What we can expect from Ford in 2017
The new year brings with it the prospect of change, and this is no truer anywhere than in the automotive world. Fans of different marques around the globe will be excited about their favourite makers unveiling their newest machines over the course of the coming 12 months and, in this respect, the Ford Motor Company is no exception.
Here, we take a look at what Ford have in store for their loyal customers in 2017, as well as the ongoing cutting edge technological developments that indicate what could be available in the years to come.
It has officially been the UK’s most popular car for an incredible seven years in a row, so it will be no surprise to learn that potential buyers are already getting excited at the impending release of a brand new generation of that modern classic of the motoring world – the Ford Fiesta.
According to an Auto Express article published towards the end of last year, the new Fiesta will be available in six different guises; five of these will be open to private buyers, and one – the Style – only for fleet purchasers.
What Auto Express have noticed is that there seems to be a trend towards this model, the seventh generation Fiesta, becoming slightly more exclusive than its mass market dominating predecessors. An interview with Ford Europe’s exterior design director, George Saridakis, reveals that one of the reasons for this subtle ‘gentrification’ is that, in his words, ‘Fiesta buyers are maturing’.
Discussing the previous Fiesta’s target customer, which the design team called ‘Antonella’, Saridakis notes that ‘now the typical Fiesta customer has grown up, got their own place and has a bit of money; they’re a bit older than Antonella was, so the target was to deliver a more mature car’.
The first looks at each of the new versions of the Fiesta – which are scheduled to launch this summer - suggest that the car’s more elegant external stylings will be complemented by a complete overhaul of the interior. This redesign will bring with it a host of benefits, most notably an increased amount of space in the front of the cabin and a much easier to use dashboard control system.
Ford are determined that the five private buying options available for the new Fiesta – Zetec, ST-Line, Vignale, Titanium and Active – will all be distinct, but this does not mean that quality will be compromised on any of them. As Auto Express note, ‘the new model is the most grown up version of Ford’s small hatchback yet’, and it’s no wonder that fans are counting down the weeks and months until it can be driven home from UK forecourts.
At the other end of the mainstream market scale is the all-new Ford GT carbon fibre supercar which, although called the 2017 model, has actually already started rolling off the production line.
However, perhaps ‘rolling off’ is a bit of a misleading phrase, as the new GT will not exactly be mass produced. The current plan is for the grand total of one GT to be built per day until 2020, so to say it will not be easy to get hold of your own is something of an understatement, even if you are in the fortunate position of being able to afford the estimated £300,000 price tag.
A detailed description of the car, as well as a number of mind-blowing photographs, can be found on the Ford UK website, where it is explained that the new model has been ‘designed to celebrate both high-performance and the 50th anniversary of Ford GT racing cars.’
A truly extraordinary vehicle, the new GT is the flagship model of the fledgeling Ford Performance line-up, which the company explains is ‘united and inspired by a single-minded vision: ‘Innovation through Performance’.’
The very definition of high performance, the 2017 GT delivers over 600PS and is built with acceleration-boosting and handling-improving materials like carbon fibre and aluminium. The GT’s cockpit has also been completely redesigned to make the driver feel more in control of what would otherwise be an intimidatingly powerful car.
An unprecedented interest in the GT has led Ford to announce an increased production run of the model, but it will still be beyond the reach of most of us – brand new customers are unlikely to be given the opportunity to drive one away until 2020.
If you are a keen follower of car news, whether you are only interested in new models or are searching our range of second-hand cars in Dorchester and around the South West, you will know that much of the talk in the industry’s press recently has been about the growing prospect of self-driving, or ‘autonomous’, cars.
As you would expect, Ford are at the forefront of this conversation and recently stole headlines at the CES 2016 tradeshow in Las Vegas. The manufacturer wowed delegates by showing off their latest advances in self-driving technology and renewed their pledge to have such cars on the roads within the next five years.
TrustedReviews spoke to Don Butler, Ford’s Executive Director for Connected Vehicles and Services, at CES, and the official was bullish about the company’s advancements. He told reporters that ‘from a technology standpoint, certainly by 2020 we can foresee what we call Level 4 autonomy, which is fully autonomous driving’.
Butler was quick to note that, at first, the technology will be limited to strictly regulated, taxi-like services, and that we are still probably a good number of years away from the roads being filled with self-driving private vehicles.
However, it would be no exaggeration to say that self-driving technology is becoming a major focus of not just Ford but various other carmakers around the world and that 2017 will be the year which sees more development in this field than any before. As Butler says, ‘change is coming, we’re at an inflection point in our industry, and from a Ford standpoint, we choose to embrace it.’
As you can see, there is a whole lot to look forward to in 2017, from the further advancement of autonomous vehicles to fresh releases of existing iconic models. It is set to be a year of great change and new launches, so keep checking our news pages to stay on top of the latest announcements as and when they are made.