Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tax Window Closing for Commercial Car and Truck Buyers

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Alan Melkonian, general manager of Greater Boston Ford dealer Stoneham Ford, has a simple message to commercial vehicle customers looking for a tax break: Buy now. A federal tax credit is available for auto buyers who put a new vehicle on the road for business use, but the window for this credit closes on December 31.

Under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, commercial buyers may be able to write off the full purchase price of a new truck or van put into service before December 31. Trucks with a gross vehicle weight greater than 6,000 pounds and a bed length of six feet or more qualify for a first-year deduction of the full purchase price. SUVs and trucks that weigh more than 6,000 pounds and have a bed length of less than 6 feet qualify for a first-year deduction of up to $25,000. If the purchase price is more than $25,000, a 20% depreciation can be taken on the remaining balance.

Trucks, vans and SUVs that weigh less than 6,000 pounds, like the Transit Connect, qualify for a maximum first-year deduction of $11,600. To qualify for the full amount, the vehicle must be used for business 100% of the time, but vehicles that share time for business and personal use are still eligible for a smaller deduction.

“All you need is one day on the road to get the deduction, but time is running out,” Melkonian said. “Our Massachusetts customers need to consider dealer prep of vehicles, loan processing and the time it takes to get a new vehicle registered when deciding to purchase a new commercial vehicle. With all of the holiday bank and government closings coming up, it’s not a good idea to wait until the last minute if you want this tax deduction.”

Only new vehicles qualify for the tax break, which qualifies as a Section 179 deduction. Under Section 179, qualifying businesses can write off deductions up to $2,000,000 in total property value, as long as that deduction doesn’t turn net annual income from a gain to a loss. Though the maximum deductions for commercial vehicles are only a fraction of the property deduction, they still represent significant savings in tough economic times.

For Boston Ford customers who visit Melkonian’s showroom, the tax deduction makes it possible to own a new Transit Connect for less than $12,000, assuming the value of the deduction is applied to the purchase price of Ford’s versatile, business-focused van. Designed to allow easy customization for a variety of business uses, the Transit Connect offers a small size ideal for the crowded streets of Greater Boston and a bottom-line-friendly 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway from its four-cylinder engine.

Ford has also released a minivan version of the Transit Connect, offering seating for five, carpeted floors and four rear windows with privacy glass. Designed to appeal to families on a budget, the Transit Connect Premium skips amenities such as built-in coolers and DVD entertainment systems, but does offer plenty of cargo space behind the rear seats.

“Any time a business can get a break on taxes, it’s worth a very close look,” Melkonian said. “For companies or individuals that have seen growth in the last few months, this deduction offers a good way to offset the extra income.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ford Voice-Controlled Texting Keeps Hands at 10 and 2

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Ford Motor Company is turning to technology to solve one of the greatest risks on the road: distracted driving. A recent poll from the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported that more than one in four American drivers admit to texting while driving, despite the danger involved and state bans that levy hefty fines against drivers who cannot resist the urge to text from behind the wheel.

Ford, a supporter of texting-while-driving bans, has introduced its solution in the form of a voice-activated, hands-free texting system available in some new models, including the 2011 Ford Edge.

The MyFord Touch system allows drivers to receive texts through audio and use voice commands to reply, so drivers can communicate safely with friends, family and colleagues. This new technology is an industry first, and Ford is pushing for compatibility with all smartphones.

“The state of Massachusetts was right to ban texting while driving. It’s a dangerous habit that removes the driver’s focus from the road,” said Alan Melkonian, general manager of Greater Boston Ford dealer Stoneham Ford. “The MyFord Touch system eliminates the need for unsafe texting while driving by providing an alternative that keeps the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.”

The new voice text system is the latest hands-free innovation for Ford’s SYNC system, which allows drivers to communicate without jeopardizing the safety of themselves and others on the road. Ford has consistently improved its SYNC system since its 2007 debut, and the automaker is currently working to increase the hands-free capabilities of Ford SYNC by adding more smartphone apps to the system.

At the 2010 CTIA Wireless Association Enterprise and Applications Conference, Ford asked the wireless community and app developers to collaborate on applications that will enhance the Ford driving experience. Ford released the software development kit for its SYNC system and has accepted more than 1,000 submissions for voice-command apps at the SYNC My Ride website. Ford is already working with Pandora internet radio, Stitcher smart radio and Orangatame’s OpenBeak to develop SYNC applications.

“For many drivers, staying connected is essential to their everyday lives. Rather than reaching for their cell phones, Boston Ford drivers will travel safely and remain focused on driving by using the growing number of voice-activated capabilities in Ford vehicles,” Melkonian said. “As Ford advances its SYNC technology, it will transform the way Ford owners drive.”

