Archive for January, 2019

Wednesday, January 16th, 2019

  • Alliance leverages the two global automakers’ strengths to better compete, innovate and serve customers
  • Alliance does not involve cross-ownership between the two companies
  • Companies to first deliver medium pickup trucks for global customers, aiming to start in 2022, and intend to follow with commercial vans in Europe
  • Van and pickup agreements are targeted to deliver scale and efficiencies for each company starting in 2023
  • Volkswagen and Ford also are committed to exploring potential collaboration on EVs, autonomous vehicles and mobility services

DETROIT, Jan. 15, 2019 – Volkswagen AG and Ford Motor Company today announced the first formal agreements in a broad alliance that positions the companies to boost competitiveness and better serve customers in an era of rapid change in the industry.

Volkswagen CEO Dr. Herbert Diess and Ford CEO Jim Hackett confirmed that the companies intend to develop commercial vans and medium-sized pickups for global markets beginning as early as 2022. The alliance will drive significant scale and efficiencies and enable both companies to share investments in vehicle architectures that deliver distinct capabilities and technologies.

The companies estimate the commercial van and pickup cooperation will yield improved annual pre-tax operating results, starting in 2023.

In addition, Volkswagen and Ford have signed a memorandum of understanding to investigate collaboration on autonomous vehicles, mobility services and electric vehicles and have started to explore opportunities. Both companies also said they were open to considering additional vehicle programs in the future. The teams will continue working through details in the coming months.

“Over time, this alliance will help both companies create value and meet the needs of our customers and society,” Hackett said. “It will not only drive significant efficiencies and help both companies improve their fitness, but also gives us the opportunity to collaborate on shaping the next era of mobility.”

Diess added: “Volkswagen and Ford will harness our collective resources, innovation capabilities and complementary market positions to even better serve millions of customers around the world. At the same time, the alliance will be a cornerstone for our drive to improve competitiveness.”

The alliance, which does not entail cross-ownership between the two companies, will be governed by a joint committee. This committee will be led by Hackett and Diess and will include senior executives from both companies.
Commercial van and pickup collaboration


Ford and Volkswagen both have strong commercial van and pickup businesses around the globe, with popular nameplates such as the Ford Transit family and Ranger as well as the Volkswagen Transporter, Caddy and Amarok.

The companies’ collective light commercial vehicle volumes from 2018 totaled approximately 1.2 million units globally, which could represent the industry’s highest-volume collaboration as production scales.

Demand for both medium pickups and commercial vans is expected to grow globally in the next five years. The alliance will enable the companies to share development costs, leverage their respective manufacturing capacity, boost the capability and competitiveness of their vehicles and deliver cost efficiencies, while maintaining distinct brand characteristics.

Through the alliance, Ford will engineer and build medium-sized pickups for both companies which are expected to go to market as early as 2022. For both parties, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van.

About Volkswagen Group

The Volkswagen Group with its headquarters in Wolfsburg is one of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers and the largest carmaker in Europe. The product spectrum ranges from motorcycles to small cars and luxury vehicles. In the commercial vehicle sector, the products include ranges from pick-ups, buses and heavy trucks. The Group operates 120 production plants in 20 European countries and a further 11 countries in the Americas, Asia and Africa. Every weekday, around 642,292 employees worldwide produce nearly 44,170 vehicles, and work in vehicle-related services or other fields of business.www.volkswagenag.com.

ALL-NEW FORD EXPLORER GOES FASTER AND FURTHER WITH PERFORMANCE-TUNED ST AND NO-COMPROMISE HYBRID

Monday, January 14th, 2019

  • Following the reveal of the all-new Ford Explorer at Ford Field, Detroit last week, two all-new family members join the model’s broadest-ever lineup – Explorer ST and Explorer Hybrid
  • All-new Explorer ST, the newest SUV from Ford Performance, is the most fun-to-drive and powerful Explorer ever with a specially tuned 3.0-litre EcoBoost® engine projected to make 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque and reach a targeted top track speed of 143 mph
  • All-new Explorer Hybrid is a no-compromise Ford hybrid SUV designed to offer performance and capability in a fuel-efficient package; 3.3-litre hybrid powertrain produces 318 combined system horsepower and is projected to return an EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles between gas station fill-ups in the rear-wheel-drive model

DETROIT, Jan. 14, 2019 – Completing its broadest-ever lineup of Explorer SUVs, Ford today revealed two all-new models that will take Explorer drivers faster and further than ever before.

