[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ord Motor Company has created a diabolical 1.9-kilometre (1.2‑mile) road that consists of precise replicas of some of the worst potholes and road hazards from around the world to help engineers create more robust chassis systems and develop new innovations to ensure Ford vehicles can better withstand the world’s increasingly choppy roads. Last year in the U.K. alone, the Royal Automobile Club responded to more than 25,000 pothole-related breakdowns – a nearly 25 per cent increase just since 2014.* Poor condition and lack of maintenance of European roads are said to contribute to at least one third of all accidents every year. The road is part of 80 kilometres (50 miles) of test tracks at Ford’s test facility in Lommel, Belgium. It incorporates potholes from Europe and the U.S., and simulates more than 100 hazards from 25 countries worldwide.
In the past three years alone, Ford engineers’ search for scary road hazards has taken them to Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., as well as Asia, Australia, North America, and South America. “From a rutted traffic junction in China to a bumpy German side-street, this road is a rogues’ gallery of the most bruising surfaces that our customers might encounter,” said Eric-Jan Scharlee, durability technical specialist, at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground, in Belgium. “By incorporating these real-world challenges into our test facilities we can develop future vehicles to better cope with challenging conditions.” Engineers are always investigating potential
new additions for inclusion at the facility. Employing
similar equipment to that used by seismologists studying
earthquakes, the engineers drive through the potholes at
speeds of up to 70 km/h (46 mph), using sensors to record
the loads and strains to the suspension and components. This
includes surfaces as diverse as granite blocks from Belgium,
cobbles from Paris, and speed bumps from Brazil. Ford’s obsession with making sure its cars can withstand the world’s worst roads has led to innovation. For example, Ford is debuting Continuous Control Damping with Pothole Mitigation technology in Europe on Mondeo, Galaxy and S-MAX. The technology adjusts the suspension if it detects that a wheel has dropped into a pothole, and can help protect the
suspension from damage. Ford’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring
System alerts drivers to punctures, and Electronic Stability
Control can help drivers maintain control of their vehicle
when avoiding obstacles.
[highlight color=”green”]All Ford vehicles for Europe are tested at Lommel, where Ford engineers and test drivers cover more than 6 million kilometres (3.7 million miles) every year. For example, test drivers there drove the all-new Transit over the course more than 5,000 times as part of a testing regime designed to simulate ten years’ punishment in just six months. Test facilities also include a high-speed circuit, salt- and mud-baths and corrosion testing in high-humidity chambers.[/highlight]
Prototype vehicles also are driven worldwide in temperatures
ranging from -40 C to 40 C. “Analysing data inputs during vehicle testing has enabled Ford to develop a range of advanced driver aids and design modifications to help continually improve the safety and robustness of our vehicles,” Scharlee said.
One of Ford’s representatives in Nigeria, Coscharis Motors has once again earned accolades from Ford Motor Company for the commitment shown by her technicians towards continuous training and acquisition of skills to face the ever increasing demand for excellent after-sales service delivery in the Nigerian automobile market space.
Coscharis Motor has showrooms and service centers spread all over the nation and the company confirmed its commitment to the ford brand in 2015 during the ground breaking opening of the ford assembly plant in Lagos, the first Ford dealership in Nigeria to achieve this feat.
The company was presented certificates and plaques for the recognition of excellence, after its technicians satisfactorily completed the year 2015 online training courses set by Ford Motor Company for its dealers in Sub-Sahara Africa for 2015.
The Group Managing Director, Coscharis Group, Mr. Josiah Samuel, while receiving the award plaques thanked Ford Motor Company for the recognition and assured that the company will continue to be in the vanguard for the advancement of technical training and service delivery in the Nigerian automobile industry. Commenting further,
Mr. Samuel said “Ford Motor Company has created this platform to help our technical team acquire skills and knowledge that will bring them up to speed with the rest of this fast changing automobile world. These plaques and certificates are indications that we have made good use of the platform.”
Mr. Sunday Tanimowo, Training Manager, Coscharis Motors posited: “at Coscharis, we are committed to training and re-training of our staff and technicians to be abreast with the latest technology in the fast moving automobile industry. That is why we ensure that all relevant staff and technicians are registered and follow through to see that they participate in the respective training programmes of our principals and consequently earn their relevant certification.”
While commending the technicians for the awards, the General Manager Marketing & Corporate Services, Coscharis Group, Mr. Abiona Babarinde said, “This is good news for our esteemed loyal customers by going further with Ford, our technicians are now refreshed and reloaded to better handle your precious automobile machines and deliver greater value for your service needs at all times.”
This is not the first time that Coscharis is being so recognized by Ford Motor Company. Last year Coscharis Motors was pronounced the dealership with the most number of Ford Certified Technicians in the whole of Sub-Sahara Africa by Ford’s Market Manager for Sub Sahara Africa, Mr. Eugene Prinsloo.