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Archive for the ‘Ford’ Category

FCA Arguing About Viability of Midsize Pickup

Ford joins GM, Toyota and Nissan in booming segment.

by on Jan.19, 2018

CEO Sergio Marchionne said there has been a lot of pushback on the idea of building a midsize pickup truck.

Executives inside what is now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. have been arguing about building a midsize pickup truck for nearly a decade, FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne told the media this week during a meeting at the North American International Auto Show.

Marchionne told reporters that FCA had not made any decisions on a future midsize pickup even as Ford Motor Co. revealed its new Ford Ranger during the press previews for the NAIAS.

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“We’re still studying it,” said Marchionne, who acknowledge that the midsize segment where the new Ranger will compete with the Chevrolet Colorado, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have has come alive in the last couple of years.  (more…)

Hackett Tells Analysts Ford Cutting Car Production

Automaker upping truck and ute production 10% while cars getting 10% cut.

by on Jan.17, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told analysts the automaker is increasing truck and ute production and cutting cars to better meet customer preferences.

With the overwhelming number of truck and sport-utility debuts and news coming out of the North American International Auto Show this year, it’s not surprising that Ford CEO Jim Hackett appears ready to make an even bigger commitment to that segment.

Hackett told analysts last night the company acknowledged the shift in preferences by U.S. consumers, however, he wasn’t ready to put a final nail in the coffin of passenger cars at Ford.

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That said, he may be grabbing a hammer as he announced the company will be increasing the number of trucks and SUVs in the Ford line-up by 10% while cutting the passenger car portfolio by the same amount. (more…)

Ranger Reborn: Ford Back in the Midsize Pickup Game

Ford aims to share in the segment’s unexpected revival.

by on Jan.14, 2018

After a six-year hiatus, Ford brought back the Ranger, this time as a midsize pickup.

Its been six years since Ford shuttered its ancient Twin Cities plant in Minnesota, walking away from what seemed to be, back then, a dying market segment.

But the Detroit automaker failed to reckon on what might happen when new product would be injected into the midsize category, General Motors scoring a hit with the likes of its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and Honda hitting the ball out of the park by bringing back its own Ridgeline model.

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Ironically, Ford actually launched a new Ranger – but it was intended for just about every market except for North America, the company’s planners convinced they could get potential midsize buyers to make the walk up-market to the bigger F-150. But as it watched its competition rapidly rebuild the old midsize pickup segment – sales growing a hefty 83% since 2014 – Ford realized it needed to get back in the game. (more…)

China Posts Meager Auto Sales Gain in 2017

Sport-ute led the way to small 1.4% increase last year.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Auto sales in China increased marginally for 2017, but they were led by sport-utilites.

China’s auto sales stalled in December and ended 2017 up a meager 1.4% compared with a year ago results as the popularity of SUVs helped to offset falling demand for sedans, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

With global car makers such as General Motors, BMW, Volkswagen AG, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Nissan all reporting solid, but not spectacular, gains during 2017, smaller local brands common to almost every province and international brands such Ford and Hyundai, appeared to suffer the most for the slowdown, which was due in part to the end of special tax credits.

Global Auto News!

The growth rate was barely one-tenth the previous year’s 15% rate, which was boosted by a temporary tax cut. (more…)

Ford Orders 2,900 Rangers With Takata Airbags Parked

Automaker will fix trucks in owners' driveways, tow them to dealerships.

by on Jan.12, 2018

Owners of certain 2006 Ford Rangers are being told to park their trucks immediately as part of a recall to repair faulty Takata airbags.

The 21st victim of exploding Takata airbags is causing Ford to warn owners of about 2,900 Ranger pickup trucks to park them immediately.

The victim, Steve Mollohan of Hedgesville, West Virginia, was killed July 1, when the airbag exploded in his 2006 Ford Ranger. Ford received notification of the fatality in mid-December and conducted an inspection of the truck on Dec. 27.

Safety News!

After looking into the incident, it was determined the inflator for the airbag was made on the same day as one that caused the death of a South Carolina man in 2015. This prompted the automaker to issue an urgent new recall in the U.S. and Canada for Rangers made on that day. (more…)

GM Asks Feds to OK 2019 Launch of Driverless Robo-Cabs

Automaker aims to put as many as 2,500 on the road annually during test program.

by on Jan.12, 2018

GM will use an updated version of this Chevrolet Bolt EV - sans steering wheel and pedals - for the robo-cab test program.

