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Japanese Surge Reveals Broader Jump in Auto Imports

Rising numbers from Japan, Mexico, Korea, China challenge Trump 

by on Apr.20, 2018

Demand for the latest version of Nissan's Rogue has contributed to an increase in imports from Japan.

When Toyota and Mazda open a new assembly plant in Alabama in 2021, it will become the latest in a growing array of automotive plants Japanese manufacturers have set up in the U.S. since the mid-1980s – yet despite investing billions in their American operations, Japanese manufacturers have also been increasing exports to the U.S. from their home market factories.

The number of Japanese-made vehicles imported into the U.S. rose almost 10% during the first quarter of 2018. And Japan wasn’t alone.  Auto imports, as a whole have actually been on the rise, whether from Korea, Europe or Mexico, the latter country shipping about 7.5% more vehicles to the U.S. in March than the year before – despite Pres. Donald Trump’s high-profile push to bring more auto production back to the States.

Trade News!

“Japan sends us million and millions of cars, and we tax them virtually not at all. And we don’t send so much product because we have trade barriers and lots of other things,” the president complained during a news conference this week while standing alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Walking a Tightrope: Ford Trying to Please All with New Mustang Variants

The original pony car continues to draw new fans.

by on Apr.18, 2018

The Ford Mustang is celebrating 54 years, and the current best-selling sports car in the world intends to remain so.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

You can’t stand still in the muscle car market. What’s hot today could be all but forgotten tomorrow. That’s something Ford Motor Co. learned when rival General Motors brought back the Chevrolet Camaro in 2010, delivering a sucker punch to the long-dominant Ford Mustang.

Since launching an all-new version of the Mustang to mark the nameplate’s 50th anniversary four years ago, Ford has retaken its crown as king of the pony car hill. It has now been the world’s best-selling sports car for three years in a row.

More Than Just Headlines!

And Ford is determined to maintain that lead with a series of Mustang variants set to come to market during the next 18 months. That includes not only the latest version of the GT500 but a first-ever Mustang hybrid. (more…)

Mustang: World’s Best-Selling Sports Car for Third Year in a Row

Exports to Asia and Europe pushing pony car to the top.

by on Apr.17, 2018

The Ford Mustang is the world's best-selling sports car three years running.

When the Ford Mustang turned 50, the automaker decided it was time to see just how popular the pony car was, and it began selling one of America’s first muscle cars globally.

Turned out to be a fine idea.

Industry News!

Now that the Mustang is about to turn the big Five-Four, it is also celebrating its third consecutive year as the best-selling sports car in the world, according to IHS Markit. Global Mustang registrations in 2017 totaled 125,809 cars, according to Ford. (more…)

China to “Significantly Lower” Tariffs on Vehicle Imports

Move could help defuse threat of trade war, but unclear how much will change.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Tesla CEO Musk is one of those celebrating China's plans to sharply reduce import auto tariffs.

Foreign automakers have long complained about the hefty tariffs levied on vehicles exported to China, but Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said his government plans to “significantly lower” duties this year.

The move comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and China have built to the point where many observers have been fearing the start of a potentially devastating trade war. Just Monday, U.S. President Donald Trump complained in a tweet about “STUPID TRADE” policies that allowed the Chinese to levy a 25% tariff on imported vehicles, compared to the 2.5% duties imposed by the U.S. on most foreign-made vehicles.

More Than Just Headlines!

The Chinese president’s comments leave a lot of questions to be answered before it can be clear what impact the proposed move will have on foreign automakers, but at least one U.S.-based manufacturer is pleased, Tesla CEO Elon Musk quickly tweeting, “This is a very important action by China. Avoiding a trade war will benefit all countries.”

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Ford Unveils Five New Models for Chinese Market

Company makes big product push in world's largest market.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Ford officials show off the new Focus that is part of five new midsize cars the maker plans to debut in China.

The Chinese market is too large and too important for Ford Motor Co. to ignore so the company is planning to launch five new midsize models this year in a bid to boost its fortunes in the world’s biggest market.

The new models will go on later this year Ford representatives said this week after company unveiled them at an event in Chongqing, the base of its principal partner in China, Changan Ford.

Product News!

The unveiling also comes ahead of Auto China 2018 in Beijing, which has become one of the world’s most important auto shows. (more…)

Ford Offers a First Look of its Next-Generation “Global” Focus

U.S. model remains under wraps.

by on Apr.10, 2018

Ford shows off the European line-up of the next-gen Focus. We'll have to wait to see U.S. versions.

