William Maley

Ford Throws Its Hat Into Subcompact Crossover Ring With 2018 EcoSport: Comments

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The subcompact crossover is growing at quick pace with a number of automakers either selling or planning to introduce a model. Case is point is Ford which last night in Los Angeles debuted a revised version of the EcoSport subcompact crossover.

Built on the bones of the Fiesta, the revised EcoSport looks like an Escape hit with shink-ray. Compared to the current model sold overseas, Ford has changed the front and rear fascias, and updated the head and taillights. We don't get the external rear-mounted spare tire like in other markets, but the the side-hinged rear tailgate remains.

The interior will come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system powered by Ford’s Sync 3 software. This means it will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatability. The EcoSport is also gadget friendly with two USB ports and a 12-volt power outlet up front, an optional 110-volt outlet, and another 12-volt outlet for rear passengers. Ford has also somehow managed to cram 30  storage pockets, bins, and hooks of different sizes in the EcoSport's interior.

Front-wheel drive models will feature the 1.0L EcoBoost three-cylinder and all-wheel drive models get a 2.0L four-cylinder. No power figures are available for either engine. Both will get a six-speed automatic as standard.

You'll have to wait till early 2018 if you want to get your hands on the EcoSport.

 

Source: Ford
Press Release is on Page 2


GO SMALL, LIVE BIG WITH ALL-NEW ECOSPORT - FORD'S SMALLEST SUV WITH THE BIGGEST PERSONALITY

  • Ford introduces all-new EcoSport for North America today during the world’s first-ever Snapchat vehicle reveal; event kicks off a three-day interactive experience in Hollywood open to the public through Wednesday
  • Fun, capable and connected, EcoSport gives drivers the freedom and versatility to go small and live big
  • Technology – including SYNC 3 with a high-resolution 8-inch floating touch screen, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ – easily integrates your smartphone and keeps you connected to friends and family while on the move

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14, 2016 – Ford today introduces the all-new EcoSport for North America for those who want space-saving convenience and SUV capability.

The EcoSport – a fun, capable, connected compact SUV – stars in the world’s first-ever vehicle reveal on Snapchat, kicking off a Hollywood pop-up event open to the public through Wednesday evening.

The interactive event showcases how EcoSport is a perfect companion for those who believe in going small and living big.

“More people are choosing to spend their time and money sharing experiences with friends and family instead of buying more stuff,” said Chantel Lenard, ‎executive director, Ford U.S. marketing. “EcoSport fits perfectly into this growing lifestyle. It’s our smallest SUV, packed with features and personality.”

Fun sound, color and style
EcoSport’s available premium B&O PLAY audio system brings your music to life. HARMAN acoustic engineers spent hundreds of hours perfecting the in-vehicle music experience.  

The Ford-exclusive B&O PLAY audio system, standard on EcoSport Titanium, features 10 speakers, including B&O PLAY-branded tweeters and woofers in the front doors and a subwoofer in back. The 675-watt system unlocks the power of your favorite music and transforms every drive into a “living big” experience.

EcoSport also features available HD Radio technology, SiriusXM® satellite radio and a dual FM radio antenna that boosts the range and clarity of FM signals.

Customers looking to stand apart from the crowd will find plenty of ways to personalize their EcoSport. Along with 10 exterior color choices, there are seven ambient lighting options and four trim level offerings – S, SE, SES and Titanium. All series feature a swing-gate-style tailgate.

The personality-packed SES series makes the biggest splash. It features Intelligent 4WD, sport-tuned suspension and steering, and unique styling cues inside and out – including bold copper accents for the interior and sport seats.

Connected technology
EcoSport makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family with SYNC® 3, Ford’s communications and entertainment system. Faster, more intuitive and easier to use, the system provides more conversational voice recognition and enhanced response to driver commands. Optimized for hands-free use, SYNC 3 for EcoSport is coupled with a touch screen similar to a smartphone or tablet. The 8-inch screen gives front-row occupants easy access to operate available Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ commands, and B&O PLAY audio settings.

