NEW FORD FIGO BRINGS A FRESH APPROACH TO SMALL CAR DESIGN

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Johannesburg, 15 July 2010 – The new Figo incorporates kinetic design in an affordable spacious package.  When the design team for the new Figo met with the marketing team, the direction was clear: ”we want more”.  After deciding on packaging objectives that needed to be met, such as reducing the overall length of the car to suit emerging markets the designers were given the go-ahead to apply a near-clean sheet approach to both the interior and exterior.

Exterior design
Starting with an excellent structure and chassis, both interior and exterior designers took the Ford kinetic brand philosophy and applied it to the new Figo.

“Fortunately for us, we had a great car, terrific architecture and solid proportions from the global chassis and structure,” said Scott Strong, Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (APA) Design Director.  “We started with a vehicle that already had a good stance and a nice contemporary silhouette.”

With the backing of Ford management, the design team has ensured the Figo has its own distinct personality while still featuring elements of the global Ford kinetic design philosophy throughout the interior and exterior.

Figo’s exterior styling follows the global kinetic design elements that help harmonise the car with other models in the Ford global line-up, including Focus and Fiesta.

Starting with the tri-plane front end; the split line on the top of the bonnet lines up perfectly with the top of the headlamps and combines to give the car a sporty and aggressive appearance, developing the car’s unique personality. The car’s large headlamps have a dynamic shape that helps define the element of speed and agility for the Figo.

Underneath, the lower grille opening emulates what now appears on many global Ford models.  The lower grille, in black, is flanked by removable inserts that can be replaced with driving lamps. These fog lamps come standard on the Trend derivatives. The upper grille, also black, further enforces the Ford kinetic design theme.

All models have a large pronounced “FORD” emblem located in the centre of the grille.  On Trend models, the grille is complimented with a chrome strip running along the top.

The distinct front fenders also include the side turn indicator lamp ornamentation that is found on many Ford passenger cars today.  Trimmed in chrome on the Trend models, the small chiselled section behind the trim provides the starting point for the ‘comet tail’ side treatment that has been designed through both side doors and carries into the quarter panel.

Top of the range Trend models also include body colour door handles and side mirrors, adding to the upscale presence of the vehicle.

New rubber door seals decrease wind noise ensuring a quite passenger compartment.  On models equipped with diesel engines, double seals are used on the door openings.

From the rear, the Figo continues with kinetic design cues. The rear lights coupled with a subtle rear spoiler design ensure a dynamic and muscular tailgate.  The rear lights are flush-mounted for reduced wind noise.  A rear wiper and nozzle sprayer are included as is a high-mounted centre stop lamp. To help ensure visibility in city traffic, the new tail lamps are located high in the rear quarter panel.

Pronounced arches over the rear wheels reinforce Figo’s well-planted footprint.

Interior Design
The personality that Figo expresses on the outside carries over into the interior of the vehicle with an all-new design that communicates a simple elegance with quality and character.

The overall strategy was to make the driver and occupants feel special regardless of the trim level that a customer chooses.

On the inside, Figo provides some of the best interior ergonomics and proportions including 1084 mm of front legroom, 1358 mm of front shoulder room and 1001 mm of front headroom.

Second row proportions are among the best in the segment with rear seat leg, shoulder and headroom at 860 mm, 1300 mm and 959 mm respectively.

The instrument panel is free flowing and smooth with a textured surface. The instrument cluster houses both the odometer and tachometer, along with a fuel gauge, all easily visible from the driver position.  Gauges are backlit with red lighting adding a touch of sportiness to the instrumentation.  Both gauges are trimmed with chrome surrounds (on Trend derivatives).  Warning lights for engine coolant, oil pressure and voltage are included in the cluster to alert the driver.

Also included are alerts for ‘door ajar’, ‘headlamps on’ and ‘seatbelts’.  Diesel models include an alert for ‘water in fuel’.  All models include a 12-volt power socket to charge personal items, including cell phones.

