February 14, 2003

Ford shows Focus for disabled drivers

Mobility focus ZX-3
Click image to enlarge

Chicago, Illinois – At this year’s Chicago Auto Show, Ford is displaying a customized Focus ZX3 that demonstrates the mobility enhancements that can make vehicles accessible yet still exciting to people with disabilities. Ford worked with aftermarket appeal manufacturer Ballistic Unlimited and Bruno Independent Living Aids to create the “Tuned” Focus, which has a “street racer” appeal and features.

“This Focus is not only tuned for the street, it is tuned for active people with disabilities,” says Chris Theodore, vice president of North America Product Development. “It shows young people with disabilities that they, too, can participate in the growing sport compact car craze and experience the exhilarating feeling of freedom that comes from driving a performance streetcar.”

The Mobility “Tuned” Focus has as its base a vehicle that was designed with careful attention to ergonomics and smart packaging. Ford designers used the company’s innovative “Third Age Suit” to help understand the needs of aging and disabled drivers. As a result, the Focus has more headroom and easier ingress and egress than other cars in its class. Instrument panel controls – including larger radio and climate control knobs and buttons – are designed to be easier to locate, grab and manipulate.

Building from this solid base, Bruno Independent Living Aids of Oconomowoc, Wis., stepped in and worked to make the car even more accessible to people with disabilities. The swivel seats feature Bruno Power Turnouts that power rotate in both the driver and passenger positions. These Power Turnouts allow the seat to rotate 90 degrees and include a new innovative obstruction sensor that stops operation if there is an obstruction encountered during rotation.

Also added were Bruno’s Low-Profile seats that provide an even more ergonomic seating position.
Rotary, hand-operated Wells-Engberg driving controls were integrated into the car to give the driver independent, simultaneous one-hand control of both the throttle and the brake. The twist- grip hand controls are located to the left of the steering column.

Bruno has also installed in the rear hatch opening of the Focus ZX3 a new ASL-450 Offset Fold-Away trunk lift. The Offset Fold-Away easily stores Bruno’s versatile Typhoo C3 Scooter in the rear of the ZX3 hatchback. The scooter has been painted to match the car’s exterior and the seat has been styled to match the interior.

The interior seating and full interior theme features colour-keyed leather-like upholstery that match the exterior colors, which allows the mobility modifications to appear seamless and stylish throughout the interior.

Nearly 12,000 people received benefits from Ford Mobility Motoring last year. Since its creation in 1992, the program has assisted more than 97,000 individuals and organizations with more than $72 million in reimbursement funds.

Ford Mobility Motoring provides up to $1,000 toward the cost of adaptive equipment or up to $200 on alerting devices, lumbar support or running boards when installed on new Ford, Mercury or Lincoln vehicles. In addition to financial aid, Ford Mobility Motoring provides customers with a state-specific packet of information listing assessment centers, equipment installers and other potential sources of financial assistance, including extended vehicle financing terms through Ford Credit Mobility Financing.

For more information about Mobility Motoring please call 800.952.2248 or log-on to http://www.mobilitymotoringprogram.com.

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