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Cars And Tech: Go Further With Ford Trend Conference 2012

Cars And Tech: Go Further With Ford Trend Conference 2012
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Ford's Second-Annual Trend Conference

Ford Motor Company invited a group of journalists and bloggers to its Dearborn, Michigan headquarters for the Go Further with Ford Trend Conference 2012, which began June 26th and lasted three-days. Throughout the conference, Ford exposed us to upcoming trends, technologies, and its eco-conscious developments.

Everyone was shuttled out to Ford Field for the opening keynote and dinner. Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, gave the keynote where he welcomed everyone and discussed key decisions that turned the company around without a need for any federal bail-out money.

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  • -5 Hide
    Andy Chow , July 12, 2012 4:45 AM
    Please. Who would look to Ford for the future? Eco-consciousness? When a Ford can compete with a Toyota, I'll be the first one in line to buy their product. But they just aren't even in the same playing field, haven't been for the last 20 years. They're making progress, but it's just a dollar short, a day late.
  • 5 Hide
    phate , July 12, 2012 4:54 AM
    What rock have you been hiding under Andy? Where does Ford not compete with Toyota?
    Perhaps reliability? Oh wait....

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2009/10/report-ford-fusion-tops-honda-accord-toyota-camry-in-consumer-reports-reliability-ranking.html

    Technology? Ford Sync system was first on the market. Toyota's Entune system didn't show up until years later.
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2012 5:57 AM
    phate - You arn't saying much when you call a brand new or relatively new (2009) car reliable...


    I think the reliability andy speaks of is the plethora of early 90's and 80's Toyota's and other japanese cars on the road you see today driving around with few reported issues. THAT is reliability, and it'll take Ford and many other american companies a solid generation to EARN that reputation. It cannot be won overnight or over the course of a few years.

    I too eagerly await the day a Ford or Chevy is as reliable in the long term as a toyota or honda.
    It would also be nice if they made a nice Tacoma sized (crew cab, the ranger is only extended cab) truck, with diesel would be even better.

  • -2 Hide
    s3anister , July 12, 2012 6:23 AM
    Fr3shM1ntphate - You arn't saying much when you call a brand new or relatively new (2009) car reliable...I think the reliability andy speaks of is the plethora of early 90's and 80's Toyota's and other japanese cars on the road you see today driving around with few reported issues. THAT is reliability, and it'll take Ford and many other american companies a solid generation to EARN that reputation. It cannot be won overnight or over the course of a few years.I too eagerly await the day a Ford or Chevy is as reliable in the long term as a toyota or honda.It would also be nice if they made a nice Tacoma sized (crew cab, the ranger is only extended cab) truck, with diesel would be even better.

    You've got to be kidding me. If it took a generation to earn an excellent reputation we'd never have truly great vehicles in the first place.

    Anyone remember the BMW E30? Mercedes-Benz 300D? Datsun 240Z? MK1/2 Ford Focus? All excellent vehicles and they were like that when the first year models came out. Get real, truly great feats of engineering shouldn't need a generation or even a year to be excellent; you either have a great vehicle, or you don't.
  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , July 12, 2012 7:11 AM
    Quite frankly, i believe the build quality of Ford cars is better than that of Toyota's at the moment. As Ford has been improving the quality of their powertrains and interior materials, Toyota has really been slacking. (look at the new fusion vs new camry)
  • 2 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 7:23 AM
    I'm going to stay neutral, but I'll play devil's advocate. 80's Toyota motors were reliable, the rest of the car was just as prone to rust as American cars. My dad has an '81 Toyota pickup truck with the 20R, carburetor. Always starts up the few times its needed, but the rest of the body is rusted to crap and has not held up.

    Any car you buy new now will be very reliable, in terms of drivetrain. I've had a Chevy and now a Chrysler, the Chevy only had issues from modding, but the dealer experience was lacking, the Chrysler/VW hasn't had any issues in the year we've had it and the dealership experience has been fantastic.

    However, I will say, reliability aside, its the dealership experience that keeps or drives a customer to another manufacturer. It sure soured my experience with Chevy.

    And yes I remember the E30 (my best friend runs r3vlimited), old Mercedes are awesome, love the Datsun 240Z, but do you remember the original Fairlady 1600 roadster (my friend has one with an SR20VE swapped in)? The early models Ford Focuses were great but plagued with teething issues and didn't really become great until '04 and on - still would love an SVT Focus though.

