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Posts Tagged ‘Ford’

Ford Using ‘Big Data’ to Make Design Decisions

Using social media feedback helps with process.

by on Jun.26, 2014

Ford's Don Butler noted that Ford’s designers and product planners are turning to social media and survey data as they wrestle with product design issues.

“Big Data” is already helping designers shape new vehicles and its influence will only grow in the years to come, according to a panel of experts assembled by Ford Motor Co. for its annual trends conference. Big data is the deployment of reams of data to meet a specific goal.

Don Butler, the former General Motors executive who is now Ford’s director of connected vehicles and service, noted that Ford’s designers and product planners turned to social media and survey data as they wrestled with whether the lift gate on the new 2013 Ford Escape should be one piece or two, which would allow drivers to open the rear window without raising the entire lift gate.

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“There were no clear indicators,” he said. (more…)

Ford Teams with Heinz to Use Tomatoes for Plastics

Maker using skins for wiring and storage bins.

by on Jun.11, 2014

Researchers at Ford and Heinz are investigating the use of tomato fibers in developing sustainable, composite materials for use in vehicle manufacturing.

Your next Ford might make you crave French fries, or at least make you think of them when you realize part of the car may be made from dried tomato skins from the H.J. Heinz Co.

Researchers at Ford and Heinz, perhaps best known for its ketchup, are exploring ways to use the skins in certain applications, specifically wiring brackets and storage bins for holding coins or other small objects.

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“We are exploring whether this food processing byproduct makes sense for an automotive application,” said Ellen Lee, plastics research technical specialist for Ford. “Our goal is to develop a strong, lightweight material that meets our vehicle requirements, while at the same time reducing our overall environmental impact.” (more…)

Ford Likely Only Maker to Gain Share in U.S.

Survey shows share likely to remain status quo.

by on Jun.09, 2014

Ford is the only automaker expected to increase its marketshare in the U.S. in the next few years.

Ford is the only automaker in the U.S. expected to gain marketshare in the next few years because their prolific rate of new vehicle introductions. The rest of the companies are unlikely to gain or lose large pieces of marketshare, according to a new study by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

John Murphy, the Merrill Lynch analyst who has assembled the annual “Car Wars” study or the past 15 years, told the Automotive Press Association, that the big shifts in marketshare in the U.S. have now passed based on an analysis of product introduction.

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General Motors was the major marketshare donor during the past three decades, but GM has now right-sized and its share should remain relatively stable, according to the “Car Wars” analysis. (more…)

Ford, GM Continue Torrid Sales Pace in China

Makers set May record; Ford expects to hit 1 million units in 2014.

by on Jun.09, 2014

With cars like the Focus selling well, Ford expects to surpass 1 million in sales in China this year.

General Motors and Ford continue to roll up big sales totals in China, setting sales records during May.

Ford China sales grew 32% in May with 93,323 and Ford now expects to sell more than 1 million vehicles in China for the first time ever during 2014. Year-to-date sales were up 39%, with 461,473 wholesales sold compared to 332,308 wholesales sold in the first five months of 2013, Ford said.

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“Our sales are a direct reflection of our continued commitment to bring the best of Ford to China with a great lineup of Ford cars and utilities that offer high quality, great fuel efficiency, world class safety and smart technologies,” said John Lawler, chairman and chief executive officer, Ford Motor China. (more…)

Ford Wants Drivers to Turn Less and Move More

Adaptive steering makes driving easier at all speeds.

by on May.30, 2014

Ford's new "adaptive steering" module, which was developed with Takata, will be available next year on certain models.

Ford is readying a new technology developed in concert with one of its suppliers designed to make vehicles easier to maneuver at low speeds and in tight spaces while making vehicles more agile at higher speeds.

Called “Adaptive Steering,” it changes the ratio between the number of times the driver turns the steering wheel and how much the front wheels turn. Normally, it’s a fixed ratio so regardless of how fast the car is moving, the driver is going to get the same result.

