Here's Why Ford's Training Chinese Car Buyers Not To Kill Themselves

Ford will launch a driver education campaign in China because, as an emerging market, there's lots of first-time car buyers. We've interspersed four videos of the Chinese driving "experience" into the press release below to show precisely why.

FORD MOTOR COMPANY LAUNCHES 'DRIVING SKILLS FOR LIFE' TRAINING IN CHINA

Successful global program is adapted to suit China's driving environment

SHANGHAI, China, June 12, 2009 — Ford Motor Company today launched its global Driving Skills for Life (DSFL) driver education program in China, together with its joint venture, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Co., Ltd.

Driving Skills for Life training sessions will be conducted through the end of August at 62 full-service Ford dealerships in 22 Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing and Nanjing. DSFL is offered free to program trainees, and Ford plans to have more than 3,000 drivers participate in the training this year.

The DSFL training has been customized for China to reflect the local driving environment and road conditions, and will mix classroom learning and practical training to help increase awareness of safe driving techniques and teach skills that can help drivers improve fuel efficiency.

"Ford is committed to contributing to Chinese society and being a leading advocate for road safety and environmental protection. The Driving Skills for Life program is dedicated to promoting driving techniques that result in improved safety, improved fuel economy and a better environment," said Robert Graziano, Chairman and CEO of Ford Motor China. "The DSFL program leverages our company's expertise, and will engage our employees and dealers to really help make a difference in the local communities."

Reducing the toll of road traffic accidents across the Asia Pacific region is a key objective of the Driving Skills for Life program. The World Health Organization estimates that road traffic accidents will become the third-leading cause of premature death for all ages by 2020, accounting for a staggering 1.3 million deaths every year.

As one of the world's fastest growing auto markets, China has a high percentage of first-time car-buyers and drivers on its roads. Ford strongly believes that programs like Driving Skills for Life are critical to address growing concerns about road safety in the emerging markets of its Asia Pacific and Africa region, including China.

"Road safety is becoming a serious issue in China, and it's one that is very relevant to our business. We are confident that the Driving Skills for Life program will help raise awareness of safe driving practices among China's drivers," said Jeffrey Shen, President of Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Co., Ltd. "It's our goal to help cultivate a driving culture that values road safety and environmental protection behind the wheel."

Safe driving is economical
Nowadays a fuel-efficient driving style is no longer an option, but a real necessity. The introduction of this program is also timely for the reason. In addition to teaching basic safety skills, Driving Skills for Life will teach drivers how to improve fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent.

Key focal points of the training include methods to drive more economically with reduced environmental impact. Economical driving trainings cover topics of anticipating road conditions, applying fuel-efficient driving techniques, avoiding speeding and keeping a vehicle properly maintained for optimal fuel economy.

"The techniques used for safe driving are essentially the same for economical, fuel-efficient motoring," said Chi Linbing, a trainer from CFMA. "So, driving steadily at a reasonable engine speeds is not only safer, but can also help drivers improve fuel efficiency, as well as reduce CO2 emissions."

As Ford's first automotive investment in China, Jiangling Motors Co. Ltd. (JMC) also participates in the campaign and encourages the public to save energy.

Driving Skills for Life was established in the United States in 2003 by the not-for-profit Ford Motor Company Fund, the U.S. Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts, to teach drivers the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what is learned in standard driver training programs.

The DSFL program was launched last year in four of Ford's Asia Pacific and Africa markets – including Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam – and is on its way to becoming the company's first truly region-wide CSR initiative. More than 5,400 drivers participated in the DSFL training in 2008. The China launch represents the latest component of a global campaign that has helped educate more than 320,000 motorists to date, including both the U.S. and European initiatives.