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Nissan Readying Replacement for Titan Pickup

High-mileage diesel expected to enhance truck’s appeal.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Nissan's Titan replacement will reach market about four years later than originally planned.

Better late than never? Nissan is certainly hoping so – as are those who’ve long been hoping for an update to the maker’s slow-selling full-size pickup.

It’s been a long 11 years since the original Titan made its debut – and four years since the Japanese maker originally planned to offer a replacement. But plans for the update fell apart, forcing Nissan to return to the drawing board.

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What it’s come up with will make a debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January, and several inside sources have confirmed to TheDetroitBureau.com that the plans call for that preview to put the spotlight on a new diesel developed specifically for the 2016 Nissan Titan.

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Ford Adding 850 Jobs for new F-150

Automaker spreads new employees to three sites.

by on Oct.13, 2014

Ford President Joe Hinrichs announces the addition of 850 new jobs at Ford facilities in Dearborn, Michigan.

As the new aluminum-intensive F-150 nears production, Ford is adding 850 employees to ensure the launch goes off with out a hitch. The jobs will be added at three Michigan sites, according to the maker.

Of the new hires, about 500 will be at the Dearborn Truck Plant that assembles the pickup. Another 300 workers are headed for Dearborn Stamping the remainder will work at Dearborn Diversified, which also does stamping.

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“As customer anticipation for the all-new F-150 continues to build, today we are bringing on 850 new jobs to help meet the market demand for the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of The Americas, in a statement. “The new truck sets new standards for the future of tough – right down to how it’s built.” (more…)

Ford F-150 Lassoes Truck of Texas Trophy

Ford, Jeep and Ram corral a hatful of victories.

by on Oct.13, 2014

Ford's new F-150 snags a welcome honor.

The Ford F-150 scooped up the first of what the company’s executives hope will be several awards over the weekend as it was named Truck of Texas at the 2014 Texas Auto Writers Association Truck Rodeo.

That’s particularly good news for Ford considering the growing concerns about whether the maker can pull off a smooth launch for the “aluminum-intensive” remake of what has long been the country’s best-selling motor vehicle.

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Ford actually got a triple-dose of good news from the Lone Star State’s automotive scribes who named the 2015 Lincoln MKC the crossover of Texas, while Ford also was named the Truck Line of Texas. But the Detroit carmaker couldn’t pull off a clean sweep, the 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee capturing the SUV of Texas title for the fifth straight year.

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“Green Truck” Finalists Revealed – and Surprises Abound

The truck world is “changing in a very big way.”

by on Oct.10, 2014

GM jumped back into the midsize truck market with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon.

It’s that time of year, nominees for all sort of automotive awards being revealed in time for the launch of the 2015 models. But where performance and luxury features might sway most juries, at least one major award focuses on things environmental.

So, it might come as a surprise to see Green Car Journal tipping its hat to five new pickups, but the magazine says vehicles like the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and Chevrolet Colorado underscore the dramatic changes sweeping through all aspects of today’s automotive world.

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“The significant efficiency and environmental improvements being made in the truck segment signal an important change in the industry,” said Ron Cogan, publisher of the Green Car Journal and CarsOfChange.com.

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Ford May Return to Small Pickup Market

But Detroit maker likely won’t use new Global Ranger for American market.

by on Oct.09, 2014

Ford still sells the Ranger around the world, but is reconsidering its decision to discontinue it in the U.S.

Ford Motor Co. may be ready to reverse its long-standing decision to abandon the compact American pickup market. But the maker is struggling to find a design that will offer a true alternative to the best-selling Ford F-150 full-size truck.

Ford walked away from the small pickup segment in December 2011, when it abandoned the long-in-the-tooth Ranger. And it wasn’t alone. With small truck sales withering over the decades, Chrysler and General Motors also pulled the plug on their old models.

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But GM is back for 2015 with two new midsize pickups, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and if initial reviews and early orders are any indication, they could be major hits, challenging the aged trucks offered by Toyota and Nissan. (more…)

Safety Watch List Topped by 2012 Ford Focus

Second consecutive quarter it takes top spot.

by on Oct.02, 2014

The 2012 Ford Focus topped The Safety Institute's quarterly "Watch List" due to steering problems.

Drivers of the 2012 Ford Focus sustained more injuries than those in any other vehicle in the U.S., according to The Safety Institute’s quarterly “Watch List.” It’s the second straight quarter the Focus has topped the list.