At the CTIA conference, Ford also hinted at additional technologies that could change the way people travel in the near future. One idea was a parking application that reserves, pays for and finds available parking spots. While many Boston drivers will welcome the convenience of such advanced technology, those with secret, go-to parking spots on side streets may not appreciate the high-tech competition.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ford Fiesta Named Esquire Magazine’s Compact of the Year

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Esquire magazine has named its picks for the best new cars of 2010, and two Ford models from opposite ends of the driving spectrum made the cut. The all-new Ford Fiesta was named Compact Car of the Year and praised for its low price, fuel efficiency and impressive performance.

For those who a prefer a ride that’s wild, Esquire recommends the F-150 Raptor, a race-tuned version of the top-selling pickup truck that can tackle off-road driving with style and speed. Ford was the only automaker to land two vehicles on Esquire’s list, which includes such prestigious names as Mercedes, Aston-Martin and Jaguar.

“It’s excellent to see the Fiesta mentioned on the same list with that new gullwing Mercedes-Benz,” said Alan Melkonian, general manager of Stoneham Ford, one of the premier Ford dealerships in Massachusetts. “The Fiesta has truly lived up to its buzz. It’s a new approach to a compact car that ends the misconception that a compact has to be a drab, generic commuter vehicle without any fun features.”

Ford sold 7,692 Fiestas during the car’s first three months in the market, and the automaker was surprised to see how many customers are outfitting their Fiesta hatchbacks and sedans with optional equipment. The company predicted that 15% of Fiesta buyers would choose the least-expensive S model sedan, but the basic model only represents 7% of current sales, despite a price tag well below $15,000.

Ford has used a novel approach in marketing the Fiesta, downplaying television advertising in favor of social media and web sites. Tech-savvy Greater Boston Ford customers can now download the Ford Fiesta app for iPad, which shows the car’s unique features and options, such as the double-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission and extra airbags.

“The European heritage of the Fiesta shines through when you look at the quality in every element of the car,” Melkonian said. “In the past, American carmakers treated compacts as a necessary evil, not bothering to put the same effort into design that created some of the best-selling small cars in Europe. With the Fiesta, Ford unveiled its most popular European compact in the United States, with both American buyers and critics embracing it.”

The honor from Esquire is the latest accolade for the stylish and innovative Fiesta. Earlier this year, the car was named one of the 10 Coolest Cars Under $18,000 by Kelley Blue Book, as well as the number-one affordable small car by U.S. News & World Report.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ford Gets Edge in Fuel Economy

STONEHAM, Mass. -- The 2011 Ford Edge will live up to its name among fuel-conscious Massachusetts drivers, thanks to a fuel economy rating recently issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In EPA tests, the Ford Edge SEL achieved 19 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway, for a combined fuel economy average of 22 mpg.

Greater Boston Ford Edge owners will be able to boast best-in-class fuel economy among domestic crossover utility vehicles, and a best-in-class 285-horsepower V-6 engine. Hyundai's Santa Fe squeaked ahead in EPA tests with a combined 23 mpg but trails the Edge in horsepower at 276.

Santa Fe buyers will also pay a premium for the stronger V-6 engine, as the 2011 model ships with a standard V-4. A 3.5 liter V-6 comes standard with the Ford Edge, and a larger 3.7 liter V-6 capable of 305 horsepower is available in the 2011 Ford Edge Sport.

"Ford continues to shatter the stereotype of the boxy, gas-guzzling utility vehicle," said General Manager Alan Melkonian of Stoneham Ford, a Massachusetts Ford dealer. "A crossover obviously won't get the 40 miles per gallon of the Ford Fiesta, but the new Ford Edge proves that you can have the space your family needs and the performance to enjoy the ride without having to stop at every gas station."

Along with improved fuel economy, Ford has built class-leading design, safety and comfort into its 2011 Edge crossover. The distinctive, flare-sided body provides enough room for 5 adults and 32 cubic feet of cargo room. With the rear seats folded, cargo capacity jumps to nearly 70 cubic feet, just 10 feet less than the larger Ford Explorer.

With Ford AdvanceTrac and Roll Stability Control, available adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera and cross-traffic alert, the Ford Edge is prepared to handle any obstacle on the roads of Massachusetts. The available Panoramic Vista Roof will let front and rear-seat passengers enjoy the changing New England seasons from new angles on the road.

