Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ford F-Series Trucks Pick Up Speed in Sales

Ford’s F-Series trucks are gaining in popularity with businesses and consumers alike, increasing commercial market share this year and earning a sizeable boost in November retail sales. U.S. sales of the pickup at Ford dealers were up 23.9 percent last month compared to November 2010. Meanwhile, the F-Series Super Duty has a market share of 47.1 percent in the heavy-duty commercial segment this year, up almost two percent since 2008. 

With a diverse lineup ranging from the F-150 to the Ford Super Duty, 516,639 units of the F-Series have found new homes this year through November, a year-over-year increase of 9.1 percent. Businesses are increasingly relying on capable Ford vehicles like the F-Series to best equip their employees, with six of the top 10 commercial vehicles in the United States coming from the automaker, according to Polk U.S. registration data.

“We’ve seen increased traffic at our dealership from business owners looking for reliable and durable vehicles that will help them get more work done with less overhead,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealer Stoneham Ford. “One way we’ve been able to increase commercial Ford sales is to package specific equipment with the trucks, like our popular Boss snowplow packages. Also, the current tax savings available for commercial trucks has meant that many business owners are stopping by before the end of the year.”

The tax deductions for commercial trucks are thanks to the Economic Stimulus Act and allow small business owners the opportunity to write off up to 100% of the cost of vehicles used for their work. If a purchased commercial vehicle, whether a Ford Super Duty truck, E-Series van or F-150 pickup, weighs over 6,000 pounds and is put into use before December 31, 2011, the business owners can take advantage of the tax deductions. Indications are that these deductions will be significantly reduced in 2012.  

The Ford F-Series Super Duty remains a popular commercial vehicle in part because of its lasting value, which was recently recognized with a Best Full-Size Pickup win in the Kelley Blue Book 2012 Best Resale Value Awards. The awards are based on resale value after five years of use, an area in which the Super Duty has a projected retained value of 38.7 percent. Kelley Blue Book predicts that the 2012 Super Duty will still have 55.1 percent of its worth after three years of use, appealing to business owners that want a strong return on their investment when it is time to upgrade down the road.

Ford will be growing its commercial lineup for 2012 with a medium-duty F-650 featuring a gasoline-powered V10, as well as two new Police Interceptors. The automaker also plans to replace its popular Econoline van with a fuel-efficient, full-size Ford Transit van in 2013.

“When it comes to commercial vehicles, Ford takes a long hard look at what business owners and fleet operators need and gives it to them,” Melkonian noted. “That means longer times between services, better efficiency and features that increase productivity rather than just the price of the van or truck.”

About Stoneham Ford:
Located on Route 28, just 15 minutes north of Boston, Stoneham Ford is a premier new and used Ford dealer in Massachusetts. They offer a wide selection of Ford cars, trucks and SUVS, including the latest Ford hybrid models, and their helpful sales and service staff serve their customers with integrity and respect. For more information and to view the current Ford inventory, visit Stoneham Ford online at, or in person at 211 Main St. in Stoneham, Mass. They can be found on Facebook at, and you can reach them by phone at 781-438-0490.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ford Families Get Glimpse of New Flex

Ford has put a strong focus on family-friendly vehicles in recent years, and those efforts will be on full display when the refreshed 2013 Ford Flex crossover debuts at the LA Auto Show, which is taking place from November 18-27. Sporting a sleeker front-end design, an upgraded engine and intuitive in-car technology, the automaker expects the Flex to be an enticing choice when it reaches Ford dealerships next year.

Ford has further refined both the exterior and interior design of the boxy 2013 Ford Flex, adding a more modern front end that replaces the previous three-bar grille with a single chrome band flanked by futuristic headlights. Inside, the Flex receives new gauge clusters and electronic finish panels, revised seat trims and a new steering wheel. The crossover also remains the only vehicle in its class to offer a second-row refrigerated console to keep kids’ juice boxes cold.

