Dent pre­ven­ter on way

NT News - Motoring - - CARS GUIDE - By NEIL DOWLING

CARPARK dings caused by door dam­age could be­come an open and shut case if adopted by Ford Aus­tralia.

The Ford door-edge pro­tec­tor, in­tro­duced in Europe for the 2012 Fo­cus, is be­ing ex­am­ined in Aus­tralia as an op­tion for the Fo­cus— and per­haps other mod­els.

It is claimed to be the first ac­tive sys­tem de­signed to pro­tect a ve­hi­cle’s door edge, pre­vent costly dents and scratches and pro­vide a buf­fer to pro­tect neigh­bour­ing ve­hi­cles.

Ford Aus­tralia spokesman Neil McDon­ald says: ‘‘It’s one of those sur­pris­ing and delightful fea­tures that will make peo­ple think ‘why hasn’t some­one thought of that be­fore?’.’’

‘‘It’s some­thing we’re in­ves­ti­gat­ing for Aus­tralia.

‘‘How­ever, al­though the sys­tem op­er­a­tion looks sim­ple, it is in fact quite com­plex and some­thing that needs to be worked through by our en­gi­neer­ing team.’’

Ford would be likely to add the fea­ture to the Thaibuilt Fo­cus and maybe the Fi­esta. The pop-out sys­tem com­prises an ad­di­tional door brace, an elec­tronic clutch, a safe-guard sen­sor and levers for the rub­berised door flap.

This flap fully ex­tends when the door is opened less than 150mm and will re­tract in 60 mil­lisec­onds if the door is slammed shut.

The clutch pro­tects the flap if it is ob­structed as the door is be­ing closed.

Ford says a spe­cial rub­ber com­pound is used that can with­stand thou­sands of us­age cy­cles and cre­ates a min­i­mum of noise as it springs into po­si­tion.

The flap can be quickly and eas­ily re­moved by heavy users, with a re­place­ment unit sim­ply clip­ping into place.

All this has to be de­signed, en­gi­neered and in­cor­po­rated within each door on the pro­duc­tion line.

In Europe, the door-edge pro­tec­tor is an op­tion that costs the equiv­a­lent of about $500. It is claimed to de­fend dam­age against more than 90 per cent of ob­struc­tions to the front doors and 85 per cent at the rear doors.

Ford of Europe says its re- search found 57 per cent of UK mo­torists have re­ported carpark-re­lated door dam­age and that 85 per cent of UK re­spon­dents did not be­lieve other mo­torists would con­fess to dam­ag­ing an­other car af­ter bang­ing a door.

The Ford Fo­cus could be in line for the com­pany’s door-edge pro­tec­tion sys­tem that aims to stop dings when open­ing car doors

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