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Former Ford PR Boss Charges Maker Tapped Phones, Car

Vines says Bill Ford Jr. leaked stories to NY Times.

by on Oct.24, 2014

Former Ford PR Executive Jason Vines alleges the automaker bugged his phones, office and car in his new book.

Former Ford PR Chief Jason Vines is alleging that the automaker eavesdropped on his conversations and those of other top executives during his tenure at the company.

In his soon-to-be-released book, “What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity,” Vines claims that security personnel for the automaker bugged his car, cell phone and office for a three-month period during the Firestone tire crisis in 2001.

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He further alleges that he wasn’t the only executive who was being tapped. He suggests then-general counsel John Rintamaki also believed he was being listened to and during a sensitive conversation in Rintamaki’s office, the lawyer pumped up the volume on some classical music to counteract the devices. (more…)

After Gloomy Forecast, Ford Earnings Narrowly Beat Expectations

But numbers still down sharply for Q3.

by on Oct.24, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields with the 2015 Edge, one of the models critical to turning around its earnings slump.

Ford’s third-quarter earnings report is a classic test of whether you want to view the glass as half-empty or half-full.

The maker recently warned that it would deliver a substantially lower profits due to problems in Europe and other markets, as well as having to cover the cost of a big recall. And, indeed, earnings for the July to September period plunged sharply, from $1.3 billion a year ago to just $835 million.

Earnings News!

The pre-tax profit, at $1.2 billion, was off from a year-earlier $2.6 billion. But at 24 cents a share, that nonetheless managed to beat the 19-cent consensus estimate, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. (more…)

New Ford Crash System “May” Spare Pedestrians

Pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise in recent years.

by on Oct.23, 2014

Ford workers prepare a mannequin for testing the maker's new pedestrian alert system.

Ford Motor Co. will launch a new collision warning system that it says “may” prevent the pedestrian crashes that have become a growing problem on U.S. roads.

While overall highway fatalities have been on a sharp decline in recent years, the number of pedestrians killed in motor vehicle crashes actually has been on the increase over the last half decade, reaching more than 4,700 annual fatalities, according to federal data — and about one death every two minutes worldwide.

The Automotive Journal of Record!

Ford’s new pedestrian alert technology is part of an upgrade to the collision avoidance system it first introduced in 2009, and will be renamed “pre-collision assist with pedestrian detection.” It will first debut on the 2015 Ford Mondeo about to go on sale in Europe, but Ford plans to expand its use to other models, including those sold in the States – where a version of the Mondeo is sold as the midsize Fusion sedan.

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Pumped Up Mustangs Roaring into SEMA

Ford stand featuring a dozen tweaked pony cars.

by on Oct.22, 2014

Galpin Auto Sports is celebrating 50 years of the Mustang by putting a 5.0-liter V8 developing 725 horsepower into its SEMA show car.

The 50th anniversary of the debut of the Ford Mustang is in full swing and perhaps no where will be more evident at this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas as the maker will have a dozen pony cars on display.

While the show is home to best and sometimes most insane custom cars, an event like this is a license to thrill and Ford is certainly trying to give visitors something, or things, to gawk over. Among the 12 ‘Stangs, two custom builders are going all out: Pettys Garage and Galpin Auto Sports.

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Petty’s Garage races into the show with a Roush supercharged V8 model wearing Richard Petty’s famous blue paint and a discrete No. 43, Petty’s car number in his NASCAR days. Not only will evoke some NASCAR memories, it’ll also do some good as the car will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson with proceeds benefiting Victory Junction, which is dedicated to helping chronically ill children attend summer camp. (more…)

Ford Latest to Cut EV Pricing as Battery-Car Market Struggles

Maker trims $6,000 from price tag of Focus Electric.

by on Oct.21, 2014

Ford has so far sold only 1,500 Focus Electric vehicles this year - less than 1% of total Focus sales.

With battery-car sales lagging expectations, automakers have been slashing prices in a bid to spur demand. The latest to announce a big discount is Ford Motor Co., which will trim the MSRP on its Focus Electric model by $6,000.

That’s on top of the $4,000 discount the Detroit maker took on the compact battery-electric vehicle a year ago. Originally introduced in January 2011 at $39,995, buyers now can plug in a Ford Focus Electric for just $29,995 – plus delivery charges and the usual fees and taxes.

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Ford is by no means alone. With rare exception, automakers have been cutting prices of both plug-in and pure battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, models in a bid to boost sluggish sales. And with gas prices now near or below $3 a gallon in much of the U.S., industry analysts suggest it will be even more difficult to convince buyers to opt for vehicles that plug in rather than tank up.

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Ford Seeking Fifth Truck Crown at SEMA

Two designs give maker shot at another victory.

by on Oct.20, 2014

Ford Racing’s Brian Deegan built the Deegan 38 F-150 with the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost engine for the SEMA show in Las Vegas.

Ford is attempting to stake its claim for the “Hottest Truck” award at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas next month with two entries. If Ford takes the honor, it’ll be the fifth year in a row.

Ford Racing’s Brian Deegan created the Deegan 30 F-150 that uses the 3.5-liter, twin-turbo EcoBoost engine. He partnered with several top-flight suppliers to produce what he believes to be the “world’s most capable truck,” according to the maker.

Award-Winning News!

“This F-150 should inspire the vast off-road, extreme-lifestyle-loving fan base to push the possibilities of the kick-ass new 2015 F-150 and the awesome 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine,” said Deegan. (more…)

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.

A Real Winner!

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.

Award-Winning News!

“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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