Disclosure: I was invited by Ford to attend this event. All expenses were paid and no compensation was received for participating.
Hello again Rebel Chick fans! This is Stefany stopping in from ToBeThode to tell you about a very fun and educational trip I recently took to visit Ford. I was sent to learn all about what Ford is going to be up to in the coming year and learn I did!
We started off our day in the Ford conference center to talk about trends in 2014 and how Ford is moving forward with those. Ford looks at and tries to understand what is going to shape our values, attitudes, and behaviors when developing new products. While we ate lunch, a panel discussion occurred led by Sheryl Connelly, with Dan Creekmore (Marketing Director of Facebook), Deborah Hopkins (Chair and CEO of CitiVentures), and Chris Riley (President and Founder of StudioRiley) discussing different topics about current trends in the world. A number of issues were discussed and in our book including:
- Innovation’s Quiet Riot (how technology and companies change with innovation)
- Old School (nostalgia and how companies embrace that)
- Vying for Validation (talked about selfies and other ways that people portray themselves online)
- FOMO and JOMO (Fear of Missing Out and Joy of Missing Out and how it affects our lives)
- Meaningful vs the Middle Man (getting in touch with the people that use products)
- Statusphere (how people report their status in different places worldwide)
- Myth of Multitasking (we are so busy and how it affects our lives)
- Female Frontier (how females have changing opportunities in today’s society)
- Sustainability Blues (maybe “green” isn’t the issue, but blue is. WATER!)
Next we heard from Jim Hinrichs. He discussed sales and figures for Ford in 2013 and what is ahead for 2014. He said that Ford is moving forward with their One Plan… “Small, Medium and Large. Cars, Utilities, and Trucks”. Here is a bit of what we learned and that stood out to me:
- 1.1 million Ford Focus were sold globally in 2013
- Sales are up 22% in US in 2013
- F-Series is the best selling truck for 37 years!
- Ford has the best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicles in the past 2 months
2014 is going to be a huge one for Ford! Ford and Lincoln will have 23 global product launches in 2014; 16 of those will be in the USA. This is the most product launches per year in the history of Ford! They will be adding production in 7 US plants and creating 5k new jobs in 2014. They are going to create 3.3k salary positions as well.
After a brief talk from Raj Nair on Advanced Technology, we were introduced to this test vehicle. This is a Ford Fusion that has Lidar Sensors on it. This car is being used to test and create technology that will change the way we drive. It can create an image based on the environment around it. With this technology we will be able to “predict” the weather ahead of us on the road, be alerted to traffic jams, find where other people are having problems, and even share these findings with other drivers.
This image shows the people surrounding the vehicle. Pretty amazing, right?
Finally, we were off to individual sessions. I participated in the Fuel Economy panel. The first thing we did was take a drive in a test vehicle to see the Dynamic Cruise Control in action. This technology changes how we use cruise control, letting the vehicle do more for us. I was the driver for this and found it to be highly intuitive. When you are driving up a hill, where you would normally feel your car press hard on the gas, this vehicle did not. It made up the time on the down hill. In addition, when I came up close on a vehicle, the vehicle slowed down on its own, allowing me to relax and just drive. See my new friend in the car? He was truly impressed with my driving skills. Just kidding but it was a bit strange driving in a city with completely different roads and turns… they have this turn around lane which baffled me!
We next went on a ride that demonstrated the Start-Stop feature. This was a bit crazy for me to understand as I have never been in any hybrid vehicles that have it. After testing, I was highly impressed with the feature. Basically, when you are stopped, the vehicle will shut off. You barely feel it but this small things affects your fuel economy. Once your foot is released off the brake pedal, the vehicle seamlessly starts back up and you can go on your way. It takes into account a number of things when deciding to shut off (for example, if the air conditioning is on) and you also can control whether this happens of not.
Finally, we learned about the 3-cylinder engine, the 1.0L Ecoboost. This engine is extremely compact and is the first of its kind for Ford. It can get 32mpg in the city, 45mpg on the highway, and 37mpg combined. That sure beats any vehicle I own! It is available exclusively in the Ford Focus and, from what I hear, is a great ride! I joked with them because this vehicle looks and sounds a lot better than my little Geo Metro I drove years ago with a 3-cylinder engine! They showed us this model to demonstrate the small size of this small-but-mighty engine:
After a brief rest in the hotel room, we headed back out the Holiday Reception where the food and drinks were plentiful.
In keeping with the blue theme (Sustainability), a lot of the food had blue incorporated into it (blueberries for example). Just check out the dessert conveyor belt!
There were also things to do around the room including a race track and gaming.
They had Ford vehicles all around the area. I was even able to see the Ford Mustang that was revealed to the public the previous day! Sorry no pictures for that one though because it was constantly surrounded by Mustang enthusiasts.
It was a great time and I learned so much at this event. In case you were curious, I do love Ford vehicles. We have an Escort from 1989!! Yes, 1989! These cars are built to last and we have proof sitting in our driveway. Thanks Ford for having me out to see all that is happening in 2014. I can’t wait to see what is revealed in the coming months.