The complaints, which are made to the National Highways Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), center on two issues: allegations that the electric power steering shuts down randomly and intermittently as well as complaints about delaminating steering wheels that lacerate drivers’ hands.

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“The steering wheel has sharp metal edges protruding from the top of the wheel,” one person wrote in a complaint. “While driving on the highway, I sliced my finger on the edge. Not a major incident… but upon reviewing the Internet this is apparently a common issue with the Ford Focus… My hope is that Ford will repair or replace the metal on the wheel so it is no longer a danger while driving.” (more…)

Ford Takes it to the Max in Paris – With New S-Max and C-Max Models

Europe gets two "un-minivans."

by on Oct.02, 2014

Ford's European "people-mover" family includes the B-, C- and S-Max models.

Ford is rolling out two new “people movers” for the 2014 Paris Motor Show, and American motorists may see the updated version of the C-Max make it to U.S. showrooms in the near future.

The C-Max and stretched Grand C-Max will debut alongside an all-new version of the bigger S-Max. Along with the pint-sized B-Max, they make up a family of sport-activity vehicles that serve as a European alternative for families who’d like something a little more visually appealing and fun to drive than a classic minivan.

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The new S-Max is the most sophisticated of the bunch, and will undergo the most complete changeover. Under the skin, the 2015 remake will share the same CD4 platform that will underpin the next-generation Ford Mondeo line – which is sold in the U.S. as the Fusion sedan. (more…)

Ford Stock Drilled for Second Straight Day

Lower profit expectations drive drop in share price.

by on Oct.01, 2014

After Ford CEO Mark Fields revealed the maker would miss its 2014 profit target, the stock fell sharply.

After executives told Ford Motor Co. shareholders Monday the company would miss its profit target for 2014 as the growing expense of recall and losses from the company’s operations in Europe and South America, Ford stock fell dramatically throughout the day and it continued falling for a second straight day yesterday.

Ford stock fell by more than 2% or 32 cents per share to close at $14.79 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday after tumbling 7.5% on Monday.

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Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told analysts and reports that 2014 pretax profit was now expected to be $6 billion to $7 billion, compared with an earlier projection of $7 billion to $8 billion. It attributed the change to recall-related expenses in North America and larger than expected losses in South America and Russia. (more…)

Ford’s Heavy-Duty Trucks Also Going Aluminum

Maker charging ahead with lightweight metal for F-Series.

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford plans to expand its use of aluminum in its trucks to include its Super Duty line-up.

With its new full-size F-Series pickups set to migrate to an “aluminum-intensive” design for 2015, Ford Motor Co. officials have confirmed that the maker’s heavy-duty models also will switch to the lightweight metal when they are redesigned several years from now.

The standard-duty full-size trucks will drop as much as 750 pounds in mass, Ford previously revealed, a move that should yield a significant boost in fuel economy. In turn, “Lightweighting offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to conquest” buyers away from competitors such as General Motors and Chrysler, said Jim Farley, global sales and marketing director, during a presentation to industry analysts on Monday.

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Ford is just preparing to roll out the new F-150, a move observers believe could be one of the most important it will make for years to come. That’s because the entire F-Series line-up – including standard and heavy-duty models – makes up the single best-selling product range in the U.S. auto industry. (more…)

Ford Shares Plunge on Bad News About Recalls, Europe

But maker insists it is “well-positioned for long-term.”

by on Sep.30, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields, shown with the 2015 Edge, insists the maker's long-term prospects are solid.

Investors took a dim view after being given an inside look at Ford Motor Co, the maker acknowledging that its European turnaround will be delayed, while it expects to run up big losses in South America, as well – with earnings taking taking another $500 million hit due to recent recalls.

Ford shares closed Monday at $15.11, down about 7.5% on nearly three times the normal volume on the New York Stock Exchange, investors having to balance the maker’s short-term problems against the more upbeat, long-term potential outlined by new Ford CEO mark Fields and his top management team.

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“Our long-term plan underscores the commitment we have to our One Ford plan, while accelerating our pace of progress, delivering product excellence and driving innovation in all areas of our business,” Fields said during a presentation to automotive analysts dubbed Ford 2020. “We remain completely focused on offering customers the freshest lineup of world-class vehicles to meet their needs.”

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