    Toyota's are boring to me, the Scion FR-S is kind of exciting, but the rest of the lineup does nothing for me. The new Ford Fusion is stunning compared to the new Camry. Ford is on a roll with a great looking line-up, but so are Kia and Hyundai. Chrysler piques my interest the most though since the Fiat turn around has been quite good considered what they were given. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with completely under Fiat's control.
  • -2 Hide
    palladin9479 , July 12, 2012 8:23 AM
    What everyone's missing is that all modern automobiles are designed to fall apart eventually. "Reliability" has been redefined to mean how many problems within the warranted period, not how long the drive train will last. Manufacturers don't want you to driving the same car for 10 years, that's at least one car you could of bought from them if not two. Their about maximum revenue extraction and thus their products must be disposable, you must feel the need to replace them every three to four years.

    If you buy a $24,000 USD car and drive it for four years, that's a $6000 USD a year price their getting. If you drive it for 8 years then that's only $3000 their getting back. That's a 50% reduction in profits for them, not good for their business.
  • -9 Hide
    reyshan , July 12, 2012 8:34 AM
    palladin9479What everyone's missing is that all modern automobiles are designed to fall apart eventually. "Reliability" has been redefined to mean how many problems within the warranted period, not how long the drive train will last. Manufacturers don't want you to driving the same car for 10 years, that's at least one car you could of bought from them if not two. Their about maximum revenue extraction and thus their products must be disposable, you must feel the need to replace them every three to four years.If you buy a $24,000 USD car and drive it for four years, that's a $6000 USD a year price their getting. If you drive it for 8 years then that's only $3000 their getting back. That's a 50% reduction in profits for them, not good for their business.


    I don't think many people buy cars every 4 to 8 years. They want to make their money worth it and if that is what ford is doing now, then I'll stick to a toyota or honda.
  • -1 Hide
    seller417 , July 12, 2012 1:37 PM
    Cars break and it doesnt matter who manufactured the car. You will pay less to repair American cars than that of foreign cars. I used to be a mechanic (years ago) and i remember having to change an alternator on a Hyundai. The alternator cost over $200 for that vehicle. The cost for a ford alternator at the time was $40. That is just the cost of the part and does not include the jacked up labor costs you pay mechanics who work on imports. Aside from repair costs, American cars are right there with foreign cars in terms of reliability and durability.
  • 0 Hide
    wiyosaya , July 12, 2012 1:56 PM
    seller417Cars break and it doesnt matter who manufactured the car. You will pay less to repair American cars than that of foreign cars. I used to be a mechanic (years ago) and i remember having to change an alternator on a Hyundai. The alternator cost over $200 for that vehicle. The cost for a ford alternator at the time was $40. That is just the cost of the part and does not include the jacked up labor costs you pay mechanics who work on imports. Aside from repair costs, American cars are right there with foreign cars in terms of reliability and durability.

    I've had a Prius for 6+ years now, and have had nothing break. Nothing! No cost for repairs there. Only standard maintenance like oil changes, etc. In addition, my wife has a Corolla that is 10 years old. It also requires only standard, inexpensive maintenance. Nothing has broken in the time she has had it.

    All I have seen coming out of Detroit is marketing designed to make people think that Detroit auto makers are actually concerned about environmental issues, like the totally silly and totally useless "Flex Fuel" emblazoned on so many vehicles these days.

    When you repaired that Hyundai, they were known for producing crap. Even though you were a mechanic, that was years ago as you admit. With time and distance from the craft, actual knowledge of it significantly decreases.

    Perhaps this article should have (Paid Advertisement) in the title.
  • 3 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 1:57 PM
    People aren't replacing their older cars as much nowadays it seems. I still see a lot of 90s cars in great condition. This kind of poses a problem for the auto manufacturers, which is why they are trying to entice new buyers with technology, fuel economy and comforts that weren't available on their car at the time.
  • -1 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 2:08 PM
    Quote:
    I've had a Prius for 6+ years now, and have had nothing break. Nothing! No cost for repairs there. Only standard maintenance like oil changes, etc. In addition, my wife has a Corolla that is 10 years old. It also requires only standard, inexpensive maintenance. Nothing has broken in the time she has had it.