Included on all Figo models is a ‘distance to empty’ display. A ‘low fuel’ message reminder illuminates when the fuel range drops below 80 kilometres.  A chime alerts the driver progressively for additional pre-set ranges.  Additional warning lamps are provided to remind drivers of low voltage and oil pressure.

Other features include ‘Lane Change’ Indication that when momentarily depressed, indicators flash three times eliminating the need to hold the stalk.  Hazard deceleration alerts automatically flash when vehicle speed suddenly decreases to speeds below 96 kilometres per hour, warning following vehicles of possible danger.

A standard bonnet release is located below the lower-left corner of the instrument panel. The electric release for the boot is easily accessible by the driver and is located on the lower-right hand corner of the instrument panel.  The standard exterior driver and passenger side mirrors can be easily adjusted manually using the adjustment toggle located on the door.  Trend models include power-activated outside rearview mirrors for both driver and passenger.

Sun visors are included for both driver and passenger on all models, as is a vanity mirror for both.

All models have a standard heater and air-conditioning system. The air-conditioning system, which includes one of the largest compressors in its class, is designed to provide excellent performance for a range of ambient temperatures from -10 to 49 degrees Celsius.

Dual front airbags are included for both the passenger and driver on all models. Airbags are equipped with load limiting restraints and are designed to deploy depending on the severity of the vehicle impact.

While all vehicles have central locking as standard, the Ambiente models have a manual key operated central locking while the Trend models have remote keyless entry for extra security.  This feature allows drivers to automatically open all four doors or simply the driver’s door.

All models feature a five-speed transmission shifter which is located in a short console on the floor that includes a cup holder.  The parking brake is centrally located just aft of the console and is trimmed with a black boot.  The parking brake includes a soft-feel grip.

Specific aluminium trim outlines the perimeter of the shift boot on Trend models, while a satin aluminium-painted shifter knob and pull cups with a painted satin aluminium finish further characterizes the cabin. Seats have additional bolstering and stitching and are fitted with a distinctive black cloth trimmed in red stripes.  Trend models also include a manual seat-height adjustment for the driver. Other features include: power windows for the front doors, automatic door locks, all doors automatically lock after the vehicle reaches a speed of seven kilometres per hour.

The seat design for Figo is all-new and includes fabric seat inserts with specific bolster and trim patterns that are unique for each model-grade.  Black cloth with a distinctive blue pattern is the sole colour for the interior of the Ambiente.  Trend models have a black-themed interior highlighted with red accents.  All interiors are distinctive with each interior having different variations in trim. For ease of operation, door cup holders are deep and offer numerous storage compartments.

The rear seats for the Figo have been newly designed to include a full folding rear seat back that greatly increases cargo carrying capacity.  When folded down, cargo carrying capacity is nearly doubled to easily accommodate large objects.  Trunk capacity (with the rear seat in an upright position) is a generous 284 litres, among the best in its class.

Three-point safety belts are provided for the outboard rear passengers. To help passenger egress from the car, folding passenger grab handles are provided above each passenger door.  Front and rear doors swing out 72 degrees respectively, for ease of entry into the passenger cabin.

All models include full carpeting throughout the interior.  Increased sound insulation has been added under the hood and at the firewall to ensure a quiet cabin environment.

Audio
Housed in the centre of the instrument panel is a standard AM/FM radio with CD/MP3 capability.

Radio Data System (RDS) is standard on all Figo audio systems.  RDS is a communications protocol standard that embeds small amounts of digital information in conventional FM broadcasts, including time, station identification and programme information.  RDS also includes an additional text feature that displays the track name.

A sensitivity setting on the radio allows stronger or weaker signals to be delivered at optimal range.  Speed-sensing volume is also standard.  This helps maintain the volume level of the radio based on external noises.

Connectivity for iPods is included with an ‘Aux-in’ port located on the front fascia of the radio.
An equaliser function ideally sets the sound for different music genres, including jazz, pop, classic and rock.  Users can also adjust the bass, treble, balance and fader function as desired.

Four speakers are included and are located in the door trims.