fusion "S" which of course sells because it is low price (and low profit).  But to even think they will replace all of that volume (or, all of that profit, even in lesser volume of higher priced models) seems a bit absurd since a lot of dealerships need the unit volume and transaction count as much as any cash flow.

    I mean now do you just sell more and more base level Edges?  Because if you take away the Fusion, not everyone is going want an Escape.  And they won't stomach the sometimes 10k jump from a sedan to a crossover that easily.

    I think a serious auto market bubble is arriving in the next couple years.  50,000 dollar MSRP Blazers  and 65,000 dollar Sierras and such can only mean bad things.  The market and credit won't support this continued escalation much longer.

    And really, at some point, people WILL lose interest in pony cars.  Between CAFE and culture, even the Mustang will get phased out of civility.

    They could be deciding to blow off the low end entry level buyer of an auto, aka car and focus on those that have money and will pay for high end trucks / suv / cuvs.

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    23 minutes ago, balthazar said:

    Where are you getting that Ford is saying/expecting to shift their car customers to CUVs/SUVs?

    Ford is not saying that, but the dealer owners will want to know how Ford plans to shift that sales units and volume.

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    In a rising truck/SUV market: SELL MOAR TRUCKS!
    If Ford applies it's 'F-Series' template to the other truck lines, IE: more variants than any other line in the USDM, sales will naturally increase.

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    Well, they have the Bronco, new Explorer, mini-Bronco, and presumably the Ranger Raptor coming.  They could also add the existing Ranger-based Everest to have a truck-based midsize SUV.  

    Maybe they could also expand and create new body style variations like a extra-extra length 6dr Expedition and Navigator (with 4 row seating for big families), an integrated pickup version of the Expedition and Navigator (ala Avalanche),  a 6dr 3 row F150 SuperMaxCrew. 

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar

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    On 10/15/2018 at 3:22 PM, A Horse With No Name said:

    It's always a bad idea when you have to ahve products from 50 years ago to park behind you when you are talking about your corporate image and ideas being relevant.

    Hopefully Chaos continues at Ford...but I really think they are going to pull it together.  I actually see a fairly bright future for Ford.  Focusing on their core business, their dominance in Trucks, the SUV lineup, the new Navigator and the Aviator, Transit...Mustang...they will be just fine.

    A bright future!

    Everywhere but my driveway that is...

    I wish I could see it sad rosy as you....but then again I live under 20 miles to Ford headquarters....

    They are not in a good spot now....and already two of their good engineers are out the door just this week. Brain drain is going to be a major concern as good car people look for safer waters with another auto company..I have a few friends deep in the Ford system, I am almost sure one is leaving after 20 years with the company.

    I get the Feeling new products are not going to be as exciting just based on them watching nickels and dimes now...similar to a certain auto company a decade ago....

     

    I hope for the best for Ford, but I see some dark times ahead.....

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    5 hours ago, daves87rs said:

    I wish I could see it sad rosy as you....but then again I live under 20 miles to Ford headquarters....

    They are not in a good spot now....and already two of their good engineers are out the door just this week. Brain drain is going to be a major concern as good car people look for safer waters with another auto company..I have a few friends deep in the Ford system, I am almost sure one is leaving after 20 years with the company.

    I get the Feeling new products are not going to be as exciting just based on them watching nickels and dimes now...similar to a certain auto company a decade ago....

     

    I hope for the best for Ford, but I see some dark times ahead.....

    And I really don't mind seeing them face them...and even fail in the face of them.

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    14 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    They could also add the existing Ranger-based Everest to have a truck-based midsize SUV

    Isn't that kind of already the Bronco...?

    15 hours ago, regfootball said:

    where exactly do they see those 200,000 - 300,000 units getting picked up in the rest of their lineup?

    They also don't need to if they're selling more trucks/suvs/cuvs at higher prices with better margins. 