    All I have seen coming out of Detroit is marketing designed to make people think that Detroit auto makers are actually concerned about environmental issues, like the totally silly and totally useless "Flex Fuel" emblazoned on so many vehicles these days.

    When you repaired that Hyundai, they were known for producing crap. Even though you were a mechanic, that was years ago as you admit. With time and distance from the craft, actual knowledge of it significantly decreases.

    Perhaps this article should have (Paid Advertisement) in the title.


    Don't get me started on E85 and the proposed E15 acceptance...I am not a fan. BioDiesel would've been a better alternative IMO.

    Typical fluid changes and brakes are really the only maintenance that needs to be regular done. Some cars require added preventative maintenance (timing belts, water pumps) but nowadays most cars have switched to zero maintenance timing chains so not much needs to be done anymore.

    I have nothing against Toyota, but their cars are boring appliances that are great for getting you from point A to point B, but Ford, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai and others are injecting life into the otherwise previous boring to drive appliances. Also I've had sour experiences with Toyota salesmen as well.
  • 1 Hide
    wiyosaya , July 12, 2012 2:12 PM
    Quote:
    People aren't replacing their older cars as much nowadays it seems. I still see a lot of 90s cars in great condition. This kind of poses a problem for the auto manufacturers, which is why they are trying to entice new buyers with technology, fuel economy and comforts that weren't available on their car at the time.

    Fuel economy?? What a joke!!

    Advertising claim - "Gets 35 MPG (oh, by the way, that's Highway mileage; city mileage will be significantly less :kaola:  )"

    That tongue out is exactly what some automakers claiming "fuel economy" are actually doing to their customers especially since the daily drive for most people in the US is what is considered city driving. Highway driving, even on many expressways, rarely comes into play for most US drivers. This is a well-known fact.

    My Prius is getting 50+ MPG City, and gets nearly that highway.

    Maybe my viewpoint has been soured, but if the automakers were not claiming "fuel economy" in a deceptive way, I would be much happier. Detroit advertising makes me angry, and it is another thing that Detroit would have to fix for me to even mildly consider a Detroit car.

    Besides, many "foreign" automakers are making their cars in the US at this time. The incentive to buy US made now also extends to many foreign automakers, including Toyota.
  • -1 Hide
    wiyosaya , July 12, 2012 2:19 PM
    Quote:
    Don't get me started on E85 and the proposed E15 acceptance...I am not a fan. BioDiesel would've been a better alternative IMO.

    Typical fluid changes and brakes are really the only maintenance that needs to be regular done. Some cars require added preventative maintenance (timing belts, water pumps) but nowadays most cars have switched to zero maintenance timing chains so not much needs to be done anymore.

    I have nothing against Toyota, but their cars are boring appliances that are great for getting you from point A to point B, but Ford, GM, Chrysler, Hyundai and others are injecting life into the otherwise previous boring to drive appliances. Also I've had sour experiences with Toyota salesmen as well.

    Don't get me started on boring cars. Well, you just did.

    Why, why, why, do you need an over powered, inefficient engine that gives you so much power that you will never, never, never use, or need?

    Personally, I like the boring quiet of my Prius on long drives, and I've beaten idiots in souped-up Hondas with the instant torque of my 20 hp, 274-ft.lb. electric motor.

    Boring is a state of mind. Until the technology progresses significantly further, and until people realize that having a fast car does not make them any better as a person, we will continue to be marketed inefficient, high powered, brown crap.
  • -1 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 2:23 PM
    That's more of a problem of the EPA that enables these claims to be used in advertising IMO. If your commute is primarily in the city, a hybrid or electric car would be the best bet for stop and go.

    Competition is always good. I'm happy to see Detroit step things up a bit instead of releasing terribly dull and horrible cars (first-generation Chevy Malibu anyone?) but I can understand how some might weary of them.

    I however grew up in an all-American car family, hell the first Japanese car my dad bought was an '06 Suzuki Grand Vitara for my mom after years of GM N-bodies (80s Olds Calais, Buick Somerset, Pontiac Grand Am) and Chrysler minivans ('84, '93 and '98). However, it was for our benefit since my dad was a mechanic and just bought cars that needed drivetrain work, fixed them, maintained them and drove them until he got bored. For that, American cars are an excellent deal if you know how to tool around ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    Parrdacc , July 12, 2012 2:27 PM
    s3anisterYou've got to be kidding me. If it took a generation to earn an excellent reputation we'd never have truly great vehicles in the first place.Anyone remember the BMW E30? Mercedes-Benz 300D? Datsun 240Z? MK1/2 Ford Focus? All excellent vehicles and they were like that when the first year models came out. Get real, truly great feats of engineering shouldn't need a generation or even a year to be excellent; you either have a great vehicle, or you don't.


