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Ford speed-limiter option becomes more popular in Europe

Thu, 22 Mar 2012

An adjustable speed limiter ranks high on the popularity list with Ford buyers in Europe. Ford says it sold more than 220,000 cars with the system last year on the Continent.

The take rate has been particularly high on the Mondeo sedan (86 percent), the S-Max wagon (85 percent) and the Kuga SUV (83 percent).

The system lets a driver set a top speed of between 9 mph and 105 mph. Exceeding that limit causes a warning to sound. The car then reduces the fuel flow to force the car to slow. The limit can be raised and lowered in 5-kph (3.1-mph) increments with switches on the steering wheel. If the driver needs to pass another car, the system can be overridden temporarily by pressing firmly on the accelerator.

Part of the reason for strong sales is Europe's system of speed cameras. The Continent currently has an estimated 35,000 speed cameras in use. One in five motorists has been caught by the cameras since their debut in 1996. During 2008 and 2009, the cameras helped rack up $137 million in fines. France has 1,895 fixed and 933 mobile cameras and pledges to install 1,000 more by 2012.

“The Adjustable Speed Limiter is now available on the majority of cars we produce, and the demand proves just how valued it is,” said Torsten Wey, technology supervisor at Ford of Europe. “If you set a maximum speed, you don't have to constantly look at the speedometer.”

In the United States, Ford offers a similar option with the MyKey system. MyKey, which is geared toward younger drivers, can be set to sound warning chimes at 45 mph, 55 mph and 65 mph. It can also limit speed to 80 mph and make the traction control undefeatable.

By Jake Lingeman