“There’s nothing else like the Flex on the market,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealer Stoneham Ford. “It’s stylishly boxy, which means it looks modern while maintaining the impressive amount of space needed to accommodate large families and their belongings.”

Under the 2013 Flex’s quirky exterior lies an upgraded base V6 engine that produces 20-more horsepower than the previous unit thanks to independent variable camshaft timing. Putting out 285 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque, the new V6 is also more fuel efficient than its predecessor, netting a one mpg increase for a projected 25-mpg rating on the highway with front-wheel drive. Plus, there is an all-wheel-drive system available for families looking to conquer Massachusetts’ wintry roads, as well as an available EcoBoost V6 engine that produces 355 horsepower for parents that prefer the fast lane.

While fuel-efficient performance is a big part of the Flex equation, technology doesn’t take a back seat. The 2013 Flex will come with an updated version of SYNC with MyFord Touch, Ford’s comprehensive infotainment system. The new system is easier to use thanks to simplified menus and controls that can open up access to a suite of internet apps when connected to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone.

Of course, any proper family vehicle has to pass muster when it comes to safety, and the Ford Flex has the technology to keep all seven passengers safe. New features include available radar-enabled adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake support and the Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert. The second row of seats also now incorporates Ford’s innovative inflatable seatbelts, which can greatly reduce the chance of injury in an accident.

“Safety is of utmost importance when it comes to Ford’s family vehicles,” Melkonian noted. “The Flex is the second vehicle to feature Ford’s inflatable seatbelts, a feature that won a Breakthrough Product Award from Popular Mechanics. Flex buyers can rest assured that their family is safe in the back seats.”

Ford has been working to prevent injury to vehicle occupants even when there is no accident involved. The 2013 Ford Escape will feature lighter, more comfortable seats that are designed to prevent back pain from frequent driving. The next-generation Escape will also debut at the LA Auto Show.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2012 Ford F-150 Promises Fewer Pit Stops, Added Grip

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Ford is ensuring its truck owners get where they want to go by extending the cruising range of its 2012 Ford F-150 EcoBoost pickup with a new 36-gallon fuel tank. Now capable of traveling 756 miles between stops, the F-150 EcoBoost could take Boston drivers all the way Detroit without fueling up. On the same trip, a V6 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 4x4 would have to stop around Buffalo, N.Y.

While the larger gas tank in EcoBoost models will help Massachusetts Ford owners get more work done, the new Hill Start Assist feature on 2012 F-150s that arrive at Ford dealerships will make sure work is done efficiently. The system detects when the truck is on a slope and maintains enough brake pressure to hold the vehicle stationary for up to two seconds after the brake pedal has been released, making starting off an incline an easier endeavor.

“The changes for the 2012 F-150 are all about allowing more work to get done while you’re on the job and enjoying your drive when you’re not,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealership Stoneham Ford. “A pickup truck with a range of more than 700 miles is almost unheard of, and features like Hill Start Assist make your job that much easier. Ford refuses to take the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ approach to its F-150 and the result is new capability that was unheard of a few years ago.”

As winter approaches, the 2012 Ford F-150 is even better-equipped for slick conditions with a two-speed automatic 4x4 system available on the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. The system preserves the driver’s ability to select four-high and four-low modes, but adds a 4x4 auto setting to the mix, allowing the truck to engage the front wheels on its own when it detects the rear tires slipping.

For those who want their truck’s exterior to match the boldness of its drivetrain, Ford offers a new FX appearance package featuring flat-black accents and black fender and tailgate badges with red “FX” lettering. On the inside, features like black leather seating with red perforations, black-painted dash accents, brushed-metal surfaces and a satin shifter knob complete the 2012 F150’s stealthy style.

All 2012 4x4 F-150s can now be flat-towed in neutral as well, while an electronic-locking rear axle will be available for the EcoBoost and 5.0-liter V8 models to provide additional traction during snowy New England winters.

