Ford made waves at its Dearborn, Michigan, HQ today, bringing in an auditorium full of motoring journalists to see what’s on offer for the next 24 months (and even slightly beyond). Newly minted CEO Jim Hackett kicked off these “Ford Uncovered” festivities, and underscored a sense of optimism about things to come soon, as well as about the long-term strategy as the company begins to compete in what promises to be a very different automotive landscape.
While Hackett’s statements on still-over-the-horizon car tech – ranging from cloud connectivity in car, to advanced artificial intelligence, to neural networks – were fascinating, it was after he introduced his deputies that things started to get interesting.
In short, the entire Ford lineup is set to undergo radical change between now and 2020, when the company will have replaced three quarters of its existing lineup. After today, we know that the upcoming slate of vehicles will be heavily focused in two areas: utility vehicles, and hybrids and fully electric cars and trucks. But additionally, the Ford brass also gave us updates on a new suite of standard safety features, a few very exciting performance products in the pipeline, and a note or two about the Lincoln brand.
We were also privy to several literal uncoverings, too. Sadly, as this event was more about whetting the appetite than satiating it, those were mostly off the record. Read on for info, tidbits, and teasers, but believe us when we say there’s a lot of interesting metal coming from the Blue Oval over the next two years.
Bronco! Other Small Bronco Thing! And Even More From ST
Of course your Motor1.com editors, and most of the other journos in attendance, were mostly there to have a look at the upcoming Bronco. Sadly, even off the record, this was a tease of a tease, as Ford pulled a sheet off a car that was… wrapped in yet another sheet (above). We know now what we knew before: the blocky off-roader will be rad, and we’re dying for it to be real.
Ford estimates that SUV sales could represent 50 percent of annual auto sales in the United States by 2020, so the company is shifting $7 billion away from car development and putting it into utilities. Among the new models, the next generation of the Escape and Explorer will debut in 2019.
Plus, the company will put a big emphasis on making SUVs more exciting. In addition to the new Bronco, the company will also launch a yet-to-be-named compact model with a focus on off-roading. The teaser image (below) hints at a rugged, chunky design for the mysterious model. Ford describes it as “designed to win a growing number of people who love getting away and spending time outdoors with their families and friends.”
Oh, and Ford is also beefing up, and freshening, its profitable and pervasive line of commercial vehicles. After updating the smaller Transit Connect at the Chicago Auto Show this year, and giving it a diesel engine option, look for the full-size Transit to get refreshed in the near future.
Mach 1 (Maybe) And Hybrids Everywhere
The sexiest piece of news on the electrification front was, sadly, mostly off the record. But Ford’s President of Global Markets, Jim Farley, did leave a pretty tasty trail of breadcrumbs. We’ve been tracking a project in development named (maybe) “Mach 1,” which seems to match one Farley statement. With a chuckle in his voice, the prez asked us to “close our eyes and imagine … a four-door Mustang SUV.” Oh, and followed that it would have an electric powertrain. No proper names or faces to report yet, but color us intrigued.
Ford also promised an "all-in push" on hybrid models, and the initiative means an electric boost for many of the brands best-selling models. The Escape, Explorer, F-150, and Mustang will be available with hybrid drivetrains in the near future. While the electrified portion of the drivetrain will use some common parts, the Blue Oval intends to tune the performance for each model. For example, the F-150 Hybrid will put an emphasis on bountiful low-end torque, but the Mustang Hybrid will allegedly deliver “V8-like performance,” according to the company. Even the future Bronco will be part of this hybrid initiative.
One interesting nugget, repeated a few times, is that the F-150 Hybrid will be made available with a built-in generator. Company designers and product planners are trying to listen to customers more, and more quickly, and strapping expensive generators to the beds of their trucks is common F-150 owner practice.
Don’t Forget Shelby
Jim Hackett told us, “People love our products and we know that.” We’re pretty sure he was talking about things like the GT500 you can see in the teaser above. Sadly, showing you the image of this gaping, menacing, all-business Shelby grille is about all we can do at the moment. But we sincerely hope that we’ll be behind the wheel, while that mean mug is gulping down clean, racetrack-scented air, in the near future.
