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Auto blogWed, 27 Mar 2013 14:30:00 EST
You will probably remember the ads for the Ford Figo hatchback in India, the ones that showcased the extra large boot of the little hatchback by joking that you can fit three of your enemies in the trunk. One of the ads had Michael Schumacher in the front seat, obviously pleased about having Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso tied up in the back. But the other two had Paris Hilton and ex-Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi up front and three bound and gagged women in the back - in Hilton's case (shown above), it was the Kardashians.
This did not go over well, and Reuters reports that certain employees at JWT India have been fired over the matter. It is also reported that the images weren't actual advertisements, nor were they part of an actual campaign; JWT said they "were never intended for paid publication, were never requested by our Ford client." A JWT rep said the employees who created the ads did so on their own, Ford commented to Automotive News that the ads were "part of a creative exercise intended to test concepts for an advertising competition."
The problem, if the story is to be believed, is that the employees skipped the regular review protocols and uploaded their work to an ad industry site - they were found on Ads of the World. That page, like the employees, has been removed.
Ford has announced that it is introducing "calibration updates designed to improve on-road fuel economy for owners of the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid, 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid."
We can speculate that these changes are at least due in part to lawsuits over mileage claims of hybrid vehicles. The automaker is enhancing 2013 models starting in August by raising their electric cruising speed to 85 miles per hour from 62 mph, optimizing the use of active grille shutters and the climate control system, shortening the engine warm-up period by 50 percent and reducing electric fan speed to minimize the fan's energy consumption.
It bears mentioning that Ford is doing pretty well in the US electrified vehicle market this year. The company claims to have grown its share in the segment by 12 points to 16 percent while taking a high number of Toyota Prius trade-ins in the process. Conversely, Toyota has experienced a five-percent drop in new-Prius sales over the same period. Additionally, Ford states that it has increased its share of the US vehicle market by one percent this year, more than any full-line automaker.
With more and more members of the Ford brand adopting a new familial face, the Focus has been left looking like an odd man out. At the Geneva Auto Show, though, it properly rejoined the family, adopting the now familiar Aston Martin-ish grille that's proliferated throughout the range.
Overall, we're liking the refreshed Focus' look. Aside from the new grille, the headlights have been restyled and now look like elongated versions of the lamps on the Focus ST. Functionally, those headlamps are bi-xenon units, complete with an adaptive front lighting system. Out back, the rear retains the same overall look, which has been smoothed out for 2015.
In the cabin, the second-generation of Ford's much-maligned Sync system makes its debut. Sync 2, as it's called, is supposedly more intuitive than the first-gen system. Ford is promising "one-shot" navigation functions for the system. Saying "I'm hungry," should bring up a list of nearby restaurants. Of course, we'll be reserving final judgment until we can test the new system in person.