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Ford Focus Will Be Made in China, Imported to America



Ford logo on front grille

In yet another example of China’s continual economic prominence, Ford has announced that it will import the Ford Focus from China to North America (U.S. Canada) in 2019.

As demand for small cars continues to decline in North America and elsewhere around the world, the American automaker is betting on the decision to save $1 billion in investment costs compared to the original plan to build the US / Canadian-market Focus in Mexico.

The abandonment of the Mexico plan coincided with President Trump’s threats to slap tariffs on imported vehicles, though then-CEO Mark Fields said the decision was solely based sales forecasts and not political pressures.

Ford global operations president Joe Hinrichs stated:

“Finding a more cost-effective way to deliver the next Focus program in North America is a better plan, allowing us to redeploy the money we save into areas of growth for the company – especially sport utilities, commercial vehicles, performance vehicles as well as mobility, autonomous vehicles and electrified vehicles.”

What do you make of Ford’s decision? Will you buy a made-in-China Ford Focus? Will you buy any car made in China? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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GM, Ford, Toyota Team Up To Make Self-Driving Cars Safer



Cruise Chevrolet Bolt Self-Driving Car

The three automakers have formed an autonomous safety consortium.

General Motors, Toyota, and Ford have partnered with standards group SAE International to establish the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), a new organization dedicated to self-driving car safety.

The primary goal of the group is to create a safety framework for developing and testing SAE Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles.

“The work will ultimately inform and accelerate the development of industry standards for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and harmonize with efforts of other consortia and standards bodies throughout the world,” the group said in a press release.

While there has been great progress in the way of self-driving technology, there remains uncertainty about when and how the technology should be pushed to market. Determining appropriate safety rules to govern automation continues to be a hot a topic of discussion.

“Our goal with the consortium is to work with industry and government partners to expedite development of standards that can lead to rule making,” said Ford’s CTO of autonomous vehicles, Randy Visintainer.

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New 2020 Ford Escape Debuts With New Look, Hybrid Choices, More Tech



New, 2020 Ford Escape SUV, red

Ford has completely “reinvented” it’s best-selling crossover.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Escape debuts with a sportier design, two new hybrid powertrain options and a long list of new tech features.

Compered to the previous model, the new Escape has a smoother, more car-like look that Ford says was inspired by high-profile sports cars. Highlights include a trapezoidal grille like the one on the Mustang, a slopping roofline and a lower front fascia that supposedly takes some styling cues from the Ford GT.

Overall, the new Ford Escape is lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, offering more interior space as a result. In fact, Ford claims significantly improved rear legroom and up to 37.5 cubic feet (1,062 liters) of cargo space when the rear seats are up, an improvement of 3.5 cubic feet (28 liters). The second-row seats can slide front to back to maximize legroom or cargo space.

Considering that the new Escape is essentially a more utilitarian Ford Focus, it has nearly the same interior design and layout as Ford’s hatchback. The optional list of tech features now includes a head-up display and new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Engineers worked hard to make it more aerodynamic. Thanks to the use of more high-strength, lightweight steel, it is also more than than 200 pounds lighter.

Buyers will be able to choose from two EcoBoost engines and two new hybrid powertrains. The base engine is a 1.5L EcoBoost that produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque, while more power can be had with a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine rated at 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque. Both powerplants are paired with an eight-speed automatic that drives the front wheels as standard, although all-wheel drive is an option.

Those looking for efficiency above all else can opt for a hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder that runs on the Atkinson cycle and generates 198 hp (148 kW). A continuously variable transmission. drives the front-wheel drive as standard, but all-wheel drive is available.

Ford will also offers a plugin hybrid version of the new Escape. It can be recharged in 3.5 hours using a 240-volt charger and is estimated to have best-in-class range of at least 30 miles (48 kilometers) on electric power.

Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist join the list of driver-assist technologies. Active Park Assist 2.0 system allows the Escape to automatically park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with little assistance from the driver, while Evasive Steering Assist helps avoid an imminent collision by detecting a slower-moving or stationary vehicle ahead and providing steering support to assist the driver.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Escape goes on sale in fall 2019, with the plug-in hybrid arriving in spring 2020. Are you happy with how it turned out?

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New Ford Explorer’s ‘Mindful Mode’ Helps You Digitally Detox



New Ford Explorer Digital Cluster Detox

Ford thinks you need a break from looking at screens.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Explorer comes with a long list of tech features that includes a digital instrument cluster and a vertical touchscreen in the center stack, both which can overwhelm the driver with information overload. To help alleviate this issue, Ford decided to add a Mindful Mode that lets drivers digitally detox.

When activated, Mindful Mode removes most of the information displayed on the instrument cluster and touchscreen, leaving only data that the driver needs, such as speed, speed limit, and fuel level. By fading everything else into a blue background, it provides some respite from processing information displayed on the screens.

Ford expects Mindful Mode will be popular among Explorer. According to its research, more than half of adults around the world want a mandatory timeout from their devices.

“People are increasingly aware of and alarmed by their device dependency. Yet if there’s one opportunity throughout the day to reduce your exposure to digital demands, it’s when you’re driving. Ford’s new Explorer can serve as a sanctuary from chaos and distraction,” stated Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global consumer trends and futurist.

Is this a feature you would want in your car? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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