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My Ford Experience: NAIAS and Design Camp

As I mentioned already, the folks over at Ford Canada invited me and 149 other bloggers to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2012 in Detroit.  We were also invited to Ford’s Design Fantasy Camp where we were given a chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they design their cars.  See Part One of my trip here.

First, we attended Ford’s press conference which unveiled the super sleek new 2013 Fusion.  What an event!  Talk about over-the-top press conference – it was held in the Joe Louis Arena.  Bill Ford was there to begin the press conference.

Ford NAIAS, ford fusion 2013, ford naias press conference, bill ford
William Clay “Bill” Ford Jr., the great-grandson of Henry Ford

Derrick Kuzack, Group VP, Global Product Development, then introduced the new 2013 Ford Fusion in a dramatic reveal.

ford naias press conference,
The new 2013 Ford Fusion
The new 2013 Ford Fusion
Bill Ford

 

The New 2013 Ford Fusion

After the press conference, the online media checked out Ford at NAIAS 2012 and had the opportunity to chat with several of Ford’s executives about the new Fusion as well as other vehicles and new technology, and ask them questions.

Ford at NAIAS

The new Fusion seems to offer the best fuel economy and smart technology for the right price.  It features four-cylinders instead of V-6 engines, and is adding a plugin hybrid version, gas-electric regular hybrid and EcoBoost versions.

The new Fusion is equipped with an array of technologies, such as Active park assist which helps identify and steer you into a suitable parking space; SYNC® system which allows for voice-activated calling; Blind Spot Information System and Lane Keeping Assist provide for greater confidence behind the wheel; and Collision Alert Assist.

2013 Ford Fusion
Ford Fusion

I found the lane-keeping assist to be an interesting feature; vibrations on the steering wheel will give you warnings when change lanes and you can set the level of vibration.

Another great feature is the MyKey system which allows parents to keep an eye on their teenagers when they’re driving by allowing owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt use, provides earlier low-fuel warnings and can be programmed to sound chimes at 45, 55 and 65 mph.

It was fun to see our tweets on the big screen!

My tweet!

Bloggers then got an amazing exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the way Ford creates and designs their vehicles, at their Ford Design Camp.

I took a tour of Ford’s clay modeling studios and witnessed how Ford makes vehicles entirely out of clay!  They begin with smaller  table-top clay models and then make full, life-size models.  The best part was actually playing with the clay that top Ford designers use and helping to sculpt a model.  Hands-on amazing!  We weren’t allowed to take photos of this, understandably.

The HMI Simulator demonstration was also super cool. They use the same type of digital motion technology as is used on films like Avatar, Lord of the Rings and Shrek to design vehicles that are more comfortable to drive.

HMI Simulator

We also got a change to see the technology and tools Ford uses to help craft its vehicles.  One demonstration was the driving simulation where the driver can experience the front panel and driving features.

Ford Fantasy Camp: Simulation Driving

 

Ford showed us some of the sustainable materials they are using to make materials, including soybeans and coconuts!  They are currently in production on soy-based seat cushions and backs.

 

By using renewable and recycled materials in place of petroleum based materials, Ford is helping to improve sustainability of vehicles.

Ford has green innovations

We also got the inside scoop into the design process and the baseline engineering in early design of Ford’s vehicles.  They begin with sketches on a 2D plane in a 3D world; then build a wire frame and then surface. After the design, engineers review with visualization tools.  The computer generated images are hardly discernible from real photography!

Ford design process

All in all, I came out of my Detroit trip understanding the process of how vehicles are designed and made and the complex process from inception to completion.

I was so inspired by the amazing people I met, both from Ford and of course, the wonderful bloggers from across the globe.

Stay tuned for my next post on the people I met at NAIAS and other fab cars I saw!

 

Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations during the press event.  I was not compensated in any other manner for my time or posts. Opinions posted are completely my own.

 

Ford Thinks Outside the Box, Especially When it Comes to Social Media

The folks over at Ford Canada invited me and 149 other bloggers to attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) and Ford Fantasy Camp in Detroit.  It was the largest sponsored press event which included new media that I’ve ever heard of and experienced first-hand.

