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Ford Offers Up More – But Not Everything – On New Focus RS and GT Supercar

Both models get public previews as Geneva Motor Show opens doors.

by on Mar.03, 2015

The new Ford Focus RS will put out at least 320 horsepower and be built at one plant in France.

Ford intends to take on some of the toughest competitors in the hot-hatch market when it launches an all-new version of the Focus RS for 2016. And after giving a select group of media a preview last month, the Detroit maker will be rolling out the five-door pocket rocket for public viewing this week at the Geneva Motor Show.

In a limited-access background session, senior members of the Ford performance and product development team offered some more background on the Focus RS – as well as the upcoming Ford ultracar, the reborn GT. But they continued to hold back some key details, apparently not wanting to give key competitors like Volkswagen, Honda and Subaru, a chance to prepare for what’s coming.

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“There’s quite a bit of fine-tuning that goes in right until the final hour,” stressed Jamal Hameedi, the chief engineer for Ford’s new Global Performance Vehicle unit. (more…)

Ford Brings Wall Street Veteran Casesa in as Global Strategy Chief

Well-respected analyst “knows the auto industry inside and out."

by on Feb.17, 2015

Long-time automotive analyst John Casesa will be Ford's new global strategy chief.

Ford Motor Co. is turning to a long-time industry-watcher, veteran Wall Street analyst John Casesa, who will become the automaker’s chief global strategist.

The 52-year-old Casesa will oversee corporate and business development efforts and report directly to CEO Mark Fields, the automaker announced this morning. Casesa becomes the second Wall Street insider in recent years to take a senior strategic position at one of the Detroit carmakers.

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“John knows business and the auto industry inside and out,” said CEO Fields in a statement announcing Casesa’s appointment. “His deep experience and relationships will help guide and shape our global strategies – particularly as we challenge today’s business model and push to innovate to make us even stronger tomorrow.” (more…)

Ford Will Build GT in Canada

Supplier Multimatic also produced Aston Martin One-77 supercar.

by on Feb.16, 2015

Newly painted silver, the Ford GT is now on display at the annual Chicago Auto Show.

Ford’s new all-American supercar, the GT, will actually be rolling out of a plant in Ontario, the maker has confirmed.

The 600-plus horsepower “ultracar” will be produced by Multimatic Inc., a suburban Toronto supplier with extensive experience using the exotic carbon fiber that will be used for the Ford GT body. Multimatic previously produced the Aston Martin One-77 supercar which also used the super-light material.

High Performance News!

Bedecked in a new silver paint scheme, the GT concept is currently on display at the Chicago Auto Show. It was originally painted blue when unveiled at the North American International Auto Show – where it was one of the event’s big surprises.

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Ford Pursues the Perfect Police Interceptor

Cops will love this Chicago debut.

by on Feb.12, 2015

Keegan, a K9 officer, helped Ford unveil the automaker's new Police Interceptor unit today.

Ford has gone to the dogs! Failing to remember the sage advice attributed — falsely — to W.C. Fields, “Never work with children or animals,” Ford clearly forgot the second half of the famous line in Chicago today when it enlisted the assistance of Keegan, a Belgian, to pull the cover off its new police interceptor model.

Fortunately, Ford had little to worry about in regard to the well-trained Belgian, who performed the task right on cue and even took the time to pose with the new model afterward.

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Since its introduction three years ago, the Interceptor has become the top-selling law enforcement vehicle in the country. But Ford is responding to requests to make it an even more effective tool for crime fighters, a number of changes based on recommendations from a 25-member Police Advisory Board.

“Our Police Interceptor Utility is the best-selling police vehicle in America because we have a unique relationship with our customers,” said Jonathan Honeycutt, Ford’s North American marketing manager for Police Vehicles. “By listening to the Ford Police Advisory Board, we have engineered a vehicle that officers love.”

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New Ford Focus Anticipates Spin-Outs

Compact model predicts problems before they occur.

by on Feb.09, 2015

Ford adopts a new version of electronic stability control when it launches the 2016 Focus.

Anyone who has had to face driving on snowy roads this winter knows what can happen when you hit a patch of black ice, especially when you’re going into a corner or trying to stop.

Ford Motor Co. claims to be launching a new version of electronic stability control that not only intervenes once a car begins to spin, but which “can predict a spin before it even begins.“

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“By recognizing scenarios that can lead to a potential loss of driver control before oversteer has developed, the enhanced transitional stability system is setting the recovery process in motion quicker than ever before – resulting in smoother, more refined control,” says David Messih, Brake Controls manager, Ford North America.