The all-new Explorer ST and the all-new Explorer Hybrid complete a lineup that includes a variety of driver and passenger comforts, an array of technologies that improve every drive, and new powertrain options that deliver power and efficiency.

The new Explorer family, which follows on the heels of Ford’s hot-selling new Expedition, goes on sale this summer. As America’s favourite SUV, Explorer will set the pace for the rest of the Ford’s utility lineup, which continues growing this year with an all-new Escape – and more.

“This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family – and every driver – is unique,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford executive vice president, product development and purchasing. “With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there truly is an Explorer for every adventure.”

These latest additions to the all-new Explorer family – built at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant – will join base, XLT, Limited and Platinum models in showrooms.

ST thrills continue with all-new Explorer ST

Continuing the expansion of the ST brand, the all-new Explorer ST is the most powerful and fun-to-drive Ford SUV ever.

Engineered by the Ford Performance team, Explorer ST uses a specially tuned 3.0-litre EcoBoost® engine projected to achieve 400 horsepower and 415 lb.-ft. of torque. A top speed target for track drivers stands at 143 mph.

“We designed it to be an ST from the beginning,” said Ed Krenz, Ford Performance chief functional engineer. “There’s no mistaking its ST DNA. It has a performance feel with sustained performance capability and wears an unmistakably ST appearance. More than anything, it’s just a hell of a lot of fun to drive.”

Explorer ST delivers an engaging driving experience with a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive with selectable traction control. Available upgrades include an ST Street Pack and an ST Track Pack. Both have 21-inch aluminum wheels with differing levels of performance brakes and feature larger vented rotors, red-painted brake callipers with stainless steel pistons, and larger brake pads for even better stopping power.

As with Edge ST, Explorer ST offers a Sport mode for an exhilarating ride. When engaged via the selectable drive mode dial in the centre console, the steering system tightens for sportier reaction, the gas pedal responds more aggressively, gears hold longer and shift quicker, and an enhanced engine note plays through the cabin.

Visually, Explorer ST stands out courtesy of a black mesh grille insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside details, roof-rack side rails and skid plate elements. “EXPLORER” badging stretches across the front edge of the hood.

Inside, a 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster is standard. A flat-bottomed, heated steering wheel embossed with an ST logo and unique floor mats are subtle cues exclusive to Explorer ST. Leather sport bucket seats with micro-perforation, City Silver accent stitching and ST logo complete the sporty feel.

Explorer ST comes standard with a Class III Trailer Tow Package with Cargo Management System and Active Park Assist 2.0 – Ford’s new driver-assist parking system that takes control of the steering wheel, gas pedal, brake pedal and gear shifter during parallel and perpendicular parking maneuvers with a simple touch of a button.

Explorer Hybrid offers no-compromise efficiency

Ford is reinventing the standard for hybrids – introducing an entirely new generation of vehicles this year that bring out the best in hybrid capability with great performance and the freedom to go further.

The all-new Explorer Hybrid, which features a 3.3-litre hybrid powertrain, is projected to produce a combined system 318 horsepower. An EPA-estimated range of more than 500 miles between gas station fill-ups is targeted for the rear-wheel-drive model*.

An all-new 10-speed modular hybrid transmission provides SUV capability. Unlike previous hybrid vehicles, a specially designed liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is built into the Explorer chassis below the second-row seats to preserve cargo and passenger space.

“Reduced cargo space in hybrids is a thing of the past for Ford customers,” said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer.

Available in Limited edition trim, Explorer Hybrid comes with Active Noise Cancellation, Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist+™ driver-assist technologies, leather seats with micro-perforation and accent stitching, second-row heated seats, a 14-speaker B&O premium sound system, wireless phone charging pad and 10-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats.

