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Ford Signs on for New EV Venture in China

More makers scrambling to partner up as China ups EV pressure.

by on Nov.08, 2017

Ying Jianren, board director of Zotye Auto, left, and Peter Fleet, president, Ford Asia Pacific, signed the new joint venture agreement.

Even as President Donald Trump landed in Beijing to talk about North Korea and other key issues such as trade, Ford Motor Co. announced it reached agreement with a Chinese partner to build a new line of electric vehicles for the burgeoning Chinese car market.

The new agreement with the Chinese company Zotye established a new venture called Zotye Ford Automobile Co. Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture that will offer affordable all-electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new indigenous brand.

Global Auto News!

China has long pressed western carmakers to establish new brands in China. General Motors created the Baojun brand in 2010 specifically for the Chinese market. Ford, however, has held off until now.  (more…)

Spied: Nearly Naked 2019 Ford Ranger

Expect Raptor version to boost performance and credibility.

by on Oct.30, 2017

Ford is slowly peeling back the camo as the 2019 Ranger pickup gets closer to launch.

After wavering for several years, Ford is finally getting back into the midsize pickup market with the planned launch of the 2019 Ranger.

It’s been six years since the Detroit automaker abandoned its ancient Twin Cities plant in Minnesota, walking away from what was, back then, a dying market segment. But it failed to reckon on what might happen when new product would be injected into the midsize category, General Motors scoring a hit with the likes of its Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, and Toyota hitting the ball out of the park with a new version of its segment-leading Tacoma model.

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For Ford, the good news was having a Ranger in place for other markets, though it has needed some major updates to get it ready for U.S. buyers, and our spy photographer Jim Dunne has captured a nearly naked version of the American version undergoing late testing in the Detroit suburbs not far from Ford’s world headquarters.

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NHTSA Investigating 841K Fusions Due to Steering Wheel Issue

Steering wheel came off while driver was turning.

by on Oct.27, 2017

NHTSA has launched an investigation into problems with the steering wheels in 2014-16 Ford Fusions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it has opened an investigation into 841,000 Ford Fusions due to reports of problems with car’s the steering wheel.

There have been three reports of steering wheel bolts coming loose on 2014-16 model year Fusions. In one case, the wheel came completely detached as a driver attempted to turn into a gas station.

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Ford told Reuters in an emailed statement Friday it was cooperating “with the agency on its investigation, as we always do.”  (more…)

Toyota Scaling Back New Mexican Plant

Move driven by demand, not politics, automaker says.

by on Oct.26, 2017

Under the revised plan, Toyota will produce only the Tacoma at the new Mexican plant.

Toyota is scaling back by nearly a third its investment in a new plant in Mexico that will build some of its compact Tacoma pickup trucks, the Japanese automaker has confirmed.

The factory was originally set to cost $1 billion, a figure that will now be scaled back to $700 million. Production of Toyota’s Corolla sedan, which also was to go into the plant in Guanajuato, will now be moved to a new factory Toyota is setting up in the U.S.

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The decision comes at a time when President Donald Trump has been leaning hard on automakers to boost U.S. production and, in particular, move operations out of Mexico. But several Toyota executives stressed that the shift in production was not motivated by political pressure.

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Management Shake-Up Continues at Ford

Four top execs “retire;” Lincoln chief Galhotra gets big promotion.

by on Oct.24, 2017

CEO Jim Hackett continues reshaping Ford's management team in his own image.

Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett isn’t wasting time putting his personal stamp on the company.

Four top executives, including 37-year veteran Stephen Odell and former Wall Street investment banker John Casesa, are “retiring,” Ford announced. It’s the second major shake-up since Hackett was named CEO, replacing the ousted Mark Fields back in May. Tuesday’s personnel changes, announced two days before Ford reveals its third-quarter earnings, did bring some winners to the fore, including Kumar Galhotra, the president of the Lincoln brand now becomes Ford’s chief marketing officer.

Breaking News!

“The changes we are announcing today will further align resources and improve efficiencies throughout our global markets and operations,” said Hackett, a one-time CEO of furniture maker Steelcase, who was named CEO after Fields lost favor with investors, the Ford board and chairman and family heir Bill Ford.

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When “Fastest Ever” Isn’t Good Enough: Ford Mustang Heats Things up with Performance Pack Level 2

“It will just beg you to go faster.”

by on Oct.23, 2017

The "Level 2" pack was developed as part of a skunkworks project even Ford management didn't know about.