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Ford Bringing New Focus RS to US for 1st Time

Performance hatchback will adopt new AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring.

by on Feb.03, 2015

The new Ford Focus RS will make "in excess of" 315 hp, possibly quite in excess.

Ford will be giving compact performance fans a new option, the maker today rolling out an all-new version of its hot hatch Focus RS – and confirming will come to the U.S. market for the first time.

Part of an ambitious plan to significantly expand its presence in the performance market, the new RS will be one of the fastest and best-handling models in the Ford line-up, company officials promised during a preview staged in both Cologne, Germany and at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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“The RS is the next extension of our plan to bring out 12 (performance) vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, from the suburban Detroit end of the unveiling.

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Ford, GM Implement Expansion Plans in China

Makers invest in plants despite slowing economy.

by on Jan.30, 2015

Shanghai GM invested more than $1 billion in a new plant in China's Hubei province and expanded other facilities in the country.

Despite the fact that China’s economic growth has slowed, General Motors and Ford Motor Co. continue pushing ahead with plans to expand their production footprint there.

Mark Fields, Ford’s chief executive officer, told analysts this week thatFord expects the Chinese economy to grow by 7% to 7.5%, which is ample enough to sustain an increase in sales of new vehicles. Ford expects sales to come in at between 24 million and 26 million units and the automaker, with its Chinese partner, is moving ahead with plans to open two new factories in China this year.

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Ford plans to open both an assembly plant and an engine plant in China this year. Ford sales in China grew 19% in 2014 to 1.1 million units and helped maintain the profitability of Ford overall operations in the Asia Pacific region despite losses in other parts of the region. (more…)

Ford Profit Sharing Checks Drop to Average of $6,900

Last year’s payout was a record $8,800.

by on Jan.29, 2015

Ford's hourly workforce will see their profit-sharing checks drop by nearly $2,000 this year.

Ford Motor Co. will continue to face major challenges in the first half of 2015, but the company’s executives expect better results for the full year after a disappointing 2014.

The company’s results fell in line with earlier guidance, but the net income of $3.2 billion for 2014 is down $4 billion from last year. The obvious hit resulting from the lower profits? Profit sharing checks for the company’s more than 50,000 hourly employees in the U.S.

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They are expected to collect an average of $6,900, which is nearly $2,000 less than last year’s record payout of $8,800 to 47,000 workers. That said, it’s an improvement over 2005 through 2008 when no profit sharing checks were issued. (more…)

Ford Takes Q4 Hit Due to F-Series Changeover

Maker reports profits in line with earlier guidance.

by on Jan.29, 2015

Ford reported pre-tax profits of more than $6 billion for 2014 led largely by North America.

Ford Motor Co.’s profits cratered during the fourth quarter as moved through the changeover of the company’s popular full-size pickup truck, dropping from 75 cents per share in the same period in 2013 to a single penny per share in the final three months of 2014.

The company’s fourth quarter pre-tax profit was $1.1 billion, excluding special items. That is $197 million lower than a year ago with after-tax earnings per share at 26 cents, 6 cents lower than a year ago.

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The net income for the quarter was $52 million: a decline of $3 billion from last year. Despite the decline, the fourth quarter of 2014 was the company’s 22nd consecutive quarter of profitability, Ford executives noted. (more…)

Ford Opens Silicon Valley Research Center

The lines blur between tech and auto worlds.

by on Jan.23, 2015

Ford expects to employ 125 at its new Research and Innovation Center in Palo Alto.

As modern cars become increasingly dependent on digital technology, whether for safety, emissions or infotainment systems, the lines have been blurring between the rust belt and Silicon Valley. The latest example is a dun-colored office building in Palo Alto not far from such high-tech giants as Apple and Google. But this one will soon be staffed by 125 employees reporting to Ford Motor Co.

Ford was an early pioneer in the world of telematics with its Sync infotainment system. But as the maker – like its competitors – has come to learn, the pace of development in the electronics world operates far faster than in the auto industry. So, Ford’s new Research and Innovation Center will act as an outpost, tapping into the talent and technologies that have made Silicon Valley one of the world’s most important high-tech centers.

High-Tech News!

“The valley here is a marketplace of ideas,” said Ford CEO Mark Fields, who was on hand for this week’s dedication of the Research and Innovation Center. “It’s about being in the right neighborhood because of all the collection of companies. Our folks going to the coffee shops will run into folks from other companies and strike up conversation.”

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