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Ford Adding Hybrid Mustang, F-150, Other Battery Models

300-mile EV and autonomous hybrid also in the works.

by on Jan.04, 2017

Ford is betting there's a market for even more fuel-efficient, hybrid-based pickups.

Ford is getting charged up about electric propulsion. Confirming what first reported two years ago, the Detroit automaker will launch a hybrid version of its classic pony car, the Mustang.

Ford will also debut a hybrid version of its big F-150 pickup, introduce a pure battery-electric SUV with a range of at least 300 miles by 2020, and it plans to add a hybrid with autonomous driving capabilities, the maker said. The latter two models will go into production at the same, Flat Rock, Michigan assembly plant producing the Mustang.

Green Machines!

A $700 million investment at that facility, will make it “capable of producing high-tech electrified and autonomous vehicles,” CEO Mark Fields said during a news conference at the plant.


Ford Axes $1.6B Mexico Plant for $700M Michigan Upgrade

Suburban Detroit plant expansion will handle new models never earmarked for overseas.

by on Jan.03, 2017

Ford workers at the Flat Rock Assembly plant in Michigan are going to get 700 new compatriots as the maker plans to add a $700 million expansion there.

(This article contains updated information.)

Ford Motor Co. announced Tuesday it has scrubbed plans to build a new $1.6 billion assembly plant in Mexico, a project that had been spotlighted by then-candidate Donald Trump, especially after Ford said it would move small car production from the U.S. into that new factory.

But while the move is being hailed by some as a victory for the president-elect, a closer look at the announcement, made by senior Ford executives at a suburban Detroit assembly plant, did not actually reverse the central decision the automaker announced last April. Small car production, such as the compact Focus model, will still move to Mexico, just into an existing Ford plant in Hermosillo.

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And while Ford will use some of the savings from the planned Mexican plant to expand its factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, that project appears likely to have happened anyway. The maker’s new body shop and expanded assembly line will handle production of two new battery-based models that were not expected to be built in Mexico, anyway. (more…)

Autonomous Cars, Battery Vehicles and Record Sales: a Look at 2016’s Top Auto Stories

Industry at “an inflection point.”

by on Dec.29, 2016

Ford's next-generation autonomous Fusion prototype. Self-driving cars were a hot story in 2016.

Barring an unexpected, December surprise, 2016 will go out like a lion for the U.S. auto industry, automakers collectively racking up their third consecutive year of record sales. That’s an all the more massive achievement considering the decade began with the worst downturn the U.S. car market had suffered since the Great Depression.

What’s ahead for the industry is far from certain, demand showing signs of losing momentum in recent months. But what’s clear is that 2016 will not only go down in the record book from a sales perspective but that the year could be seen as marking a series of major transitions – “an inflection point,” in the words of John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google’s recently renamed autonomous vehicle subsidiary.

The Last Word!

What was once the stuff of science fiction began shifting into everyday reality this past year, with hundreds of self-driving vehicle prototypes taking to public roads across the country – some even being used as part of ride-sharing pilot programs in Pittsburgh and San Francisco.


Ford Tripling Size of Autonomous Test Fleet

Next-generation test vehicle to debut at CES.

by on Dec.28, 2016

Ford is tripling the size of its autonomous fleet in 2017 as it plans to make an autonomous vehicle ready for the public by 2021.

With a goal of launching its first completely driverless cars by 2021, Ford Motor Co. will triple the size of its test fleet next year, the automaker announced on Wednesday.

The automaker offered a sneak peek at the next-generation Fusion Hybrid sedans it will use in its test fleet. Currently, there are 30 of those vehicles in operation in Arizona, California and Michigan. The fleet will reach 90 vehicles by the end of 2017.

Tech News!

“The new vehicle uses the current Ford autonomous vehicle platform, but ups the processing power with new computer hardware,” Ford said in a statement. “Electrical controls are closer to production-ready, and adjustments to the sensor technology, including placement, allow the car to better see what’s around it.” (more…)

Automakers Accelerate Plant Closures, Production Cuts

Ford idling Kansas City, GM dropping shift in Detroit.

by on Dec.21, 2016

GM will drop a shift at the Detroit plant producing its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.

The year is ending on a tenuous note for the U.S. auto industry. Even as sales records are set to fall for the third year in a row, bulging inventories are leading manufacturers to schedule production cuts, some short-term, others indefinite.

