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Archive for the ‘Ford’ Category

Former Ford Design Chief Mays Joining Whirlpool

Move has him following in footsteps of predecessor.

by on Sep.19, 2018

Ford's former design chief J Mays, shown with the 2015 Mustang, is taking a new job at Whirlpool.

Once Ford Motor Co.’s top designer, J Mays, is heading back to Michigan as vice president and chief design officer of Whirlpool Corp. of Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Mays left Ford in 2013 after a long career in the automobile industry that included stints at BMW, Volkswagen and Audi before he joined Ford in 1997 as the company’s top designer.

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Before his appointment at Whirlpool, which makes a variety of home appliances, Mays has been working as consultant in a variety of areas, including in the movie industry. He also has been a visiting professor at the Royal College of Art in London. (more…)

Infotainment Technology Getting Better, JD Power study says

Systems improve for third consecutive year.

by on Sep.14, 2018

The Ford Mustang earned the highest score in J.D. Power's 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study.

If you own a car built in the last decade, you’ve been there. You attempt to make a call using the hands-free system – regardless of the manufacturer – and you get a list of people the nice lady in the dashboard would like you to choose from and none of the options are the one you want.

It’s this kind of technology that is both enticing and enraging all at the same time and is most often the target of complaints by new vehicle owners. However, the folks at J.D. Power claim the user experience is getting better.

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According to the J.D. Power 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment and navigation technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year, with several technology standouts emerging among manufacturers. (more…)

Ford Promises to be More Transparent About Turnaround

But analysts still wonder what it’s planning.

by on Sep.13, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett hasn't been entirely transparent about his plans to revamp the company.

When Jim Hackett was named CEO of Ford Motor Co., following a senior management shake-up last year, he promised to spend the next 100 days studying the company’s strengths and weaknesses to devise a clear turnaround strategy.

A year later, however, analysts and investors are still wondering what’s in store. The company has announced a few key elements of its plan, starting with the announcement that it will all but abandon the passenger side of the U.S. new car market to focus on the more profitable SUVs, CUVs and pickups that have come to dominate the sales charts.

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Confusion about where Ford is heading with a turnaround plan it now values at $25.5 billion has translated into a sharp slump in its stock price, shares falling by more than a quarter this year, barely nudging the $10 mark all summer. Meanwhile, Ford’s debt rating has tumbled to just a bare step above junk status. (more…)

Ford Smartens Up New Edge’s All-Wheel Drive System

All-Wheel-Drive Disconnect improves fuel economy.

by on Sep.13, 2018

The new Ford Edge with available all-wheel drive is smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

Ford Motor Co. has tweaked the 2019 version of the Ford Edge by making an all-wheel drive system smart enough to detect various driving conditions and automatically shift between two-wheel and all-wheel drive.

The system is called all-wheel-drive disconnect, a first-for-Ford technology that uses a form of artificial intelligence that can calculate quicker than the human brain. Based on information received from dozens of high-tech sensors, the new Edge can determine in a fraction of a second whether all-wheel drive is needed.

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“The concept is pretty simple, it was the execution that was the challenge,” said Scott Beiring, Ford driveline applications supervisor. “Shifting between two- and all-wheel drive needs to be fast and seamless enough that the customer doesn’t know it is happening.” (more…)

Trump Puts Ford in Twitter Crosshairs About China-Built Focus

President says car should be U.S.-built, Ford says it's not profitable.

by on Sep.10, 2018

President Trump is tweeting about Ford again, claiming the automaker should build the Focus Active in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. is back in the twitter crosshairs of President Donald Trump, who claims the automaker should be able to build a vehicle profitably in the U.S. instead of China due to the tariffs he’s put in place.

“’Ford has abruptly killed a plan to sell a Chinese-made small vehicle in the U.S. because of the prospect of higher U.S. Tariffs.’ CNBC. This is just the beginning. This car can now be BUILT IN THE U.S.A. and Ford will pay no tariffs!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

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In late August, Ford announced its was cancelling its plans to sell the Ford Focus Active, a wagon-like crossover built in China, in the U.S. because the 25% tariff Trump instituted on vehicles imported from China into the United States made it unprofitable. (more…)

Hey! BMW Introducing New AI-Enabled In-Car Assistant

New digital assistant available in March 2019

by on Sep.06, 2018

BMW has developed its own in-car, AI-enabled digital assistant. The system's functions can be accessed by simply saying, "Hey BMW!"