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Big turns require multiple spins of the wheel for tasks like parking or moving around objects in a parking lot, whereas at highways speeds, only slight movement of the wheel is required to adjust the turn. (more…)

GM, Ford Leading Automotive Innovation Pack

Makers secure patents for vehicles, drivetrains and fuel cells.

by on May.28, 2014

GM secured more than two dozen patents for the eight-speed transmission for the Corvette Stingray.

While a number of automakers claim they are leaders in innovation, General Motors and Ford can bask in the glory of knowing they can back those claims with hard data.

GM led all automakers for the 11th consecutive quarter in filing for patents while Ford’s new F-150 has more patents filed than any pickup truck in history.

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GM’s patents cover a number of areas and include patents for fuel cells and technology that reduces energy consumption and phone apps that make life more convenient for motorists, according to the Patent Board and Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. (more…)

2015 Mustang Buyers Ponying Up More Cash

Sticker price for base model jumps $1,000.

by on May.20, 2014

The 2015 Ford Mustang is going to cost wanna-be owners a $1,000 more than its predecessor.

Anyone wanting to saddle up a new 2015 Ford Mustang is going to have to pony up $1,000 more than last year.

This year’s version starts at $24,425 including delivery charges, which is a jump of $1,090 over the $23,335 the maker charges for the current base model.

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The new Mustang goes on sale this fall, and the base model comes with a 3.7-liter V-6 producing more than 300 horsepower, although a 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder putting out 305 hp and a 5.0-liter V8 developing 420 hp are also options. (more…)

Detroit Makers Mull $50 Million Donation to Save Museum

Detroit Institute of Arts asks companies to help meet goal.

by on May.13, 2014

The Detroit Institute of Arts has asked Ford, GM and Chrysler to donate as much as $50 million.

Without committing to actual dollar figures, Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. appear to be warming to the idea of donating as much as $50 million to the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) to ensure the museum’s art collection isn’t sold off as part of the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy.

The donations would be part of a bigger pool of money – $816 million – that will be put into the city’s pension funds over 20 years. As a result, the museum’s collection would not be sold.

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Thus far, 12 local and national foundations have committed $366 million, while the State of Michigan has pledged $350 million. The museum is required to come up with $100 million. The companies are at least open to the possibility. (more…)

GM, Ford Enjoy April Sales Jump in China

Ford sees biggest jump of the two with a 29% increase.

by on May.09, 2014

With vehicles like the Kuga, Ford China saw sales jump 29% in April.

General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. increased their sales in China during April: GM climbed 6.3% to a record 278,263 units, while Ford’s sales increased by 29% to 96,829 units.

GM reported Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, as well as their Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Wuling brands, all reached new highs for April sales, GM said.

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Overall, GM’s sales for the first four months of 2014 to a record 1,197,375 units, an increase of 11% on an annual basis. This is the eighth consecutive year and the earliest ever that GM has sold more than a million vehicles in a calendar year in China. (more…)

Ford Shareholders Thank Mulally at Annual Meeting

Family retains special class of voting stock.

by on May.08, 2014

Outgoing CEO Alan Mulally, left, and Chairman Bill Ford Jr. answer questions during this year's share holder meeting in Delaware.

Just after announcing a $1.8 billion share repurchase plan, Ford Motor Co. held its 59th annual shareholders meeting, which quickly became an Alan Mulally lovefest.

The meeting, held in Wilmington, Del., began with a video memorial to William Clay Ford, gave shareholders a chance to express their thanks to Mulally, who is retiring in July. He joined the automaker in 2006 after leaving Boeing.

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Plain-spoken and earnest, he led the company’s effort to take out what he called the biggest home equity loan in history to bolster the company against a coming recession. The effort worked and the automaker did not enter bankruptcy as General Motors and Chrysler did: a point of significant pride for many Ford employees. (more…)