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  • Ford honored for inflatable rear seat belts and its 2011 Fiesta in latest edition of Popular Science "Best of What's New" awards
  • Inflatable belts combine safety features of seat belts and airbags to help protect vulnerable rear seat passengers from head, neck and chest injuries in an accident
  • Ford Fiesta delivers best-in-class connectivity with its segment-exclusive SYNC® voice-activated communications system and available AppLink smartphone control software

Ford Motor Company won two 2010 "Best of What's New" awards today from Popular Science, marking the fourth straight year Ford has been honored by the world's top science and technology magazine. The company's inflatable rear seat belts and 2011 Fiesta won in the automotive category and will be featured in the publication's December issue.

"Appearing for a fourth year in the Popular Science Best of What's New awards is an important accomplishment for Ford, proving that we're delivering innovative technology consumers really want and can use," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. "Inflatable belts show how technology can benefit safety, while Fiesta proves that customers don't have to sacrifice high-tech features when they choose to drive a small car."

Inflatable rear seat belts
Ford recently introduced the world's first production automotive inflatable seat belts, combining attributes of traditional seat belts and airbags to provide added crash safety protection for rear seat occupants. The advanced restraint system is designed to help reduce head, neck and chest injuries for rear seat passengers - often children and older adults who can be more vulnerable to such injuries.

The new belts will launch on the all-new Ford Explorer, which goes into production next year for the North American market. Over time, Ford plans to offer the technology in vehicles around the world.

2011 Ford Fiesta
The new 2010 Ford Fiesta is proving that cutting-edge technologies and connectivity can help redefine consumers' small car experiences.

Fiesta features - including Push Button Start, a PowerShift transmission and Ford SYNC® hands-free communications and entertainment system - are not found on competitive products such as Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris or Nissan Versa.

Fiesta is also the first vehicle to allow hands-free control of popular smartphone apps. Using the downloadable SYNC AppLink software upgrade, 2011 Ford Fiesta owners with SYNC can control apps on their Android or BlackBerry® smartphones with voice commands and vehicle controls without having to interact with the mobile device itself.

Seeing the future through the present
Inflatable belts and the Ford Fiesta both use technologies grounded in the present but packaged in innovative ways, pointing toward key applications in the future. That quality was crucial to winning the Popular Science award.

"For 23 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us − those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our views of what's possible in the future," said Mark Jannot, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. "The Best of What's New award is the magazine's top honor, and the 100 winners − chosen from among thousands of entrants − represent the highest level of achievement in their fields."
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