"This is a family-first crossover that Ford has packed with its most innovative features," Melkonian said. "It won't make the kids stop saying, 'Are we there yet?', but you'll be enjoying the ride too much to be bothered."

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Get a Free Ride in a Ford Flex

STONEHAM, Mass. -- The Stoneham Ford service department is giving its customers a chance to experience the Ford Flex firsthand. Service customers at the Greater Boston Ford dealer can skip the waiting room and enjoy a comfortable ride to their home or office in Stoneham Ford's new Ford Flex Courtesy Shuttle.

Customers who are too busy to wait in the Ford service department can drop their vehicles off and be chauffeured back to their home or office. When the service staff completes the work, Stoneham Ford will send the Ford Flex Boston shuttle back to pick up the customers.

"Providing this courtesy shuttle is part of the commitment to customer service at Stoneham Ford," said General Manager Alan Melkonian. "The new Flex shuttle will make the service experience at Stoneham Ford far more convenient when our customers need repairs or maintenance."

Stoneham Ford's service department has won awards in the past for its professionalism and commitment to customer satisfaction. With the Flex shuttle, Stoneham Ford looks to expand on that in a unique way.

The Ford Flex stood out as the best option for Stoneham Ford's shuttle due to its capacity and comfort. The crossover seats up to seven, with two rows of rear bench seats that can be flattened to provide over 83 cubic feet of storage space for luggage and personal belongings. The Ford Flex's interior also offers best-in-class legroom, allowing several passengers to be comfortable as Stoneham Ford drives them to and from the dealership.

The Flex received a five-star crash rating in all four categories from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and comes standard with AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control for stable and safe handling. Designed for a smooth and quiet driving experience, it features independent rear suspension, an inset side-door design and sound-deadening materials to limit noise and bumps on the road.

Stoneham Ford hopes customers will enjoy the ride and the bold look of their new shuttle. The Ford Flex stands out on the road with its grooved door panels, a three-bar chrome grill and all-black greenhouse windows.

"Nobody wants to spend a lot of time in waiting rooms; being without your vehicle is inconvenient enough," said Melkonian. "The Flex courtesy shuttle eliminates the wait time for our service customers and gives them smooth, comfortable transportation in a highly stylish vehicle. It's a premium way to travel while our service staff provides expert care."

Stoneham Ford Earns Google Recognition

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Greater Boston Ford dealer Stoneham Ford joined an elite group of American businesses in June with the announcement that the company has been designated a Favorite Place by Google. Fewer than 250,000 businesses in the United States, across all industries, received this designation.

"We put a lot of effort into building a website that offers comprehensive information on all the latest Ford cars, trucks and SUVs," said Stoneham Ford General Manager Alan Melkonian. "We are so proud to receive this recognition, because it means that local Ford shoppers view our website as the user-friendly destination to research all things Ford."

California-based Google selected its Favorite Place recipients by analyzing web traffic from December 1, 2009, to February 28, 2010. Websites that generated the most traffic received the recognition, which was presented in June to less than 1% of all businesses in the United States.

Along with the recognition, Stoneham Ford received a new way to connect with customers. A window sticker sent by Google identifies the Massachusetts Ford dealer as a Favorite Place and includes a bar code. People who scan the bar code with a smart phone get instant access to a mobile web page that includes reviews and information about the business.

Visitors to Stoneham Ford's website can get a complete multimedia profile of each new Ford model in stock. Included in this profile are videos of Ford trucks, cars and SUVs in action, model photos from several angles, detailed specs and even complete vehicle brochure that can be downloaded directly from the site.

Stoneham Ford's goal is to be there for car buyers at the earliest stage of the buying process. According to in-depth research released last October from Capgemini, a worldwide consulting firm, 90% of all automotive shoppers use the internet to research vehicles. To get the attention of these consumers, dealer websites must be easy to use and provide pertinent inventory and financing information. This emphasis on user-friendliness has helped Stoneham Ford drive sales.

"We devoted a section of our site to the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and we have become a top dealer for Boston Ford Fusion models," Melkonian said. "While our goal is for people who visit our site to become satisfied Stoneham Ford customers, we are happy to know that people turn to us when they want to know more about Ford cars and trucks."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Gentlemen, Choose your Engines

STONEHAM, MASS -- In a bid to deliver best-in-class fuel economy, the 2011 Ford F-150 will ship with four different engine choices, including a base-level V-6 and the first application of Ford's Ecoboost engine in a pickup truck. Ford also promises best-in-class horsepower across its engine line in an appeal to truck buyers who would rather go big than go green.