“What Ford has done is add features to the F-150 that make a difference in the day-to-day driving experience, rather than add in a bunch of stuff most truck owners will never use,” Melkonian added. “It’s a smart approach that Massachusetts Ford fans will appreciate, whether they are at work or at play.”

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ford Transit Connect Taxis Hit the Big Apple

STONEHAM, Mass. – More than 400 Ford Transit Connect Taxis are headed for the streets of New York City after donning the iconic “NYC Taxi” label and yellow and black body paint. As a variant of the Transit Connect light-commercial vehicle available at Ford dealerships, the new taxis have already begun to see use in the Big Apple after gaining approval from the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission this summer. 
National orders for the Ford Transit Connect Taxi are quickly approaching 1,000, an impressive number given that the new taxi market averages about 6,000 vehicles annually in the United States. Fleet operators are attracted to the Transit Connect’s versatile design and clean-running powertrains, which include electric, compressed natural gas, liquefied propane gas and conventional gasoline units. 
“It didn’t take long for small business owners, whether they are taxi companies, delivery services or repair shops, to figure out that the Transit Connect is the right vehicle for the times,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealership Stoneham Ford. “It has great cargo-carrying capacity, a number of efficient drivetrains that save money over the life of the vehicle and the reliability needed for heavy use day-in and day-out.”
The standard engine in the Transit Connect Taxi is a 2.0-liter gasoline-powered unit that produces 136 horsepower and nets an EPA-estimated 27 mpg on the highway, about 30 percent better than conventional taxis. However, the Los Angeles Times has reported that Yellow Cab of Anaheim, California has ordered 69 Transit Connect Taxis equipped to run on compressed natural gas, a move that has the two-fold effect of reducing emissions and lowering running costs. In Orange Country, California, the per-gallon equivalent of compressed natural gas is nearly $2 cheaper than that of gasoline, netting operators instant gains. 
While its drivetrains save money, the Transit Connect’s shape makes it a real workhorse, whether hauling people or plumbing supplies. The high roof means there is a lot of space for occupants and their luggage, and they can bring as much onboard as they want with the vehicle’s 1,600-pound maximum payload. The 50.2-inch wide and 52.1-inch high rear doors on each side of the vehicle make getting in and out easy, even for the elderly. 
Thus far, the Transit Connect Taxi has been approved by governing agencies in Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, three cities with strict requirements for taxis. It has also been approved for use at Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., as well as the San Francisco International Airport. 
“A purpose-built vehicle is always going to do the job better than one that has been converted from a normal everyday vehicle, especially one that has the durability for harsh winters like we have here in New England,” Melkonian noted. “The Transit Connect was designed to carry people and goods from the get-go, so it comes as no surprise that it’s better at being a taxi than a car that has simply been painted yellow.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ford F-150 EcoBoost Outselling all V6-Pickup Competitors Combined

STONEHAM, Mass. – Pickup truck buyers are grabbing V6-equipped Ford F-150s at an impressive clip, thanks to the speedy adoption of Ford’s EcoBoost technology and increased fuel economy on all six-cylinder F-Series models. July marked the third consecutive month that U.S. Ford dealerships sold more V6 models of the Ford F-Series than V8-powered F-Series models. Meanwhile, the Ford F-150 EcoBoost V6 sold more on its own than all of its V6 pickup competitors combined during the month.

Spurring the sales boom are Ford’s two new V6 powerplants, a 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine and a 3.7-liter naturally aspirated unit, both of which provide power without penalties at the pumps. According to J.D. Power and Associates, the two Ford V6 engines made up 79.5 percent of all full-sized V6 truck sales on the market in July. Even in the shadow of the EcoBoost, the 3.7-liter 2011 Ford F-150 V6 managed to top the combined sales of all other competing full-size V6 pickups during the month.

“In the past, you could have either good power or good fuel economy, but Ford’s new V6 engines are bringing the two together in an appealing way, even for the most die-hard V8 fans,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealership Stoneham Ford. “The EcoBoost is getting all the attention, but even the new naturally aspirated V6 produces more horsepower than the V8 F-150 available a couple years ago. And, it still gets 23 mpg on the highway.”

