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As the North American International Auto Show looms ever larger on the calendar, so does the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year awards, the winners of which will be announced on January 9th, before the show opens.
This year, finalists for the NACOTY award are the 2012 Ford Focus (shown), Hyundai Elantra and Volkswagen Passat, while finalists for the North American Truck of the Year award comprise the 2012 BMW X3, Honda CR-V and Range Rover Evoque.
The announcement of the finalists came following a December 15th meeting of the Automotive Press Association. The North American Car of the Year selection process is handled by a panel comprising 50 accredited automotive journalists from the US and Canada.
The 2011 car of the year winner was the Chevrolet Volt.
Are you getting excited for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas? It’s less then two weeks away, and to get you a fan-frenzied mood, Ford has begun to tease us with its bespoke designs.
From subdued to outrageous and brand-spanking new to ancient, Ford will be showing off a little something of everything at the show, but taking the spotlight with be a few customized Fiesta and Focus models.
Sure to draw attention from the crowd are seven Focus hatchback and sedan models that boast customization by 3dCarbon, ROUSH Performance Products, The ID Agency, Capaldi Racing, Steeda, Bojix Design, and COBB Tuning. With such prominent names, you can expect to see some radical performance and styling modifications to these cars.
“Millennials, which this car is all about, want to personalize every aspect of their lives – everything from laptop covers to body art, and even cars,” said Mike Murphy, Ford C-Car Marketing manager. “Being unique allows them to stand apart and be different, and all the Focus models we have on display at SEMA live up to that standard.”
On the Fiesta side, there will be three customized models, courtesy of M2-Motoring, Gold Coast Automotive and Aaron Vaccar.
Expect to hear more from Ford about what it is bringing to the table at the SEMA show this week, including an all-new 363-cubic-inch Ford Racing stroker engine and a Ford licensed restoration part for the classic ’64-65 Mustang.
GALLERY: Ford Focus and Fiesta SEMA Show Cars
This is the first year the Southern California-based Motor Press Guild (MPG) is handing out its Motor Press Guild Vehicle of the Year (VOTY) Award, and the list of finalists has just been released.
Chosen by a panel of 18 MPG journalist members who routinely drive and review cars, the final five finalists will be evaluated and voted on by all MPG journalist members at the organization’s annual Track Day Event on October 11 and 12. Making the list are the 2012 Audi A7, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, the 2012 Fiat 500, the 2012 Ford Focus and the 2011 Hyundai Elantra.
To have qualified for the award, vehicles must be all-new or substantially changed for the 2011 calendar year. They must also be available at dealerships on or before January 1, 2012, and these vehicles should represent the unique Southern California marketplace. When reviewing vehicles, MPG journalists evaluate based on safety, quality, value, performance, handling, design, style, environmental impact and technology and innovation.
“We’re proud of the top five cars nominated by our MPG jury,” said Laura Burstein, Motor Press Guild President and VOTY panelist. “Not only are these finalists excellent vehicles overall, they represent a variety of segments and price points – and they show a little So-Cal flair, too. Any of these vehicles would be worthy of the VOTY award.”
The winner of the 2011 Motor Press Guild Vehicle of the Year will be announced during the Los Angeles International Auto Show Press Days on November 16 to 17, 2011.
The 2012 Ford Focus is being eagerly awaited by those looking to buy a car in the C-segment of the market, which includes cars like the Hyundai Elantra and the Chevrolet Cruze. However, if you want to achieve the claimed 40-mpg fuel rating, you’ll have to choose the Focus SE SFE (Super Fuel Economy) model.
While all Elantra’s can achieve 40-mpg, the most efficient Cruze on the market is the Eco model, which can achieve 42-mpg.
The Focus SE SFE does fare well against its main rivals, while the rest of the Focus range is not quite as thrifty to run. Normal Focus models can achieve 38-mpg on the highway and 28-mpg in the city. That is a combined average of just 31-mpg with the automatic version, you’ll lose an extra mile worth of driving per gallon if you opted to buy a manual version.
So while the new Focus might not be the most frugal car in its segment, it’s not bad, and considering its attractive styling, features and models, we are sure it will find plenty of owners.
All the cool kids are getting tattoos – just look at the Cube, Juke and Frontier. The latest car to jump on the body art bandwagon is the 2012 Ford Focus, giving owners a quick and affordable way to personalize their car.