The base model F-150 ships with a four-valve, 3.7-liter V-6 that has 300 horsepower and a towing capacity of 6,100 pounds. The base engine for Super Duty models is a 6.2-liter, 385-horsepower V-8, which ups the towing capacity to 11,300 pounds.

Buyers who opt for a 5-liter V-8 upgrade in their F-150s can increase their horsepower to 360 and their towing capacity to 9,800 lbs while still enjoying class-leading fuel economy. Both the 3.7-liter V-6 and 5-liter V-8 are flex-fuel capable, for those who have access to E85 fuel. Early next year, Ford will offer the 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine as an option on some F-150 models, which promises a 20% fuel economy gain over the 5.4-liter V-8 engine of the 2010 F-150.

"Fuel economy is hardly the first thing truck buyers worry about, but the business owners who buy from us are looking at those mileage numbers," said General Manager Alan Melkonian of Massachusetts Ford dealer Stoneham Ford. "The ability to squeeze more miles out of every gallon of gas has a real impact on the bottom line for a small business. The new F-150s cost less to run and still deliver the towing and hauling capacity that businesses need."

All four of the new engines will be paired with a redesigned six-speed automatic transmission, making Ford the only manufacturer to offer a six-speed automatic as standard equipment on all its full-size pickup trucks. SelectShift allows the transmission to operate in a manual mode, giving drivers more control in demanding situations, such as coaxing a trailer down a steep incline.

Ford hopes to appeal to the entire spectrum of F-150 owners with its 2011 models. The base V-6 is ideal for contractors and landscapers, while the stronger V-8 options provide the power needed by plow operators and boaters. Performance truck enthusiasts will want the Baja-tested 2011 Raptor on their shopping lists, which features a race-tuned engine and suspension. The only challenge for Greater Boston Ford owners will be finding the open, off-road space needed to let the Raptor run free.

While EPA estimates have yet to be released for the new engines, Ford anticipates fuel economy gains at every level. The EcoBoost is expected to compare favorably with hybrid pickup trucks in its mpg rating.

"These new engine options mean that any buyer can find an F-150 that is tailored to their specific needs," Melkonian said. "Ford has solved the problem of having to buy too much truck to get some extra towing strength, and has given the customer the ability to control fuel costs. This means a lot when gas prices float around $2.75 a gallon in a struggling economy."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Stoneham Ford Stays Ahead of the Curve; Increases Supply of Popular Model

BOSTON, MASS (06/15/2010)(readMedia)— With fuel efficiency at the front of every car shopper’s mind, the demand for fuel-saving options is driving auto sales. Stoneham Ford, a premier Greater Boston Ford dealer, is responding by increasing its collection of 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid models. The 2010 Fusion earned Motor Trend’s 2010 Car of the Year honors and, with the gas-sipping hybrid version among the elite eco-friendly cars on the market, Stoneham Ford is anticipating continued strong demand in the region for this fresh, innovative Ford model.
“The 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a jetsetter in green technology,” said Stoneham Ford General Manager Alan Melkonian. “Boston Ford lovers are discovering that they don’t need to sacrifice performance and fun to drive a green car. The Fusion has been a hit for us, and we just ordered more to make sure we have them in stock all summer.”
Under the hood of the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is a 2.5L Duratec I-4 hybrid engine that earns the mid-size sedan up to 41 mpg city. Ford’s innovative Regenerative Braking System converts heat from brake friction into energy for the battery-powered electric motor, which can bring the Fusion up to an impressive 47 mph by itself. The gas motor kicks in for quick acceleration or reaching higher speeds, and the resulting efficiency means a possible 700 miles between tanks of gas.
The Fusion Hybrid also meets the highest emissions standards, earning the titles of Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV) and Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (PSEV). Adding to the Fusion’s environmental ethos are recycled cloth seats made from post-industrial materials that would otherwise be sitting in landfills.
The sustainable features of this model both inside and out have created a lot of buzz. Recently, safety and security product manufacturer SimplexGrinell ordered 200 Fusion Hybrids for their staff fleet. With the switch, they are expecting significant reductions in fuel costs and carbon emissions as a company.
The 2010 Fusion Hybrid promises to save customers money on gas and lower their environmental impact, but it also appeals as a high-performing, fun to drive vehicle.
“In the case of the Fusion Hybrid, fuel efficient does not mean weak performance,” said Melkonian. “Nobody wants to be caught on Route 128 or the Southeast Expressway in an underpowered car. At Stoneham Ford, we are very impressed with what Ford’s engineers have achieved with the Fusion Hybrid, so it’s exciting for us to see our customers get as enthusiastic about this car as we are.”