Ford speaks up for its new form of in-car com­mu­ni­ca­tion

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

SOME weeks are quiet in the mo­tor in­dus­try. Not this one.

That touch­stone of trends, the Geneva Mo­tor Show, kicked off on Tues­day with Press Day, when the work­ing me­dia have to nav­i­gate through a crowd of en­thu­si­asts – who have paid to get in – and mop up the hand-outs, booze and grub put on by man­u­fac­tur­ers to woo the vi­tal rag, tag and mighty of the world’s mo­tor­ing cor­re­spon­dents.

Ford had lots of news, in­clud­ing the first Euro­pean glimpse of the new Ranger pick-up. It was de­signed by Ford Aus­tralia and has up to 3350kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity and can wade some 32 inches (not enough for parts of Oz re­cently). Mo­tors in­clude a Da­gen­ham 2.2 oiler.

Ford an­nounced that it would in­tro­duce SYNC voice con­nec­tiv­ity next year on the Fo­cus. It said: “SYNC with the MyFord Touch in­ter­face is a rich, in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence that makes ve­hi­cle func­tions, set­tings and in­for­ma­tion eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble to the driver through voice con­trol, through steer­ing wheel con­trols or a sim­ple tap of the cen­tre stack touch­screen.”

It can talk in 19 lan­guages and has a 10,000-word li­brary. Two mil­lion Fords will be us­ing it by 2015. (Kia has an­nounced col­lab­o­ra­tion with Voda­fone on com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy).

The Bri­tish mo­tor in­dus­try was beat­ing the pro­mo­tional drum at the show. Facts in­clude that the au­to­mo­tive turnover is two-thirds of all UK man­u­fac­tur­ing, em­ploys more than 700,000, pro­duces some one mil­lion cars and two mil­lion en­gines a year, and is home to eight F1 rac­ing teams.

Since 2000, the CO2 emis­sions of new cars have fallen 20 per cent and the to­tal emis­sions of all the cars on the road has fallen 7.8 per cent de­spite a “parc” in­crease of 10pc.

Mercedes-Benz was crowned the UK’s num­berone Con­sumer Su­per­brand for 2011, the first time in five years that the top spot has not been claimed by ei­ther Microsoft or Google. Rolex was sec­ond and the BBC third.

The re­sults are based on the views of more than 2,000 mem­bers of the pub­lic – so hardly a na­tional pic­ture. BMW was 7th and Jaguar 10th.

WIZARD OF OZ: Ford’s new Ranger pick-up.

TOP SPOT: Mercedes-Benz has beaten Microsoft and Google to be crowned Con­sumer Su­per­brand for 2011.

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