COLOGNE, Germany – Ford subjected the new Fiesta to a wide-ranging testing regime to prepare it for the most extreme use and conditions, and to ensure it excels in day-to-day performance for years to come.
Engineers testing the new Fiesta logged 1.2 million kilometres on public roads and 850,000 kilometres on test tracks, which included cobbles and deep potholes. Other tests include extreme hot and cold weather ranging from -40 C to 82 C.
“A combination of high-tech laboratory simulations, demanding test-track trials and real-world evaluations helps us deliver a durable Ford Fiesta that owners can be confident will survive the worst they can throw at it throughout its lifetime,” said Glen Goold, new Fiesta global chief programme engineer, Ford of Europe.
Durability testing at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground in Belgium exploited test track terrains that are exact replicas of those found on real roads in the U.K., France and the U.S., including an exact recreation of a potholed stretch of road near the Ford Dunton Technical Centre, England.
Testing simulated the worst-case conditions that customers could encounter and included a variety of artificially constructed obstacles designed to place controlled loads on components. Component and system tests in the laboratory simulated a lifetime of abuse in months or even weeks. In one test a robotic arm simulated the force of someone applying 36 kilograms of weight through each hand on the bonnet 3,000 times to ensure it could survive the punishment.
Ford’s Voice of Customer Fleet programme delivers testing with greater relevance to real-world drivers on major roads, and in rural and city scenarios. Developed in North America and introduced to Europe in 2010, it includes squeak and rattle assessments, seat position evaluations and deliberately driving the car until it runs out of fuel to verify the system’s robustness and the accuracy of the “distance to empty” indicator.
Ford recruited 100 drivers of all ages and sizes to conduct the tests in 115 new Fiestas; drivers recorded events using a data-logger. Drivers also were invited to report any further issues uncovered or offer suggestions for improvement – one of the 31 tests even challenges participants to follow a set of instructions from the owner’s manual.
“By paying this level of detailed attention to every aspect of the car we can make a real difference to the overall driving and ownership experience of new Fiesta.” said Thomas Schlimbach, senior engineer, Voice of Customer Fleet programme, Ford of Europe. “We have all had occasions when we have struggled to follow operating instructions, whether that’s to do with our cars or perhaps more usually when assembling a piece of furniture.”