Drivers also have the ability to start, lock, unlock and locate their vehicle from almost anywhere using available SYNC Connect with FordPass®. The mobile app lets owners view vehicle information, such as the fuel level and odometer reading, when not in the vehicle.

EcoSport features two fast-charging USB ports to ensure owners’ devices are always juiced. Plus, there’s a 12-volt power outlet. An available 110-volt outlet positioned behind the center console and another 12-volt outlet allow rear-seat passengers to stay plugged in, too.

Capable, powerful and sporty
Equipped with either the award-winning, 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged EcoBoost® or 2.0-liter four-cylinder, EcoSport provides power and control. Drivers opting for the 2.0-liter engine get Ford’s Intelligent 4WD standard. Both come with six-speed automatic transmissions.

As many as 30 stowage pockets, bins, hooks make efficient use of every interior inch. A cargo management system at the rear features a movable floor board and fold-away second-row seats to provide a flat area for moving furniture and other larger items.

The all-new Ford EcoSport starts arriving in dealerships in early 2018.


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Not bad but not great looking. I think the CX-3 looks best in the segment still.

I hope the 1.0T has enough ass to lug around a less aerodynamic CUV as opposed to a car. I would bet the 2.0 will be the volume engine as it just sounds better suited.

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You know what would sell me? This right here...

You have no idea how much superior a side opening tailgate is compared to a lift back until you own both.  The side opening hatch on my old CR-V is sooooo much better than the Encore liftback for loading and unloading stuff. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

You know what would sell me? This right here...

You have no idea how much superior a side opening tailgate is compared to a lift back until you own both.  The side opening hatch on my old CR-V is sooooo much better than the Encore liftback for loading and unloading stuff. 

 

Really? Why is it that much better?

I noticed it and thought it was a really neat/different feature but I didn't really know why they would do that? Or what the benefit of a swinging hatch or a liftgate.

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2 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

Really? Why is it that much better?

I noticed it and thought it was a really neat/different feature but I didn't really know why they would do that? Or what the benefit of a swinging hatch or a liftgate.

Honestly, I have a hard time quantifying it.  Keep in mind use my Honda for doing maintence work at my apartment buildings, so I'm always hauling tool boxes, supplies, etc. in it. It's just easier to do in the Honda than any of the liftbacks.  It's not something I can really explain... it's just something I live with. 

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The swing gate is a big drawback for people who live in the city and have to often parallel park.

 

My Rav has a swinging hatch, and I like it. It's something that would make or break a vehicle purchase for me, though.

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19 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Honestly, I have a hard time quantifying it.  Keep in mind use my Honda for doing maintence work at my apartment buildings, so I'm always hauling tool boxes, supplies, etc. in it. It's just easier to do in the Honda than any of the liftbacks.  It's not something I can really explain... it's just something I live with. 

I could see the ups and downs to it. The thing that I wouldn't like is just parking in general in a parking lot. I feel like there isn't enough room for somebody to park behind you and open your tailgate.

I think it really depends on the owners' needs and what they use it for.

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3 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

I could see the ups and downs to it. The thing that I wouldn't like is just parking in general in a parking lot. I feel like there isn't enough room for somebody to park behind you and open your tailgate.

I think it really depends on the owners' needs and what they use it for.

Yeah, if you know you're going to be loading stuff up at Home Depot, you need to remember to park ass out... but it is a small price to pay for the overall convenience. 

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6 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

I could see the ups and downs to it. The thing that I wouldn't like is just parking in general in a parking lot. I feel like there isn't enough room for somebody to park behind you and open your tailgate.

I think it really depends on the owners' needs and what they use it for.

This is why I liked the tail gates on 1960's and 1970's station wagons.

They would often open either way....made for good tailgating before a football game!

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5 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

You know what would sell me? This right here...

You have no idea how much superior a side opening tailgate is compared to a lift back until you own both.  The side opening hatch on my old CR-V is sooooo much better than the Encore liftback for loading and unloading stuff. 

 

But the Lift Back keeps you protected from the Rain and Snow according to GM! :P

The best tailgate that I believe GM and FORD used was the split stagecoach door minis with a lift gate glass section.