With over 200 vinyl wrap tattoos available, ranging from geometric patterns and racing stripes to whimsical splashes and swirls, you can choose what tattoo best suits your individuality at www.fordcustomgraphics.com.
“Millennials have a very personalized, artistic side to their lifestyle, and their vehicle is a very important part of that,” said KC Dallia, Focus brand manager. “With its striking front end, sleek profile, dramatic rising beltline and athletic stance, the Focus provides the perfect canvas for customization.”
And Ford has done their homework. According to research, about four in 10 Millennials have at least one tattoo, with Generation-Xers bringing up the rear at 32 percent. So, it’s fairly safe to say that the next logical step in the world of tattooing would extend to your car.
For those interested in getting a tattoo for their 2012 Focus, you can stick one on for $120 to $470, and unlike that arm band tat, this one can be easily removed in a couple of years when you tire of it. The tattoos are made with 3M Scotchprint Personalized Vehicle Graphic Film as well as a clear graphic protection layer. And don’t worry about sticking them on, because they come professionally installed at Ford dealerships and come with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty.
The Blue Oval has now released a description of the system and how exactly it will benefit customers. Essentially it’s a form of electronic limited slip differential that works by adding brakes to the inside wheel in a turn to slow that wheel and ensure both wheels turn at the same rate. The result is a car that handles better (good for driving enthusiasts) and is also more stable (which is a benefit to all types of drivers). The small application of the brakes is imperceptible to the driver.
Ford’s decision to offer the technology on all Focus models is impressive as previously these setups were only available on some sports cars or high-trim versions of cars, like in JCW MINIs and the VW GTI.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford Focus
Get all the details from the official release after the jump:
Putting a new spin on “reduce, reuse and recycle,” Ford has announced they’re going to give old blue jeans a new lease on life.
If you’re buying a 2012 Focus (on sale early next year in North America and Europe), Ford will be using cotton from recycled clothing for carpet backing and sound-absorption materials inside this car. Thanks to the recycled jean material, drivers will be treated to a much quieter cabin.
“Ford is continually looking for greener alternatives,” said Carrie Majeske, product sustainability manager. “Recycled content is a way to divert waste from landfills and reduce the impact of mining virgin material.”
This isn’t the first instance of Ford using non-metal recycled and bio-based materials in new vehicles. In vehicles such as the 2011 Explorer, the automaker uses soy foam seat cushions, recycled resins for underbody systems, recycled yarns on seat covers, and natural-fiber plastic for interior components.
In every new Focus, Ford will use the equivalent of two pairs of blue jeans in each new Focus.
“The good news is these jeans didn’t end up in a landfill, nor did we use the water, fertilizer, and land to grow virgin cotton,” said Majeske. “It’s an alternative that our customers can appreciate, it’s cost effective, and it’s better for our planet. These are the kinds of sustainable solutions we are looking for in all our vehicles.”
Admit it – you’ve read a car review and thought to yourself: “I would love to have that job,” or “I could do that.” Now you’re in luck – Ford is about to make your budding journalistic dreams come true.
Ford has just announced a contest where one lucky consumer can win a chance to test drive the 2012 Ford Focus near Madrid, Spain. But in order to win, you have got to show Ford your camera chops. They are looking for you to “get your video camera out, get out there and start something more…”
But that’s not all. Ford will also make a $10,000 donation to charity. So the reward is double – you get to do something that makes you feel good, and a charity gets some much needed cash, another reason to feel good!
All you have to do is be a friend of the Ford Focus on Facebook, and then make and upload “a video no longer than 2 minutes explaining why you want to be one of the first to drive the 2012 Ford Focus and how you’d start something more for a good cause with the local market equivalent of $10,000.”
For full details and to take part in the contest, join the Ford Focus Facebook page.
Inspired by the new Focus ST, the SE Sport Package adds four-wheel disc brakes, a sport suspension, 16-inch wheels (17s are optional), sport seats, a piano black grille, a rear spoiler, metallic trim accents and a leather wrapped steering wheel with a 5-speed manual transmission. Ford will also offer the ST’s Yellow Blaze Metallic paint.
As for the top-level Titanium model, it gets what Ford calls the Titanium Handling Package with “optimized” suspension components, 18-inch wheels and summer performance tires.
