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Ford’s Innovation Drive Rolls Into Phoenix...


DEARBORN, Mich. – Arizona consumers will be among the first in America to drive Ford’s three newest vehicles when the Ford Innovation Drive comes to the Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix July 18. The all-new vehicles include the 2005 Five Hundred, Ford’s all-new flagship sedan; the 2005 Freestyle, another all-new design which bridges the gap between sedans and SUVs; and 2005 F-Series Super Duty, which can tow and haul more than other full-size pickup on earth.

The event runs Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will also include a display featuring other Ford "Game Changers," such as the 2005 Mustang and the 550 horsepower Ford GT supercar.

"Ford Motor Company is in the middle of one the largest roll out of all-new products in its history," said Stuart Smith, Ford Division car launch manager. "We think this will be a real treat for Phoenix-area consumers to see and drive these great cars before they are available at their local dealer."

According to Smith, the Ford Innovation Drive is a special marketing program designed to showcase the three all-new vehicles before they hit showrooms later this summer.

The Ford Innovation Drive features drive courses, product experts, engineering displays and more.Other stops for the Ford Innovation Drive include Chicago, Cleveland and Orlando. But first is Phoenix.

"Ford wants to show consumers how we are changing the game in every segment of the market, by offering safety features, roominess, versatility, powertrain technology and great designs customers can’t find from any other company," said Smith.

Approximately one-half mile in length, the performance road course at Firebird International Raceway contains straight-aways, as well as numerous twists and turns. The course will allow drivers to experience the advanced powertrain and seamless shifting of the Ford Five Hundred. The course also demonstrates the car-like ride and the SUV capabilities of the Ford Freestyle versus the competition. The all-wheel drive demonstration shows how the innovative Haldex all-wheel drive system with traction assist maintains control on slippery surfaces. Participants can test the F-Series Super Duty’s powerful engine and the industry’s first, factory installed, integrated trailer brake controller with Built Ford Tough demonstration.

Off the driving track, consumers will get a closer look at the vehicles at four stations, where various features and technologies on Ford vehicles are highlighted through interactive displays. In addition, Ford product specialists will be on hand to answer consumer questions. These displays and personal interaction give people a truly hands-on understanding of new technology.

Ford’s New Flagship: Five Hundred – This all-new flagship of the Ford car showroom was developed in the U.S. using a vehicle architecture developed with Volvo, which is part of Ford’s Premier Automotive Group. The Five Hundred is about the same length as a Ford Taurus, but it boasts about twice the rear-seat knee room, and a bigger trunk than the much larger Ford Crown Victoria. In fact, the trunk is so spacious it can hold up to eight full-size golf bags.

Another feature that drivers and passengers will immediately notice is the Five Hundred's Command Seating™ position. A car with Command Seating gives drivers an SUV-like view of the road because their "H-point" – the pivot point of the hip when seated – is up to four inches higher than such competitive vehicles as Toyota Camry.

Under the hood, the Five Hundred boasts sophisticated powertrain technology, including six-speed automatic and continuously variable transmissions. These new transmissions – rare in affordable North American sedans – allow the car to out-accelerate similarly sized sedans with larger, thirstier engines.

Ford’s fuel-saving transmissions complement Five Hundred’s 3.0 liter Duratec 30 V-6, which has exceptionally clean tailpipe emissions. Five Hundred – along with the Mustang and Freestyle – will be certified to a government standard that is twice as clean as

California’s Ultra-Low Emissions vehicle standard.

Another invisible but invaluable feature is the Five Hundred’s available all-wheel drive system. This system, which requires no driver action whatsoever to engage, can shift power between the front and rear wheels almost instantaneously to keep the car moving confidently in rain, snow and sand.

Ford Freestyle: Bridges the Gap – Freestyle is an all-new vehicle that bridges the gap between SUVs and traditional passenger cars by combining SUV design cues and available all-wheel drive with car-like ride and handling. But its watchword is versatility. Freestyle can carry up to seven passengers across three rows of seats, or almost any combination of people and cargo – including a10-foot extension ladder. That’s because Freestyle’s third- and middle-row seat backs, as well as the front-passenger seat back, fold flat.

And unlike many other six- or seven-passenger vehicles, passenger comfort is not sacrificed to fit three rows of seats. Freestyle will have best-in-class second- and third-row legroom and third-row legroom and third-row knee clearance, plus natural chair-like seating positions.

Freestyle shares many of the same pioneering technologies as the Ford Five Hundred, including its fuel-saving and performance-enhancing CVT, powerful but clean V-6 engine and advanced safety features, including an available Safety Canopy air curtain system that protects all three rows in side-impact collisions and rollovers.

Ford F-250 Super Duty –The F-Series Super Duty is even tougher for 2005 with best-in-class features that make it the most capable pickup ever. Highlights include: the highest towing and payload ratings in the class; unsurpassed power with the 6.8-liter, 3-valve Triton™ V-10; upgrades to the best-selling Power Stroke™ diesel; a convenient new TowCommand System with industry-first, factory-installed trailer brake controller; and a new modern 5-speed automatic TorqShift® transmission available with all engines. Super Duty’s new look reflects the changes under the skin with a bolder front profile and new wheel designs that communicate strength. A freshened instrument panel features a modern new cluster and new accent trim panels on select series add to a more refined interior.

Ford's Super Duty lineup includes F-250 and F-350 pickups, as well as F-350, F-450 and F-550 chassis cabs, and is a part of Ford’s F-Series truck family - America's best-selling truck for the past 27 years, and the best-selling vehicle, car or truck, for the past 22 years. The 2005 Ford F-Series Super Duty will be built at Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky., and will arrive in dealerships this fall.

Pricing and Availability: The Ford Freestyle, Five Hundred and Mustang will begin arriving in Ford showrooms in the fall. Pricing for all three vehicles will be announced closer to launch.

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