“We test any component that people commonly touch for more than 30 seconds.” Those are the words of Linda Schmalz, and she’s talking about the interior of your Ford. Linda, the Supervisor of Ford Core Material Engineering, works with a team of engineers to test steering wheels, seats, armrests and shifters for allergens. Those are the parts of the interior we touch the most. If you’re lucky enough not to be familiar with the term allergens, know they are usually associated with seasonal weather and rash-inducing materials.
However, Ford rigorously tests its vehicles and also installs cabin air filters that prevent airborne particles such as dust, spores, fungus and pollen from entering the vehicle. These filters also capture soot, smog and tobacco smoke. You may not even know you have one; the filter is accessed through the glove box. Ford dealers change the filters as part of the recommended maintenance for all vehicles.
The Blue Oval began doing this sort of testing in Europe first, but it has since spread globally. The criteria is based on requirements established by the textile and garment industries, and Ford continues to learn from them since they are in the business of manufacturing items that will touch your skin. Ford has even taken the step of mandating that more than 100 materials and components meet tough standards to minimize potential allergy issues. We’re talking about things like natural latex, chrome and nickel.
By the way, Ford also utilizes the SYNC® AppLink™-compatible Allergy Alert app, which allows you to get a pollen index rating and hear the types of allergen conditions you’re likely to encounter in the area where you’re driving and also get a risk index for asthma, flu/cough/cold and ultraviolet rays.
The 2013 Fusion is among the vehicles that can help combat common airborne and touch-based allergens, while monitoring possible irritants in areas where you’re currently driving or headed to.
“Allergies affect large numbers of people,” Linda said. “So anything we can do to reduce potential allergens inside Ford vehicles we do through rigorous, controlled testing.”