“Hey Google!” appears to have more competition as BMW follows the lead of Mercedes-Benz, Ford and other automakers by making an AI-enabled assistant available in its vehicles with a simple call out: “Hey BMW!”

The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant is a new proprietary in-car AI assistant that uses an always on-call technology platform. It is an intelligent, digital character that responds to the prompt “Hey BMW” and has the ability to control vehicle settings, navigation and entertainment systems as well as explain vehicle functions and even conducting a conversation.

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The BMW Intelligent Personal Assistant will debut in 2019 and mark the start of a new era in which drivers will increasingly be able to operate their car and access its functions and information through voice control, the automaker noted. (more…)

Fire Risk Forces Recall of 2 Million Ford F-150s

Faulty seatbelt system could trigger smoke, fire after crash.

by on Sep.06, 2018

The Ford F-150 built between 2015 and 2018 is part of a 2-million truck recall by the automaker.

Nearly 2 million Ford F-150 pickups are being recalled because of a seatbelt defect that could lead to a fire following a crash, the automaker announced Thursday morning.

The issue involves the pretensioners used to cinch seatbelts tight following a crash. But, on late-model versions of the F-150, the pyrotechnic system used to activate the pretensionsers “can generate excessive sparks when they deploy.”

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“When sufficient sparks are present, gases exhausted inside the lower portion of the B-pillar by the pretensioners may ignite,” Ford said in a statement. “If this gas ignites, components behind the B-pillar such as insulation and carpet may subsequently catch fire.” (more…)

Ford Denies Plans to Slash European Car Line-Up

Mondeo to get upgrades, no plans to eliminate other car models.

by on Sep.04, 2018

Ford says it will update, rather than eliminate its European midsize sedan, the Mondeo.

Ford Motor Co. is denying a report by the British newspaper, The Times, that it plans to radically cut back its European line-up and shift focus to more profitable SUVs – echoing steps it plans to take in the U.S. market.

The Times reports that Ford would eliminate production of the Mondeo – the global name for what, in the U.S., is known as the Fusion – as well as its Galaxy and S-Max people-movers. The paper said Ford also wants to reduce the number of dealerships its products are sold through in Europe.

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A cutback in passenger car models abroad would follow plans for the U.S. outlined by Ford CEO Jim Hackett earlier this year. Reflecting a dramatic market shift from sedans and coupes to SUVs, CUVs and pickups, Ford will eliminate virtually all of the passenger car models sold in the States, with the exception of the Mustang “pony car.”

(more…)

Ford Kills Focus Crossover from China Due to Trump Tariffs

New vehicle was set to hit U.S. in late 2019.

by on Aug.31, 2018

Ford killed the Focus Active after it was determined the company couldn't turn a profit on the small China-built crossover with the Trump tariffs.

One of the first steps in the shift of Ford Motor Co.’s product lineup from cars to trucks, sport-utes and crossovers has blown up, as the company killed the China-built Focus crossover due to the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S.

The automaker said the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump make it impossible to make a profit on the new Focus Active crossover, which was expected to hit U.S. shores in late 2019.

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“Given the negative financial impact of the new tariffs, we’ve decided not to import this vehicle from China,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of North America told the Detroit News. “The significant thing that moved was the tariffs going up substantially higher. We’re choosing to deploy resources elsewhere.” (more…)

Tesla Under Assault as Wave of New EVs Come to Market

Mercedes-EQ’s first entry set to target Model 3.

by on Aug.30, 2018

Tesla's Model 3 production has been the focus of the company much of the year, but now Elon Musk is going to need to look over his shoulder.

Its been a rocky road for Tesla during the past year, the automaker struggling to get production of its critical Model 3 under control. But just as the factory in Fremont, California, gets into gear, Tesla is facing a new problem that could prove equally challenging.

Jaguar fired the first shot recently with the launch of its I-Pace battery-electric vehicle. Now, Mercedes-Benz is getting ready to plug in, but rather than target a pricey niche, the electric EQ C crossover the German maker will introduce next week takes direct aim at Tesla’s mainstream-priced Model 3.

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And the assault will only accelerate in the months to come, new long-range EV entries popping up at an ever-increasing pace over the next few years to the point that, by some estimates, there could be as many as 100 alternatives in U.S. showrooms by very early in the decade. (more…)