- The 2013 Ford Fusion was designed to minimize pollen and skin irritants, as well as warn drivers of possible allergy triggers at their destination.
- Ford continues to differentiate itself from other automakers with an accent on the health and well-being of its owners.
- Ford engineers have avoided using materials in the Fusion that give rashes to allergy sufferers and added a cabin air filter to capture pollutants, the automaker said.
DEARBORN, Michigan — The 2013 Ford Fusion may be one of the best solutions available to allergy-stricten consumers this spring. The sedan was designed to minimize pollen and skin irritants, as well as warn drivers of possible allergy triggers at their destination, the automaker said.
Perhaps more importantly, Ford continues to differentiate itself from other automakers with an accent on the health and well-being of its owners.
Just two years ago, Ford researchers demonstrated a series of futuristic in-vehicle health and wellness connectivity services and apps aimed at helping people with chronic illnesses or medical disorders such as diabetes, asthma or allergies. The idea is to help occupants "manage their condition while on the go," Ford said at the time.
By using Ford Sync, researchers came up with connectivity capability for glucose-monitoring devices and location-based allergy and pollen reports. Some of those ideas now are bearing fruit with products such as the 2013 Fusion.
Ford engineers have tested the Fusion, as well as the 2013 Escape, in common high-touch areas such as the seats, steering wheel, armrests, door handles and shifters, putting the microscope on more than 100 materials, to see which ones have high allergen issues.
As a result, engineers have avoided or minimized the use of some common allergic-reaction triggers in the interior materials, including natural latex, hexavalent chromium — a chemical sometimes found in dyes, paints, plastics and nickel — which often give skin rashes to allergy sufferers.
"The big trend is that more people around the world, and certainly America, are facing allergies more than ever before," Wes Sherwood, a Ford spokesman, told Edmunds. "We certainly want to stay in tune with what our customers are dealing with, so it's something we wanted to monitor."
More than half of all Americans test positive to one or more allergens, he said. Furthermore, allergies have been increasing for the past three decades across all age, gender and racial groups, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That's why the Fusion is equipped with a cabin air filter to prevent airborne particles such as dust, spores, fungus and pollen from entering the car. It also captures soot, smog and tobacco smoke.
The filter is accessed through the glovebox. Ford dealers change the filters as part of the vehicle's scheduled maintenance.
Another tool in the allergy battle is the Sync AppLink-compatible Allergy Alert app — available on the 2013 Fusion and other new Fords. Through the app's pollen index rating, drivers can request to hear the types of allergen conditions they are likely to encounter that may cause a flare-up in personal allergy symptoms. The free app also provides a risk index for asthma, flu/cough/cold and ultraviolet rays.
The Sync AppLink-enabled version of Allergy Alert is available for iOS devices and is a free app that can be downloaded from the App Store.
The 2013 Fusion isn't the first Ford to pay attention to allergy-suffering consumers, Sherwood said. This process started at Ford of Europe in the past decade, with a third-party source certifying Ford's allergy-mitigating efforts.
Sherwood said Ford has no plans, however, to promote the Fusion to allergists around the country.
"Our consumer communications is focusing on fuel economy, but once people find out about it, it's another reason to have them switch over to Ford or to buy another Ford," he said.
Edmunds says: The best allergy medicine might be parked in the garage.