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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.

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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.

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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…)

Ford Trades Range for Price on New Focus EV

Execs don't believe the 200 miles is worth an extra $6k to buyers.

by on Apr.18, 2016

The 2017 Ford Focus EV will have a range of 100 miles, which is about 100 miles less than its competition.

As most of EV makers are following the go big or go home path when it comes to battery range, Ford is staying the course – or distance – when it comes to the next-generation Ford Focus EV: it will go about 100 miles before needing a charge.

Why? Money.

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The rationale was made apparent as Kevin Layden, Ford’s director for electrification, told attendees at the SAE World Congress in Detroit, said the company felt that extra 100 miles wasn’t worth the extra $6,000 it would cost potential owners. (more…)

Ford Begins Taking Orders for $400,000 GT Supercar

Initial run limited to just 500 - and buyers will have to jump through lots of hoops.

by on Apr.13, 2016

Potential Ford GT buyers will have to go through an extensive application process.

Looking to buy one of the year’s most eagerly awaited new models? Ford opened up the order bank for its new GT supercar today, and it expects to have a long line of potential owners signing up.

That said, don’t expect the sort of frantic rush that followed the debut of the new Tesla Model 3 two weeks ago. Ford has plans to produce far fewer GTs – at more than 10 times the price. And Ford plans to put up some hurdles that will limit who is likely to actually get one of the new supercars.

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“The purchase process for the Ford GT is as unique as our all-new supercar,” said Henry Ford III, the global marketing manager for Ford Performance. “We understand GT customers are strong ambassadors for Ford Motor Company, and we look forward to providing them a service as distinct as the car itself.”

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Ford Planning Complete Makeover of its HQ Campus

Plan estimated at over $1 bil; will replace, update over 70 buildings.

by on Apr.12, 2016

The Sustainability Showcase building is expected to actually produce more energy than it uses.

Ford Motor Co. plans a complete makeover of its corporate headquarters and nearby product development operations as part of the first complete overhaul since the early 1950s.

The move will see Ford tear down, update or replace 70 current buildings and fill the new campus with the latest in high-tech research and collaborative communications technologies. About 30,000 employees will be impacted by the two-phase project set to get underway this week.

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The project is meant to “drive innovation in every part of our business,” explained CEO Mark Fields during a media web conference, and support Ford’s remake of its own corporate business plan, shifting from being a car manufacturer to what Fields has dubbed a “mobility company.”

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Ford, GM Report Better-Than-Expected March Sales in China

Ford sales increase while GM posts small drop as SUV sales reign supreme.

by on Apr.08, 2016

Sport-utes continue to be the savior of sales in China for General Motors and Ford.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. succeeded in holding their ground or growing sales in China in the face of some major headwinds with help of strong showings by their luxury brands, Cadillac and Lincoln.

Ford reported 2016 as first quarter sales in China increased 14% compared to the same period last year, with 314,454 vehicles sold. Sales of Ford-branded vehicles reached 114,788 in March, up 5% compared with March 2015.

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Lincoln has also had a strong start to the year with 5,484 vehicles sold in the first quarter, a three-fold increase compared with the same time in 2015. Lincoln’s strong performance in the first quarter was supported by the growing number of dealerships, which reached 37 by the end of March, and Chinese customers’ positive reception of Lincoln SUVs, Ford officials noted. (more…)