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Ford Goes Wild(track) With Updated Ranger

Could move signal return of the midsize pickup to US?

by on Sep.14, 2015

The Ford Ranger Wildtrack bumps the midsize pickup into a higher level of refinement.

Ford is going wild as it prepares to launch an updated version of its midsize Ranger pickup in Europe. Make that Wildtrack, a new version of the truck making its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week.

The unveiling in Europe further bolsters hopes that the Detroit maker will finally move ahead on long-rumored plans to bring the Ranger back to the American market, filling a yawning gap left wide open when it killed off the old, U.S.-made Ranger a few years back.

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“With the stunning new Wildtrak at the pinnacle of the line-up, the new Ford Ranger provides customers with an unbeatable combination of four-wheel drive capability, stand-out styling and premium features like SYNC 2 connectivity,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Ranger is ready for any challenge – offering optimised fuel efficiency, towing and payload capacity, and class-leading wading capability.”

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European Market Showing Signs of Life, Ford Plans Big Model Blitz

Maker promises to roll out 25 new vehicles in five-year frenzy.

by on Sep.10, 2013

Ford of Europe Stephen Odell is seeing some light at the end of Europe's long tunnel.

While it’s far too early to predict that the struggling European car market is finally back in gear, there are growing signs that the worst is over, suggests Stephen Odell, the CEO of Ford European operations.  With the maker now confident it will be back in the black by 2015, that’s encouraging Ford to prepare for the inevitable revival with a blitz of new products.

Ford had previously announced plans to roll out 15 all-new or completely redesigned models during a five-year period starting in mid-2012.  But over a dinner prior to the start of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Odell says Ford has upped that to 25 new products during the same timeframe.

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“We are at the bottom,” the executive says. And while he cautions, “There are no major signs of uptick,” he insists, “it does feel like we’re running along the bottom.”

Ordinarily, that might not seem like a very positive assessment, but consider that European sales have been tumbling by at least 500,000 annually in recent years, the numbers from the first part of 2013 dipping to two-decade lows. That forced Ford to take a number of critical steps, including the planned closure of its big assembly plant in Genk, Belgium and two smaller facilities in the U.K.

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Ford S-Max Concept to Debut in Frankfurt

Updated big brother of C-Max people-mover will get array of new technologies.

by on Aug.28, 2013

Ford will officially reveal this new S-Max Concept during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show.

Ford will roll out a concept version of its S-Max crossover during the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, and it will feature a variety of new technologies that can even track a driver’s health.

The 7-seat S-Max is the larger, more upscale version of the Ford C-Max “people mover” recently introduced in the U.S. market. The Concept hints at an update being seen by the automaker as a way to draw in the young European families Ford desperately needs to attract in order to reverse years of substantial losses in the struggling Continental car market.

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As has become typical with Ford’s recent concepts, what you see is pretty much what you will get, global design director J Mays said during a Detroit media backgrounder.  The design, he said, is a “very good indication of what the next  S-Max will look like.”

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Striking Evos Concept Will Reshape Face of Next Ford Fusion

by on Sep.13, 2011

Though not slated for production, the design cues of the Ford Evos Concept will reappear - starting with the 2013 Ford Fusion and Mondeo.

Officially, the new Ford Evos is nothing more than a concept vehicle.  The sporty gullwinged 4-door debuting today at the Frankfurt Motor Show today won’t be going into production.  But if it strikes your fancy, hang tight.  Many of the most appealing design cues will soon reappear at a nearby Ford showroom, senior company officials tell TheDetroitBureau.com, starting with a new model launching at the North American International Auto Show next January.

While Ford’s global design chief J Mays and other officials were cagey when pressed on the future of the new Evos “design language” – Mays hinting we might see more in four months or so – unimpeachable sources confirmed that this would, indeed, translate into a major launch at the Detroit Auto Show.  And the first new model to bring the Evos’ design cues to life will be the next-generation Ford Fusion – which be sold in most other markets as the Ford Mondeo.