Standard Advanced Safety: Co-Pilot360
Ford will also follow the industry trend of making standard equipment out of previously optional driver assistance tech as a way to appeal to safety-conscious buyers. The company’s new Co-Pilot360 suite will include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane keeping assist, automatic high beams, and a rearview camera. The system will be standard first in the 2019 Edge this fall but will eventually arrive on other models, including the F-150. It’ll come standard on 91 percent of the Blue Oval’s products by 2020.
More advanced safety tech will also be optionally available, like an adaptive cruise control system with stop-and-go traffic support and automatic lane centering. In addition, Ford will offer evasive steering assist for potentially avoiding an accident, and it’ll introduce post-collision braking, too.
Even commercial buyers will reap some of these safety advantages because Ford will make automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and driver alert system available on the E-Series, F-650, F-750 and F59 chassis models in the near future.
Before We Go, A Word From Lincoln
This was, first and foremost, a day for Ford proper, but we did get an inkling about what’s coming for the Lincoln brand as well.
At this point it won’t surprise you to read that “what’s coming” are more SUVs. Look for a new Lincoln SUV to be shown at the fast-approaching New York Auto Show. What’s more, no fewer than four additional utility models are said to be “around the corner.” Considering the rumors that the brash new Continental sedan may already be cancelled, we’re not totally shocked.
Gallery: Ford New Models Press Conference
Ford Readies North America’s Freshest Lineup by 2020 with
Onslaught of Connected New Trucks, SUVs and Hybrids
Building toward its vision of smart vehicles in a smart world, Ford is revamping its lineup,
building on truck, SUV and commercial strengths, investing in new propulsion and delivering
full connectivity to pave the way for over-the-air updates and the Transportation Mobility Cloud
Ford brand targeting North America’s freshest lineup among full-line makers by 2020,
replacing more than 75 percent of its current portfolio and adding four new trucks and SUVs
All-in push on hybrid-electrics to bring new capability and features to customers on highvolume,
profitable vehicles like F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and Bronco; battery electric
vehicle rollout starts in 2020 with performance utility and six BEVs by 2022
Ford announces Ford Co-Pilot360™, a package that includes standard automatic emergency
braking, blind spot warning and other driver assist features
Redesigned organization and product development system sharpening focus on customers
and market insights to define bets; new tools and technology to improve speed-to-market by
reducing sketch-to-showroom and changeover time, adding to the company’s bottom line
DEARBORN, Mich., March 15, 2018 – Ford is revamping its lineup, building on truck, SUV and
commercial strengths, investing in new propulsion and delivering standard connectivity on new
vehicles, paving the way for over-the-air updates and the Transportation Mobility Cloud, an
open platform that will empower tomorrow’s mobility systems.
By 2020, Ford will offer North America’s freshest lineup among all full-line automakers, with its
average showroom age dropping from 5.7 to 3.3 years as it replaces three-quarters of its lineup
and adds four new trucks and SUVs.
Ford is going all-in on hybrids, offering customers more performance and capability yet serving as
a hedge against higher gas prices. All new Ford vehicles will have 4G LTE connectivity by the
end of 2019. Ford is also introducing Ford Co-Pilot360, a new driver-assist technology package
with standard automatic emergency braking and helps protect from the front, rear and sides.
“Our passion for great vehicles is stronger than ever,” said Jim Hackett, Ford president and
CEO. “This showroom transformation will thrill customers, drive profitable growth and further
build toward our future of smart vehicles in a smart world.”
Where Ford is Playing
Ford is strengthening its position in the following segments: trucks, SUVs (including off-road and
performance versions), hybrids, battery electric vehicles and commercial vehicles.
Trucks: Since the 2014 debut of the new F-150 with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminumalloy
body, Ford has gained 1.3 percentage points of share in the full-size pickup segment.
