Ford challenges developers to create efficiency app

Mar 29, 2013 by Alisa Priddle

Ford wants to help customers more accurately measure the fuel economy of their Ford vehicles to counter claims it has overstated the fuel economy of certain models.

Speaking Wednesday at the New York Auto Show, Jim Farley, Ford head of and marketing, announced the Personalized App Challenge. can access Ford's OpenXC onboard data platform to come up with their own app solutions.

Ford is offering up to $50,000 to developers who deliver hardware or software that helps drivers understand the effect of the elements and driving habits on their .

"We need to help customers understand the concept of personal fuel economy, based on their own individualized experiences, and give them tools to see, learn and act upon all the information available to know what to expect, how to improve, and even offer guidance in their shopping process," Farley said.

The announcement follows consumer complaints, class action lawsuits and a U.S. investigation into the gap between mileage posted on new vehicle stickers and what drivers claim they are getting.

Ford has said it is working with the EPA and discussing whether the government tests need to be revised to better reflect real-world conditions.

"Given the connectivity in our cars and the proliferation of mobile devices, we have the opportunity to give consumers better and more relevant data to understand what they can expect in on-the-road fuel economy performance," Farley said.

Brendon Kraham, director of global and product strategy, said the in-car mobile experience will soon be integrated into all the devices that connect a consumer's life.

The proliferation of mobile devices is just one shift in car-buying patterns in the wake of the recession.

"Just as everyone is breathing a huge sigh of relief about getting back to something resembling normal sales levels, the real news is that the great recession has dealt a fundamental change to the consumer's mind-set," Farley said. "Now the question is, 'What do they want and expect from us, and are we really ready to respond to what has just taken place?' "

Farley said other post-recession trends include more female, Hispanic and millennial buyers and a redefinition of luxury to include smaller, less pretentious and more affordable cars and crossovers.

"More than 1 billion women will enter the middle class globally by 2020, and many will be buying vehicles for the first time," Farley said, noting women buyers now outpace men in the U.S. and that in other countries they are entering the professional workforce in greater numbers.

Hispanic households now have a total net worth of more than $500 billion, and there has been a 126 percent increase in households making more than $100,000 a year.

"Millennials are also a significant opportunity, as they will start entering the family stage in record numbers during the next several years," he said.

As for luxury, Farley cited a Luxury Institute survey that found 60 percent of respondents expect a fully equipped luxury vehicle to cost less than $60,000.

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dschlink
5 / 5 (2) Mar 29, 2013
No one gets the EPA numbers, because the tests are still seriously flawed. The highway test split between 45 and 55 mph sections, with an average speed of 48 mph. Even the new "high speed" test averages to 48 mph. I do not understand why, in a country where people routinely cruise for hours at 65/75 mph, the EPA chooses such stupid tests.
Lurker2358
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2013
I do not understand why, in a country where people routinely cruise for hours at 65/75 mph, the EPA chooses such stupid tests.


Laser sharks! Laser sharks!

OH yeah, like we can really trust the MANUFACTURER of a product to make a test product to ensure the efficiency of the first product, lol.

The test they give will probably be rigged to over-inflate the efficiency somehow.
KingDWS
not rated yet Mar 29, 2013
I've been able to get better than the rating on most vehicles I have owned some not so new either. It has a lot more to do with the nut behind the wheel than the circumstance. As an example on a 98 Mercedes ML320 which was rated at 21 mpg on the highway I constantly got 24 mpg around town.