The pony car war continues to heat up – and you can give credit to a team of Ford Mustang engineers who decided to create their own skunkworks team, keeping their efforts secret until they knew they could deliver a package that would outperform their arch-rival over at Chevrolet.

Ford has been billing the 2018 update of the Mustang GT as the fastest ever, yet it looked like it was going to fall just a little bit short with the $3,995 GT Performance Pack.

Performance News!

So, Tom Barnes, the Mustang’s vehicle engineering manager and a handful of other team members quietly went to work during their off-hours seeing if they deliver something better. The results? The $6,500 Performance Pack Level 2 which is designed to move the GT a big step closer to the performance and handling of the GT350. (more…)

Ford Recalling 1.3M F-Series Trucks

Action is the second recall in less than a week for the automaker.

by on Oct.18, 2017

Ford is recalling 1.3 million F-Series trucks due to a problem with door latches.

Ford is recalling 1.3 million F-Series trucks in North America to resolve a door-latch problem. The recall involves about 1.1 million pickups in the U.S., plus 222,408 in Canada and 21,090 in Mexico.

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is recalling certain 2015-17 Ford F-150 pickups and 2017 Super Duty trucks due to frozen door latches or damaged actuation cables that may prevent a door from opening or closing.

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“In affected vehicles, a frozen door latch or a bent or kinked actuation cable may result in a door that will not open or will not close condition,” according to the maker. (more…)

Ford Addressing Exhaust Fume Concerns with 1.4 million Explorer SUVs

Detroit maker offering free inspections, repairs; recall could be in offing.

by on Oct.17, 2017

Ford is addressing concerns about exhaust fumes entering the cabins of 1.4 million Explorers.

Facing concerns about possible exhaust fume leaks in more than 1 million of its midsize Explorer SUVs, Ford is telling owners it will inspect the vehicles and, if necessary, make free repairs.

The Explorer came under scrutiny when reports began to surface that some versions of the popular SUV, modified for use by police, may have been experiencing exhaust fume leaks, including deadly carbon monoxide, into the passenger compartment. That briefly led some police departments to pull their Explorers out of use until repairs could be made.

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But despite the automaker’s insistence that civilian versions of the SUV “are safe,” there has been growing concern that the issue is more widespread than initially thought. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration currently has an open investigation underway. (more…)

Leaner, Faster, More High-Tech, Ford CEO Hackett Outlines His Vision of the Future

Maker will focus on electric vehicle development.

by on Oct.04, 2017

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett spent his first 100 days rethinking all aspects of Ford's business.

(Updated)

Ford Motor Co.’s new CEO Jim Hackett emerged from a 100-day review of the company’s challenges, capabilities and strategies late Tuesday afternoon to reveal a series of changes expected to yield billions of dollars in savings for the second-largest U.S. automaker while also driving up sales, revenues and margins by targeting new business opportunities in both the U.S. and overseas markets.

The former head of furniture maker Steelcase, Hackett said Ford has to prepare for the disruptions threatening the auto industry while using them to boost revenues. Joined at Ford headquarters in the Detroit suburbs by four of his top lieutenants, Hackett outlined a series of key goals and changes that will include, among other things a reduction in the number of sedans and conventional passenger cars while shifting capital to the development of more utility vehicles and electrified vehicles.

Disrupting News!

Improvements in the product development and manufacturing process, meanwhile, will yield about $10 billion annual savings, said the 62-year-old Hackett. Acknowledging Ford had “fallen short on key targets,” the new CEO promised to deliver profit margins of at least 8%, up from the current 6.1%, a figure he said “simply (is) not good enough.”

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Pricing on New Ford Super Duty Limited Approaches $100K

The new model is a long way from the early low-priced farmer's hauler.

by on Sep.29, 2017

Ford's top of the line Super Duty pickup truck now comes in just shy of $100,000.

The price of Ford Motor Co.’s latest addition to the company’s expensive pickup fleet is now fixed at just under $100,000.

Ford unveiled the new F-Series Super Duty Limited that sets new luxury standards for high-end heavy-duty truckers at the Texas State Fair in Dallas, Texas.

Product News!

With pricing at $87,100, the F-450 Limited delivers technology and comfort previously reserved only in premium flagship sedans, Ford officials said. In addition, it is capable of towing more than 30,000 lbs. – about the weight of a stealthy Air Force F-35 fighter plane. (more…)