Ford is lifting the kimono to give us a first look at its next-generation “global” Focus line-up – but it says it won’t reveal the U.S.-specific model until shortly before it goes on sale later next year.

The next version of the compact model will be offered in a range of body styles and trim levels, while adding a variety of tech features, including the new Ford CoPilot360 driver assistance suite. Expect roomier and more comfortable interiors, the automaker says, while adding that the next-gen Focus will feature new gas and diesel engines, as well as a new suspension.

Auto Show News!

“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” said Jim Farley, president of Global Markets. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus line-up we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”

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Ford Recalls 350,000 Trucks, SUVs and Mustangs

Automaker issues two recalls for transmission problems.

by on Apr.06, 2018

The 2018 Ford F-150 is subject to a recall due to a problem that results in the truck being in a different gear than the driver selected.

Ford announced it is recalling more than 350,000 F-Series trucks and Expeditions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico due to a potentially unseated transmission gear shift cable clip, which cause the vehicle to be in a different gear than is shown.

The action covers the 2018 F-150 pickup and Expedition large SUV with 10-speed automatic transmissions as well as 2018 F-650 and F-750 trucks with six-speed transmissions.

Safety News!

The problem stems from a clip that locks the gear shift cable to the transmission that may not be fully seated. The partially seated clip or a clip that becomes dislodged may allow the transmission to be in a gear that is different from the gear shift position selected by the driver, the automaker says. (more…)

3 Familiar Models May Vanish as Sales Shift to SUVs

Ford Taurus exiting for a second time, along with Fiesta and Chevy Sonic.

by on Apr.05, 2018

The Taurus is one of two Ford models that are expected to be dropped over the next few years.

March saw an even bigger surge in demand for SUVs, CUVs and other light trucks but, according to industry data, sales of sedans, coupes and hatchbacks continued to decline – an ongoing trend that is expected to lead to the demise of a number of once-popular passenger car models, including Ford’s big Taurus and subcompact Fiesta, as well as the little Chevrolet Sonic.

And even more passenger car models could be on the way out, according to industry sources, even as manufacturers move to expand their light truck portfolios to take advantage of one of the biggest market shifts in decades.

Product News!

“I think we’re going to see some contraction in passenger car nameplates,” said Stephanie Brinley, principle automotive analyst at IHS Automotive. “That’s not to say they’ll go away. Some people still like them….but there’ll be some rationalization over time.”

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Popular Ford Escape Flunks IIHS Crash Test

Five of Seven small SUVs earn good ratings.

by on Apr.04, 2018

The Ford Escape received the worst score yet among small SUVs in the IIHS small overlap test.

Ford Motor Co. is setting sales records with its broad SUV fleet, but a new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety could lead potential buyers to question the benefits of one of the maker’s most popular ute offerings.

The compact Ford Escape was the only of seven small SUVs to receive a “Poor” rating in the latest IIHS test for occupant protection, though the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport managed an only slightly better “Marginal” rating in the small overlap front crash test – which is designed to simulate what happens when a vehicle clips a pole, a tree or the corner of an oncoming vehicle.

Safety News!

Ford’s shortfall reflects a curious decision made with the update of the 2017 model-year, according to officials with the insurance trade group. The automaker upgraded the driver’s side of the Escape, which passed the small overlap test. But not the passenger side which was badly compromised and likely would have resulted in serious injuries if a human, rather than a crash dummy, was in the seat.

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Ford and Mahindra Teaming Up on New SUVs and an EV

Partnership focuses on India but could target “other markets.”

by on Mar.23, 2018

Even as Ford and Mahindra lay out plans for the Indian market, Mahindra is ramping up U.S. production of its Roxor SUV.

After agreeing to form a strategic alliance last year, Ford and India’s Mahindra & Mahindra now plan to jointly develop at least two new sport-utility vehicles, as well as an electric vehicle.

The two manufacturers say they will initially target the fast-growing Indian market where Ford has been trying to expand its presence. But they eventually may look at opportunities in “other markets,” according to a source in the U.S.

Global Automotive Insight!

“Today’s announcement is the next step in the collaboration between Mahindra and Ford,” said Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. “Both teams are working together on joint development areas in keeping with industry requirements and leveraging mutual strengths. We are excited about the synergies unveiled through this collaboration and the potential opportunities it will bring.”

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