Thousands of workers are being impacted by the cuts at a time when the incoming Trump Administration has promised to boost U.S. manufacturing. The question for the near-term is whether further cuts are coming, something likely to depend on just how much the country’s car market slips in the months ahead.

Industry News!

The latest cuts come in Kansas City, where Ford Motor Co. will idle its pickup and van plant for a week early next month, and in Detroit, where General Motors says it will cut the second shift at a plant producing three sedans, as well as the plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt.


Spy Shots: Ford Expedition Goes Aluminum

New full-size ute to share lightweight F-Series underpinnings.

by on Dec.14, 2016

The new Ford Expedition should shed 100s of pounds switching to an aluminum-intensive body.

In some instances, what you don’t see can be more interesting than what the eye initially sees. And that’s the case with these spy shots of the next-generation Ford Expedition.

Ford will be giving options to those who want big and bigger, as the 2018 Expedition will come in two different sizes when it’s launched next year. And, yes, the big SUV will have more curves in its body design and window shape.

Stay in the Loop!

But the most significant change will come with the shift in sheet metal. Like the Ford F-150 and, for 2017, the Ford Super Duty pickups, the Expedition is migrating to lightweight aluminum for much of the body, as well as some chassis components.


Ford Increases 2016 Global Patent Haul by 25%

Toyota proclaimed "smartest" automaker last summer.

by on Dec.12, 2016

Ford obtained 1,500 U.S. patents this year and 3,200 globally: a 25% increase compared to last year.

By obtaining 1,500 U.S. patents so far this year, Ford Motor Co. is staking a claim to the pole position in innovation, according to the company.

Ford has been granted 1,700 additional patents in other countries – bringing the total to more than 3,200 patents worldwide this year.

The Journal of Record!

As of last week, Ford employees had increased the number of patent awards by 25% compared with last year. They also submitted the most patent applications in the company’s 113-year history this year. Worldwide, Ford employees have submitted 8,000 new inventions in 2016 – a 40% increase over 2015, and a 90% increase over 2014. (more…)

Trump Considering Former Ford Boss Mulally for Sectary of State Post

Former CEO meets with President-elect about cabinet post.

by on Dec.09, 2016

Former Ford CEO Alan Mulally is a candidate for Secretary of State, in part, because of his experience with foreign governments.

Word is circulating that President-elect Donald Trump is considering former Ford Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally to be the next Secretary of State.

Politico and other news sites report Mulally, who visited Trump Tower in New York, could emerge as a possibility, if not unusual, pick.

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Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway confirmed in an interview on Fox News this morning that Mulally met with Trump in New York on Thursday. She confirmed also that Trump is expanding his search and also met with Exxon Mobil chairman, president and CEO Rex Tillerson. (more…)

Buyers in China Pushing Ford, GM to Record Sales

Automakers surpassing record sales from 2015.

by on Dec.08, 2016

Ford eclipsed its record sales total from last year in China as buyer continue to support American brands.

General Motors and Ford set new sales record in China during November as Chinese customers continue to show a preference for American brands.

Ford sales hit an all-time November high of 124,113 vehicles, up 17% compared with November 2015. In addition, its joint ventures in China have sold more than 1 million vehicles in 2016, reaching the milestone one month faster than in 2015

Global Auto News!

“Ford is gaining more momentum in China each month and we are on pace for a record year in China,” said Peter Fleet, vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, Asia Pacific. “We are seeing increasing demand across our line-up, particularly our full family of SUVs.” (more…)

Ford Looking to Add $2B in New Debt

Automaker looks to bolster its efforts in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility.

by on Dec.05, 2016

Ford's Joe Hinrichs says the automaker is taking advantage of favorable market conditions to raise $2 billion in new debt.

(This story has been updated with new information.)

Ford Motor Co. is looking to take advantage of favorable market conditions by raising $2.8 billion in new debt. It marks the first time in four years the automaker has issued new debt.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford president of the Americas, told Reuters the funds would be used for investment in new technology including electric vehicles, self-driving vehicles, as well as mobility efforts such as ride-sharing and ride-hailing.

Financial News!

“It’s an opportunistic time,” Hinrichs told Reuters in an interview. “It’s a supportive marketplace for long-term debt given where rates are, and we want to make sure that throughout the cycle of the industry we have the flexibility to do what we need to do and want to do, especially in the emerging part of the business.” (more…)