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Archive for the ‘Ford’ Category

Ford Smacked with Ratings Cut by Moody’s

Automaker's rating is just above junk now.

by on Aug.29, 2018

Moody's cut Ford's rating today from Baa2 two Baa3 — a level above junk status.

It wasn’t long ago that Ford Motor Co. executives were being lauded for having faith in their recovery plan, which included offering the Blue Oval as collateral, and enjoying the full support of the financial community.

That was then. This is now: Moody’s Investor Service downgraded Ford from Baa2 to Baa3, which is one step above a junk rating.

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In announcing the move, Moody’s noted the “erosion in the company’s global business position and the challenges it will face implementing its Fitness Redesign program.” The Fitness Redesign program is Ford’s $11 billion, five-year plan to revitalize the company. (more…)

Loss of Control, Viruses Top Hurdles for Autonomous Vehicles

Ford charging ahead with AVs by trying to establish trust.

by on Aug.21, 2018

Ford says consumers need to believe they can trust AVs, and that will take time and energy.

A new study found that losing control of the vehicle and the threat of computer virus are the two most important reservations or fears consumers have about autonomous vehicles.

The study done by the University of Memphis’ FedEx Institute of Technology also found that AVs have yet to break through as status symbols. The study found that improving social status among peers is the least important incentive to adopting AVs. In addition, fewer than 5% of respondents indicated their households are willing to pay an additional $20,000 to add automation and greater connectivity to their vehicle.

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One very interesting finding was that the feeling of losing control was more important than safety concerns for people. In addition, the threat of computer virus penetrating the vehicles was considered an important barrier to adoption. (more…)

Nissan Looks to Expand Production in China, Secure No. 3 Spot

Toyota, Honda and Ford also looking to grow sales.

by on Aug.20, 2018

Nissan President and CEO Hiroto Saikawa laid out plans to grow sales in China by 2022.

Nissan Corp. is wasting no time playing catch up with General Motors and Volkswagen AG in China, nor is it wasting money spending $900 million to ramp up its vehicle production in the country.

Working with its Chinese joint-venture partner Dongfeng Group, Nissan’s plans call for expansion of production capacity during the next few years to 2.1 million vehicles annually, according to Reuters.

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Currently, Nissan sold 1.5 million vehicles last year in China, trailing GM and VW which put out about 4 million vehicles each. It wants to sell 2.6 million by 2022, and secure the No. 3 spot in the country by then, according to reports. (more…)

Say Goodbye: 17 Models Going Away in 2019

But some nameplates will yet return from the dead.

by on Aug.17, 2018

Death is not permanent, at least in the auto industry. Some old nameplates will return in 2019, like Ford's Ranger.

We’ll be seeing a host of new models make their debut during the 2019 model-year, including Ford’s newly reborn Ranger pickup, the brand-new Subaru Ascent SUV and complete makeovers of the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500.

But there are also plenty of familiar products that will be waving bye-bye as the 2018 model-year wraps up or at some point during the 2019 season. The obituary list is rather extensive this year and, you likely won’t be surprised to learn, it’s primarily filled with sedans, coupes and sports cars, something that reflects the ongoing shift from passenger cars to light trucks.

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That said, some of the products that might be gone or going soon could stage a comeback in the future if market trends again shift. The Ranger is a good example. Ford killed it off in 2011, anticipating the demise of the midsize pickup segment. New arrivals, like the also-reborn Chevrolet Colorado, proved there was life left in the segment. Ford is also getting set to bring back the long-absent Bronco.

Here’s a look at the U.S. models about to drive off into the sunset:

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Ford’s Autonomic Inks Deal in China With Alibaba Cloud

New deal boosts autonomous vehicle business potential

by on Aug.17, 2018

Liu Fei, director of Automobile Division, Alibaba Cloud (left) and Gavin Sherry, CEO and co-founder of Autonomic, after signing the deal.

Ford Motor Co. has taken another step toward bolstering its sinking operations in China with a new partnership to put autonomous vehicle technology into the Chinese market.

Autonomic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Smart Mobility LLC and the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, one of the world’s leading Internet-oriented companies, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring to China the Transportation Mobility Cloud – a transportation and mobility solution for connected vehicles developed by Autonomic.

