Ford Expands Climate Change Goals

Ford Motor Company has announced its intention of achieving carbon neutrality globally by 2050, while setting interim targets to address climate change challenges quicker.

Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by balancing actual emissions with carbon removal. To achieve its goal, Ford said it will first focus on the three areas that account for around 95 per cent of its CO2 emissions: vehicle use, its supply base and the company’s facilities.

The company said it is fully aware of challenges including customer acceptance, government regulations, economic conditions and the availability of renewable carbon-neutral electricity and renewable fuels.

“We can develop and make great vehicles, sustain and grow a strong business and protect our planet at the same time; in fact, those ideals complement each other,” said Bob Holycross, Vice President Chief Sustainability, Environment and Safety Officer at Ford. “We don’t have all the answers yet but are determined to work with all of our global and local partners and stakeholders to get there.”

Ford said it is also working to develop goals approved and defined by the Science Based Targets initiative for its Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from company-owned or controlled sources, while Scope 2 addresses indirect emissions from generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating, and cooling consumed by Ford. Scope 3 emissions are in-use emissions from vehicles that Ford sells, emissions from its supply base and others.

Ford To Launch Hands-Free Driving System

Ford Motor Company has announced that it is updating its Ford Co-Pilot360 technology to include hands-free driving on over 160,000 km of divided highways across the United States and Canada.

“The stress of long highway drives remains a huge issue for drivers around the world,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Development and Purchasing Officer at Ford. “By introducing driver-assist technologies like active drive assist, Ford’s version of hands-free driving, we’re allowing our customers to feel more confident whenever they’re behind the wheel.”

While the technology allows drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel, it is not considered fully autonomous. This means drivers will have to continue paying attention to the road and resume control over the vehicle if prompted.

Active drive assist will combine adaptive cruise control with lane centring to create the company’s first hands-free mode. Hands-free mode will allow drivers on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel, provided they continue paying attention to the road, to offer an additional level of comfort during long drives.

An advanced infrared driver-facing camera will track eye gaze and head position to ensure drivers are paying attention to the road while in hands-free mode and hands-on lane centring mode, which works on any road with lane lines. Drivers will be notified by visual prompts on the instrument cluster when they need to return their attention to the road or take control of the vehicle.

“Introducing active drive assist with a driver-facing camera makes perfect sense because the vehicle helps relieve the stress and burden of driving but still leaves you fully in control,” said Thai-Tang. “And if you lose focus on the road ahead, active drive assist will automatically warn and potentially slow the vehicle down until you’re ready to focus back up.”

The new driving system will launch in the third quarter of 2021 on select Ford vehicles in North America and will be available across the Mustang Mach-E line-up. The company didn’t comment on international availability.

Ford says those first to order a Mustang Mach-E will be able to purchase the Ford Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 Prep package which will include active drive assist. The company also plans to give customers who purchase the package the ability to purchase the software and receive the feature at a Ford dealer, or via an over-the-air update which is also expected in the third quarter of 2021.

ANCAP Launches Frontline Responder App

ANCAP has launched the ANCAP RESCUE app, designed to help protect frontline emergency services personnel and provide faster post-crash care to vehicle occupants at the scene of an accident.

The company says the app will provide first responders with vehicle safety information, identify the location of in-vehicle hazards, and allow the extrication of vehicle occupants to be conducted safely.

“All Australian road users will benefit from this app, which is the first to bring together important vehicle safety information for emergency service personnel,” said Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. “If you’re involved in a crash, the information contained within the ANCAP RESCUE app will allow emergency service officers … to safely and more efficiently get to you and provide the help that is needed.”

ANCAP says the app provides a database of rescue sheets that display simple illustrations of individual vehicle models and highlights potentially hazardous elements such as fuel tanks, high-voltage batteries and airbag inflators.

“With the support of vehicle manufacturers, the ANCAP RESCUE app compiles the rescue sheets for more than 500 vehicle models into a central, digital resource,” said Rhianne Robson, ANCAP Director – Communications & Advocacy. “This is part of our broadening safety focus to minimise post-crash risks. “Providing our fire and rescue, police and ambulance officers, and in many cases SES volunteers, the tools to identify known hazards will improve response time and help reduce some of the risks they face on the job each day, and this will become increasingly important with the anticipated growth in hybrid, electric and alternative-powered vehicle models.”

“Having standardised vehicle rescue information available in a centralised and easily-accessible platform provides our officers with a better understanding of the vehicle they’re responding to, and how to ensure both their own safety and that of any crash casualties,” said Paul Baxter, Commissioner of Fire and Rescue NSW.

