Ford to Debut Smarter Air Bags on 2012 Focus Sedan and Hatchback

When it arrives in the United States in the first quarter of 2011, the 2012 Ford Focus will boast the same class-leading portfolio of technology and safety features regardless of market or region, part of Ford’s new global car-development process. Ford claims that one particular advancement, however, will be unique to the U.S. market: smart air bag technology.

Ford gave us the lowdown on the advanced air bags at a media briefing in Dearborn prior to the official announcement at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

In addition to an all-new global platform and chassis, the U.S.-bound Focus hatchback and sedan will feature three noteworthy updates to airbags as standard equipment:

1. A tether-based pocket in the driver’s front air bag, which deflects impacts from the ribs and chest, will mitigate the impact of a collision. The air bag pocket (shown in photos to the right) seeks to reduce bodily injury, specifically the chest and ribs, and internal tethers form a curve to produce less force. Although tethers in air bags are not an innovation in their own right, according to Ford of Europe safety manager Matt Niesluchkowski, the pocket will lessen the impact of a frontal collision and is a feature not found in C-segment cars.

2. Like many front passenger air bags, the one in the Focus detects the occupant’s size and weight, but the Focus unit goes a step further and uses what Ford calls “active venting” to reduce the amount of force and pressure accordingly. It goes a step beyond binary “yes/no” occupant detection to provide individualized inflation pressure.

3. The air bag canopy, which formerly protected only in side impacts, now stays inflated for up to six seconds in order to also provide protection in rollovers.

Stay with for updates on the 2012 Focus, as well as forthcoming world debuts, as we count down to the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

Source: Ford