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Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

Old 07-12-2007, 09:43 AM
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Default Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions



DETROIT Ford Motor Co. (F) will put soybean-based foam cushions in the seats of the 2008 Mustang and may do the same with other models as well, eventually saving thousands of barrels of oil in the manufacturing process, the automaker said Thursday.

Most automakers use petroleum-based foam, with an average of 30 pounds going into each vehicle, Ford said.

The company has not calculated exactly how much oil it would save if it used the new foam for every application in all of the 2.9 million vehicles it produces per year. But Debbie Mielewski, technical leader for Ford's materials research and advanced engineering department, said if all the foam were soy-based, Ford would use 11 million pounds of soy oil, and the petroleum savings would be a similar volume.

The foam, which is 40 percent soy and 60 percent oil-based, now costs about the same as conventional foam that is fully oil-based, Mielewski said.

"Currently we believe that the technology is a cost wash, but you have to remember that is because we are implementing it on one program and lower volumes," she said, predicting that the cost would drop when used in more vehicles.

The annual worldwide market for automotive foam is 9 billion pounds, so a switch to a renewable material could have a significant environmental impact, Mielewski said.

Ford said the environmental advantages include reduced carbon dioxide emissions in manufacturing compared to petroleum-based foam, lower energy use to produce the soy foam and reduced dependence on foreign oil.

Ford is teaming with supplier Lear Corp. to install the seats at a joint Mazda-Ford factory in Flat Rock, Mich., the company said.

The company hopes to use the new seat foam in more models in the upcoming 2008 model year, Mielewski said. It also is applying for patents on the foam technology.

And no, the seats are not edible. That's because they still contain petroleum, the company said.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:15 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

From what I've read, this use of soybeans in cars isn't a first for Ford. Seeking to generate a market in the Depression, Henry Ford himself ordered the use of soybean-based materials in Fords -- mainly, as I recall, for gear-shift knobs, dashboard knobs, etc. (things that would be made of hard plastic today). Apparently, he figured that if the company bought soybeans from struggling farmers, the farmers, in turn, would have money to purchase Ford products. Apparently, he was right -- the company is still here.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:43 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

Good thing they didn't pick pinto beans or it would stink up the place. LOL!
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:56 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

Well, Jeremiah, the Pinto car certainly did!
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Old 07-12-2007, 05:06 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

How will this compare to foam in terms of comfort and price? I don't have any problems with foam personally. The whole agenda with this is Bill Ford's agenda to make Ford green, which so far isn't succeeding in turning around the companies image in anyone's eyes.

It's an extra good thing they didn't go with Pinto beans for they might have quite an explosive effect.
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Old 07-12-2007, 06:37 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

You guys and your Pinto beans. Who brought that up any way?
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Old 07-12-2007, 07:43 PM
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Default RE: Ford 2008 Mustangs to Get Soybean-Based Foam Cushions

Somebody with FAR too much time on their hands (he wrote while ignoring the work he's supposed to be doing to look yet again at the Challenger board....)
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