Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ford Makes These Cars, Really?

So before the actual BlogHer conference last week, I was invited here:

BlogHer and Ford invited me down for the day to take a look at the new Fords. To be honest, I'm not a fan of Ford. In fact, I have owned two Fords and swore after trading in the last one that I'd never own a Ford again.

I changed my mind.

You wouldn't believe the cool things Ford is doing now. They have all sorts of features that you wouldn't have thought necessary, but yet they suddenly are. Can you figure out what this might be?

Does this help clarify it?

Nope, it doesn't (or at least not for me!) because it's not something I would have asked for in a car. They are -- wait for it ... massaging seats. I sat down and ahhhh. They massage your back and your rear, but not at the same time. It's gentle to the point that I didn't feel it when I sat down but then it was SO. NICE. The bags you saw were packets that slowly fill with five pounds of air and then release, in addition to the gentle vibrations. While some of us expressed a fear that this time cause us to fall asleep, they worked with doctors to ensure that the massage actually increased blood flow and kept people more awake as well as preventing that icky tingling feeling when you've been in the car too long.

I'm not buying a car without these seats ever again.

Plus, these cars park themselves. Yes, you read that right. You drive along, press a button on the console, and it tells you when you've driven past a spot big enough to fit your car. It announces where you should stop, then you put it into reverse and let go of the steering wheel. It totally freaked me out to watch it whipping around that fast, but a few back and forths and I was completely parallel to and three inches from the curb. For those who have a hard time parallel parking -- my husband -- this is genius.

The car also announces not only when you're getting close to another car in back by beeping faster and faster as you get closer, but it has a cross traffic view from behind so you can feel confident as you pull out from a parking spot instead of me doing my old lady creep creep creep -- praying no one is going to smack me from behind. And it alerts you when there are cars in your blind spot. I'm thinking even my mom could avoid an accident with these cars (she's had enough that at one point in time, her insurance actually dumped her rather than raise the rates again).

Parents aren't left out either. The My Key allows parents to set control of the car so that it can't go over 80mph. And the teen can't turn the radio up past half volume. And the radio turns off if the seatbelt isn't buckled. I love the gentle instilling of good habits.

Environmentalists want to know what's happening with Ford? Not only are they hugely increasing the mpg in their cars and configuring them to have V8 power from a V6, but they are engineering new materials to make the car from. No more do they have foam seats that are made with way too much petroleum. They're made from soy. Seriously. They aren't biodegradable yet, but they're working on it. They're also working making the plastic parts from corn that is totally biodegradable. And even now they're using coconut husks and other materials to strengthen the plastic instead of glass filaments, which makes the plastic lighter and more fuel efficient.

Plus, the cars are sorta fun to drive. I admit that I wouldn't choose a Taurus over a Camry because sitting in the back, my head still just about touched the ceiling (I'm 5'8" -- this is a common problem), but they have some really cool cars and are doing some really cool things. Like the Lincoln MKT that has a fridge built in. And the leaves that appear when you're driving in an environmentally friendly manner.

I also got totally geeked out watching how they set up the factory floor using way cool ergonomics to see if all the parts of the car can be easily and safely reached as needed. It's pretty darn cool -- one of us got to test it out and said it looked just like she was looking into and reaching into a real car.

There was also an LCD tv next to it, so the ergonomic expert can check to see how accurately and easily the worker can do everything, testing how much force it requires to do a task. This minimizes on the job injuries, and who isn't a fan of that?

Going on the factory tour was pretty awesome, too. I've never seen a plant like this before. It was so automated with the cars moving along, doors being lifted and fitted to the car, little conveyor belts moving the workers with the cars so the can complete their tasks. It's not a job I could do, but it was way cool to watch.

Besides, I don't look so hot in safety vest yellow and safety glasses, do I?

I'm somewhat bummed that I bought a new car last year, but I figure they'll be even better by the time I trade this one in, right? And this time, I promise I'll consider a Ford. Wow.


Jill July 29, 2009 at 12:15 AM  

Reading this was like watching an episode of the Jetsons.
I was just kidding around the other day saying that cars will soon be parking themselves so I wont' have to worry about parking so crooked.. OMG.. lmao!

I think I now love Fords!

Melisa with one S July 29, 2009 at 7:32 AM  

The auto parallel parking still creeps me out a bit, but eventually I guess all cars will have that feature, huh?

I think the innovation that Ford is displaying is so cool!

Martha July 29, 2009 at 7:59 AM  

How cool! Thanks for taking us inside with you! :-)

septembermom July 29, 2009 at 8:41 AM  

Well, now my husband is jealous of your adventures :) That is really cool. You gave a ton of good info in this post. I'm actually still driving my 10 year old Ford. Overall, I think it's a good car company to consider when purchasing your next one. Michelle, you look cute in the last photo. Love that glow in the dark green:)

Steph July 29, 2009 at 12:45 PM  

Pretty Cool!

Jeff July 29, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

Wow... you must be like famous or something. Blogher or Ford never invite me to do anything. And I've been driving Fords for years!

Michelle July 29, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

Jill - It's so true! It's amazing some of the things it was doing... the parking freaked me out, but I can see it being super useful!

Melisa - Oh, I'm with you, but fortunately, it's an option so you can choose to manually parallel park, too. The innovation is VERY cool.

Martha - Oh so cool to see it. And honestly, I came out with SUCH a different perspective than what I went in with.

Kelly - Oops, don't want him jealous! And ummm, how you think that last photo is cute ... well, let's just say that I'm still debating taking it down :)

Steph - I thought so. Who knew that Ford was really getting it now? I've seen a couple commercials since then, and I keep telling the tv that they have it all wrong and it's NOT the message Ford needs to get out. *sigh*

Jeff - Ummm yeah. Famous or something. Yeah. Or not -- it's called lucky :) Definitely way cool... oh, and you're not a mom, so that probably would have knocked out out, too!

Mrs4444 August 9, 2009 at 1:02 AM  

Definitely makes me want to test drive a Ford next time. I'll let you know how it goes :)

Michelle August 9, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Barb - Hey, when those 2010 and 2011 models come out, definitely go test them out. They're pretty darn cool. If only I still had my "clunker" that I could turn in for $4500 now! ;)

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