The exclusive programme for consumers was part of the international media test drive event in the resort town of Krabi where Ford had approximately 380 automotive and lifestyle media, dealers and fleet owners from Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan participate.
Similar to the media event, the 40 consumers were taken through a deep dive session by Ford engineers and designers to provide them with an in-depth look at the key features of the global all-new Ford Focus, which will be produced at Ford’s new USD 450-million Ford Thailand Manufacturing (FTM) facility in Rayong.
Highlights of the briefing included the driving quality and fuel economy of the new Focus, which comes from a new 2.0-litre Ti-VCT GDi engine that mates with a six-speed PowerShift automatic transmission, the advanced safety features and several first-in-class and first-in-market smart technologies including Active Park Assist, Active City Stop, and Blind Spot Information System.
A major ‘wow factor’ for the Thai consumers during the presentation came from the award-winning Ford SYNC system, powered by Microsoft, which allows drivers to control their mobile phone and digital media player via voice command.
Ford’s collaboration with industry leader Nuance Communications has resulted in an improved voice recognition system which is easier and more intuitive for drivers to successfully use. Therefore, when Rod Phillips, SYNC engineering manager, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa, ordered a song in Thai during the SYNC demo, the system quickly recognised and played that Thai song, delighting the audience.
The briefing session also included a walk-around of the five-door all-new Focus, with the consumers taken through the details of Ford’s dynamic kinetic design and meticulous attention that went into giving the new Focus the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality.
The practicality and comfort of the new Focus were experienced by the consumers during the test drive session on a 170-kilometre route which combined highway driving, twisty roads and urban driving. Ford also invited DJs from the popular MET 107 radio station to join the drive and host an in-car challenge that encouraged drivers and passengers to test the different functions of the SYNC system.
“The drive event in Krabi was a great experience for me. My favourite briefing was about the SYNC feature, which I think, if we take some time to learn about all the commands, SYNC can be a useful tool to really keep the drivers eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Koravick Patipatpakdee from Bangkok who has already booked the five-door Focus Sport+ model.
Other consumers all found their favourite features in the all-new Focus.
“I’m amazed at the level of technologies that Ford offers in a mid-size sedan. Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System and SYNC are technologies that really work! The interior quietness, good performance and great road handling are parts of the outstanding qualities that I can also feel from the test drive,” said Suksawad Polkerd, a participant from the southern province of Phuket.
Another consumer, Piyapong Ayara from the beach town of Hua Hin said: “I have had high expectations for the new Focus since I first saw it in the UK and the Thai version didn’t let me down. I think the road handling is great, and the brake system is good. Thanks Ford for producing such a great car.”
The all-new Ford Focus ‘Start it. Share it. Win it.’ campaign provided almost 4,700 Thai consumers the opportunity to become part of the local market launch of the all-new Focus and experience the car’s smart features first-hand.
Each participant was filmed in real-time during their ‘smart demos’ of two of the all-new Ford Focus’ first-in-segment, smart technologies – Active Park Assist and Active City Stop. Participants’ videos were uploaded to Facebook and the participant with the most number of views each week was deemed the winner of their event location.
The ‘Start it. Share it. Win it.’ campaign will open for voting on July 18. The overall winner will be announced on August 8 when the all-new Focus is officially launched to the Thai public.