SafariRearEnd.jpg

ExcursionRearEnd.JPG

This is what I think is the best access for all CUVs & SUVs.

I wish my Suburban and Escalade had this kind of rear end opening.

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One of my Explorers had a lift open window in addition to the hatch.  Very, very useful.  Wish they would bring it back.  It was great, if someone parked so close that they touched your bumper, you could still put your groceries in the back. And best part is, they don't roll out when you open the whole hatch.  And then there is the functional use, where lumber or such could hang out with the hatch closed.  Very cool.

If the EcoSport had an opening glass, that would be very useful.  Does it?  Can anyone confirm it does not, on the Eu model?

 

 

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More awkwardly proportioned than the GM mini utes.  Love the blackout package though... and that back door is fantastic.  Easier to open and close than a hatch... can be safely opened in a garage without hitting the garage door opener track, etc etc...

 

Seems like my predictions for this were true... the removal of the spare tire (if it has one) from the back door... and a naturally aspirated engine.  woot

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3 hours ago, Wings4Life said:

 

One of my Explorers had a lift open window in addition to the hatch.  Very, very useful.  Wish they would bring it back.

 

I wish my Escape had that! The last gen Escapes had that and I think it is a great idea.

3 hours ago, ocnblu said:

More awkwardly proportioned than the GM mini utes.  Love the blackout package though... and that back door is fantastic.  Easier to open and close than a hatch... can be safely opened in a garage without hitting the garage door opener track, etc etc...

 

Seems like my predictions for this were true... the removal of the spare tire (if it has one) from the back door... and a naturally aspirated engine.  woot

But can it be opened with the garage door closed? 

So many advantages and disadvantages of the swinging door. I'm kind of up in the air about it as of now. 

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6 hours ago, ccap41 said:

I wish my Escape had that! The last gen Escapes had that and I think it is a great idea.

But can it be opened with the garage door closed? 

So many advantages and disadvantages of the swinging door. I'm kind of up in the air about it as of now. 

Vehicle itself is only 4 feet long, so yes, it should open in a closed garage.

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2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

Vehicle itself is only 4 feet long, so yes, it should open in a closed garage.

Visually it does have the proportions of a Smart car or Fiat 500....I find myself alternately loving and hating these small eggs on wheels.

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2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

Vehicle itself is only 4 feet long, so yes, it should open in a closed garage.

I guess for some reason I was thinking Escape and not the EcoSport. Or just anything larger would have troubles opening in a closed garage.

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2 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

I guess for some reason I was thinking Escape and not the EcoSport. Or just anything larger would have troubles opening in a closed garage.

As a guy who lives in a city and often has to parallel park or park in tight situations, i am actually liking the number of shorter vehicles that car makers are bringing out.

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My thoughts on it...

Baby Escape (not a bad thing since I like the new Escape quite a bit)

Coming built from India (why Ford, with these tarted up should pull a nice profit here in the US) Though my gut tells me Ford is either treating this like an A) Fad or B) Risk because they are not sure how will do here.

 

With the way it looks, people are going to be able to do things with this thing..and having friends overseas who are laughing that folks will try to put this trucklet to use here...It is TINY. Great for grandma or a trip to the mall, useless for anything else....

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On 11/15/2016 at 3:46 PM, dfelt said:

But the Lift Back keeps you protected from the Rain and Snow according to GM! :P

The best tailgate that I believe GM and FORD used was the split stagecoach door minis with a lift gate glass section.

SafariRearEnd.jpg

ExcursionRearEnd.JPG

This is what I think is the best access for all CUVs & SUVs.

I wish my Suburban and Escalade had this kind of rear end opening.

The Ford Flex had the same setup in certain trims. That was my favorite feature of it. 