Ford dealerships sold 49,104 F-Series trucks in July, of which 56 percent came from V6 sales. EcoBoost V6 sales comprised 40 percent of all F-Series sales, while the naturally aspirated V6 contributed 16 percent.

No other pickup truck producing more than 350 horsepower is as fuel efficient as the Ford F-150 EcoBoost V6, which combines 22-mpg highway fuel economy with 365 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque. That torque, which is available at a low 2,500 rpm, enables the F-150 V6 EcoBoost to tow up to 11,300 pounds, more than the V8-equipped Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and the V8 HEMI-equipped Ram 1500.

“Ford is refining its engine designs to produce greater power and fuel economy in light of increasing federal mandates and driver demand,” Melkonian noted. “While the EcoBoost technology is already making a name for itself in the F-150, the Ford Taurus SHO and the Ford Flex, it will be spreading through the Ford lineup to increase fuel economy and drivability in a number of Ford vehicles.”

The debuts of the Ford Explorer EcoBoost and Ford Edge EcoBoost are expected this fall for the 2012 model year. Both SUVs will feature the 2.0-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which will act as a companion to the V6 engines currently powering the Edge and Explorer for 2011 model year. The Edge EcoBoost returned 30 mpg on the highway during EPA testing, becoming Ford’s 13th variation of a model and a drivetrain that combine to achieve at least 30 mpg. The Explorer EcoBoost will get 28 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ford Supports Ban on Handheld Cell Phone Use by Drivers

STONEHAM, Mass. -- Ford has recently become the first automaker to throw their support behind a bill written by U.S. Representative Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y. that would create a nationwide ban on using handheld cell phones while driving, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Numerous states have already implemented bans on handheld phone use, ranging from texting to making calls at all, but the federal government has yet to chime in on the subject. Massachusetts passed a law banning texting while driving in 2010, but handheld cell phone use remains legal for non-junior operators in the state, with many seeing it as a serious danger for drivers that already have enough distractions

“It’s about time we start tackling the problem of distracted drivers nationally, and cell phones should absolutely be at the top of the list,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Massachusetts Ford dealership Stoneham Ford. “I’m very pleased that Ford has been proactive about supporting this bill, even as other automakers are still burying their heads in the sand. When it comes to driver safety, we can’t delay any longer.”

According to a 2006 study by the University of Utah, using a cell phone while driving delays the driver’s reaction time as much as being at the legal blood alcohol limit of 0.8 percent, and a 2009 study by Virginia Tech reported that dialing on a cell phone made it nearly three times more likely that a car driver would be involved in a crash or near-crash situation. In addition, drivers performing the same act in a heavy vehicle or truck increased the likelihood of a crash by nearly six times. With an ever-increasing mountain of evidence, auto manufacturers and legislators are finding ways to get cell phones out of drivers’ hands.

Automakers have been keen on introducing technology into their vehicles that enable hands-free operation of phones – an action that would remain legal should the new legislation pass. Ford offers affordable access to this technology through its SYNC software, which allows calling through voice commands and buttons on the steering wheel with most Bluetooth-enabled phones. SYNC is available across the Ford lineup, either as standard feature or as a $400 option. The automaker is also working with Burlington, Massachusetts-based Nuance Communications to improve the system’s vocabulary and ability to decipher the intent of the driver should they use unrecognized commands.

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve of growing smartphone usage, Ford is expanding and improving its SYNC AppLink offering, which grants users voice-controlled access to smartphone apps like Pandora internet radio, a service that drivers might otherwise access with their hands while driving. Currently available on the 2011 Ford Fiesta, SYNC AppLink will be featured in 10 Ford vehicles for the 2012 model year.