General Motors wants permission from federal regulators to begin testing driverless robo-cabs on public roads, starting in 2019, a move that could position the Detroit automaker as one of the leaders in the development of autonomous vehicle technology.

Company officials said they would roll out as many as 25 vehicles annually under the pilot project, if given approval from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. GM ultimately hopes to provide the vehicles to ride-sharing services such as Lyft – in which it is a major investor – as well as its own service, Maven.

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Unlike the autonomous prototypes GM and many competitors are currently testing, the vehicles would be completely driverless and not even be equipped with pedals or a steering wheel. That is something the automaker’s President Dan Ammann called “a major milestone, adding that, “this technology will have a huge impact on the world.”

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With New ST Version Ford Edge Gets Edgier

First Ford performance SUV model won’t be its last.

by on Jan.11, 2018

Ford is looking to pump some excitement into its midsize crossover with an all-new ST performance package for the 2019 model year.

With SUVs now dominating the U.S. sales charts it’s no surprise manufacturers are filling in the white spaces with new models, options and features. And that includes sportier models like the 2019 Ford Edge ST.

In recent years, Ford has rolled out a variety of performance variants on the passenger car side, such as the tire squealing Focus ST. The Edge becomes the Detroit automaker’s first high-performance crossover model — though it’s not likely to be the last, Ford officials hinted at a background briefing ahead of the 2019 Edge ST unveiling at the North American International Auto Show next week.

Global Auto News!

“We know we have an opportunity to attract a performance-oriented buyer who needs a little more utility” than they might get through current ST models like the Focus, explained Christine Aquino, the crossover’s marketing manager. (more…)

Ford CEO Hackett Pushes Maker’s Vision of Future at CES

Maker using technology to improve human interaction.

by on Jan.10, 2018

Ford CEO Jim Hackett describes the Transportation Mobility Cloud during his keynote address at CES 2018.

Ford has been attempting to fashion a spot atop the “mobility” mountain through acquisitions and innovation; however, the entire plan hasn’t been revealed — until now.

Ford CEO Paul Hackett attempted to lay out the vision of the company’s Transportation Mobility Cloud during the keynote of CES 2018 in Las Vegas with mixed results.

Market Trends!

If one looks at the investor community, message not received as the automaker’s stock dropped slightly overnight. However, there are some industry observers who seemed to understand what he was talking about, although they are less excited about it than Hackett is. (more…)

Chevrolet Getting Back into Heavy Duty Truck Segment

Heavy duty trucks often bring heavy duty profits.

by on Jan.09, 2018

Chevrolet is getting back in to the big truck game with all new 4500HD and 5500HD models for 2019.

The ongoing truck battle between Ford and Chevy is heating up again as Chevrolet confirmed today it’s getting back into the Class 4 and 5 segments with new models for the 2019 model year after a decade-long absence.

The maker released a teaser shot that implies an aggressive looking front end, but not much else. The company plans to unveil the new models at the The Work Truck Show 2018 in Indianapolis in early March. The show is the largest fleet operator-focused truck show in the country.

Truck News!

“The Silverado 4500HD/5500HD trucks are the flagship of our full-line commercial truck portfolio and we’ve designed them to be among the best in the industry in maneuverability, serviceability, visibility, quietness and comfort, diesel fuel economy and more,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, General Motors Fleet. (more…)

CES Focus Shifts From Smartphones, Smart TVs to Smart Cars

“The potential applications of...technology are incredible."

by on Jan.08, 2018

A Nissan engineer monitors a volunteer's brain activity while testing new brain-to-vehicle software.

Anyone who has driven a relatively recent-vintage vehicle has probably experienced the benefits – and occasional snags – of using voice control to plug in a destination, dial a call or change the radio station. But Nissan’s IMx concept vehicle aims to take things a step further. It uses brain-to-vehicle technology to respond to what the driver is thinking.

“The potential applications of the technology are incredible,” helping motorists relax more while driving, while also improving vehicle safety, said Dr. Lucian Gheorghe, senior innovation researcher at the Nissan Research Center in Japan.

LA Auto Show News!

While you’re not likely to see Nissan’s B2V technology wind up in showrooms for at least five to 10 more years, the automaker plans to demonstrate its potential during the CES show in Las Vegas next week. And Nissan won’t be alone. Formerly known as the Consumer Electronic Show, the annual gathering traditionally focused on gizmos and gadgets, smartphones, TVs, computers and drones. But over the last few years, it has become a showcase for the auto industry, as well.

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