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Ford Unveils Kick-Activated First-in-Class Automatic Tailgate for All-New Kuga at 2012 Geneva Motor Show

  • Ford reveals kick-activated automatic tailgate on all-new Kuga, a first-in-segment  hands-free system, at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show
  • Kuga customers will be able to open and close the tailgate simply by waving a foot  beneath the rear bumper, an especially useful feature for those carrying groceries or other gear to load into the vehicle
  • Ford perfected the system with the help of volunteer “kickers”; six months of testing produced the optimum settings

GENEVA, March 5, 2012 – Ford Motor Company will offer an innovative hands-free tailgate for the all-new Kuga, offering customers a first-in-class, kick-activated means of accessing the boot.

The hands-free system enables Kuga customers to gently kick a foot beneath the rear bumper to open and close the tailgate without setting down packages or gear. The new Kuga was revealed today at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show.

“This is a perfect example of how we’re evolving existing technology to further improve our customers’ experience with Ford vehicles,” said Dominik Nical, security electronics expert, Ford of Europe. “The result is a practical and unique solution to a common problem – opening the tailgate when your arms are full. It’s a solution that will really work for customers in their everyday lives.”

The development team spent six months working with Ford’s Human Machine Interface  laboratory, using volunteers to test prototype systems fitted to a previous generation Kuga. Rigorous real-life testing perfected the required kick and ensured there was no interference with other systems.

The hands-free tailgate builds on Ford’s Intelligent Access push-button start. It allows customers, who have their key on their person, to unlock and start their vehicles without having to take it out of their pocket or purse.
Two sensors in the rear bumper detect a person’s shin and kicking motion. The system safeguards against accidental opening by being programmed to open with leg motions – not when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.
The system made its debut on Kuga’s sister model, the Ford Escape, in North America, late last year. Ford engineers re-calibrated the system for Europe to ensure it would still work if a tow bar had been fitted - as this is an option frequently chosen by European Kuga customers.

The automatic hands-free tailgate is launched as an option with Keyless Entry on the all-new Kuga later this year.


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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 164,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit


Ford of Europe is responsible for producing, selling and servicing Ford brand vehicles in 51 individual markets and employs approximately 66,000 employees. In addition to Ford Motor Credit Company, Ford of Europe operations include Ford Customer Service Division and 22 manufacturing facilities, including joint ventures. The first Ford cars were shipped to Europe in 1903 – the same year Ford Motor Company was founded. European production started in 1911.