With the launch and initial success of the 2011 Ford Fiesta the carpet has been laid out for Ford’s first globally manufactured vehicle, the 2012 Ford Focus. While the Focus will be hitting showroom floors across the country early January 2011 Ford has wasted no time in promoting the Focus’s best-in-class fuel efficiency, cutting-edge technology, and a full complement of the latest safety features—including new airbag designs that will further enhance occupant safety. Not to mention a performance version, the Focus ST.
Though we tend to be hypnotized by Focus’s tech, performance, and fresh European design; we shouldn’t overlook its most important and improved upon feature, safety. As the driver you’ll benefit from a newly implemented front airbag, one that will increase chest protection. This is made possible due to a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system, creating a “pocket” near the lower section of the airbag which will help reduce injury on a drivers chest and ribs in the case of a frontal collision.
The Focus’ side and front-passenger airbags have been improved upon as well, boasting what Ford calls “adaptive venting technology.” This feature allows some of the gas that normally goes to inflate the airbags to escape via innovative venting systems
The side airbags rely on unique shoulder vents. With smaller occupants, the vents stay open to reduce the airbags’ pressure to better meet the safety requirements of these passengers. The shoulders of taller occupants, on the other hand, will block the vents to maintain higher pressure that’s more appropriate for their body size. The front-passenger airbag system, the first of its kind in a Ford car, was designed to help enhance head and neck protection by better matching airbag deployment force with occupant size. It relies on a small device that keeps the vents open when less pressure can provide sufficient occupant protection.
“This is our most advanced airbag system ever in a Ford car, and is designed to enhance protection for front occupants in the most common types of crashes,” said Sue Cischke, Ford group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. “Each of these airbags uses innovative technologies to help customize airbag protection to the occupant.”
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