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Ford Motor Company - Overseas News

Ford Motor Company - Overseas News

Media Release
13 July, 2001


American Sales Results see Ford Explorer set June Record and F-Series set all-time Sales Record
The Ford Explorer set a USA June sales record as 42,833 customers took delivery of America's top-selling sport utility vehicle. Ford Explorer's share of the midsize sport utility segment has increased every month since the introduction of the all-new 2002 four-door Explorer. The new Explorer incorporates independent rear suspension, one of many features that set it apart from traditional SUVs.

"We appreciate the trust that our customers place in our products and our company," said president and CEO of Ford Motor Company, Jacques Nasser.

In addition to the Ford Explorer's record-setting performance, the company's June sales results were highlighted by:
 Ford F-Series, America's best-selling truck, achieved an all-time monthly sales record of 91,481. The previous F-Series monthly sales record was 90,522 (set March 2000). The previous June sales record (90,370) was set 1978.
 Ford dealers delivered an any-month record 75,973 sport utility vehicles, up 12 percent from a year ago. The previous monthly sales record (75,216) was set March 2001. Ford dealers' line of "No Boundaries" SUVs (Ford Escape, Explorer, Expedition and Excursion) are the best-selling brand of sport utility vehicles in the United States with year-to-date sales of 390,693, up 6 percent from the same period a year ago.

Modified Freelanders to make Safari Debut
Six Land Rover Freelanders have joined the Ford Focus World Rally Team, and will be used in the reconnaissance period prior to the Safari Rally (19-22 July) when the drivers and co-drivers drive over the rally stages to produce and check the pace notes. Each vehicle will cover a distance of approximately 4,000 km of high speed driving in only three days.

The 2.5 litre V6 petrol engine powered vehicles have been prepared by M-Sport, who build the Ford Focus World Rally Cars for Ford Racing. Each Freelander has been prepared to enhance their ability to endure the unique challenges posed by the Safari Rally. The body shell has been seam welded and strengthened in key areas, and a full, custom M-Sport roll cage has been integrated into the main stress points in the body shell. The standard Freelander V6 transmission of 5-speed automatic gearbox with Steptronic change has been retained.

A new air-box has been designed and external snorkels fitted for deep water wading. Cross-members and arms have also been strengthened, and engine mountings and gearbox mountings have been up-rated to cope with the fast, high impact loads likely to be experienced.

Job One Marks the Official Beginning of Thunderbird Production

A shiny red 2002 Ford Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line at Wixom Assembly Plant last month, marking the official beginning of the vehicle's production run.
"We've been building and building and training and training. Now it's time to launch. It's time to give the customer what they've been waiting for for several years," said Frank Foley, plant manager, Ford Wixom Assembly.
"Production of the 2002 Thunderbird at Wixom is expected to reach approximately 25,000 units this year. The team is not pushing for volume, because they're concentrating on quality," Foley said.
The Ford Thunderbird has been built at Wixom Assembly at different times over the years, beginning back in 1957.
"The 2002 Thunderbird is a dramatically designed, two-seat, rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered, convertible roadster -- a modern throwback to another optimistic American era."
"It comes standard as a convertible and also is available with an optional removable top with classic porthole windows. Thunderbird is in a class by itself as a rear-wheel-drive roadster with a smooth, free-breathing 3.9-liter V-8 engine."
Thousands of customers placed orders for their own dream cars soon after Ford announced the suggested retail prices starting at USD$35,495.

New Web Site Gives Consumers an Early Look at Land Rover Freelanders

Land Rover North America, Inc. and AGENCY.COM, Ltd., a leading e-business builder in global markets, have announced the official launch of a new Web site dedicated entirely to Land Rover's newest vehicle, the Freelander.
The new site,, is based on Land Rover North America's award-winning Web site,, also developed by AGENCY.COM. is aimed at igniting consumer interest in the soon-to-be-launched Land Rover Freelander, which will arrive on U.S. shores in December 2001.
The site offers a sneak peek at the Land Rover Freelander, a vehicle that has thus far been shown publicly in North America only a few times. A Flash-animated introduction demonstrates the versatility of the vehicle, and the site offers a look at the authentic British heritage of Land Rover, as well as early press reviews of Freelander and an advance look at the vehicle's impressive specifications.
Freelander will be the first small, premium European sport utility vehicle ever sold in the U.S. market. The five-door Freelander, the first all-new Land Rover model for North America since 1994, comes from the same British lineage as Range Rover and Discovery, but is a more compact interpretation of the premium SUV package.
Along with a permanent all-wheel-drive system and four-wheel electronic traction control, Freelander features Hill Descent Control, long wheel travel, a center viscous coupling, a 2.5-litre, 24-valve DOHC V-6 engine and all of the off-road performance consumers expect from Land Rover vehicles.
The newly launched site will be able to offer customers the capacity to place an order on and reserve the opportunity to be amongst the first Freelander buyers in the United States.

Ford Researchers Tame the Wind

Ford Motor Company researchers have developed a way of measuring vehicle aerodynamics with a paint that responds to changes in air pressure.

