SHAKE! BAKE! SPRAY! 2010 TAURUS ENDURES EXTREME TORTURE TESTING TO ENSURE LEADING RELIABILITY
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 22, 2009 – Pity the new 2010 Ford Taurus. During the development of Ford's new flagship sedan, it was pelted with rock and frozen, baked and rattled. It was flogged with a steel whip, shot with high-powered rifles and slammed with loaded shopping carts.
If Ford engineers seem a bit sadistic, it's all in the name of ensuring that the new Taurus can withstand anything the open road throws at it and more. Think of it as boot camp for cars, extreme torture testing that helps the Ford Taurus deliver industry-leading reliability along with its head-turning design and suite of advanced technologies.
"We determine what the most abusive driver would do to our vehicles, and then take it a step further," said Pete Reyes, Taurus chief engineer. "Taurus buyers can rest assured this vehicle has passed the most extreme tests we could devise."
Here are just a few of the torture tests the Ford Taurus endured:
Shake, rattle and roll: The Taurus body was road tested for the equivalent of 150,000 miles. At various points during the road test, the vehicle was secured onto a platform that shakes and twists it like a giant paint mixer. Any squeaks or rattles detected during the tests were fixed by engineering teams, ensuring an ultra-quiet ride for the life of the vehicle.
Bumpy ride: Test drivers had a field day running the Taurus into curbs and over railroad tracks, and speeding over bumps, ditches and potholes to test out the suspension and ensure air bags didn't misfire.
Frozen and fried: The Taurus was subjected to arctic cold and Death Valley heat without ever leaving Ford's labs in Dearborn. Ford's environmental chamber can simulate climates ranging from 40 degrees below zero to 180 degrees to ensure all vehicle systems operate reliably in extreme weather.
Gravel vs. paint: Best-in-class paint was a must for the new Taurus so Ford left no stone unturned – or unfired in this case. Engineers tested the paint finish by blasting it with a gravel gun to simulate driving on unpaved roads. Only paints that resisted chips and scratches and retained their luster passed muster for the Taurus.
Rusty situation: The Taurus was repeatedly sprayed with a salt solution, driven on a gravel road and then baked in high humidity and heat to test its ability to fend off corrosion. The Taurus was subjected to these tests 24 hours a day until the equivalent of 10 years of severe weather exposure was simulated to ensure that rust doesn't stand a chance.
Safe and sound: Ford engineers conducted unusual tests to calibrate the sensitivity of air bag pressure sensors, taking thousands of impact readings. These tests include ramming a shopping cart loaded with a 110-pound weight into the vehicle doors and lashing the underside of the vehicle with a steel whip. Ford engineers even fired shotguns and rifles at vehicles to ensure that air bags went off when needed and stayed packed away when they weren't.
Putting on the brakes: Mountainous terrain, slippery highways, stop-and-go traffic, dusty interstates and rain-drenched roads are just a few of the real-world driving conditions Ford test engineers conducted on the new Taurus to check brakes for roughness, noise and wear.
Take a seat: What may look like a robotic boxing match is actually an advanced test for the most used parts of the vehicle: the seats. Robots simulated customers entering and exiting seats thousands of times. In addition, real-world customer usage parameters were programmed into robots to simulate how people of all shapes and sizes affect the upholstery, seat cushions and seat structures.
Open-and-shut case: Robotic arms that continually open and close doors, hoods and tailgates simulate 10 years of customer use in just days. This symphony of perpetual motion results in 84,000 open-and-close cycles. This test is also run at arctic cold temperatures of 40 degrees below zero to desert heat cooking of 180 degrees.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 201,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.
PHOTOS: Available at www.media.ford.com.