Reuben van Niekerk
Ford Motor Company held its second annual Go Further Africa event recently at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
The action-packed programme revealed eight exciting new models for African markets six of which will go on sale in South Africa within the next year, detailed its new assembly plant in Nigeria, and highlighted its wide range of far-reaching corporate social investment initiatives.
The central theme for Go Further Africa was “Innovation and Mobility”, which showcases Ford’s vision for the future. Ford Smart Mobility is the company’s plan to use innovation to create the next level in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, big data and an overall emphasis on improving the customer experience.
Ford is expanding its multi-modal approach to urban mobility. One of the innovations on show at Go Further Africa was the Mode:Pro eBike, a customisable electric bike experiment making its debut in Africa. The eBike is designed for all types of commercial uses and is aimed at reducing congestion by allowing small businesses and courier companies to deliver goods without negatively impacting on traffic.
Taking Ford Smart Mobility to the next level is the Ford X-Car Social Innovation Action Partnership (SIAP). The Ford X-Car supports public-private partnerships by using the vehicle as a transportation backbone to deliver goods and services to under-served communities.
Ford Mobility experiments will provide significant insight through data analytics that will help to deliver advanced new products, use technology to change the way the world moves and devise mobility solutions for millions by working with various partners.
One of the stars of Go Further Africa 2015 was the Focus RS which will debut in South Africa in 2016. This performance road car pioneers Ford Performance All-Wheel Drive, and is set to deliver class-leading cornering speed for thrilling dynamics and unbridled driving enjoyment.
Focus RS introduces advanced performance technologies, and is the first Ford RS equipped with selectable drive modes – including an industry-first drift mode, as well as launch control. With a 2.3-litre EcoBoost engine delivering 257kW of power and 440Nm of torque, the high-performance road car also features the most powerful Ford RS braking system ever.
Ford’s tougher and smarter new Ranger was revealed and will blend robust capability, craftsmanship and advanced technology.
Due to be launched in Sub-Saharan Africa in the fourth quarter of 2015, it will once again be produced at Ford’s Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria and exported to 148 markets.
The Ranger features a new look front end along with a new interior, the new Ranger builds upon a reputation of capability, innovation and comfort that has helped the Ranger to stand apart from traditional pickup trucks. It also boasts an array of new cutting-edge technologies that enable new and more practical solutions to everyday challenges.
The Ranger’s impressive power, capability, payload and towing capacity are made possible thanks to powerful and now more efficient engines paired to either a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. All the engines available provide Ranger customers with a great combination of power and efficiency in all conditions.
The Everest was shown for the first time on African soil, featuring bold design and advanced technology, it is said to boast good on and off-road capabilities and a refined cabin will house up to seven occupants.
Dubbed as one of the toughest SUVs in its segment, the Everest has a body-on-frame design, assuring the torsional strength required for challenging terrains. Together with an intelligent four-wheel drive system, an active transfer case with Torque on Demand, Terrain Management System, ground clearance of 225 mm and water-wading capability of 800 mm, the Everest helps drivers navigate difficult terrain with ease.
The Ford Everest boasts SYNC 2, Curve Control, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, Roll Stability Control, Electronic Stability Programme and Active Park Assist.
The Everest will arrive at dealerships across Africa in the 4th quarter.
The Mustang is one step closer to being launched in right-hand drive Sub-Saharan Africa markets with the local debut of the stylish Mustang Cabriolet at Go Further Africa 2015, along with the Fastback previewed last year.
With 320kW on tap, the 5.0-litre V8 fastback model with six-speed manual transmission will reach 100 km/h from a standing start in 4.8 seconds.
The Mustang’s 228kW 2.3 EcoBoost engine uses direct injection, variable cam timing and turbocharging to deliver plenty of usable performance across a broad RPM range. A unique intake manifold and turbocharger housing enable it to produce the performance Mustang drivers expect with a 0-100km sprint time of 5.8 sec.
The new Ford Figo, due in Southern Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa markets in the fourth quarter of 2015, is destined to be a compact car champion by offering high levels of style, feature-rich smart technologies and safety, while retaining the Figo’s established reputation for superb fuel efficiency and overall value.
It combines contemporary styling, a whole new range of Ford’s trend-setting technologies, as well as a modern and welcoming cabin that offers more space and improved safety.
For the first time, the Figo will be available in two body styles, which include a five-door hatchback as well as the new four-door sedan.
The new Ford B-MAX featuring a unique design, superb fuel economy and excellent small car technology is set to be one of the most advanced compact cars on the market.
The B-MAX presents the company’s vision for a premium compact multi-activity vehicle (MAV), combining outstanding space and versatility within a smart and stylish exterior as the Easy Access Door System provides unobstructed entry and exit with hinged front doors and sliding rear doors integrating the central body pillars, rather than forming part of the bodyshell itself.
When both front and rear doors are open there is outstanding access to the interior, with a huge, clear aperture more than 1.5 metres wide. The flexible seating system features 60/40 split rear seats that can be folded flat with a simple “one-hand, one-motion” mechanism.