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Detroit Muscle Cars Fall Short in New Crash Tests

Ford Mustang outperforms Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger.

by on May.24, 2016

They perform well on the street, but the IIHS wanted to see how the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevy Camaro perform in a crash.

The Ford Mustang outperformed its domestic muscle car rivals in the latest series of crash tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but none of the three managed to earn top ratings in the closely watched tests.

This marks the first time the insurance industry-funded safety group tested and compared all three of the domestic “pony cars,” a move that reflects the fact that muscle cars collectively suffer some of the highest loss rates of any vehicle category, according to government statistics.

Safety News!

“Given that sports cars have high crash rates, it’s especially important that they offer the best occupant protection possible in a crash,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund.

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Hertz Offers “Rent a Racer” Again with new Shelby GT-H

Company first teamed with Carol Shelby 50 years ago.

by on May.18, 2016

The Rent-a-Racer program is back at Hertz. For $500 a day, you can drive a 435-horsepower beast.

Want to go racing, but don’t have a track-ready car or the cash handy to buy one. No problem. Head over to Hertz and, assuming you can pass the background check, you can scream off the lot in the latest iteration of the Shelby GT-H.

That’s right. Fill out the form, slide them your credit card number and for $500 a day, you could tool – or jet – around town in a 435-horsepower Carol Shelby-inspired muscle car.

Product News!

Hertz is once again teaming with performance car outfitter Shelby American to bring back its super-sized Ford Mustang, the Shelby GT-H. Clad in their tradition black with two gold racing stripes, Hertz is renting 140 of the cars, at 17 Hertz airport rental locations. (more…)

GM Sales in China Jump in April as Ford Falls

SUVs, MPVs, luxury vehicles still drawing buyers.

by on May.06, 2016

GM Executive Vice President and GM China President Matt Tsien said GM was selling SUVs and MPVs in big numbers in China in April.

General Motors and its Chinese partners said its sales increased 7.5% during April from the same month last year, while Ford Motor Co. reported an 11% decline for the same period.

GM said the company’s sales increase was focused on new segments and sport utility vehicles, which were up 107% from the same period a year earlier, while Cadillac luxury vehicle sales increased 13% in April from the previous year.

Global News!

So far, in the first four months of 2016, GM and its joint ventures’ deliveries increased 1.7% year over year to a record 1,241,631 units. (more…)

Ford Boosting the (Horsepower and Gear) Numbers for 2017 F-150

New 10-speed gearbox developed in joint venture with GM.

by on May.05, 2016

The 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor.

Ford is playing it by the numbers as it gets ready to roll out the updated, 2017 F-150 pickup.

The full-size truck, the most popular version of the comprehensive Ford F-Series line-up, has undergone a number of big changes over the last two years, starting with its switch to a lighter, “aluminum-intensive” body. It’s also gotten an assortment of downsized engines, including a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that was already one of the F-150’s toughest haulers. But the twin-turbo package will get a 30 pound-feet bump for 2017, even as it delivers better fuel economy.

Keep on Truckin'!

A key to the mileage increase is the launch of an all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. That new gearbox was developed as part of an unusual partnership between Ford and erstwhile rival General Motors. Expect to see it roll out on a variety of Ford and GM products over the next several years.

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Ford Planning Long-Range EV to Challenge Tesla, GM

Goal is to be “in a leadership position,” says CEO Fields

by on Apr.29, 2016

Ford is upping the range of the current Focus Electric to more than 100 miles for 2017.

Ford Motor Co. plans to join the ranks of automakers offering a battery-car capable of at least 200 miles per charge, said CEO Mark Fields, helping eliminate the so-called “range anxiety” that has many potential customers shying away from electric vehicles.

That’s a shift in strategy for Ford which decided to hold the range of the updated 2017 Focus Electric to just 100 miles. But a growing list of manufacturers are pushing to 200 miles or more, including Tesla, General Motors, Volkswagen and Audi.

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“We want to make sure that we’re either among the leaders or in a leadership position,” Fields said during a conference call with automotive analysts and reporters. “When you look at some of the competitors and what they’ve announced, clearly, that’s something we’re developing for.”

