THE BI-ANNUAL JOHANNESBURG INTERNATIONAL MOTOR SHOW (JIMS) OFFICIALLY OPENED PENULTIMATE FRIDAY IN SOUTH AFRICA, WITH THE AMERICAN AUTO GIANT, FORD, SHOWCASING ITS EVOS CONCEPT AND ANNOUNCING TWO NEW FORD MODELS DESTINED FOR LOCAL INTRODUCTION IN THE COMING YEAR.OLAOLU OLUSINA REPORTS
The bi-annual Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) officially opened penultimate Friday in South Africa, with the American auto giant, Ford, showcasing its Evos Concept and announcing two new Ford models destined for local introduction in the coming year
At a media preview of the show penultimate Wednesday, the Ford Fusion was revealed ahead of its official South African debut in the coming year, while the two-tonne Ford Transit was also unveiled ahead of its expected debut in the South African market in the first half of 2014. Ford also used the opportunity to confirm that AppLink would become available in local models during 2014.
Embodying the global Ford product development team’s vision for future Ford products, the Ford Evos Concept, which made its debut for the first time in South Africa , represents the ultimate expression of Ford’s new global design language and explores key future powertrain and vehicle technologies.
An excited President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Jeff Nemeth, explained the vision behind the Evos Concept, saying “With the Evos, designers have sought to enrich a customer’s every experience with their vehicle by personalising and adapting it, thus creating unique, unexpected features that surprise and delight them.”
Ford said the concept’s technology experience embraces a new generation of driver interaction and awareness currently under development in the Ford Research and Innovation laboratories, adding that seamless connectivity between the vehicle and the driver’s ‘personal cloud’ of information is at the heart of the vision for its capabilities.
Described as an intelligent car, the vehicle, with information from the cloud, can provide the same connected lifestyle the driver experiences at home or office. The car knows the driver, and automatically adapts handling, steering and engine controls to deliver an exceptionally dynamic driving experience.
Ford researchers, according to the auto company, have also developed technologies focused on driver wellness, such as the heart-rate monitoring seat and certified allergy-free interiors and with a seamless connection to the cloud, the Ford Evos Concept monitors the physical state and workload of the driver and adjusts the driving experience accordingly.
“The Evos Concept highlights Ford’s vision for greener, smarter vehicles with outstanding customer appeal,” Nemeth added. “The bespoke concept vehicle also showcases Ford’s global design language as the momentum of the company’s One Ford product plan continues to develop.”
The Ford Evos Concept was conceived as a dramatic fastback concept, combining a striking new profile with innovative proportions. Attention-grabbing lines conceal a unique new format, with a four-door, four-seat layout which combines dynamic appearance with surprising practicality. With the length of a typical C-car, but with width of a CD-car, the Ford Evos Concept has a powerful, sporting stance.
The same visual cues found in the Evos Concept inspired the design direction of the new Fusion.
Stylish and technologically advanced, the Fusion will feature a fresh exterior design, a stylish interior, new high-efficiency Ford EcoBoost powertrains and a host of driver comfort, convenience and safety technologies.
“The Fusion will take up its position as the flagship model in the company’s portfolio when introduced in South Africa in the future,” Nemeth disclosed.
The Fusion benefits from the continuing evolution of Ford’s kinetic design and offers a premium feel with a range of new, high quality materials.
The new Transit was also confirmed for introduction at JIMS unveiling. Ford’s new full-size Transit van, according to Nemeth , will provide professional tradesmen and commercial fleet customers unmatched fuel economy, innovative new configurations and leading versatility when launched in South Africa in the first-half of next year.
“The Transit Custom, launched earlier this year in South Africa, has been very well received by the public who can now look forward to the continued expansion of our commercial vehicle line-up,” Nemeth said.
The Transit Connect, recently named the International Van of the Year was also presented. Though not yet confirmed for local introduction, Ford said the show provides an opportunity to gauge interest in the cargo van which is set to provide cost-conscious commercial fleets and small business owners with impressive fuel economy and versatility in an expanding commercial vehicle market.
“We have the unique opportunity to engage with our customers at the show in order to gauge their interest in the Transit Connect and better understand what their requirements are,” explained Nemeth.
Also on display is a concept kit showcased on the Built Ford Tough Ford Ranger. The Black Edition model, created especially for the occasion features black alloy wheels as well as unique wheel arch mouldings, grille, nudge and roll bars all in black.
“The Black Edition Ranger was created especially for the Johannesburg International Motor Show. However we plan to make it available XL, XLS and XLT Hi Rider models in future,” he added.
In addition to an expanding commercial vehicle line-up, Ford has this year enjoyed an unprecedented spate of new vehicle introductions on the passenger car front.
According to Nemeth, “It’s been an exciting year for us with an array of new models being introduced locally. From driving enthusiasts to young families and small business owners, we have something for everyone. We’ve also gone further to provide an enjoyable driving experience, be it with driver assistance technologies or smart in-car features.”
In the last 12 months, Ford has introduced a number of smart technologies into its line-up. Features such as SYNC, Active City Stop, Active Park Assist and various others are now available on selected models as Ford continues in its quest to offer customers innovative driver assistance features.
During 2014, Ford said it will introduce another such feature when it inaugurates AppLink in South Africa. AppLink allows drivers hands-free control of select applications (apps) on their smartphones via voice commands. Ford will introduce AppLink on most SYNC-equipped vehicles next year.
“It’s been an exciting year for Ford with more exciting innovations and offerings on the way. The motor show provides the perfect opportunity for customers to view existing product offerings and gain added insight into Ford’s future product plans,” Nemeth said.