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Help is coming for Ford’s Focus ST

Operator, please: Ford’s Emergency Assistance system automatically phones emergency services after a crash.

Focus ST hot-hatch latest Ford to get Emergency Assistance system after Kuga SUV

28 Jun 2013

THE next time you’re unlucky enough to have a car crash, check which badge your ride is wearing. Chances are that if it is a new Ford Focus ST, the police, ambulance and fire brigade are already on their way.

Ford said today it had boosted the safety credentials of its Focus ST hot-hatch, including a system that automatically dials triple-zero in the event of a crash.

Emergency Assistance, as it is known, piggybacks off a smartphone connected to Ford’s ‘Sync’ system that integrates mobile phones with the car’s audio systems, including Bluetooth.

It will phone triple-zero after a crash and allows the driver to talk with the operator using hands-free technology.

The system is activated when an airbag is deployed or an emergency fuel pump shut-off is triggered, usually when the vehicle rolls over.

However, the vehicle must be in an area with mobile phone reception for the system to work.

A 10-second window allows drivers the cancel the call if they decide emergency services are not required.

If the driver cannot talk, the operator will hear a message saying the car has been in a crash, and can send the GPS location of the vehicle if required.

The Focus ST is the second vehicle in Ford’s local line-up to feature Emergency Assistance, following the launch of the new Kuga SUV range in April.

Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald said that the Blue Oval was looking at incorporating the system into other future vehicles with advanced technology as they rolled out.

Sync is already an option on Fiesta, Focus and Kuga.

Mr McDonald said it was too early to discuss whether the updated Falcon and Territory, both due sometime next year, would get the infotainment system.

Ford has offered to fit Emergency Assistance free of charge to existing Focus ST owners, with the technology update taking about 30 minutes to install at a Ford dealer.

While Emergency Assistance has only been available in Australia for a short time, Mr McDonald said it had already helped drivers in other markets.

“It’s been in use in North American for several years now and there have been several instances where this particular device has assisted emergency rescue teams,” he said.

The Focus ST hot hatch landed in Australia late last year and is meeting Ford Australia’s sales targets, shifting about 80 units per month.

The 184kW turbo-charged 2.0-litre rocket faces tough competition in the hot-hatch market, fighting for sales against the likes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, Renault Megane RS265, Mazda3 MPS and Opel Astra OPC.

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