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