Ford hints at what’s to come at range review

With Ford going from strength to strength over recent years, thanks in part to a global product strategy that has seen the Edge and Mustang finally appear on UK soil, it was great to attend the blue oval’s range review event earlier this month.

Henry Ford Academy Daventry

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Taking place at the recently opened Henry Ford Academy in Daventry, the event allowed Ford to bring together the gathered press from the automotive, fleet, and caravanning industry to let us know what the manufacturer has planned.

First things first, the Henry Ford Academy is an outstanding facility. Opened in March this year, it represents a multi-million pound investment in training and manufacturing for technicians, sales staff and management throughout Ford’s dealer network. This is on top of delivering courses to adult learners up to Diploma and Masters Degree level, as well as students taking the Ford Masters Apprenticeship programmes.

Henry Ford Academy workfloor

Henry Ford Academy work floor

With Ford branding around the room imploring us to ‘let go of what you know’, the range review kicked off with a brief introduction from Oliver Rowe, the Product Affairs Manager, before he passed over to Owen Gregory, Fleet Manager, who gave an overview of the impact the Henry Ford Academy hopes to have in the future.

Launching into a ‘state of the union’ address on where Ford is and where it plans to be, Mr Gregory talked of how significant the latest Ford Ranger has been since its launch, revealing that it is struggling to keep up with demand on some derivatives it has become so popular - holding a 34.6% market share in August.

Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger goes from strength to strength

In talking about the upcoming ST-Line, Ford mentioned it wanted  to create a range designed to give drivers the chance to enjoy a performance model that is not only exciting but affordable too. Having been inspired by performance cars, the four models in the ST-Line – Fiesta, Focus, Kuga, and Mondeo – all come with sports suspension, a sportier alloy wheel designs, sport seats and bold styling. Having taken a Focus ST- Line for a spin, I can reveal it is all that and more.

Ford ST Line

Read our first drive review of the Ford Focus ST Line

Similarly, the Ford Vignale range is being launched in response to increasing customer demand for the highest-spec trims available. The Vignale name will effectively be a way of sign-posting to potential customers that these are the best you can buy from Ford. Four models will represent the luxury range – the Mondeo, Kuga, Edge and S-Max – and all will feature stylish exterior and luxurious interior detailing while also offering dedicated support to customers via Vignale Relationship Managers as an extra VIP touch.

Ford Kuga Vignale Interior

The interior of the Ford Kuga Vignale offers a new level of refinement

Talking about the interior of the range, Mr Gregory revealed that Sync3 will soon be standard for infotainment. This update will be more intuitive and easier for drivers to use, with a much faster response time than the current model. On top of this, there will be navigation improvements including a one-box search for destination and a clearer satnav system thanks to larger 8in and 6.5in touch screens.

Perhaps one of the most surprising revelations from the review was Ford’s plan to expand its business model to become both an automotive and mobility company. This will see the company launch a host of new initiatives in the near-future including:

  • GoDrive – a car sharing programme in London that provides vehicles with guaranteed parking at busy locations
  • GoPark – a predictive parking system in London capable of directing drivers to streets where they are most likely to find a space

All in all then, it’s onwards and upwards for Ford. With innovative ideas, focused audience targeting, and a state of the art facility to make it all happen, the future is as bright as the blue in their badge.

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