COLOGNE, Germany – Reversing and parking are among the biggest sources of stress for many drivers; and now more and more Ford customers are buying cars that make those activities easier.
Ford’s fastest-growing driver assistance technology of 2012 was Rear View Camera that helps drivers with reversing manoeuvres including parking. Ford customers in Europe bought 55,000 cars equipped with rear view cameras, up by 45 per cent on the 38,000 sold in 2011 – to make it the third best-selling driver aid in Europe.
Ford also sold more than 100,000 vehicles equipped with Active Park Assist, the second best-selling aid, which helps drivers parallel park at the touch of a button, and without touching the steering wheel.
“Parking is the latest example of a tough, stressful task rendered simple by technology,” said Ford chief engineer Christof Kellerwessel. “Before GPS, you had to read a map or ask directions. Technology that was once unaffordable or far-fetched can now improve the lives of many.”
Ford’s Rear View Camera shows obstructions such as low obstacles, animals and children, on a screen in the instrument cluster or in the rear view mirror. It debuted on the Ford Kuga in 2008; was introduced on Mondeo, Galaxy and S-MAX in 2010; and has since has been rolled out across Focus, Grand C-MAX, C-MAX, Fiesta and B-MAX.
Ford’s Active Park Assist system, which debuted on Ford C-MAX in 2010 and is also available on Focus and new Kuga, uses ultra-sonic sensors to identify suitable parking spots, Active Park Assist automatically steers the vehicle while the driver controls the gears, throttle and clutch.
A Ford survey revealed that nearly one third of European drivers said they needed more than one attempt at parallel parking and new drivers rated parallel parking as being as stressful as Christmas shopping and twice as stressful as motorway driving or a visit from the in-laws.*
Adjustable Speed Limiter
technology again topped the list of “must-have” features with 270,000 vehicles sold equipped with the technology. It allows drivers to set a maximum speed in order to reduce the risk of speeding fines or bans through inadvertently exceeding the legal limit. The system enables drivers to set a top speed between 15 km/h and 170 km/h; it can be temporarily overridden by pressing the accelerator firmly.
“Our driver assistance technologies really do make a difference in day-to-day driving.” added Kellerwessel. “We’re committed to democratising these features and making motoring less stressful for ever increasing numbers of customers.”
*Survey carried out in six European markets – UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Russia – by TNS in May 2011. Sample size of 1,000 per country except Russia, with 1,500.