Ford's rear view camera system is unique in that it displays video at bumper level in the rear view mirror as opposed to the navigation system. We found Ford's system to work well when we tested it, and customers appreciate the fact that they can purchase the system without also buying an expensive navigation system. Ford is looking to sell a lot more rear view camera systems, too, as the Blue Oval is doubling its availability in models for 2009. The rear view camera will find its way onto 75% of Ford models by the end of next year, including most trucks, SUVs and crossovers. The system will also be available on the new Ford Mustang, which Ford says is the only rear camera on a sports car. The rear camera system works really well on trucks and SUVs, where the size of the vehicle often makes it impossible to see what's going on at bumper level. Ford is already seeing twice the take rate of the $695 option in the 2009 F-150 vs. the 2008 model.

[Source: Ford]

PRESS RELEASE:

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 3 – Ford Motor Company will continue its aggressive technology onslaught by doubling the number of Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models that offer its innovative and affordable Rear View Camera System by the end of 2009.

Approximately 75 percent of Ford vehicles will offer the feature by the end of next year, including the new 2010 Ford Mustang – the only sports car to offer the feature when it arrives in spring 2009 – and the recently introduced 2010 Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid.

"Ford is bringing new innovations such as the Rear View Camera System to as many customers as possible to help them see better when reversing," said Jim Buczkowski, director of electrical and electronics systems engineering at Ford. "Our research shows that visibility is one of the biggest customer concerns today, which is why we are the only company to offer a Rear View Camera System, Blind Spot Mirrors and the radar-based Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic system."

Ford's system uses an exterior camera embedded in the rear of the vehicle that sends images to a video display in the rearview mirror or the navigation system screen to help enhance visibility directly behind the vehicle when the driver is in reverse. Ford is leveraging the affordability of high-quality video cameras to widely offer the technology with navigation systems that also quickly have come down in price. The rearview mirror system allows customers to choose an even more affordable version of the technology.

Ford's Rear View Camera System image is overlaid with lines that mark the width of the vehicle and are shown either on a rear-view mirror display or navigation system screen. The camera's low light capability, combined with the intensity of the vehicle's reverse lamps, helps illuminate the image even in dark parking areas.

"We believe Ford's Rear View Camera System is easiest to use because there are lines to mark the vehicle's size for easier parking in tight spots," Buczkowski said.

A recent automotive study on "unmet consumer needs" indicates that visibility around the vehicle ranks as one of the top customer needs. The issue also has hit the legislative ranks. Earlier this year, the Kids and Cars Safety Act, spearheaded by Sen. Hillary Clinton, was signed into law. The measure is designed to protect children from vehicle-related, non-traffic accidents – which includes back-over incidents. The new law eventually will require vehicles to be equipped with standard back-over detection.

Ford's system will be offered on most of its full-size pickups, vans and crossovers – including the new 2009 Ford F-150 – with the added benefit of helping truck owners align and hitch trailers. And, demand is surging as nearly twice as many 2009 F-150s are ordered with the system than the 2008 model.

"The tendency with trucks is just to talk about the numbers, who has the most towing or the most payload," said Doug Scott, Ford's Pickup, SUV, and Commercial Vehicle Marketing Manager. "We lead in both of those areas, but equally important is that we're making it easier to use that best in class capability. The Rear View Camera System makes hooking up to a trailer so much easier than it's ever been before, so trucks are the ideal vehicle for this feature."

Outside experts agree. "Kudos to Ford for displaying helpful markings in its Reverse view to show distance..." concludes www.PickupTrucks.com in a review of five different rear view camera systems for pickups in its "Top 10 Features for Pickup Trucks" story.


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