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