Ford Motor Company has donated a 2013 Ford Focus to Northern Michigan University’s automotive technology program. Assistant Professor Randy Klitzke said the car introduces students to a dual-clutch transmission, which is discussed in class, but was previously unavailable to demonstrate in the shop. The feature 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.
“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. It’s a plus for us to get support from Ford and keep our curriculum up to date. Program graduates may work on these types of vehicles in the field.”
"We are excited and grateful for the donation and for this 'foot in the door' at Ford Motors,” said Bob Eslinger, dean of the College of Technology and Occupational Sciences. "We owe a big thank you to our outgoing NMU trustee and alumnus Rick Popp for helping us make the connection with Ford, where he has had a long and distinguished career, and we look forward to strengthening the relationship in the future.”
Klitzke said the Ford Focus donation represents how industry and faculty are working together to support student success and equip them with skills and knowledge the workforce demands.
“I can't thank service manager Steve Sanderson enough for all the work he and his crew at Fox Marquette have done to help bring this vehicle to the NMU program and students," Klitzke added.
The Focus joins other vehicles, typically numbering 24-30, in NMU’s automotive technology shop.