The packages won’t initially be available, but Ford will introduce them to the lineup later this year.
GALLERY: 2012 Ford Focus
GALLERY: 2012 Ford Focus ST
Official release after the jump:
Ford has announced pricing for the 2012 Focus, and the car is set to start in the upper end of the price bracket, with a base price of $16,995.
The base S model in sedan with the 6-speed automatic will cost likely $17,995, as the 5-speed manual is standard. The upper end Titanium trim starts at $22,995 while a fully loaded example costs $24,295. Hatchback models will start at $18,790 and top out at $24,785.
The sticker may seem high, but pricing reflects Ford’s desire to position the car as a “premium” compact, much like General Motors and Volkswagen are doing. Chevrolet’s Cruze retails for the exact same amount, while the new Volkswagen Jetta undercuts it by $1,000.
[Source: Ford via Edmunds]
Ford is getting onboard with reality TV and putting out their own show. Think of it as “The Amazing Race” – only in a Ford Focus.
For this show, Ford has teamed up with the folks behind “The Amazing Race” to bring you a five-week online reality series called. Highlighting the features of the new 2012 Ford Focus (available in March, this online show dubbed “Focus Rally America” will star six teams racing across the country in a rally that includes weekly challenges. The race starts February 1, 2011 and finishes when the new Focus arrives in showrooms.
Viewers will be able to watch live streaming of the race that comes from inside the cars and will be encouraged to help their favorite team by sending messages to help them figure out clues along their journey.
Those interested in participating in the Rally can enter by either submitting an application online or can apply in person at auditions being held in: Los Angeles, Tampa, Austin, Boston, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, New York, Houston, Orlando and Las Vegas.
“We’re looking for people who want to have a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure,” said Matt VanDyke, Ford’s director of U.S. Marketing. “Like Fiesta Movement, we want people who are highly connected through social media and have a built-in group of fans and supporters. They also need to have a big personality and be entertaining on camera.”
Get more info or register at www.focusrally.com
Official release after the jump:
Ford‘s 2012 Focus has kept a low profile since it’s debut at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show. While we heard endless stories about the Chevrolet Cruze in the run up to its launch, the only news coming out from the Ford camp is the admittedly big announcement about the Focus ST.
Now comes another nugget of information leaking out from Dearborn, this time in video form. A pre-production 2012 Focus is seen lapping the track, and while it’s hard to decode much from the video, The Truth About Cars seems to be enthusiastic about the car’s handling prowess. Judge for yourself after the jump.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
With the debut of the all-new 2012 Ford Focus set for next Monday at the Detroit Auto Show, Ford has let a few (very few) details about the car slip. A press release highlighting the nine new engines Ford plans to launch in North America in 2012, exposes the fact that the new 2012 Focus will get a naturally-aspirated direct-injection 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine mated to a PowerShift 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
While Ford does already offer direct-injection technology in the high-dollar EcoBoost-equipped models like the Taurus SHO and Lincoln MKT, the 2012 Focus will be the first Ford in North America to feature the technology in a low-dollar, non-turbocharged model.
We don’t have any details on horsepower or fuel economy, but expect at least 140-hp and over 35 mpg.
“Ford is delivering on our commitment to lower emissions, improve fuel economy and deliver the highest quality powertrains in the industry,” said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president, Powertrain Engineering. “We are making this happen with one of the most ambitious powertrain upgrades ever undertaken by Ford. By the end of 2010, nearly all of Ford’s North American engines will have been upgraded or replaced since 2008.”
As for the rest of the new lineup of engines, some highlights include the 2011 Fiesta’s Ti-VCT 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine with 119-hp and 40 mpg on the highway; the Mustang’s new Ti-VCT 305-horsepower, 3.7-liter V6 with 30 mpg on the highway; the 2011 Mustang GT’s 412-hp 5.0-liter V8 and the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 coming in the 2011 Ford F-Series Super Duty. Then, near the end of the year, Ford will debut a new EcoBoost 2.0-liter 4-cylinder in the C-Max MPV, with 200-hp and 221 ft-lbs of torque.
We’ll bring you more on the all-new 2012 Ford Focus with live coverage of the Detroit Auto Show starting Monday, January 11th.
Official release after the jump: