The latest innovation coming from Ford Motor has a powerful engine but with no wheels and doors. And this isn’t even the latest pick-up from the Ford pick-up series so don’t bother looking under the hood. The newest toy from the company is the Ford Motor Company’s Sync system that is located in the dash of 21 new cars, trucks and crossovers. Though small in size, the chip’s capability is immense since this is known as the speech engine.
The microchip will run on Microsoft software and the presence of the Sync’s speech engine is the key to delivering a fully integrated voice-activated in-car communications and entertainment system. What this means is that when you talk to your car, the car will hear you and it will do something constructive for you. For this technology to work inside your car, you need to whip out your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or digital music player. Decide which one of the gadget you will use. If you are always on the go, then the Bluetooth-enabled phone is a wise choice. Pair or link your phone to Sync and this is as simple as connecting to a wireless Bluetooth handset. When the phone is hooked into the system, the Sync is ready to receive your voice commands.
Here is an example of the cadence of operations: Just press the ‘talking face’ button on the steering wheel and a computerized voice will respond by saying, ‘Please say a command’. Respond by saying ‘Phone’ then the Sync will say ‘Phone’. And depending on who you are calling, you can either say ‘Dial’ plus the digits or say ‘Call Home’. The call takes place using the car’s audio system.
*Picture above is a 2008 Ford Focus
This is the first vehicle of Ford Motors to debut on primetime, and not on Detroit or Geneva auto show mind you. The move of Ford Motors was to tap the immense popularity of the American Idol and of course gain access to more than 20 million viewers. So what’s the Ford Focus coupe 2009 has to offer? John Felice of Ford Division group characterize the Ford Focus as a little car that can deliver in a big way. He said that the Ford Focus is fun to drive, has strong quality and priced just right. It comes in with 35 miles per gallon, just the right car for those who wants to save.
The new 2009 Focus that will be delivered this year offer new front and rear fascias, standard integrated foglamps, chrome grille and the headlamp accents. For the Focus SES, it will come with a standard high-mounted spoiler, and the SE version of the Focus on the other hand features deck lid spoiler. The new dark chrome 17-inch aluminum wheels complete the looks and the design of the SES trim. The 2009 Ford Focus coupe features a 2.0 liter inline four cylinder engine that can provide you with 143 horsepower when combined with the five-speed manual transmission; and 140 horsepower if combined with the four-speed automatic. The 2009 Focus SES coupe also features more horsepower and a throatier sound, courtesy of the sport-tuned exhaust. There is a new option on the 2009 version of the Focus, and that’s the electronic stability control or the ESC that uses sophisticated sensros and the anti-lock braking system that can help correct skids that we know leads to accidents.
Aside from the 2.0 liter Duratec 20 dual-overhead cam DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine, there’s the super clean, 130 horsepower Duratec 20E engine as well. This engine qualifies as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle or PZEV. tailpipe emissions of this car is way cleaner that some of the hybrid gas-electric vehicles out there. Also getting an attention on the Focus is the SYNC standard. This technology will come as a standard on the SES series and an option on the SE. This technology is a fully integrated in-vehicle, voice activated communications and entertainment system for drivers to use their Bluetooth cellphones and other digital media players. This technology was first introduced on the Focus 2008 and was received well by consumers.
This car will be available later this summer and will come with a sticker price of $15,920.00.
Recent reports suggest that Ford Motors is thinking of ending the Mercury line of vehicles. Industry analysts say that when that happens, the company can now focus its efforts on Ford and Lincoln brands. But the officials from Ford, it was reported has denied the news. Analyst Aaron Bragman of the economic forecasting firm Global Insight sings a different tune and says that with the declining sales of Mercury, then this particular brand is expandable. A former auto executive Jerome York, who advises the investment company of Kirk kerkorian mentioned that the struggling automaker would benefit from retiring the auto brand. The opinion of Jerome York is significant since the Kerkorian’s Tracinda Corp. recently announced that it owned 4.7 percent of Ford and mentioned that the company might raise its stakes to more than 5.5 percent. Another sign that can tell if the brand is indeed is in a downward move is thru a look at the auto showrooms across the US. During the 1980s, Mercury sells half million units a year. But if we take a look at the figures last year, we see that the brand only sold 168,000 cars and sport utility vehicles last year. US sales are down 23 percent this year, the biggest drop for any brand except Chrysler and Hummer. Some analysts point to other factors that may drive the retirement of Mercury. They point to the aging product line-up and the brand’s customer base as well. Based on the research of J.D. Power, the average Mercury buyer is 55 which is well above the industry average of 47. Brand loyalty is another thing; 35 percent of Mercury owners will buy the same vehicle as compared to the industry’s average pegged at 45 percent.
But no matter what the analysts says, Ford thru its spokesman Mark Schirmer said that the rumours of Mercury’s death have been greatly exaggerated. He added that they have been very clear with the dealers that there have been no decisions made to discontinue the brand.
Giving up one brand or a line of vehicle isn’t easy. In fact it’s a great work and a lot of money is needed as well. Giving up one car brand is a lont term process and cna be very expensive. Just take the case of general Motors when it decided to set aside Oldsmobile eight years ago. GM set aside almost $1 billion to handle the tranistion and then money to spend in more than five years in battling dealer lawsuits. So right now, nothing is certain. Mercury will still be seen on auto showrooms.
If indeed the brand may bow in the coming years, then this is a sad ending to one of those brands with enduring history. The brand was launched in 1939 as a step-up car for buyers between economy Fords and upscale Lincolns. Mercury vehicles are known for their powerful V8 engines. It’s place in pop culture has been sealwed when James Dean drove a black ’49 Mercury Club Coupe in the 1955 movie ” Rebel Without a Cause”.