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Ford Faces Strike Deadline at Key Plant

Kansas City truck plant ready to walk.

by on Sep.30, 2015

Talks between the UAW and Ford just got a little tenser as the union informed the automaker it plans to strike if key issues don't get resolved next week.

The United Auto Workers has targeted the one of Ford Motor Co.’s key assembly plants in Kansas City, Missouri, for a strike if bargaining doesn’t resolve key issues by early next week.

The Kansas City plant builds a number of variations of Ford’s F-150 pickup trucks, which is one of the most profitable vehicles built by the company in the United States. After a slow start, production of the new, aluminum F-150 is running at top speed now and a strike would quickly reduce inventories of new vehicles.

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Jimmy Settles, UAW vice president in charge of negotiations with Ford, said the company had left the union with little choice but to intensify the dispute in a bid for a fair and acceptable agreement. The strike warning should not have any impact on the other negotiations at Ford, including the ongoing discussion for a new master agreement covering wages and benefits. (more…)

Lightweight Aluminum for New Ford Super Duty

Ford cuts weight, adds features, capabilities to heavy-duty trucks.

by on Sep.24, 2015

Ford's F-Series Super Duty follows the smaller F-150 in switching to an aluminum body.

Ford is cutting some of the mass, but increasing the capabilities, of its biggest trucks, the 2017 F-Series Super Duty.

Officially making a debut at the State Fair of Texas today, the heavy-duty models follow the more mainstream Ford F-150 model in switching from traditional steel to a lightweight aluminum body. That’s something Ford says will reduce the weight of the trucks by as much as 350 pounds. At the same time, the maker beefed up the towing and cargo capacity of the Super Duty models, it said.

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“There’s more change to this story than there was with the F-150” which went on sale for the 2015 model-year, explained Doug Scott, F-Series marketing manager, during a background briefing attended.


Ford Aims to Retain F-150’s Sales Lead

Production not likely to return to normal levels until Q2 2015.

by on Nov.11, 2014

Ford CEO Mark Fields said the new "aluminum intensive" F-150 should send a message to competitors that company intends to remain atop the truck heap.

The long-awaited launch of the 2015 Ford F-150 should send a message to skeptics that Ford will retain its highly profitable leadership in the full-size pickup market, CEO Mark Fields said Tuesday morning as the first of the new, aluminum-bodied trucks rolled off the assembly line.

Ford is taking what many observers have called its biggest risk in decades switching from a traditional, steel-bodied pickup to one that uses an “aluminum-intensive” design. But the benefits, Ford officials stressed, are numerous: better fuel economy, improved towing and larger payload capacity, among them.

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“We said this was going to transform this industry,” said Fields, as he stood by the first “saleable” 2015 Ford F-150 to roll off the line at the Dearborn Truck Plant near Detroit. “The proof is this first vehicle.” (more…)

Ford Launches Production of New Aluminum F-150

Maker takes biggest bet in decades.

by on Nov.11, 2014

The 2015 Ford F-150 and its aluminum body represent a significant gamble by the automaker.

It might seem like just another day at the big assembly plant, the full-size F-150 pickups rolling down the line at a steady pace. But a closer look reveals that these aren’t any ordinary trucks; they’re the new aluminum-bodied models that comprise one of the biggest bets Ford Motor Co. has placed in years.

Pressed by both regulators and consumers alike to improve fuel economy, automakers are turning to a variety of solutions, including what the industry likes to call “lightweighting.” And by switching from conventional steel bodies to aluminum, Ford engineers were able to trim as much as 750 pounds of mass from some F-150 models. That is expected to yield significant improvements in mileage when the EPA formally confirms tests on the new truck.


Ford is betting that better mileage and other improvements to the F-150’s design will enhance the appeal of what is already the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. market. Ford produced a total of 647,697 of the trucks last year. Add heavy-duty models such as the F-250 and F-350 and Ford sold about 100,000 more pickups than its nearest competitor, General Motors, in 2013. (more…)

Ford Turns Sales Champ F-150 into a Lightweight

Using aluminum body panels, lightweight steel, maker cuts 700 pounds.

by on Jan.13, 2014

Ford's F-150 rolled out onto the stage today 700 pounds lighter using aluminum body panels and a lightweight steel chassis. Photo credit: Len Katz.

With Joe Louis Arena – the home of the Detroit Red Wings – as the back drop, Ford Motor Co. kicked off the North American International Auto Show by revealing the new – and lighter –  Ford F-150.

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“We know our truck customers,” said Joe Hinrichs, who noted the F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S for 32 consecutive years and the best-selling truck for the past 37 years.

“When you’re the leader you set the standards and then you exceed them,” said Raj Nair, who said the new truck contains more than 11 major technological firsts, including a new frame of lightweight steel and a unique all-aluminum body that reduce the trucks overall weight by 700 pounds, which improves fuel economy and overall performance. (more…)

Shelby Bulks Up Ford’s F-150 Raptor

Bad, badder, baddest.

by on Apr.01, 2013

Shelby American's version of the Ford F-150 Raptor boasts 575 horsepower.

There are just some jobs for which 411 horsepower isn’t enough, it seems.

These days, something in the 400 horsepower range seems positively pedestrian, not much more than you might need for a minivan or econocar. Even some hybrids deliver more power – as long as they’re badged Ferrari or McLaren, anyway. So what’s a self-respecting full-size truck buyer supposed to do? Not a problem.

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A year after the death of its legendary founder Carroll Shelby, his Las Vegas-based tuner firm Shelby American lives on and has brought an assortment of new high-performance products out for the 2013 New York Auto Show – including a special version of the Ford F-150 Raptor.


Ford Hammered By Investors Over $2 Bil Judgment

Ohio Court rules against maker in commercial truck class action suit.

by on Jun.13, 2011

Ford could be facing a $2 billion payout to its heavy truck dealers due to a verdict in a long-running lawsuit.

Ford Motor Co. is being hammered twice as the result of a judgment on a class action lawsuit filed by a group of commercial truck dealers.

An Ohio court has ruled that the automaker will have to pay $2 billion for allegedly failing to give all those dealers the same price concessions, over more than a decade, as required by their contract.  As many as 3,000 U.S. Ford dealers could stand to gain substantial reimbursements that include years of interest charges.

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In all, the verdict could cost the suburban Detroit maker as much as $2 billion, if the judgment stands – though Ford has vowed to appeal and believe it will be able to get the verdict set aside.  But nervous investors, who have already driven the stock down sharply since it hit a mid-winter peak, reacted with concern.  In the minutes before the market closed on Monday, Ford shares were off more than 2%, hovering barely above the $13 mark.