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Ford Posts Profit, Operating Margin Records

“Essentially everything has improved,” says CFO Shanks.

by on Apr.28, 2016

Ford CEO Mark Fields has been trying to shift Ford to focus on broader "mobility" opportunities.

Ford handily outperformed expectations as it delivered record net profits and operating income for the first quarter of the year on Thursday.

Net income jumped 113% to $2.45 billion for the January-to-March quarter, or 61 cents a diluted share. A year ago, Ford’s net totaled $1.3 billion, or 29 cents a share. Excluding one-time items, Ford earned 68 cents a share compared to a Wall Street forecast averaging 48 cents.

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“Essentially everything has improved,” said Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks, who also said Ford expects 2016 overall to meet or exceed the company’s strong performance last year.

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Ford Recalling 285,000 Vehicles

Automaker issues action for transmission, suspension and airbag problems.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Ford's Police Interceptor Utility is part of a recall of SUVs due to suspension issues.

Ford is recalling more than 280,000 sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks due to suspension and transmission issues.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker will recall 201,900 pickups due to a flaw in the transmission. A faulty speed sensor can cause it to downshift into first gear at the wrong time, potentially causing the driver to lose control or affect the vehicles around it.

Recall News!

Thus far, the automaker is aware of three accidents that have occurred due to the sensor on transmission model6R80. It is found on 2011-12 Ford F-150, 2012 Expedition and Mustangs built in Michigan from Aug. 19, 2011 through Feb. 12, 2012. (more…)

Ford Wants to Go Green in China

US maker says 25% of Chinese vehicles will be battery-based by 2020.

by on Apr.27, 2016

Ford plans to launch the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid in China sometime in 2017.

One in four of the vehicles Ford Motor Co. hope to sell in China by the end of the decade will use some form of battery-based powertrain, company officials said during the Beijing Motor Show.

Ford has already announced plans to invest $4.5 billion in its electrification program, CEO Mark Fields saying the goal is to have 13 hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles in the Blue Oval and Lincoln line-ups by 2020.

Your Auto Insider!

But China could become the maker’s largest market for these green vehicles, a shift that reflects government pressure at least as much as consumer demand in the world’s largest automotive market. Hoping to deal with endemic smog problems, Beijing regulators are using both carrot and stick – incentives and new mandates – to get the auto industry to ramp up production of battery-based vehicles.

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Ford Plowing $1.6B into Michigan, Ohio Plants

Investment focuses on profitable trucks and components.

by on Apr.26, 2016

Ford moved production of its F-650 and F-750 from Mexico to Ohio. It's spending nearly $200 million on the plant for the trucks.

Ford Motor Co. announced plans to spend $1.6 billion to upgrade factories in Michigan and Ohio, saying the new investment will create as many as 650 new jobs.

The announcement comes as Donald Trump, who has used Ford as a punching bag during his campaign, moves closer to the Republican nomination for President. Trump has repeatedly attacked Ford over its plans to invest in a new plant in Mexico and in several speeches has said it wouldn’t happen if he were president.

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Ford CEO Mark Fields said last month in New York Ford is a global company that invests in markets around the world. However, overall Ford’s efforts to correct the record have been relatively ineffective in the face of attacks from Trump. (more…)

UAW Scores Organizing Win at Ford Supplier in Ohio

Detroit Chassis workers threaten strike over right to organize.

by on Apr.20, 2016

Workers at the Detroit Chassis plant in Avon, Ohio, will be represented by the UAW after threatening to walk off their jobs.

Temporary workers at a minority-owned supplier plant in Ohio responsible for key parts used on Ford Motor Co.’s highly profitable heavy-duty pickup trucks won the right to unionize after threatening a strike.

Workers at Detroit Chassis planned to walk off their jobs at the Avon, Ohio, auto parts plant, but called off the strike after the company agreed to their demand to join the United Auto Workers.

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The vote to join the union followed a march last week at the end of which the workers delivered a letter to Detroit Chassis’ management outlining their demand for union recognition. A walkout could have halted production within a day at Ford’s nearby Ohio Assembly Plant, where F-650 and F-750 trucks are built. (more…)