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    • By William Maley
      It was just a few months ago that Volvo announced their in-house performance arm, Polestar would be spun off to become a standalone brand. It would focus on building high-performance electric vehicles, though as we reported in the rumorpile back in the summer, their first model would be a plug-in hybrid coupe. That rumor was right on the money as the brand unveiled the Polestar 1 at an event in Shanghai.
      The Polestar 1 looks to be the production model of the Volvo Concept Coupe shown a few years back. The front end is very reminiscent of recent Volvo models with a concave grille and Thor's Hammer headlights. The rear end echoes the Concept Coupe with C-Shaped taillights and short trunk lid. With an overall length of 177.2-inches, the Polestar 1 is about six inches shorter than the BMW 4-Series Coupe. Inside the coupe, it is again like Volvo's 90 Series models with a large touchscreen, steering wheel, and even the crystal gearshift.
      With all of this similarity to other Volvo models, you can't help but wonder if there is anything original to the Polestar 1. The brand says 50 percent of the coupe's parts are specific to the P1. It begins with the body where the majority of panels are made out of carbon fiber, saving 506 pounds,
      The hybrid powertrain is comprised of a 2.0L Drive-E engine driving the front axle and two electric motors on the rear axle. Total output is rated at 600 horsepower and 738 pound-feet of torque. Polestar says when the 1 is put into its 'Pure' mode (EV mode), it can travel up to 93 miles. Quick note, when the Polestar 1 is in pure mode, the electric motors offer a total output of 218 horsepower. A 34-kWh provides the electric juice. No information was given on 0-60 mph, top speed, or recharging time.
      The suspension features the Öhlins’ Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). This system monitors the road and driver inputs, adjust damping within 2 milliseconds to deliver optimal handling. CESi also allows for driver-selected modes, though details on this are being kept under wraps. Bringing the Polestar 1 to a stop are a set of Akebono brakes with six-piston calipers and large 15.7-inch discs.
      “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 1 will be built a new assembly plant in Chengdu, China that will be finished in mid-2018. Production of the coupe will follow a year later. Polestar plans on build 500 1s every year that you can through a new online-only ordering process. You cannot buy one outright however. A buyer will have to choose either a two or three-year subscription. But that subscription includes insurance and maintence. The order books for the Polestar 1 are open right now.
      Polestar also announced two forthcoming models called the 2 and 3. Both models will be full electric vehicles. Polestar 2 will be a midsize sedan that will compete with the Tesla Model 3, and the Polestar 3 will be an SUV. Production of the Polestar 2 will begin towards the end of 2019. No date was given as to when production of the Polestar 3 would start.
      Source: Polestar
      Press Release is on Page 2


      Polestar unveils its first car – the Polestar 1 – and reveals its vision to be the new electric performance brand

      Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, has today revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new,customer-focussed route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers.
      The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150km on pure electric power alone - the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment.
      Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development and building of its electrified performance cars.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar said; “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it - a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand".
      Pure, Progressive, Performance - a portfolio of Polestar models
      The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.
      Showcasing Polestar’s technology spearhead role, the Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) but approximately 50% is new and bespoke, created by Polestar’s engineers. Polestar 1 measures 4.5m in length compared with the 5.15m of the S90. This involved removing 320mm from the wheelbase and another 200mm in the rear to create the car’s powerful, sporty proportions.
      A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 218hp, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear wheel drive Electric performance car with up to 150km of range. This distance ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode.
      For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a Volvo Drive-E two-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 600hp and 1,000Nm of torque.
      Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, continued; “The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that's likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys”.
      When the driver enters the first corner in their Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) - the world’s first car to be fitted with this advanced chassis technology.
      Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements.
      Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake callipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. Weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling.
      The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to the market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than convention traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends.
      As another first for the Group, the major body parts of the Polestar 1 are made from carbon fibre. This lightweight material, more commonly found in supercars, gives the car three significant advantages. Firstly a substantial body weight reduction of 230kg by building in lighter Carbon Fibre. Secondly, an increase in torsional stiffness of 45%, from 22Nmm-2 to 32Nmm-2. And additionally, a lower centre of gravity. Reducing the weight of the upper body panels by using lightweight Carbon Fibre lowers the centre of gravity for the Polestar 1 and results in better handling, performance and drivability on an open and flowing road.
      “Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath.
      Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 to follow.
      All future Polestar cars will feature a fully electric powertrain. Polestar 2 will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group. Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized fully-electric car that will join the competition around the Tesla Model 3. Polestar 2 is currently in the engineering phase and will start production before the end of 2019, delivering higher volumes than Polestar 1.
      Polestar 3 is in the finishing stages of design and will be a larger SUV-style BEV, creating a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, and sitting between Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volume and pricing.
      “Being part of the Volvo Car Group enables Polestar to design, develop and engineer our cars using the processes of a well-established car company but at the same time, enables us to experiment with new technology in lower volume cars outside the mainstream segments. This pace of development means as we announce the future of the company, we can also already confirm that a portfolio of three Polestar cars will be on sale within the next four year timescale,” continued Thomas Ingenlath.
      A contemporary approach for modern performance customers.
      Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience.
      At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription payment. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance and all Polestars will be offered on this basis.
      The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services.
      Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the “hassle” traditionally associated with car usage.
      As an example, a customer needs the short-term use of a roof box for a forthcoming skiing holiday. At a time and location specified by the owner, Polestar will supply, fit and subsequently remove the roof box, just adding a small incremental usage charge to their monthly invoice.
      Polestar offers extended concierge services, tailored to the requirements of the most demanding customers. Included is services such as the extended use of a larger Volvo car domestically and internationally for when the driver needs additional load capacity during long family holidays, for example. Other features include the ability to book a car wash and valet at a time and location convenient to the customer.
      Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of its concierge services. Using an easy-to-use app on Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office.
      The subscription will be for a fixed term of two or three years. At the end of the contract, the customer simply returns the car, or Polestar collects it and delivers their next Polestar experience. Polestar will then refurbish the vehicle and prepare it for a secondary subscription as a high-quality pre-owned Polestar car.
      “Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar.
      Access Polestar wherever, whenever and however.
      Polestar makes the entire user experience as convenient and effortless as possible, catering to the customer’s desired choice of interaction channel (digital or physical).
      All features, from test drives, subscription offers and on demand services are ordered online. The customer never needs to visit a Polestar environment if they don’t want to.
      Polestar also recognises that as a new entrant into the electrified automotive segment, customers still want to physically engage with the brand.
      The digital approach will therefore be complemented by the creation of a network of stand-alone retail Spaces around the world. These Spaces will be staffed by Product experts who can assist in demonstrating and explaining the Polestar car’s content and carrying out test drives should the customer wish to do so. Polestar facilities will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom.
      The target date for the opening of the first Polestar Space is Q1-2019, followed by a ramp up as volumes grow.
      Polestar’s customers will have the confidence of knowing all aftersales servicing work will be carried out by selected Volvo retailers, giving the Polestar customer the peace of mind that their car will be looked after by a fully trained and professional network, but without the need for the customer to ever visit the Volvo retailer thanks to pick up and delivery servicing
      The order books for the new Polestar 1 open on 17 October 2017, with Polestar able to take expressions of interest from prospective customers immediately.
      Polestar Production Centre
      Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. This JV is capitalised with 5B RMB (640M Euro) of equity to support Polestar’s development. Polestar remains a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group and will be fully consolidated into Volvo Car Group.
      The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning architects, Snöhetta from Norway.
      The new Polestar Production Centre will also house one of the first Polestar Spaces, with a customer test track constructed within the campus to enable potential customers to evaluate the car to extremes not possible on public roads.
      When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
      “Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” said Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”.
    • By William Maley
      Last week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett unveiled his plans for the company. One key part of his plan is moving $7 billion from the development of cars to trucks. What does this entail? Car and Driver have done a bit of digging and has brought forth some answers.
      Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets tells the magazine the company will focus on its regional strengths for future products. For the U.S., this means developing “authentic, off-road capable” vehicles according to him. That includes the upcoming EcoSport crossover, Ranger pickup, and Bronco SUV.
      Ford is planning to focus on utility vehicles in other markets as well as they have found success with “styled, on-road performance" crossovers. Europe will begin seeing models that are “urban-utility products.” For Asia (in particular China), Ford will focus on the "C-plus" larger midsize segment and three-row SUVs.
      As for cars, Farley said Ford will be repositioning products in certain markets to "lower-volume, higher-revenue sub-segments." For example, the Fiesta and Focus will become more upmarket.
      Source: Car and Driver