At NAIAS, Ford unveiled the smart, sleek and sexy 2013 Fusion which earned AutoWeek’s Best in Show.  I was honoured to be a part of the two-day whirlwind that undoubtedly inspired all of the bloggers who came from all around the world.

There is so much to say about this trip that I have to write several posts to cover all of it.  But I do have to begin by saying that Ford really thinks outside the box, especially when it comes to their new media/social media campaigns.  They really see the value of online media as influencers and as such, included bloggers in their press event, covering their entire trips to attend.

It makes sense because Ford sees itself as a technology company, not just an auto company.

Ford is also proud of “being different.”  And that, they definitely are.  Ford is forward thinking in social media, and it paid off.

Scott Monty, head of Ford’s Social Media, shared some mind-blowing statistics at the end of Day One; about 70 per cent of the information shared on social media about NAIAS, came from us, the 150 bloggers that first day.  We collectively reached 5 million people. Amazing.

Global Design and Chief Creative Officer J Mays said it best. At the end of our stay, he thanked us all, acknowledging that we had asked more thought-provoking questions than traditional auto media.

So there you go – social media works.

Detroit Metro Airport

 

 

Motown shop in Detroit Metro Airport

 

We stayed at The Henry hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, a gorgeous hotel close to the Henry Ford Museum and Ford Motor Company offices.

The Henry

 

The Henry

 

The Henry

Our first evening, we visited the Henry Ford Museum, the ultimate place to explore what Americans past and present have imagined and invented, where ideas and innovations come to life. Walking the almost-empty museum and parts of the museum not yet open to the public, I was in awe.  You can’t help but think on a different scale and the feeling of surrealism is overwhelming when you’re entrenched in history.  With 40-foot ceilings and nine acres, as you walk through the museum, you almost feel like you are reliving history through the remarkable collection.

Seeing John F. Kennedy’s car before your eyes, seeing the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on display, stepping into the bus that Rosa Parks rode in, you couldn’t help but feel emotional as witness to major world changing events in American history.

The Henry Ford Museum

 

The Kennedy Car

 

The Rosa Parks Bus
The chair in which Abraham Lincoln died

 

henry ford museum,
The Henry Ford Museum

Stay Tuned for my next posts on the Ford NAIAS press conference and the Ford Fantasy Camp!

Ford Motor Company paid for my travel and accommodations during the press event.  I was not compensated in any other manner for my time or posts. Opinions posted are completely my own.

All New Ford Fusion Debuts at International Auto Show

The 2013 Ford Fusion made a grand splash this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  Ford unveiled the smart, sleek and sexy new Fusion that will definitely change the midsize sedan.

From its innovation design to its enhanced craftsmanship, the all new Ford Fusion seems to offer the best fuel economy and smart technology for the right price.

The new Fusion will go four-cylinder instead of V-6 engines, and is adding a plugin hybrid version, gas-electric regular hybrid and EcoBoost versions.

“In the near term the biggest impact we can have is in improving the fuel economy of the biggest volume of our vehicles. That’s why we have Eco Boost,” said John Viera, Ford’s global director of sustainability.

all new ford fusion, ford fusion, ford, ford canada, 2013 ford fusion

Ford seems to be making leaps in terms of contributing to reducing global CO2 emissions.  The company is already using renewable and recycled materials in place of petroleum based materials to improve sustainability of vehicles.  By using greener materials, the company is also taking into consideration the carbon footprint of whole cycle of product creation.

The new Fusion is equipped with an array of technologies, such as Active park assist which helps identify and steer you into a suitable parking space; SYNC® system which allows for voice-activated calling; Blind Spot Information System and Lane Keeping Assist provide for greater confidence behind the wheel.

“It will be our most aggressive year for global product introductions in our history,” Alan Mulally, chief executive of Ford Motor Co., said of his company during the press conference at Detroit’s Joe Louis arena on Monday.