    Reputation is built on the "battle tested" engineering is what people are looking at. For anything to earn a reputation for being reliable requires that battle test that does not come from the first few years of being under warranty but also how well it continues past that; and you can never say for certain how that is going to happen in those first few years. The 2000 or 2001 Malibu won awards and consumer reports ratings when it first came out but only later it was recalled for what "undersized pistons" to just name one of many issues with it. I still can't believe undersized pistons :( ) I mean what bone head engineer messed that one up.

    Yes the Focus and others have proven to be great cars but only after they proved themselves well past their warranties. Remember the Focus has been around over ten years now (first gen was 2000) and many of them still going. That is battle tested and as such reputation is built.
  • 1 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 2:27 PM
    Quote:
    Don't get me started on boring cars. Well, you just did.

    Why, why, why, do you need an over powered, inefficient engine that gives you so much power that you will never, never, never use, or need?

    Personally, I like the boring quiet of my Prius on long drives, and I've beaten idiots in souped-up Hondas with the instant torque of my 20 hp, 274-ft.lb. electric motor.

    Boring is a state of mind. Until the technology progresses significantly further, and until people realize that having a fast car does not make them any better as a person, we will continue to be marketed inefficient, high powered, brown crap.


    You can have entertaining without having a ton of power. Its all in the suspension tuning. Toyotas are tuned to ride comfortably, almost floaty. European cars and the new Ford, Focus included, have sportier suspensions that make driving much more fun. My Miata has less power than your Prius but its a ton of fun to drive.

    Ford even managed to inject a dose of fun in the Focus Electric, it drove just as nice as the standard petrol Focus. The steering had good feedback and wasn't lifeless and light for the sake of being light. But we will never agree on this, different strokes for different folks :) .
  • -1 Hide
    tuanies , July 12, 2012 2:29 PM
    Quote:
    Reputation is built on the "battle tested" engineering is what people are looking at. For anything to earn a reputation for being reliable requires that battle test that does not come from the first few years of being under warranty but also how well it continues past that; and you can never say for certain how that is going to happen in those first few years. The 2000 or 2001 Malibu won awards and consumer reports ratings when it first came out but only later it was recalled for what "undersized pistons" to just name one of many issues with it. I still can't believe undersized pistons :( ) I mean what bone head engineer messed that one up.

    Yes the Focus and others have proven to be great cars but only after they proved themselves well past their warranties. Remember the Focus has been around over ten years now (first gen was 2000) and many of them still going. That is battle tested and as such reputation is built.


    I believe the late 90s Buick's are considered "battle tested" since the GM 3800 series V6's are a reliable workhouse not to mention the car platforms started out in the 80s so they had 10-20 years to iron out the kinks.
  • -2 Hide
    misterawsome , July 12, 2012 3:13 PM
    Hey guys American cars mean
    American jobs. By doing all this Ford creates jobs. all of you say the economy sucks, and this is why. Everyone is buying Chinese and Japenese so everything is moving over there. If you want the economy to turn around, buy American, if you want more jobs, buy american, and if you all out want a good car, buy American
  • -2 Hide
    jp182 , July 12, 2012 3:15 PM
    Fr3shM1ntphate - You arn't saying much when you call a brand new or relatively new (2009) car reliable...I think the reliability andy speaks of is the plethora of early 90's and 80's Toyota's and other japanese cars on the road you see today driving around with few reported issues. THAT is reliability, and it'll take Ford and many other american companies a solid generation to EARN that reputation. It cannot be won overnight or over the course of a few years.I too eagerly await the day a Ford or Chevy is as reliable in the long term as a toyota or honda.It would also be nice if they made a nice Tacoma sized (crew cab, the ranger is only extended cab) truck, with diesel would be even better.


    About 10 years ago, a 3 or 4 year old Ford would be falling apart so that's definitely progress for them.
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