Average F-Series transaction prices lead the segment – up $6,700 per vehicle since 2014 –
because of high-end versions like Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum. Ford’s F-Series revenues
alone are higher than revenues of Fortune 500 icons such as Facebook, Coca-Cola and Nike.
Ford’s truck business will continue growing as the company adds new models and powertrains
with an eye toward continued growth in high-end trims. Some highlights include:
2018: New 3.0-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine for F-150, updated version of the
popular F-150 Raptor
2019: Ranger returns to midsize truck segment; new F-Series Super Duty debuts
2020: New F-150 debuts with new hybrid powertrain featuring a mobile generator
SUVs: By 2020, Ford estimates SUV sales could account for 50 percent of U.S. industry retail
sales – one reason Ford is reallocating $7 billion in capital from cars to SUVs. By 2020, Ford
plans an industry-leading lineup of eight SUVs – five of which will offer hybrid powertrains and
one battery electric. Ford SUV sales are estimated to grow 20 percent – more than double the
industry rate – to more than 950,000 by 2020, according to LMC Automotive, and surpass 1
million by 2021.
After recently introducing an all-new model at each end of the SUV spectrum – the subcompact
EcoSport and full-size Expedition – Ford’s next push is in the highest volume SUV segments.
Entirely new versions of the Escape and Explorer debut next year; combined, these two models
make up 70 percent of Ford’s SUV volume.
Ford also plans to drive growth with two all-new off-road models: the new Bronco and a yet-tobe-named
off-road small utility – both designed to win a growing number of people who love
getting away and spending time outdoors with their families and friends.
“Ford helped start the off-road phenomenon and has majored in off-road capability for decades
– from the Bronco to the Raptor,” said Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets. “Now, we’re
ready to reclaim our rightful place as the off-road vehicle leader.”
Ford also will grow its lineup of performance SUVs. Two additions to the Ford Performance
lineup include the all-new Edge ST later this year, and an Explorer ST will soon follow. These
two new SUVs will help Ford Performance deliver on its promise of 12 new models by 2020,
and will help extend the division’s growth, which has risen 81 percent in the last four years.
Ford Performance sales are on track to grow another 71 percent by 2020, driven by SUVs.
Next-Gen Hybrid Electrics: Part of Ford’s new strategy includes going all-in on hybrids to bring
more capability to customers of our most popular and high-volume vehicles like F-150, Mustang,
Explorer, Escape and Bronco – and serve as a hedge for customers against higher gas prices.
Ford’s new hybrids will offer customers more space than today’s hybrids. On the F-150 Hybrid,
Ford will lean in to capability, such as the low-end torque for extra pulling power and the fact it
can serve as a mobile generator. Mustang Hybrid will be all about delivering V8-like
performance with more low-end torque.
“Hybrids for years have been mostly niche products but are now on the cusp of a mainstream
breakout,” Farley said. “The valuable capability they offer – plus fuel efficiency – is why we’re
going to offer hybrid variants of our most popular and high-volume vehicles, allowing our loyal,
passionate customers to become advocates for the technology.”
Ford’s new hybrid system is designed to be more efficient and less expensive than previous
generations. These lower costs – achieved through supply base relationships, using common
cell and component design and by manufacturing motors, transmissions and battery packs –
with the intention of lowering cost of ownership for customers.
Battery electric vehicles: Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) represent more than a different
powertrain – they represent a lifestyle change for consumers, especially for those who have
never driven an electric vehicle.
That is why Ford’s strategy includes rethinking the ownership experience so it is more seamless
than with today’s gas-powered vehicles. That means making charging an effortless experience
at home and on the road as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to
enhance capability and features.
“Throwing a charger in the trunk of a vehicle and sending customers on their way isn’t enough
to help promote the viability of electric vehicles,” said Sherif Marakby, vice president,
Autonomous and Electric Vehicles. “In addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are
redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that currently
hold back broad adoption today.”