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Last week, Ford CEO Jim Hackett unveiled his plans for the company. One key part of his plan is moving $7 billion from the development of cars to trucks. What does this entail? Car and Driver have done a bit of digging and has brought forth some answers.
      Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets tells the magazine the company will focus on its regional strengths for future products. For the U.S., this means developing “authentic, off-road capable” vehicles according to him. That includes the upcoming EcoSport crossover, Ranger pickup, and Bronco SUV.
      Ford is planning to focus on utility vehicles in other markets as well as they have found success with “styled, on-road performance" crossovers. Europe will begin seeing models that are “urban-utility products.” For Asia (in particular China), Ford will focus on the "C-plus" larger midsize segment and three-row SUVs.
      As for cars, Farley said Ford will be repositioning products in certain markets to "lower-volume, higher-revenue sub-segments." For example, the Fiesta and Focus will become more upmarket.
      Source: Car and Driver
    • By William Maley
      Ford's CEO Jim Hackett has unveiled his plans for the company and there are a lot of cuts coming, along with shifts in various investments. 
      “I get up every day feeling like time can be wasted here if we don’t get moving. I feel a real sense of urgency,” Hackett told investors yesterday in New York.
      The cuts include a $10 billion cut in material outlays and a $4 billion cut in engineering costs over the next five years. Ford will also cut costs on internal combustion engines and redirect the funds to the development of EVs.
      One move that consumers will see is the reduction of possible vehicle configurations. For example, the current Escape has 2,302 configurations available. Ford will cut that down to 228 for the next-generation. The Fusion will see a dramatic reduction from 35,000 to just 96.
      "We really offered too many options," Hackett said.
      Speaking of cars, Ford will be moving $7 billion from the development of cars to trucks. This shift would mean fewer car nameplates, but the company wouldn't go into detail which ones would be cut. As we have reported in the rumorpile, the possible candidates for cuts include the C-Max, Fiesta, and Taurus.
      Other parts of Hackett's vision for Ford include,
      Playing catchup by offering internet connectivity in all of their vehicles by 2019. 90 percent of Ford's global lineup will feature some sort of connectivity by 2020. Building out more partnerships such as working with Lyft on deploying autonomous vehicles Cutting down it takes to develop and produce a new vehicle “The mandate here is that Ford must compete. Companies never choose to die and yet many by not evolving are enabling that kind of fate. It’s clear that as a company we must then raise our gaze just high enough to ensure we’re not disrupted as the world changes,” said Hackett.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Ford, Reuters
      Press Release is on Page 2
      FORD’S FUTURE: EVOLVING TO BECOME MOST TRUSTED MOBILITY COMPANY, DESIGNING SMART VEHICLES FOR A SMART WORLD
      Ford initiates aggressive “fitness” push, re-basing revenue growth assumptions and attacking costs, while redesigning company operations for long-term success Capital will be allocated to regions, products and services with highest potential for growth and return; product shift calls for more trucks and SUVs, fewer passenger cars Ford is accelerating work on smart, connected vehicles, including AVs and EVs and digital services to thrive in emerging transportation operating system NEW YORK, Oct. 3, 2017 – Ford Motor Company today is providing a strategic update to investors, detailing plans to leverage its unique product strengths, trusted brand and global scale to refocus and thrive in an evolving and disruptive period for the auto industry.
      The investor presentation follows a four-month deep dive into Ford’s strategy and business operations led by President and CEO Jim Hackett and Ford’s senior leadership team. Hackett said Ford will improve its operational fitness, refocus capital allocation and accelerate the introduction of smart vehicles and services.
      “Ford was built on the belief that freedom of movement drives human progress,” said Hackett, who became Ford president and CEO on May 22. “It’s a belief that has always fueled our passion to create great cars and trucks. And today, it drives our commitment to become the world’s most trusted mobility company, designing smart vehicles for a smart world that help people move more safely, confidently and freely.”
      The full slide deck of the presentation can be found here. Ford is reaffirming its 2017 full-year financial guidance and said its 2018 outlook will be provided in January.