The ANCAP RESCUE app is available to all Australian and New Zealand emergency service agencies from the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Ford, VW Add EVs, AI, Commercial Vehicles To Global Alliance

Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG have signed agreements that expand their global alliance to meet the evolving needs of their respective customers. The two companies will use their complementary strengths in midsize pickup trucks, commercial and electric vehicles.

The companies said they expect continued growth in global industry demand for commercial vehicles and for high-performing EVs to add scale to their individual product portfolios.

Under the alliance, Ford will build and engineer a medium pickup truck that will become the Volkswagen Amarok from 2022 within the Volkswagen Commercial vehicle line-up. VW will develop and build a city delivery van based on the latest Caddy model as early as 2021 and Ford will later build a one-ton cargo van. Finally, Volkswagen will help Ford with an electric vehicle for Europe by 2023 which will be built on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive (MEB) toolkit.

During the lifecycles of the products, the companies expect to produce up to eight million units of the medium pickup truck and both commercial vans.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,” said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. “This collaboration will efficiently drive down development costs, allowing broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles, and enhance the positions of both companies.”

“This alliance comes at a time of tremendous enthusiasm about the intersection of increasingly intelligent, connected vehicles in an ever-smarter world,” said Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford. “This creates a huge opportunity to innovate and solve many of the world’s transportation challenges and deliver extraordinary benefits to customers, even as companies need to be selective about how they use their cash.”

“Commercial vehicles are fundamental to Ford today and an area where we will accelerate and grow, and working with Volkswagen on these platforms will provide both of us significant financial advantages in things like engineering and plants and tooling,” said Jim Farley, Ford Chief Operating Officer. “Separately, Ford will add battery electric versions of Transit and F-150 in the next 24 months for commercial customers who increasingly need zero emissions and the power of connectivity, data and artificial intelligence.”

“The collaboration with Ford is a key building block of our GRIP 2025+ strategy and part of the current transformation of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles,” said Thomas Sedran, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “This long-term cooperation with Ford will strengthen our very good position in [the] area of light commercial vehicles, especially in our core European markets, and is proof that we are successfully implementing our plan step by step.”

Over several years starting in 2023, Ford said it can deliver 600,000 electric vehicles with the MEB architecture. Additionally, the companies will both work with Argo AI to form autonomous-vehicle businesses based on Argo AI’s self-driving technology.

Ford and VW said they plan to explore additional ways to cooperate on electric vehicles. The alliance does not include cross-ownership between the companies, which will remain competitors in the marketplace.

Elaborate Elfin Car Book Is Australia’s Most Expensive

One of the rarest and most expensive new automotive books has been unveiled. Elfin: The Spirit of Speed is being published in three editions, but it’s the latest and last edition that is unconventional.

Elfin: The Spirit of Speed Ultimate Edition is 704 pages long, weighs almost 20 kilograms (book and case), costs $2750 and is available to only five enthusiasts. The book features high production values, with a specially made matching slipcase, heavyweight stock, ribbon bookmark modelled on the famous Elfin-made magnesium wheel, and is packed with rare historical photos and specially commissioned photographic essays of every Elfin model produced between 1959 and 2012.

Published by automotive identity and one-time Elfin Sports Cars owner Bill Hemming and written by motoring journalist David Dowsey, Elfin: The Spirit of Speed captures the story of the South Australian marque founded by Garrie Cooper through the eyes of those who lived it.

“David Dowsey took five years to write this book, interviewing over 50 people who were intimately connected with the Elfin story,” said Bill Hemming, founder of Elfin Heritage Centre. “Members of Garrie Cooper’s family, employees, mechanics, designers, body-builders and drivers, including Vern Schuppan, John Bowe, Kevin Bartlett, John McCormack and Larry Perkins, tell their stories in the unforgettable tale of the tiny Adelaide company which became the second largest racing car manufacturing business in the world.”

Elfin: The Spirit of Speed Ultimate Edition is packaged in a wood and aluminium presentation box, complete with leather straps and a special presentation plaque cut from Vern Schuppan’s Elfin MR8A-C, which he campaigned in Australia and – in Can-Am specification – North America. Housed inside their own compartments is a signed and numbered copy of the book, along with a selection of genuine Elfin Sports Cars body-making tools used by Garrie Cooper and body-maker and designer John Webb from the late 1950s through to the late 1970s.

“I was lucky enough to visit Elfin employee John Webb in Adelaide one year ago and he gifted these tools to me,” said Hemming. “Later that night he had a heart attack and died. This unfortunate event has become part of the Ultimate Edition story and those lucky enough to purchase this book will have genuine tools used by Mr Webb and Garrie Cooper to build the aluminium versions of almost all the models constructed under Cooper’s ownership. It’s an incredible and unrepeatable story.”