Ford’s BEV manufacturing plan will be more efficient. The company will halve floor space for
final assembly operations and reduce capital investment 50 percent. A projected 30 percent
improvement in labor efficiency will allow Ford to redeploy employees to do other jobs, including
assembly of battery packs (which are normally expensive and complex to ship).
Ford’s new performance battery electric utility arrives in 2020. It is the first of six electric
vehicles coming by 2022 as part of the company’s $11 billion global electric vehicle investment.
Commercial vehicles: Ford, the only full-line brand with offerings that stretch from Class 1 to
Class 7, has a commanding 38 percent share of the U.S. commercial vehicle market. Last year,
it sold more CVs than the second, third and fourth place competitors combined.
To continue building on its commercial vehicle leadership, Ford plans to:
Debut a new Transit with 4G LTE connectivity, coming in 2019
Extend production of its E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis into the 2020s
Offer Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Driver Alert System and
more on future E-Series, F-650, F-750 and F59 chassis products
Ford earlier this year introduced new versions of its Transit Connect Cargo Van and Transit
Connect Wagon, with both arriving at dealerships later this year.
Designing a better PD system
While delivering this new vehicle portfolio, Ford is continuously improving its operational fitness
by increasing product speed to market, improving quality and further reducing complexity, and
reducing cost. Driving improvements are the company’s new structure and new tools and
technologies that drive even more human-centered designs.
Ford’s new organization is designed to ensure company leaders view market and regional
demands holistically to decide which vehicles and features customers value most.
This drives more strategic and efficient investments, instead of trying to satisfy individual market
requests. The efficiencies benefit the company and individual regions like North America.
Ford also is moving to flexible vehicle architectures and more common parts across models,
cutting new product development time – from sketch to dealer showroom – by 20 percent. This
is helping Ford achieve its commitment to deliver $4 billion of engineering efficiencies. The
company intends to have the most efficient Product Development organization among full-line
automakers within five years.
Ford’s five flexible vehicle architectures – body-on-frame, front-wheel-drive unibody, rear-wheeldrive
unibody, commercial van unibody and BEV – are paired with module “families” that
address the power pack, electrical pack and vehicle configurations. Seventy percent of each
vehicle’s engineering will be driven from this new architecture approach, with 30 percent of
content – including grilles, hoods, doors and more – customized for each vehicle.
For instance, as more vehicles become connected, new analytics tools will show which vehicle
technologies customers use most often. This new data-driven insight will help determine which
features to grow and invest in and which to eliminate, reducing manufacturing complexity,
improving pricing, reducing incentives and building revenue over time.
Simplification is another key aspect of the plan. Ford already has reduced orderable
combinations on Ford SUVs by 80 percent since 2014, including a 97 percent reduction on the
new Edge coming later this year.
New manufacturing tools and technologies: Increased use of augmented and virtual reality
are helping reduce Ford’s plant changeover time by an estimated 25 percent, which adds an
average $50 million to the company’s bottom line per changeover.
Simulating various production processes and assembly line configurations in the virtual world
helps identify potentially hazardous maneuvers and fine-tune workflows before construction
even begins, saving an estimated 20 percent of tooling cost on each vehicle program.
The company also is increasing its use of collaborative robots that can perform jobs quickly and
repetitively, helping reduce the risk of injury to employees, freeing them up for more high-value
jobs and improving the company’s bottom line.
“We’re looking at every part of our business, making it more fit and ensuring that every action
we take is driven by what will serve our customers in a way that supports our fitness and
performance goals,” said Joe Hinrichs, president, Global Operations.
Note: Average showroom age based on Ford internal estimates and Bank of America Merrill
Lynch Car Wars 2018-2021 report.
