Drive Type: Automatic
Model: Crown Victoria
Scranton, Pennsylvania, United States
The 2015 Mustang is one of the most hotly anticipated vehicles of the moment, and Ford continues to leak out interesting little details about its newest pony car. The latest info doesn't have anything to do with its quarter-mile time or handling, but if any of that goes drastically wrong, the innovative new glovebox-mounted airbag may prevent passengers from knee injuries.
All variants of the 2015 Mustang get the active knee airbag as standard, and it's the first vehicle in Ford's lineup to receive the system. The setup is actually quite simple and ingenious. The glovebox is made from a plastic outer panel that is attached to the inner door. Sandwiched between them is this new injection-molded plastic bladder that folds flat when in use. If the passenger-side airbag deploys, the system springs into action to act as a cushion for your knees. Compared to a traditional knee airbag that has to fully inflate, this arrangement is 65 percent lighter and can use a 75 percent smaller inflator. It's also basically invisible when you look at the glovebox door.
Ford spokesperson Ed Saenz declined to tell Autoblog whether the system will appear in other vehicles in the Blue Oval's lineup but said, "We're considering other applications." Provided it's effective, the approach seems too simple not to make its way to other products. Scroll down to watch a video showing how the glovebox-mounted knee airbag works.
The Ford Ka (pronounce it like a Bostonian saying "car") is the Blue Oval's sub-Fiesta offering in a number of markets that aren't North America. It's been a staple in Europe since it launched in 1996 and in South America since 1997, where it's enjoyed quite a bit of popularity as an affordable, efficient city car.
The European and South American models grew apart over the years, until Europe ended up with a Fiesta-inspired car and Brazil retained a more evolved version of the original Ka's styling. With this Ka Concept, which is really a concept in name only, Ford is previewing a Ka not just for the European market, but as the brand's new, global small car. With city car sales expected to grow dramatically in coming years and the ever increasing price of fuel, Ford's move to get a new, competitive car into the market on a global level isn't surprising.
Wearing Ford's new, familial grille, the Ka Concept features the same crisp, sculpted sheetmetal that's adorned the Fusion and Fiesta. Developed in-house by Ford Brazil, a production version could launch by 2014, according to Ford's press release. It's unclear what engines will sit under this car's hood, although we'd bet the 1.0-liter, EcoBoost three-cylinder from the Fiesta will be available at some point.
The Ford Fusion may already beat the Toyota Camry in terms of models offered, transaction price and sales increase so far this year, but if the Fusion wants to make a run at the title of best-selling car in the US, Bloomberg reminds us that volume is key. Opening a second production line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant will reportedly allow Ford to produce around 350,000 Fusions annually, which compares Toyota's ability to crank out 475,000 Camrys and Honda's capacity to build around 450,000 Accords.
For the Fusion, that's an extra 100,000 units compared to the car's current pace, and the article adds that the Fusion is "Ford's best shot" to regain the passenger car sales crown - a title it (or any other US automaker, for that matter) hasn't held since the mid-1990s. Despite hiccups with recalls and fuel economy numbers, the Ford Fusion is still red hot when it comes to sales. Fusion sales are up 13 percent so far this year (compared to a 0.6 percent decrease for Camry), and its average transaction price of $26,343 is about $2,300 more than its rival from Toyota.
The Fusion's popularity has helped Ford improve its sales in California; the Dearborn-based automaker has a market share of 18 percent in the state, which is just a fraction of a percentage behind Honda. And this popularity should continue as Ford ups Fusion production and expands the model lineup even further for 2014 with a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine soon to become an option.