Five Ultimate Edition packages have been made and only two remain available.

Elfin: The Spirit of Speed is available in Standard Edition, Limited Edition and Ultimate Edition versions and can be purchased exclusively from the Elfin Heritage Centre and elfinspiritofspeed.com.au.

Hertz Appoints Paul Stone As New CEO

Hertz Global Holdings has appointed Paul Stone as its CEO days after the US car rental company raised ‘going-concern’ doubts after a bigger quarterly loss.

Hertz is backed by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, but has recently suffered a sudden and dramatic negative impact on its business due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has stunted demand for rental cars due to people staying at home.

The company said last week that it had missed a loan repayment and asked lenders to extend the payment deadline to 22 May.

Hertz, which operates the Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty rental brands, said Stone replaced Kathryn Marinello, who will remain with the company in a consulting position for up to one year.

Stone was most recently Hertz’s Executive Vice President and North America Chief Retail Operations Officer.

Nissan Juke Receives Five-Star ANCAP Rating

The new 2021 Nissan Juke has been awarded a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, allowing it to arrive in Australia with top safety honours. The vehicle was tested overseas where Euro NCAP also awarded the Juke a five-star safety rating.

The SUV received an excellent score for adult and child occupant protection in the side impact test with 94 per cent and 87 per cent respectively, and 81 per cent for vulnerable road user protection for pedestrians and cyclists. The vehicle also scored a 71 per cent rating for accident avoidance.

“We’re proud of the Juke’s strong performance, and especially proud that so much of Nissan’s advanced safety technology will be offered as standard right across the Juke range,” said Stephen Lester, Managing Director of Nissan Australia. “With intelligent emergency braking that can detect cars, pedestrians and cyclists, lane departure warning, intelligent lane intervention, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and so much more offered on every model, we’re happy to say that safety is not an optional extra on the all-new Juke.”

The vehicle features several active safety systems including intelligent emergency braking, which warns the driver and applies the brakes if the car anticipates an impact with a vehicle, pedestrian, or cyclist. Also included are forward collision warning, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning and intelligent lane intervention, with the latter automatically employing the brakes to ease a wandering vehicle back into its lane. The safety systems are all standard across the range.

Nissan says it has also thinned the A-pillars between the windscreen and door frames while maintaining the same strength with the use of ultra-high strength steel. Automatic LED headlights with high beam assist, a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert and intelligent driver alert are also standard.

The 2021 Juke will be available in Nissan dealerships around the middle of the year, with full pricing and specification to be revealed closer to official launch.

FCAI Says Non-Genuine Parts Risk Chassis Safety

As part of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) initiative, Genuine is Best, the FCAI has performed testing on non-genuine utility tray bodies, finding that it can cause significant damage to the original vehicle and compromise its safety.

The organisation said OEM testing of two non-genuine utility tray bodies saw trays fail on several critical criteria – the trays cracked chassis rails in durability testing, corroded rapidly in corrosion testing and were built with what it called unacceptable weld quality. It also found evidence that the trays were separating from their mounting points on the vehicles.

The FCAI claimed that the testing also revealed the non-genuine trays could damage the vehicle body and paint, along with potentially causing suspension mounting failure with the potential for the leaf springs to fall out. The chassis and suspension tune could become unstable, the tray could rip itself off and electronic aids like ABS and traction control might fail.

FCAI said the investigation was carried out by an OEM engineering department on two non-genuine products promoted for fitment on one of Australia’s most popular utilities. The tray bodies were exposed to the same validation process used by the brand to ensure a genuine tray body is fit for a lifetime of use.

Using identical standardised testing rigs, the tray bodies were assessed on the metrics of durability, corrosion and weld quality, and where the genuine passed the tests, the non-genuine parts failed almost every one of them.

“These parts might fit your car, but they aren’t fit for purpose,” said Spiros Katsigiannis, Senior Development Engineer at Toyota Motor Corporation Australia. “These parts can degrade a vehicle to total failure. In many cases a cracked chassis means the vehicle you rely on is dangerous until expensive repairs are completed, if the chassis can actually be repaired.

“Conceptions about ‘strength’ are often misconceptions. Stronger doesn’t always mean better or more durable on your car. The difference between these parts is in the testing. Genuine parts have testing complete before the product goes into the market.”

“Vehicle brands use crash test dummies,” said Tony Weber, Chief Executive of the FCAI. “It appears some non-genuine parts are using [the driver] as a crash test dummy. With that information, differences in cost seems academic.

“Vehicle manufacturers invest heavily in making sure every part on your car is fit for purpose. The engineering effort is enormous. Non-genuine part makers’ priority may often be just making the part fit the vehicle. How it interacts with other systems, you might not know until it’s too late.”

FCAI says its Genuine is Best initiative focuses on the safety, performance and durability benefits delivered by genuine replacement parts. Genuine parts are made or selected by the vehicle’s manufacturer and rigorously tested by that manufacturer as an integral component of the vehicle to meet high quality, safety, and performance standards. This ensures a vehicle will drive, function, and protect in the way it was intended.

Ford Launches ‘Pick-Up And Drop Off’ Service

Ford Australia is now offering a new service called Ford Pick Up and Drop Off, a complimentary vehicle pick-up and drop off solution for when customers’ cars need servicing or warranty repair during the COVID-19 emergency.

The initiative is designed to make life easier for Australian customers during this time so they can focus on other things, knowing their vehicle is serviced and ready when they need it.

“The Ford Pick Up and Drop Off service provides our service customers the reassurance they can get necessary vehicle work completed without leaving home, and the peace of mind that their vehicle is disinfected afterwards,” said Kay Hart, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand. “We’re pleased to be working with our dealers to find ways to ensure customers can continue to enjoy uninterrupted and safe services during this time.”

The service will initially be available at participating dealers until 30 June 2020 and incorporates three main elements:

  • Pick up and drop off for a customer’s vehicle when they book in a service or warranty repair
  • Disinfection of key touch points of the customer’s vehicle
  • Wide availability of cashless payment options

 “We’re pleased to be able to offer extra convenience and peace of mind to customers during this difficult time,” said John Cooper, Chairman of the Ford Australia National Dealer Council. “These new services build on the strict hygiene and sanitation processes we’ve built in across the network.”

The disinfection process will involve thoroughly sanitising the interior and exterior surfaces of the vehicle. Major touch points will include:

  • All exterior and interior door handles
  • Steering wheel (including buttons)
  • Centre console
  • Gear shifter/selector (dial or handle)
  • Park brake handle
  • Radio/HVAC areas
  • Touchscreen
  • Engine start/stop button
  • Driver’s door armrest and centre console
  • Window/seat/mirror controls
  • Rear view mirror
  • Seatbelt buckle and anchor
  • Rear boot lid tailgate button/handle
  • Bonnet and latch
  • Fuel door
  • Key fob

Ford Australia says the dealer disinfection process includes an alcohol-based cleaner that is an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent, which quickly and thoroughly sanitises hard surfaces without damaging plastics, elastomers and rubbers. These measures are designed to help ensure that participating Ford dealership staff and customers are protected, as well as customers’ vehicle paint and interior trims.

ANCAP Appoints New Chair To Board Of Directors

ANCAP SAFETY, Australasia’s independent vehicle safety authority, has announced the appointment of Andy Cornish as its new Chair of its Board of Directors. Cornish has been an independent Director since 2017 and will now step into the role of Chair after Wendy Machin signalled her intention to retire from the board.

“Together with the ANCAP board, we thank Wendy for her demonstrable commitment to improving vehicle safety,” said Cornish. “During Wendy’s six years on the board, the organisation has strengthened with record high levels of market coverage, member engagement, consumer awareness and industry and community collaboration.

“Her chairmanship has seen the development and implementation of a strong strategic agenda highlighting the road safety challenges and subsequent areas of focus where vehicle safety can enhance the road safety outcome.”

Machin said that after her six-year tenure on the board, most as Chair, it was time to transition the board to new leadership.

“It has been a privilege to chair the board of ANCAP,” said Machin. “It is a small organisation with a big impact. Its work in testing and advocating for safer vehicles has had a direct positive impact on the Australian and New Zealand road toll.

“As a leader in the insurance and business sector, Andy brings a new perspective and a wealth of experience in risk and safety – essential considerations in the work that ANCAP does. I wish him and the ANCAP board well in their important work in the coming years and thank them for their support and commitment.”

Cornish says he looks forward to guiding the delivery of existing objectives, initiatives and projects, incorporating some new aspects, and to reinforce the importance of ANCAP’s independent consumer testing and advocacy voice.

“ANCAP plays a vital role in influencing and enhancing Australia and New Zealand’s automotive landscape, and while we are currently working through uncertain times for the industry and the economy, we are seeing significant advancements in vehicle technologies where we will see ANCAP’s role further develop to ensure we provide consumers with confidence in future mobility,” said Cornish.