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Ford Co-Pilot360™: Most Advanced Suite of Standard DriverAssist
Technologies Includes Automatic Emergency Braking
Ford Co-Pilot360 to roll out in key global markets starting this fall to help customers drive
more safely and confidently amid rising congestion and distractions; automatic emergency
braking to be standard on new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to F-150 in North
America going forward
In North America, Ford Co-Pilot360 is the most advanced suite of standard driver-assist
technologies among full-line brands and includes automatic emergency braking with
pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup
camera and auto high beam lighting
In addition, Ford offering even more premium driver-assist technologies, including adaptive
cruise control with stop and go and lane centering, evasive steering assist and post-collision
braking in North America
In 2019, Ford is introducing reverse brake assist with AEB to help prevent drivers from
hitting an object while backing up. Ford will continue adding new technologies to Ford CoPilot360
packages in the future
DEARBORN, Mich., March 15, 2018 – Ford Co-Pilot360, the most advanced suite of standard
driver-assist technologies among full-line brands, aims to help people around the world more
safely and confidently face congested roads – today and tomorrow.
Ford Co-Pilot360 includes standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection,
blind spot information system, lane keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high beam
lighting. Ford Co-Pilot360 will roll out across Ford’s new passenger cars, SUVs and trucks up to
F-150 in North America, starting on the new 2019 Ford Edge and Edge ST this fall.
“Though our vehicles today are safer than ever, drivers tell us they are still stressed about
getting in a potential accident,” said Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets. “That’s one
reason why we’re making these must-have technologies accessible to millions of customers
Most advanced standard driver assist package
Ford Co-Pilot360 is the most advanced suite of standard driver-assist technologies, including
automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot information system, lane
keeping system, rear backup camera and auto high beam lighting – a combination other nonluxury
competitors don’t offer standard in North America.
Ford Co-Pilot360 starts with standard automatic emergency braking – called pre-collision assist
with pedestrian detection – that can help drivers avoid collisions with other vehicles or
pedestrians who might accidentally cross in front of the vehicle’s path. If a potential collision is
detected, a warning flashes and an alert sounds, and if the driver’s response is not sufficient,
the system can automatically apply the brakes to help minimize a frontal collision.
The technology addresses Ford research showing a growing trend of people worrying about
hitting pedestrians – and will be standard on 91 percent of Ford vehicles in North America by
Blind spot information system, or BLIS, uses radar to identify a vehicle entering the blind spot
and alerts the driver with an indicator light in the side-view mirror. Cross-traffic alert can warn
drivers of traffic behind when slowly backing out of a parking spot or driveway.
Lane keeping system has three functions:
The first can notify drivers through steering wheel vibration that they need to correct course
when the system detects the vehicle drifting close to lane markings
The second provides steering torque to steer back toward the center of the lane
Third, a driver alert system, continuously monitors driving pattern using a forward-looking
camera and provides visual and audio warnings when the system estimates the driver’s
vigilance level to be less than that of an attentive driver
Commercial customers can also benefit from Ford’s expansion of driver-assist technologies. By
2020, E-Series, F-650 and F-750 and even our F59 chassis will come with available automatic
emergency braking, lane departure warning, driver alert system and more.
A National Transportation Safety Board study shows having technologies such as AEB can help
prevent and mitigate rear-end crashes, which can help customers lower their cost of ownership.
“Our commercial customers trust our trucks to get the job done,” Farley said. “And soon, we’ll be
giving them another reason to trust us even more.”
Testing, trusting tech
Ford will continue to introduce new driver-assist technologies. Next year, it plans to debut in
North America and Asia Pacific automatic emergency braking for when drivers are in reverse.
The company also is investing $500 million the next five years to continue developing new
driver-assist and safety technologies. Key areas of focus will be simplifying the technologies so
they work as people expect – especially as driving controls become more automated.
Researchers test the user experience with many new technologies at Ford’s VIRTTEX driving
simulator in Dearborn and run new systems through a battery simulations built from more than
hundreds of thousands of miles of testing across the country. For example, engineers tested a
recent suite of radar and camera technologies for more than 660,000 miles across the globe.
This work also will help people become more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles.
“Many people question the idea of autonomous vehicles,” Farley said. “But those who use
advanced driver-assist technologies today say they are more open to cars doing all of the
driving in the future.”
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