This automotive industry first will allow Ford Motor Company to develop more aerodynamic vehicles, helping improve fuel economy and passenger comfort by lowering wind noise inside a vehicle.
Using pressure-sensitive paint (PSP), an advanced optical imaging technique that measures air pressure or wind drag on a vehicle's surface, Ford researchers can more quickly and easily obtain data in a new vehicle program from wind tunnel testing. Typically a large number of pressure ports or "taps" are used on a vehicle and spaced about three centimeters apart in order to obtain the air pressure distribution on a vehicle. Attaching these taps requires drilling hundreds of tiny holes all over the vehicle, a laborious task which can take several weeks to accomplish.
"If you measure pressure on a passenger-side window, for example, you'd first remove the glass, replace it with a metal or plastic plate and then carefully drill the holes and plumb each to pressure ports or taps," said Patsy Coleman, a senior technical specialist at Ford's Scientific Research Laboratory, who developed the PSP process for use on Ford Motor Company vehicles. "A typical window has 120 pressure ports, a process that would take one person an entire week to install."
Once a vehicle is painted with PSP and the wind tunnel is set up, engineers can obtain a full field measurement in about 15 minutes.
Pressure sensitive paint detects pressure indirectly. In the absence of oxygen, the light intensity appears brighter. As air pressure increases and more oxygen comes into contact with the surface, the paint appears darker. In order to make this effect visible, researchers set up a bank of blue lights, shine them on the painted vehicle and then view the surface through red filters. This information is then fed into a computer, which displays the varying pressure as dramatically different colors.
Two different images are obtained: one at normal room air pressure and a second in which the tunnel is running at a desired test velocity. The change in colour from wind-off, or normal room air pressure, to wind-on is used to calculate surface pressure.
While similar pressure-sensitive paint is used in the aerospace industry to test aircraft, Ford researchers were the first to develop a process that would enable pressure-sensitive paint to be used in the automotive industry where wind speeds are much lower.

Ford Mondeo Scoops 'Best Auto' Award in Romania

The new Ford Mondeo has added another significant laurel to its number of international awards by winning the prestigious "Best Auto" award as the best medium-segment vehicle, granted by the Romanian branch of publication "Auto, Motor and Sport."
The AMS "Best Auto" competition is a genuine classic in Europe. This year, the competition celebrated its 25th anniversary, and in Romania, 27,000 readers cast their votes.
Mr. Razvan Magureanu, editor-in-chief, said "Best Auto" has become more than a contest. Its past years' results have been absolutely indicative, as they have had a significant impact on the sales volume. In addition, a body of 27,000 voters is quite representative.
Ronald Plomp, operations director, European Direct Markets, was present at the ceremony to receive the prestigious award.
He said: "Having conquered the hearts of many automotive enthusiasts and specialists across Europe, I am convinced, the new Ford Mondeo will also win the hearts of many Romanian customers."
Voting within the medium segment was tough, and eventually, the Ford Mondeo defeated BMW 3 Series -- winner of the title for a number of consecutive years. The Ford Mondeo is the first car in the medium segment to triumph over the triangle of BMW-Audi-Mercedes.
The classification by percentage of votes received were as follows:
 Ford Mondeo - 18.72 percent
 Mercedes C-Class - 16.91 percent
 BMW 3 Series - 15.58 percent
 Volvo S60 14.97 percent
 VW Passat 9.59 percent
The compact segment was also well represented by Ford vehicles, with the Ford Focus ranking second after the Alfa Romeo 147. In the mini category, the Ford Ka was ranked fourth after the Mini, Daewoo Matiz and Seat Arosa.

Zero Emissions, Cheap Fuel and Free Parking to Companies that 'TH!NK @bout London'

Ford of Britain has announced details of its sustainable mobility programme, TH!NK @bout London.
Companies of all sizes, especially those with proven environmental credentials, are invited to apply for one of 15 vehicles being made available at a special price of £80 (Approx. NZD $250) per month via the project's new Web site:
The TH!NK city vehicles involved in the project will be seen on the streets of central London in September, a year before Ford plans to lease its zero-emission electric vehicle directly to Londoners. Companies participating in the project will be asked to complete a weekly survey showing how the vehicles are being used.
Charging the TH!NK city overnight is estimated to cost less than 40 pence (50 cents) and is done by plugging the car into any domestic socket. Parking a TH!NK city in London has an additional bonus as some London boroughs, including Westminster, allow electric vehicles to park for free.
Typical applications for the TH!NK @bout London cars would be to replace existing petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles for light delivery work or intra-office transfer. The cornerstone of the project is that electric vehicle usage will replace the reliance on a conventionally fuelled vehicle.
The TH!NK city is emission-free, easy to maneuver and park, and has a series of plastic body panels which make the car corrosion-resistant and able to absorb light impacts. The car can reach a top speed of approximately 56 miles per hour and has a range of 53 miles.

Sainz and McRae Set to Make World Championship Rally History

Ford Martini team-mates, Carlos Sainz and Colin McRae, are locked in a race to become the most successful rally driver of all time. Both men have won 23 world rallies and are tied at the top of the all-time victors list with Juha Kankunnen.
Spaniard Sainz had a healthy three-win lead over McRae at the start of the 2001 season, but the Scot's remarkable run of three successive victories have hauled him level.
"It's almost a bit daunting to have the two most successful drivers in world championship history driving in your team, but we employed Colin and Carlos because they are the best," commented Martin Whitaker, European director of Ford Racing.
With Ford favourites for victory on July's Safari Rally, few would bet against either man claiming a record-breaking 24th win in Kenya.
McRae won in Kenya in his debut season in the Focus in 1999, but statistics favour Sainz this time around because no driver has ever won four world rallies in a row.

For more information contact Lisa Franklin, Public & Government Affairs Manager, Ph. (09) 277 8556, Fax (09) 277 5055, (025) 997 761,

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