“Ford isn’t just saying that driving while talking on cell phones is dangerous and then leaving it at that,” Melkonian added. “They are investing a lot of time and resources into improving the situation. Ford has proved that the technology to create safer highways is out there and drivers don’t have to be in a luxury sedan to have access to it. It makes our team proud to be working at a Ford dealership.”

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Massachusetts Ford Dealer Stoneham Ford Contributes to High Five Tour

STONEHAM, Mass. -- This summer, Colonel John Folsom, United States Marine Corps (retired) embarked on an important mission. Setting out in a 2011 Shelby Mustang GT500, Colonel Folsom plans to meet as many Americans as possible to thank them for their support of military families and raise funds for the mission of Wounded Warriors Family Support ( Folsom’s organization helps families of soldiers who have been wounded, injured or killed during combat operations.

The High Five Tour is making its way across the country and visiting Ford dealerships like Stoneham Ford, which will be making a $2,000 contribution to the organization’s fundraising efforts during its Boston-area stop on Thursday, June 30th.

“We are thrilled to have Colonel Folsom visit our dealership during his drive through Massachusetts,” said Alan Melkonian, owner and general manager of Stoneham Ford. “We have enormous respect for what he is trying to accomplish. The brave men and women of our armed services need our support and so do their families, so we are pleased to have this opportunity to give a little something back to them.”

“I am grateful for Ford’s support of the tour and for Stoneham Ford’s donation,” said Colonel John Folsom. “Soldiers and their families need our help to cope with the physical, psychological and spiritual stress that war causes. With generous donations like this, we can continue our mission.”

The High Five Tour will be visiting Stoneham Ford around noon this Thursday. For additional information on the High Five Tour, visit:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ford Fusion Hybrid Offers Antidote for High Gas Prices

STONEHAM, MASS. -- Alan Melkonian eyes the collection of 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid sedans at Stoneham Ford, his Massachusetts Ford dealership. They’re selling well with their sharp looks and 41 mpg fuel economy in the city, just the thing for Boston Metro commuters squeezed by rising costs at the gas pump.

The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid leads the entire mid-size sedan class in city fuel economy, and a report from Ford Inside News suggests that the automaker wants to widen the gap. When 2012 Fusions arrive at Greater Boston Ford dealerships next spring, they could offer as much as 48 mpg in the city with help from Ford’s new electronic continuously variable transmission.

“Massachusetts drivers are seeing more and more money poured into their gas tanks these days,” Melkonian said. “There’s no reason to settle for a car that gets poor gas mileage, or to buy something that sacrifices size or performance in the name of fuel economy. The hybrid 2011 Fusion gets the job done in a spacious, fun-to-drive package by running on electric power at low speeds, so those traffic jams we get stuck in won’t be siphoning cash out of your wallet.”

The 2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid earns 41 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, numbers usually seen in compact cars. The secret behind the numbers is Ford’s use of a 2.5-liter Atkinson-Cycle four-cylinder engine that runs with incredible efficiency at all speeds and pairs seamlessly with the hybrid drive.

Fusion owners will find it easy to pair up with their cars as well, thanks to the innovative SmartGaugeCluster with EcoGuide that can show as much or as little information as the driver wants. The built-in electric vehicle meter helps drivers stay in electric-only mode for as long a distance as possible and at speeds up to 47 mph in ideal conditions. There are also meters that show how much power is going to accessories like the radio, air conditioning and lights.

While efficiency is at its core, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is not an austere vehicle meant only for gas savings. The options list allows for plenty of creature comforts, including leather upholstery and a remote-start system. Standard options include dual-zone electronic climate control, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat. Ford SYNC technology allows voice control of a Bluetooth-connected phone or connected MP3 player for everything from switching songs to sending simple replies to text messages.

“Ford’s 2011 Fusion Hybrid mixes the efficiency of a hybrid drivetrain with everything owners demand in a sedan, and I’m sure that tradition will continue in the 2012 model,” Melkonian noted. “There are no sacrifices here. You simply get in and go, and I think most people will have a hard time telling it’s a hybrid at all.”