New Products Leading Ford of Europe Transformation

Ford previews hybrid-electric SUV and fuel cell Focus at Geneva Motor Show

Published: 27-Feb-2001

February 2001 (Newstream) -- A proud new generation of products is leading the transformation of Ford of Europe and taking the stage at the 2001 Geneva Motor Show.

Ford is showcasing an advanced common-rail diesel engine for the Ford Focus, two new sport utility vehicle models, prototypes for future hybrid-electric and zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles and exciting performance vehicles, including a production-ready Ford Focus RS inspired by Ford's World Rally Championship contender.

"Confident, contemporary cars and commercial vehicles that really connect with consumers are the secret to Ford's rejuvenation in Europe," said Martin Leach, vice president of Product Development for Ford of Europe. "That's why we are trebling the pace of product launches over the next five years."

Highlights from Ford at Geneva include:

Ford at Geneva 2001

Ford Mondeo ST Concept - Ford is revealing its vision for a future flagship model in the all-new Mondeo range with the first public showing of the executive-style power of the Mondeo ST Concept. A four-door model finished in dazzling silver and featuring an ebony leather interior with red leather accents is the basis of the performance concept for the Mondeo range. Overt performance characteristics - 18-inch alloy wheels, low-profile tyres, sculpted aerodynamic features and throaty stainless-steel dual exhausts - combine with subtle signs of executive elegance - custom leather Recaro front seats, unique instrument panel treatment, navigation system and high-level feature content - to create the ST Concept. The concept vehicle on exhibit at Geneva joins the full production range of Mondeo models introduced in the autumn of 2000.

Ford Focus RS - A full production specification version of the Ford Focus RS, inspired by Ford's World Rally Championship car, breaks cover at Geneva. It features a fully engineered RS chassis, 200-plus-PS engine and drivetrain, plus a unique interior package, with styling cues straight from the WRC contender. Conceived and produced in just 15 months by a lean team of around 70 RS engineers, Focus RS is the ultimate, high performance, road-going Focus. Its robust front-wheel-drive powertrain features a Quaife automatic torque-biasing differential to quickly detect a reduction in the level of drive to a front wheel and seamlessly distribute torque to prevent wheelspin. While the bonnet, doors roof panel and tail/headlamps remain standard Focus items, every other exterior element has been painstakingly developed and honed to help create a car worthy of the famed Ford RS name. Interior surfaces of Focus RS have been developed to reflect the racing theme, the most striking of which are the race-inspired seats. Just three colours are utilised throughout - black, blue and silver.

Ford Focus TDCi - A new premium performance diesel engine incorporating state-of-the-art, second-generation common-rail injection makes its debut in the Ford Focus TDCi. The new 115 PS, 1.8-litre engine - the Ford Duratorq TDCi - will be available in the Focus range from Summer 2001. It delivers noticeably improved levels of performance, driving quality and refinement to the world's best-selling car. The common-rail engine extends the strengths for which the Ford Focus has been acclaimed since it brought new levels of precision, interior spaciousness and comfort to its segment.

Ford Explorer - The all-new Ford Explorer is the next generation of the best-selling sports utility vehicle in the world. Redesigned from the ground up, it comes with major improvements in package, suspension, powertrains and safety. Explorer comes in a choice of three engines: an improved 4.0-litre SOHC V-6, a more powerful 4.6-litre V-8 and, later, a 2.5-litre turbo diesel. An upgraded towing package provides capability of up to 3,500 kg. With a new independent rear suspension and unique 'porthole-in-frame' design, Explorer is designed to offer an improved ride and a more comfortable, user-friendly package, including, for the first time, a third row of seating - enough room overall to accommodate seven adults. The new Explorer has an extensive list of standard safety features, including dual-stage front air bags and side air curtains.

Ford Maverick - Ford's newest SUV marks the company's expansion into the growing small SUV segment. Combining Ford's SUV toughness with a refined sporty look, Maverick has an athletic stance with wide body cladding and integrated bumper guards to give it an assured look of off-road readiness and functionality. The interior - the most spacious in its class - is designed for maximum comfort, convenience and cargo flexibility. Maverick can accommodate five adults and their cargo comfortably. Maverick comes with a choice of a 2.0-litre I-4 or a 3.0-litre Duratec V-6 engine and has a towing capacity of up to 1700 kg - enough to pull a small boat. It is designed with robust off-road capability.

Advanced future technologies - Geneva show visitors will have an opportunity to see two products incorporating future technologies being developed for mainstream consumer products. These include the world's first hybrid-electric sport utility vehicle prototype, the Ford Maverick HEV, being designed to be the cleanest, most fuel-efficient SUV in the world when it is launched in 2003. It features an electric drivetrain to augment its fuel-efficient four-cylinder petrol engine for especially fuel efficient driving - more than 800 kilometres on a single tank of petrol. The Ford Focus FCV is Ford's first working production-prototype, direct-hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle. The Ford Focus FCV showcases Ford Motor Company's continuing effort toward production of full performance fuel cell vehicles with zero-emissions capability. Ford will have a fleet of fuel cell vehicles on wheels for customer test drives by 2004.

"Strong new products like the new Ford Focus TDCi, the recently introduced ranges like the new Ford Mondeo and Galaxy and with the emotion of performance and niche derivatives. In every one of these areas, we have news at Geneva," Leach said.

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