On Friday, I went to an event sponsored by Ford, hosted by my friends at Clever Girls Collective, introducing the 2010 Ford Taurus. Riding around in the luxurious, tricked out new Taurus brought back fond memories for me.
My family has a long history with Ford cars. In 1968, my dad had an old Fiat that he basically drove into the ground. I think he abandoned it or sold it when the door fell off on I-75. After the Fiat met it's untimely demise, my dad abandoned foreign cars forever, bought a sturdy Ford sedan, and never looked back. For my dad, the ultimate car was an enormous champagne-colored Ford LTD he bought new in the 1970's. My dad was really proud of this car, and it felt to me like we were driving around in our living room. The seats were more comfortable than our sofa, and the windshield was like some live action large-screen TV. Through that enormous windshield, my brothers and I watched the world go by.
After my mom went to work in a local factory, her first job after being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, she bought the car of her dreams: a Lincoln-Mercury Cougar. The Cougar was red, fast, and symbolized her new-found independence. She was a working woman, with her own money, making her own decisions about everything from what color the car was to what music played on the tape deck. I think of my mom's Cougar as her declaration of independence, and remember barreling down the highway with Sam Cooke's Greatest Hits blaring and all of us singing along. Eventually, I inherited that car when I moved to Austin and declared my own independence of sorts.
I couldn't help thinking about my family's history with Ford at the event in San Francisco to introduce a group of bloggers to the new Ford Taurus.
The new Taurus is solid, like my Dad's LTD, but sleek and sporty like my Mom's Cougar, and entirely unlike either one of those classic Fords. If someone had pointed it out to me on the street and said it was a Taurus, I wouldn't have believed them.
Ford VP Susan Cischke was on-hand at the event to answer questions and talk about some of the design ideas behind the Taurus. Sue is the Vice President of Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering Group. She talked about crash-testing not just for impact on front-seat passengers, but for back-seat safety as well. As a mom who has a passenger in the backseat more often than not, that piqued my curiosity. She talked about interacting with the manufacturers of car seats to make sure that they are doing their part to ensure that the energy impact they discover from testing is accounted for in car seats. She also talked about the "Ford DNA" built into every model that Ford makes--the small things, like the sound of the door closing, the feel of the interior, and where the buttons are placed, that let you know you're in a Ford.
I went for a test drive with my friend Cat Lincoln of Green Daily and 40 Whatever behind the wheel. It was a comfortable ride around the hills and valleys of San Francisco. I admired the black leather seats, and was told that the leather was manufactured by the same company that makes the leather for Coach purses.
The car has a lot of bells and whistles, some of which I can't even begin to understand. One feature is the MyKey system, which allows you to program the key before you give it to your kid to drive and signal the car not to let the driver go over a certain speed, turn on the radio until all belts are fastened, and other safety-enhancements. I told Sue that I couldn't drive without a GPS Navigation system, and guess what? It's in there, including traffic reporting. The car will tell you when you're about to hit something, and has sensors in the blind spot. It does just about everything except wash itself and change diapers, which I'm sure is only a few years away in development.
I was impressed with the car, but maybe a little of that Ford DNA has seeped into my own DNA over the years.
Disclosure: I did not receive compensation or any incentive to write this post.