DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 16, 2009 – Long the scourge of aspiring drivers, parallel parking continues to inspire dread for many long after they receive their license.
A recent study conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Ford Motor Company showed that 31 percent of U.S. drivers actively avoid parallel parking whenever possible. One reason can be: A crisis of confidence when it comes to squeezing into a tight space. The poll showed that one in five men and two in five women would rate their parallel parking skills as just "fair" or "poor."
Ford commissioned the poll to understand drivers' comfort level with parallel parking as it brings to market a breakthrough feature called Active Park Assist, an ultrasonic-based technology available on certain 2010-model Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. Active Park Assist can identify a parking spot and parallel park a car in seconds without the driver ever touching the steering wheel. To watch the system in action, please click on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwdcboHwnmw.
The survey showed 69 percent of drivers would consider the system a must-have or nice-to-have feature on their vehicle.
"Many people remember the fear of failing to get a driver's license because they could not pass the parallel parking test," said Ali Jammoul, Ford's chief engineer for chassis engineering and steering systems. "For millions, that anxiety for parallel parking lives on long after they actually received their license."
The online poll asked U.S. adults specific questions about parallel parking. The results showed that many drivers, regardless of age, remain uncomfortable with parallel parking and lack confidence in their ability to perform the maneuver. Specifically:
How Active Park Assist works
Ford's Active Park Assist uses an ultrasonic-based sensing system and Electric Power Assist Steering (EPAS) to position the vehicle for parallel parking, calculate the optimal steering angle and quickly steer the vehicle into a parking spot.
"With the touch of a button, Active Park Assist lets drivers parallel park quickly and easily without touching the steering wheel," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development. "This is another example of Ford technology that makes the driving experience easier and more enjoyable for customers."
Here's how the process works:
Active Park Assist is enabled by Ford's advanced EPAS technology. In addition to helping with parallel parking, EPAS improves fuel economy up to 5 percent, while reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing steering performance compared with traditional hydraulic power-assisted steering systems.
By 2012, Ford plans to fit nearly 90 percent of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup with EPAS, enabling more vehicles to be outfitted with technologies like Active Park Assist.
Active Park Assist is offered on the following 2010 Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles: Ford Escape/Escape Hybrid, Ford Flex, Mercury Mariner/Mariner Hybrid, Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT.
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.
Harris Interactive® fielded the study on behalf of Ford Motor Company from Aug. 25-27, 2009 via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,106 U.S. adults aged 18 years and older, of which 1,962 indicated they ever drive and 1,819 indicated they ever parallel park. Data were weighted using propensity score weighting to be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and propensity to be online. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research that is powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.