*Actual range will vary. Final EPA-estimated ratings available in the 2019 calendar year.

2020 FORD EXPLORER – REDESIGNED FROM THE GROUND UP

Thursday, January 10th, 2019


Ford today introduces its all-new 2020 Explorer – a complete redesign of America’s all-time best-selling SUV – that now features the broadest model lineup ever, more power and space, and smart new technologies to help tackle life’s adventures.

Explorer is now more capable, comfortable, sportier and roomier in all three rows thanks to Ford’s flexible new rear-wheel-drive architecture. The strengths of the all-new Ford Explorer were showcased at a special reveal event for employees, fans, dealers, suppliers, government officials and media today at Ford Field in Detroit, where Ford brought to life how it can help American families get the most out of their road trips. The all-new SUV arrives this summer.

“Explorer drivers told us what they want – more capability, more power, more space,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s head of product development and purchasing. “They want more technology, not just for the driver, but for the whole family. And they want all of it with a beautifully sporty exterior. This new Explorer gives them all of that, and more, helping make every journey more enjoyable.”

Improved off-road capability comes courtesy of intelligent four-wheel drive and an available new Terrain Management System that features seven easy-to-engage drive modes. Powertrain offerings include a 3.0-litre turbocharged EcoBoost® V6 projected to produce 365 horsepower and 380 lb.-ft. of torque using 93-octane gas, making this the most powerful Explorer ever. The Explorer lineup now features standard, XLT, Limited, Limited Hybrid, ST and Platinum models.

The all-new Explorer comes packed with more than a dozen new standard features for only $400 more over the previous model. Standard features include a power liftgate, 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine with all-new 10-speed transmission, 8-inch digital touch screen with SYNC® 3, FordPass Connect Wi-Fi service for up to 10 devices and more.

Owners will find design and engineering updates throughout that deliver comfort and SUV functionality. Explorer’s stylish, sloped-roof silhouette protects rear-seat headroom, while its comfort-enhanced second-row seats slide to improve access to the third row.

“We obsessed about what Explorer customers need and want,” said Bill Gubing, Explorer chief engineer. “We met with customer groups, pored through internet forums, and dissected social media posts to determine what they love about today’s Explorer and understand their pain points. Then we found ways to improve it across the board. Every enhancement on this all-new Explorer was inspired by our customers.”

Technology designed to heighten the experience of traveling

Building upon Ford’s push to bring more driver-assist technology to market, the all-new Explorer introduces available Active Park Assist 2.0. The class-exclusive feature – standard on Explorer Platinum – allows the driver to park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with a touch of a button without having to work the steering wheel, gear shifter, gas pedal or brake pedal. Available reverse brake assist, also standard on Platinum, uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in Explorer’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.

Explorer also is available with Ford’s all-new Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control with Speed Sign Recognition. In addition to automatically slowing when traffic ahead slows and helping keep the vehicle centred in its lane, the system uses cameras to read speed signs and, combined with the available navigation system, adjusts cruise control settings accordingly.

Explorer comes standard with Ford Co-Pilot360, a suite of driver-assist technologies including:

  • Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, which includes Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Dynamic Brake Support
  • Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert
  • Lane-Keeping System
  • Rearview camera with built-in lens cleaner
  • Auto headlamps with auto high-beams

Other available Ford Co-Pilot360 technologies include Evasive Steering Assist, which provides steering support to help avoid a collision; and 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 Chris Billman, Ford Co-Pilot360 engineering manager. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”

Passengers in all three rows will enjoy FordPass Connect, a standard feature that serves up 4G LTE Wi-Fi for up to 10 mobile devices with a compatible wireless subscription service. FordPass Connect gives drivers remote access to their Explorer, allowing them to use their smartphone to lock, unlock, locate and start the vehicle, as well as monitor key vehicle diagnostics.

Explorer features an available 10.1-inch touch screen mounted in portrait configuration on the centre stack. Navigation maps can fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to what consumers are accustomed to on smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the updated SYNC 3 system. Standard SYNC 3’s more intuitive layout gives drivers compatibility with available features such as Apple CarPlay®, Android Auto® and Waze navigation.