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“We’re at the crossroads,” announced design director Mays during a sneak preview of the Evos, which is meant to be a significant evolution of Ford’s kinetic sculpture design language – which is itself most visible on new models like the Focus and Fiesta.  The goal is to come up with a look that is “more than just fun-to-drive,” said Mays, but which also provides a sense of the high technology  Ford is engineering into its products.

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First Look: Ford Fiesta ST

"Teasing enthusiasts around the world."

by on Sep.13, 2011

Ford is gauging interest in an ST-badged version of the subcompact Fiesta.

While Ford has been signaling for some time its plans to offer a performance-oriented version of its global compact, the Focus ST, the maker dropped a surprise during the Frankfurt Motor Show, announcing a second model to wear the new performance badge, the Fiesta ST.

Though no formal launch date has been set, the maker will use the Frankfurt preview – and subsequent auto show appearances – to “begin teasing enthusiasts around the world” and gauge their response to the sporty subcompact, said Jost Capito, Ford’s global director of performance vehicles.

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In concept trim, the Fiesta ST sports a 1.6-liter version of the makers EcoBoost engine, hear producing about 180 horsepower.  It is mated to a 6-speed stick.

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First Look: Ford Focus ST and Focus ST-R

A different take on performance.

by on Sep.12, 2011

Ford will unveil the long-awaited Focus ST at this week's Frankfurt Motor Show.

The name SVT may be missing, but if the new Focus ST and Focus ST-R are any indication, Ford Motor Co. is getting serious about performance again, rather than limiting its muscle options to the likes of the Lightning pickup truck and Mustang pony car variants.

The two new offerings, which include the track-ready Ford Focus ST-R will make their long-anticipated debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show, this week, with Ford insiders hinting there may be even more in the works for the biennial event, the season’s largest European car show.

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Significantly, the Focus ST underscores CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, as it is the first of what the Detroit automaker can accurately bill as a “global performance car.”  Others, it appears, are likely to follow.  And there will be an emphasis on using higher-performance versions of Ford’s EcoBoost technology.

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Ford Now a Solid 2nd in Europe

Product-led revival.

by on Sep.12, 2011

Ford will introduce the new Evos Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The launch of a flood of new vehicles is paying off for Ford Motor Co. as its European turnaround efforts take hold. At the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show the maker will reveal an assortment of new products and concept vehicles that should reveal whether it can continue to gain momentum.

The maker is earning a steady improvement in sales and market share in Europe – strong demand in  Germany for the Focus and C-MAX helping Ford increase sales 19.3% in August to 72,200 vehicles, while  its share rose 0.8 percentage points to 8.2% for the month, Ford’s best August share performance in Europe since 1998.

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Ford is now the number-two best-selling brand in Europe behind Volkswagen for the year-to-date. Through the first eight months of the year, Ford European sales have grown 2.8% to more than 1.05 million units.

“We had a very strong August compared with a year ago and compared with the rest of the industry, which is a testament to our strengthened product lineup,” said Stephen Odell, Ford of Europe’s chairman and CEO, on the eve of Ford’s IAA Frankfurt Motor Show media preview.

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Incredible, Shrinking Detroit

Big 3 makers barely visible at 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

by on Sep.17, 2009

See the Blue Oval?  If not, no surprise, like its cross-town rivals, Ford's presence at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show was minimal. Where once it occupied nearly an entire floor, it now has a display no larger than Hyundai or Dacia.  Dacia?

See the Blue Oval? If not, no surprise, like its cross-town rivals, Ford's presence at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show was minimal.

It’s hard to find an inch of unused space at the grand Festhalle pavilion that Mercedes-Benz has filled with its newest products and displays touting its latest technology.  Nor is there any more room left at Halle 11, the newest addition to the Messe, the convention center, where BMW has set up shop for the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show.

But try to find General Motors’ Chevrolet brand, and you’ll have to turn down a side alley off one of the lesser pavilions, where the division has been parked in a small tent.

The situation isn’t much better for Chrysler, which abandoned its traditional auto show display, settling instead for a corner of the stand set up by Fiat, the Italian automaker that has taken control of the struggling U.S. automaker.

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Even Ford Motor Co., generally considered the healthiest of Detroit’s Big Three, and one of the top brands in Europe, isn’t much more visible.

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