      Reiterating its long-term goal of an 8 percent automotive operating margin, Ford says it will embrace the profound technological changes and new competition buffeting the industry. To deliver, the company is expanding its scope to include vehicles and services – all designed around human-centered experiences. The company will tap its strengths integrating hardware and software in complex devices, its proven ability to deliver scale and the trust tied to the Ford brand.
      Specifically, Ford is:
      Accelerating the introduction of connected, smart vehicles and services customers want and value. By 2019, 100 percent of Ford’s new U.S. vehicles will be built with connectivity. The company has similarly aggressive plans for China and other markets, as 90 percent of Ford’s new global vehicles will feature connectivity by 2020. Rapidly improving fitness to lower costs, release capital and finance growth. Ford is attacking costs, reducing automotive cost growth by 50 percent through 2022. As part of this, the company is targeting $10 billion in incremental material cost reductions. The team also is reducing engineering costs by $4 billion from planned levels over the next five years by increasing use of common parts across its full line of vehicles, reducing order complexity and building fewer prototypes. Allocating capital where Ford can win the future. This starts with the company reallocating $7 billion of capital from cars to SUVs and trucks, including the Ranger and EcoSport in North America and the all-new Bronco globally. Ford also has plans to build the next-generation Focus for North America in China, saving capital investment and ongoing costs. Further, Ford is reducing internal combustion engine capital expenditures by one-third and redeploying that capital into electrification – on top of the previously announced $4.5 billion investment. Embracing partnerships. Ford will continue to leverage partnerships, remain active in M&A and collaborate to accelerate R&D. The company recently announced it was exploring a strategic alliance with Mahindra Group as it transforms its business in India, and Zoyte with the intention of developing a new line of low-cost all-electric passenger vehicles in China. When it comes to autonomous vehicle development, the company recently announced a relationship with Lyft to work toward commercialization and a collaboration with Domino’s Pizza to research the customer experience of delivery services. Expanding electric vehicle revenue opportunities. The company recently announced a dedicated electrification team within Ford, focused exclusively on creating an ecosystem of products and services for electric vehicles and the unique opportunities they provide. This builds on Ford’s earlier commitment to deliver 13 new electric vehicles in the next five years, including F-150 Hybrid, Mustang Hybrid, Transit Custom plug-in hybrid, an autonomous vehicle hybrid, Ford Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, and a fully electric small SUV. “When you’re a long-lived company that has had success over multiple decades the decision to change is not easy – culturally or operationally,” Hackett said. “Ultimately, though, we must accept the virtues that brought us success over the past century are really no guarantee of future success.” 
      Revamping product development, modernizing factories
      At the same time, Ford is redesigning its operations to better compete in this disruptive era.
      Hackett cites as a template the example of how the company reimagined the all-new 2015 F-150. Since then, the F-Series has gained market share and the average transaction price has increased 16 percent. It has improved fuel economy and increased capability for customers, thanks in part to a 700-pound weight reduction that helped make the F-150 the company’s most positive contributor to CAFE standards for model year 2018. Additionally, 90 percent of the manufacturing equipment can be reused for the next-generation F-150, reducing future capital requirements. Finally, the innovation on aluminum and light weighting will pay off across a range of Ford trucks and SUVs.
      Other priorities include:
      Reducing orderable combinations of many nameplates, focusing on what customers value most. Already the team has identified a ten-fold reduction of orderable combinations in the next-generation Escape and is moving from approximately 35,000 combinations in the current generation of Fusion to 96 in the next generation. Rethinking product development processes and incorporating new technology. In the next five years, Ford is aiming to reduce new vehicle development time by 20 percent, with new tools and fewer orderable combinations. Through the use of virtual assembly lines, the company has been able to reduce new model changeover time by 25 percent. Redesigning the company’s factories of the future. Accelerating and scaling 3D printing, robotics, virtual reality tools and big data will improve logistics and enable a more efficient manufacturing footprint. “We believe Ford will achieve its competitive advantage by focusing deeply on our customers – whether they’re drivers, riders or cities – and that’s where we are playing to win,” Hackett said.

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