Ford vehicles get an overhaul in new year

With the Philadelphia International Auto Show in full swing this week, car lovers can check out the newest, coolest models and latest technology. Metro spoke with Ford Motor Co.’s General Marketing Manager John Felice.

One of your most popular cars this year is the 2012 Focus. What’s different about this edition?

It’s really brand new from the ground up. This is a global platform and product that was built for markets around the world. It has a brand new power train … We’re bringing in technology with MyFord Touch, building on technology features like SYNC. We have Active Park Assist. And unlike a lot of other smaller cars … Ford is bringing the features people are looking for in these products like heated, leather seats.

What led Ford to redesign the Explorer?

We had to reinvent the Explorer to [make] it more relevant to what consumers are looking for today, in terms of fuel efficiency and technology and features … We’ve gone to a unibody construction still delivering capacity, but due to weight reduction and design it’s leading to world-class fuel economy.

How do you get consumers to buy when many are still leery about the economy?

The trend we’re seeing is that consumers are starting to come back to market in some degree. We’re seeing improvements in credit availability, which is great. The industry has been on an [upward swing].

Why is the auto show important to Ford’s platform?

I’ve always been a big fan of auto shows. These are people that come to these shows and there’s over 20 million a year that go to auto shows and they actually pay to see your product. It’s a great opportunity to get people really interested in the vehicles. Some of them are considering buying.