CES names Focus as its official car for 2011

The 2012 Ford Focus is named the official car of CES 2011.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
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2012 Ford Focus
The 2012 Ford Focus will take the stage with Ford CEO Alan Mulally during his CES keynote address. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

CES has an official car? That was our reaction when we read that the 2012 Ford Focus has been named the official car of the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show. A little bit of research showed that the 2010 Ford Taurus held that honor for the 2010 CES. As there do not appear to be official cars of CES predating the 2010 show, Ford has it locked so far.

Not that the Focus is an inappropriate choice to represent the best in consumer electronics. We saw the car at the 2010 Paris Motor Show, and its cabin tech looks first-rate, even more impressive in that the Focus is an affordable car, as opposed to a big luxury boat.

Plug a cellular modem into one of the Focus' USB ports, and the car becomes a wireless hotspot. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Focus gets the MyFord Touch interface, using LEDs in the instrument cluster and on the center stack to show navigation, audio, and phone information. There is, of course, the Ford Sync system, which does such a good job providing integration and voice command with Bluetooth cell phones and MP3 players. The car also integrates Wi-Fi and with a cellular modem can become a wireless hotspot.

The Focus' official-car-of-CES duties would appear to be fairly simple. It will share the stage with Ford CEO Alan Mulally during his keynote address on the third morning of the show. And we assume it will find a prominent place to be seen during the show's run. We would be happy to have it as the official personal taxi of CES 2011.

While we are eager to spend some time in the new Focus, the hotted-up turbocharged ST version really has our interest piqued, but that version won't be available until later. Maybe it can be the official car of CES 2012.