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      Lane-Centring technology monitors road markings and can apply gentle but discernible torque to the steering system to help drivers stay centred in their lane whenever the ACC system is activated. Designed to support drivers at speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph), the technology will deliver visual and audible warnings if it detects a lack of steering wheel input from the driver.
      Further technologies to help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of accidents include Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, and Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision. Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
      “It’s not about filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake,” said Torsten Wey, manager, Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, Ford of Europe. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
      Capable and comfortable
      Standing more than 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and almost 2 metres high, the all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the luxury of space for up to seven occupants in three rows of seats.
      First and second row passengers benefit from more than 1 metre of headroom and legroom, and more than 1.5 metres of shoulder room. Offering 96 centimetres headroom, more than 1 metre of shoulder room and more than 83 centimetres legroom, the third row of seats can also easily accommodate adults in comfort.
      Standard Easy Fold Seats with Power Raise for the third row and Easy Fold Seats for the second row fold flat to create a cargo area that offers 2,274 litres of load space. The interior offers 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items – alongside no less than 12 cupholders.
      A rotary gear shift dial for the 10-speed automatic transmission; heated and cooled 10-way power adjustable front seats; heated second row seats; wireless charging pad for compatible devices; heated steering wheel; retractable second row sunshades; and second and third row privacy glass are among the comfort enhancing features delivered as standard. Platinum models also feature a 14-speaker, 1000-watt premium B&O Sound System as standard, with a 12-speaker, 800-watt premium B&O Sound System for ST-Line variants.
      FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:
      Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their SUV in sprawling shopping mall car parks Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your vehicle Remote Start** The 10.1-inch portrait mounted touchscreen – standard for the Platinum variant – enables navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to that used in smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which also allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands.
      The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, configured to support drivers in getting the most from their Explorer Plug-In Hybrid powertrain with dedicated screens including power flow, charging and energy-efficiency coaching. An 8‑inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are standard for the ST-Line variant.
      Stylish, modern design
      A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer during 29 years of success in the U.S., and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage when designing the all-new generation. Longtime traits include Explorer’s blacked-out front and rear window pillars. A sporty, stylish appearance is achieved using a sloping roofline and short front overhang.
      The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with bold 20-inch alloy wheels with black machined finish for ST-Line models and tarnished dark machined finish for Platinum models.
      ST-Line models feature a gloss black finish one-piece grille, and high gloss black for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also features red accent stitching for seats, floor mats and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as carbon fibre-effect appliques for the instrument panel.
      Platinum models feature a satin finish one-piece grille, and satin finish for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also adds real wood appliques for the instrument panel.
      “Massive charisma and unprecedented road presence come as standard with our all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid,” Matthias Tonn said. “With distinctive ST-Line and Platinum variants available, customers can find the right option to suit their personality.”
      # # #

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Back in January, during the Detroit Auto Show, we found a sign that Ford was preparing a plug-in hybrid Ford Explorer even though it hadn't been officially announced.   A few days ago, Ford did officially unveil it as a Europe only model.
      The Ford Explorer Plug-in looks to be using the same running gear as the Lincoln Aviator GT, a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 plus electric motor that produces around 444 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque running through its specialized 10-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.  It is able to run for about 25 miles in EV-only mode.
      Under the cargo floor is a 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, slightly smaller than the battery in the now canceled Chevrolet Volt. 
      The plug-in version will only be available on the S-Line and Platinum trim lines. 
      Read more about the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator below.
       