A wireless charging pad is available that allows customers to recharge compatible mobile devices, and up to four USB ports, including new type-C outlets, charge next-generation mobile devices. Up to three 12-volt outlets and a 110-volt outlet are also available.

For music lovers, Explorer offers an available 980-watt, 14-speaker B&O premium audio system. Access to SiriusXM satellite radio is standard and comes with new touch screen graphics and functionality – including a display of the day’s sports scores. HD Radio is standard on Limited and Platinum models.

The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, which displays important vehicle information such as speedometer and gas gauge. It uses 3D animated graphics to change information depending on which of the seven drive modes are selected using the available Terrain Management System.

Meticulously recrafted to be the best Explorer ever

Ford’s recipe for Explorer has always relied on three main ingredients – capability, comfort and design. The new rear-wheel-drive architecture enables bumper-to-bumper improvements that include an even more athletic appearance, increased capability and the best passenger accommodations in an Explorer ever.

The powerful new engine lineup features a pair of EcoBoost entries – a 2.3-litre turbocharged I-4 that comes standard on base, XLT and Limited models, and a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 that powers Explorer Platinum. The reinvigorated 2.3-litre engine is projected to produce 300 horsepower and 310 lb.-ft. of torque, with improved performance over the outgoing Explorer equipped with the same engine.

“A vehicle like Explorer can’t just be good-looking,” said Craig Patterson, Ford SUV marketing manager. “Explorer customers need it to do certain things. They need to be able to drive certain places and haul specific items. This Explorer performs no matter what adventures you have in store.”

Up to seven selectable drive modes are available for customers to tailor their drive experience to road, weather and terrain conditions on demand. Rear-wheel-only Explorer drive modes include normal, sport, trail, slippery, tow/haul and eco. Vehicles equipped with intelligent four-wheel drive add a deep snow and sand mode for improved performance off-road.

Rear-wheel drive also enables more towing capability when properly equipped, regardless of engine. Vehicles equipped with a 3.0-litre EcoBoost can tow up to 5,600 pounds, a 12 percent increase over outgoing models with 3.5-litre EcoBoost. New models outfitted with a 2.3-litre EcoBoost and Class III Trailer Tow Package can tow up to 5,300 pounds, versus the 3,000 pounds today’s similarly equipped Explorer is capable of.

Hauling boats and trailers was certainly a priority for the Explorer team, but so was accommodating smaller items such as everyday drink bottles and cellphones. With every detail scrutinized, the new Explorer can boast 123 cubic litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items.

Available PowerFold® third-row seats and new E-Z entry second-row seats let drivers create a flat-floor cargo area that stretches out to offer 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space – wide enough to fit standard 4-foot building materials, depending on seating configuration. Accommodating families of all sizes, second-row seats feature a new mechanism that allows for easy entrance and exit to the third row using just one hand. Redesigned ISOFIX anchor points allow child seat installation anywhere in the second and third rows. Second-row windows are equipped with available retractable sunshades.

A stylish, modern design that is pure Explorer

A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer over the past 29 years, and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage. Longtime traits – including Explorer’s blacked-out A-pillars and D-pillars and body-colour C-pillars – are retained. Changes to the overall profile include a more sloping roofline and shorter front overhang, giving the vehicle a sportier, more stylish appearance.

Explorer comes standard with 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, but across the lineup drivers can opt for one of seven wheel designs, including 21-inch premium aluminum wheels available on Platinum models. Other Platinum differentiators include door handles with satin aluminum insert, liftgate appliqué, lower bodyside cladding insert, roof-rack side rails and a unique grille with satin aluminum finish.

Platinum models also feature a standard twin-panel moonroof, which allows light to flood the most comfortable Explorer cabin ever. Explorer Platinum includes special leather seats, plus leather-wrapped steering wheel, dashboard, door rollovers, and door and front console armrests.

The all-new Explorer is manufactured at Chicago Assembly Plant. New vehicles are due in showrooms this summer.

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