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“The TMC is positioned to help automakers succeed and meet growing demand for connected vehicles and mobility services in China,” said Gavin Sherry, co-founder and CEO of Autonomic. (more…)

Ford Builds on Racing Past With New Cobra Jet

New 'Stang ready in time for annual Dream Cruise.

by on Aug.16, 2018

The 2018 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet debuted just in time for the ultimate muscle car gathering: the Woodward Dream Cruise.

Ford Motor Co. took advantage of the preparations for the Woodward Dream Cruise to unveil a drag-racing version of the Ford Mustang.

Eric Cin, director of vehicle performance and accessories, said the new Cobra Jet will be the quickest drag racing Mustang ever, capable of covering a quarter-mile in the mid-8-second range.

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The 2018 Mustang Cobra Jet is a limited-edition turnkey race car that honors the 50th anniversary of the original that dominated drag strips in 1968, according to Cin, who said Ford plans to build only 68 and the demand already exceeds the limited supply. (more…)

Ford Spending $740 M to Revamp Dilapidated Train Station, Campus

Automaker hopes to get $250M in assistance for the project.

by on Aug.15, 2018

A rendering of what Ford's new campus, including Michigan Central Station, in Corktown will look like.

Ford recently unveiled its plan to move its electric and autonomous vehicle operations into a campus in southwest Detroit, anchored by a historic train station the company plans to refurbish during the next few years.

The move to reinvent the former Michigan Central Station was hailed by Detroit politicians and neighborhood advocates; however, other than a nebulous figure of $4 billion it planned to invest overall, no real dollar amount for the new campus was released.

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Ford disclosed Tuesday at a meeting with community leaders it plans to spend $740 million to revamp Michigan Central Station, as well as other neighborhood sites. The automaker aims to turn the building into a campus of offices for up to 5,000 employees. (more…)

Spy Shots: Next Edge, Lincoln Nautilus Get Caught With Minimal Camo

Ford continues shifting focus to ute lines.

by on Aug.15, 2018

The new Lincoln Nautilus, formerly the MKX, in minimal camouflage is out for real-world testing.

Ford Motor Co. is planning some drastic changes over the next several years, the automaker all but abandoning its mainstream passenger car line-up in favor of SUVs and CUVs, reflecting one of the most dramatic transformations we’ve seen in decades.

Sometimes, big changes begin with small steps, and that appears to be the case as we look at these spy shots of two familiar models set for updates in the coming months. On the Ford side, that includes the popular Edge crossover, while we’ve also caught the Lincoln Nautilus, the renamed MKX, with minimal camouflage.

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We got our first look at a concept version of the Nautilus at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, but the image here finally captures the upcoming production model. Lincoln’s stylists have reworked the design to include more luxury touches, five new sets of wheels as well as new colors. The Nautilus also comes with a bold new front grille that is distinctly Lincoln and emphasizes the all-new front end on the vehicle that reaches back to the A pillar and windshield. (more…)

Lincoln Pushing Dealers to Split from Ford Stores

Company offering incentives to build standalone locations.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Lincoln is pushing dealers with twin Ford-Lincoln dealerships to split those locations up, creating standalone stores, like Lincoln of Troy (Michigan).

Lincoln is the latest luxury brand looking to exploit the advantages of this trend: stand-alone dealerships.

After escaping death at the hands of former Ford CEO Alan Mulally nearly five years ago, the company is asking owners of Ford-Lincoln dealerships in 30 major markets to build separate stores for the Lincoln brand.

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The concept isn’t entirely new as plenty of automakers have asked dealers to do the same throughout the years, the most recent being Hyundai and Genesis, although that program is in its infancy. Lincoln has a bit of history with stores separate from Ford-branded outlets from the days when it was Lincoln-Mercury. (more…)

Rising Inflation Challenges Profitability for Automakers

Car companies getting hit on rising material costs due to Trump tariffs.

by on Aug.14, 2018

Trucks are still protected in the U.S. by a 25% tariff, despite a lower tax on all other vehicles.

A rising rate of inflation now poses an additional threat to an auto industry already under pressure from new tariffs and trade restrictions.

From June 2017 to June 2018, the U.S. Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose 2.9%, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor. The Congressional Budget Office, in a report in which it indicated it expects U.S. economic growth to slow next year, also said this week it expects the rate inflation to top 3.1% through the last half of 2018.

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U.S. workers’ paychecks are worth less than they were a year ago, the Labor Department reported Friday, as modest wage gains have not kept pace with inflation. (more…)