Ford donates car to NMU


Jackie Jahfetson

A 2013 Ford Focus was recently donated to NMU’s automotive technology program by Fox Ford Marquette. Though this is the first donation, Fox Ford said they hope to start a growing relationship with NMU.

It’s important students have access to real-life materials, not just through computers and books, Fox Ford General Manager Randy Norton said. Most of the students who go through the programs don’t have vehicles to work on, and that’s not beneficial to the learning process, Norton said.

“It’s like if you’re trying to use a chainsaw without having a chainsaw. You can read all the books you want, but you need something in front of you in order to learn,” Norton said.

And with the newer model of a vehicle, students will be exposed to solving problems in a hands-on experience, he added.

The dual-clutch transmission built in the Ford Focus exposes students to something the program has not been able to demonstrate in the shop, assistant professor of technology and occupational sciences Randal Klitzke said in a press release. It combines elements of both manual and automatic transmissions, with two clutches—one controlling odd gears and the other even—but no clutch pedal or stick shift, Klitzke said.

“The idea is that it offers improved fuel economy of a manual transmission, but it’s electrically controlled through the computer system,” Klitzke said. “This type of transmission is found on vehicles ranging from automobiles to 18-wheelers. It’s nice to be able to incorporate the technology in a hands-on manner to back up classroom curriculum and instruction and what they read about in the textbook.”