      Ford of Europe Press Release on Page 2
      FORD UNVEILS ALL-NEW EXPLORER PLUG-IN HYBRID SUV WITH 40 KM (25 MILES) ZERO-EMISSION CITY DRIVING RANGE
      All-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid seven-seat sports utility vehicle to go on sale in Europe later this year Electrified powertrain combines 3.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine, electric motor and battery for 450 PS, 840 Nm of torque, and 40 km (25 miles) pure-electric city driving range Vehicle is all-new to Europe and features as standard new Reverse Brake Assist as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring Luxurious interior offers 10.1-inch touchscreen for SYNC 3 connectivity and features as standard FordPass Connect modem, B&O Sound System, easy-to-operate flexible seating Versatility, capability and refinement optimised with 10-speed automatic transmission, Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and Terrain Management System with selectable Drive Modes AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April. 2, 2019 – The all-new Ford Explorer SUV today made its European debut at a special “Go Further” event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as Ford announced a unique plug-in hybrid version of America’s all-time best selling SUV will go on sale in Europe later this year.
      The all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will be offered in two distinctive, high-specification, left-hand drive variants – the sporty, Ford Performance-inspired Explorer ST-Line and the luxurious Explorer Platinum. Both are powered by a combination of Ford’s 3.0‑litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine, electric motor and generator to deliver 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque, alongside pure-electric driving capability.
      Standard Ford Intelligent All-Wheel drive technology supported by seven Drive Modes and Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission optimises performance in scenarios from urban driving to off-road. A refined and confidence-inspiring driving experience is enhanced with sophisticated driver assistance technologies as standard, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring functionalities.
      The exceptionally spacious, luxurious, comfort-focussed interior offers advanced features including a 10.1‑inch central portrait-mounted touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display. Families can get the most from road trips with versatile load and seating configurations and family-friendly innovations such as easy entrance and exit to the third row seats using just one hand.
      “I am very excited about the iconic Ford Explorer coming to Europe. The all-new Explorer comes with unstoppable design and phenomenal specification. The most versatile SUV we have ever offered for customers in the region is able to carry seven adults in comfort, tow a 2,500 kg trailer with ease, and still deliver 40 km (25 miles) zero-emissions city driving range,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Technologies like our 10.1-inch touchscreen and Reverse Brake Assist debut in Europe to make the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid supremely rewarding and easy to drive.”
      New from the ground-up the all-new sixth generation Ford Explorer was unveiled for customers in the U.S. earlier this year. First introduced in 1991, Explorer kick-started in the U.S. the rapid growth of the SUV segment that has now become immensely successful worldwide.
      Zero-emission driving
      The all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the energy-efficiency, refinement and performance benefits of an electrified powertrain in many driving scenarios, while maintaining the driving range of a traditional combustion engine. An electric-only urban cycle driving range of 40 km (25 miles) qualifies for tax breaks in some markets.
      Ford’s 350 PS 3.0-litre EcoBoost engine is supported by a 100 PS electric motor. The 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged using a charging port located on the front left-hand side fender between the door and wheel arch. In addition, the battery is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.
      The electric motor enables the Explorer to deliver zero-emission, pure-electric driving capability, and drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Explorer automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy for optimised fuel-efficiency. The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will deliver anticipated 78 g/km CO2 emissions and 3.4 l/100 km fuel efficiency.*
      The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid’s parallel hybrid architecture also enables the full combined power and torque of both petrol engine and electric motor to be deployed simultaneously for enhanced performance on- and off-road, and 2,500 kg towing capability. Ford’s sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission further optimises fuel-efficiency and refinement.
      “The Explorer is a true SUV – designed for families with a real sense of adventure – so it was essential that the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid featured a powertrain that could haul anything from boats to horseboxes,” said Matthias Tonn, Explorer chief programme engineer for Europe. “We specifically chose a parallel hybrid architecture that lets drivers use all 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque. We’ve even added a more advanced version of our Blind Spot Information System, that covers a 10 metre trailer.”
      Advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology every 10 milliseconds analyses inputs from dozens of sensors, including vehicle speed and yaw, ambient air temperature, wheel slip and towing status to determine whether additional traction is needed. An all-new single speed transfer case featuring an electro-mechanical torque clutch can seamlessly adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels within 100 milliseconds for a more secure footing on the road. Like the 10-speed automatic transmission, the system uses adaptive learning algorithms to continually adjust responses for optimised refinement.
      The Terrain Management System uses selectable Drive Modes to enable customers to tailor their drive experience to road, weather and terrain conditions on demand, including Normal, Sport, Trail, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Eco, and Deep Snow and Sand modes – with each Drive Mode featuring a unique graphical display in the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Hill Descent Control also helps make light work of off-road terrain.
      Stress-free journeys in town and country
      Sophisticated driver assistance technologies contribute to a refined and intuitive driving experience for Explorer Plug-In Hybrid customers, including features designed to make it easier to drive a large vehicle in urban environments.
      Available Active Park Assist 2 enables fully-automated manoeuvres into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the push of a button. The system identifies suitable parking spaces and the driver can control vehicle motion by simply selecting neutral and holding down a single centre console-mounted button. The vehicle then fully controls forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering to manoeuvre into spaces before engaging park. The technology can also help drivers exit parallel parking spaces using fully automated Park-out Assist.
      Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them, and can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions if drivers do not respond to warnings. In addition, Reverse Brake Assist uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in the vehicle’s path, and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision when the vehicle is backing up at a low speed – such as when exiting a driveway. Also helping drivers negotiate awkward scenarios, rear-view and front-view cameras with built-in lens cleaners combine with additional cameras mounted beneath the door mirrors to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle projected on to the central display.
      Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology can detect people and cyclists in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path, and automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision and the driver does not respond to warnings.
      Stop-start traffic, highway driving and long distance road trips are made less stressful using Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring. The technology helps the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and can help keep the vehicle centred in its lane. In addition, the technology can adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring the roadside and overhead gantries for speed signs in addition to using information from the on-board navigation system.
      Stop & Go enables the ACC system to bring the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic, and automatically pull away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator pull away.
      Lane-Centring technology monitors road markings and can apply gentle but discernible torque to the steering system to help drivers stay centred in their lane whenever the ACC system is activated. Designed to support drivers at speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph), the technology will deliver visual and audible warnings if it detects a lack of steering wheel input from the driver.
      Further technologies to help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of accidents include Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, and Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision. Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
      “It’s not about filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake,” said Torsten Wey, manager, Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, Ford of Europe. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
      Capable and comfortable
      Standing more than 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and almost 2 metres high, the all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the luxury of space for up to seven occupants in three rows of seats.
      First and second row passengers benefit from more than 1 metre of headroom and legroom, and more than 1.5 metres of shoulder room. Offering 96 centimetres headroom, more than 1 metre of shoulder room and more than 83 centimetres legroom, the third row of seats can also easily accommodate adults in comfort.
      Standard Easy Fold Seats with Power Raise for the third row and Easy Fold Seats for the second row fold flat to create a cargo area that offers 2,274 litres of load space. The interior offers 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items – alongside no less than 12 cupholders.
      A rotary gear shift dial for the 10-speed automatic transmission; heated and cooled 10-way power adjustable front seats; heated second row seats; wireless charging pad for compatible devices; heated steering wheel; retractable second row sunshades; and second and third row privacy glass are among the comfort enhancing features delivered as standard. Platinum models also feature a 14-speaker, 1000-watt premium B&O Sound System as standard, with a 12-speaker, 800-watt premium B&O Sound System for ST-Line variants.
      FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:
      Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their SUV in sprawling shopping mall car parks Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your vehicle Remote Start** The 10.1-inch portrait mounted touchscreen – standard for the Platinum variant – enables navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to that used in smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which also allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands.
      The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, configured to support drivers in getting the most from their Explorer Plug-In Hybrid powertrain with dedicated screens including power flow, charging and energy-efficiency coaching. An 8‑inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are standard for the ST-Line variant.
      Stylish, modern design
      A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer during 29 years of success in the U.S., and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage when designing the all-new generation. Longtime traits include Explorer’s blacked-out front and rear window pillars. A sporty, stylish appearance is achieved using a sloping roofline and short front overhang.
      The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with bold 20-inch alloy wheels with black machined finish for ST-Line models and tarnished dark machined finish for Platinum models.
      ST-Line models feature a gloss black finish one-piece grille, and high gloss black for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also features red accent stitching for seats, floor mats and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as carbon fibre-effect appliques for the instrument panel.
      Platinum models feature a satin finish one-piece grille, and satin finish for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also adds real wood appliques for the instrument panel.
      “Massive charisma and unprecedented road presence come as standard with our all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid,” Matthias Tonn said. “With distinctive ST-Line and Platinum variants available, customers can find the right option to suit their personality.”
      # # #
    • By Drew Dowdell
      The Society of Automotive Engineers has announced today that they are joining with Ford, General Motors, and Toyota to form the Automatic Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), a group that will work together to test the deployment and development of Level 4 and Level 5 automated vehicles. 
      The AVSC will provide a safety framework for the advancement of the technology in a safe and responsible manner. The group will use the expertise of its current members to establish a set of guiding principles for safety. 
      GM, Ford, and Toyota already have autonomous vehicle development well underway.  GM is producing driverless Chevrolet Bolt EVs as part of a development and testing program via its GM Cruise unit. 

      View full article
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