Yeah, yeah, we all hate change, right? Except for good change! And that’s the huge news about future Ford products. Change will be good, because it will include more vehicle colors, improvements and innovations in mobile technology, expanded offerings of safety equipment and improved interior functionality. Here’s a sampling of what’s in store for the Ford family of vehicles.
New Colors: Ford knows vehicle personalization is important to consumers, and one of the quickest ways owners let people know a hint of their personality is by the color of their ride. Research even shows that up to 40 percent of car buyers said they will leave a dealership that doesn’t have a vehicle in the color they want. Therefore, even more options are on the horizon from Ford. The next-generation palette will include Ruby Red (the 2013 Taurus was revealed in that shade at the New York Auto Show earlier this year) and Blue Candy Tinted Clearcoat, a color Susan Swek, Ford Motor Company Chief Designer, Color and Materials, calls a real headturner. Watch for more complex metallics, tinted clearcoats, tri-coats and neutrals to round out the new options.
Easier-to-Read Interior Controls: There are a few things probably not helping our eyesight, like all the time we spend in front of the TV catching up on the DVR, the hours upon hours in front of our computers, the fact that we’re aging and the likely lack of enough carrots in our diet. So to make interior controls easier for people of all ages to read and recognize, Ford is bolding and thickening characters across its lineup, beginning with the Edge and Explorer next year. The letters and numbers that form words and convey other information on the center stack display on the next-generation vehicles will be slightly thicker, with an approximately 40 percent wider stroke width.
SYNC® AppLink™: Available on 10 Ford vehicles for 2012 – F-150, F-150 SVT Raptor, E-Series, Expedition, Fiesta, Fusion, Fusion Hybrid, Mustang, Shelby GT500 and Super Duty – the factory-installed software allows SYNC users hands-free voice-control of smartphone apps. The future of AppLink and mobile innovation could include more personalized entertainment, information and news; location-based services; scheduling and planning apps; and notifications and alerts leveraging the SYNC ability to mash up vehicle info and GPS locations. Ford is also working with Nuance Communications to research new voice-recognition capabilities to help drivers converse more easily with SYNC, such as new techniques involving flagging common words and phrases drivers might typically use in conversation, yet are not the specific commands or syntax required by today’s SYNC system.
Rear Inflatable Seat Belts: Ford will expand availability of its new, industry-first rear inflatable seat belt – which debuted on the 2011 Explorer – to the Flex and Lincoln vehicles starting next summer. In the event of a frontal or side crash, the inflated belt helps distribute crash force energy across five times more of the occupant’s torso than a traditional belt, expanding its range of protection and helping to reduce the risk of injury by diffusing crash pressure over a larger area, while providing additional support to the head and neck.