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Ford Bringing New Focus RS to US for 1st Time

Performance hatchback will adopt new AWD system with dynamic torque vectoring.

by on Feb.03, 2015

The new Ford Focus RS will make "in excess of" 315 hp, possibly quite in excess.

Ford will be giving compact performance fans a new option, the maker today rolling out an all-new version of its hot hatch Focus RS – and confirming will come to the U.S. market for the first time.

Part of an ambitious plan to significantly expand its presence in the performance market, the new RS will be one of the fastest and best-handling models in the Ford line-up, company officials promised during a preview staged in both Cologne, Germany and at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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“The RS is the next extension of our plan to bring out 12 (performance) vehicles,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, from the suburban Detroit end of the unveiling.


Ford Won’t be Rolling Out Aluminum Passenger Cars, Says Top Exec

Benefits don’t justify the cost, complexity says Pres. Hinrichs.

by on Jan.15, 2015

Ford President Joe Hinrichs helps unveil the new Ford F-150 Raptor during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

Though Ford Motor Co. has ballyhooed the benefits of the aluminum used to build its 2015 F-150 pickup, don’t expect to see the automaker start building passenger cars out of the lightweight metal, cautioned a top executive.

The benefits just aren’t as competitive when used on lighter vehicles, stressed Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas, during an appearance at an annual industry confab in Detroit.

No Lightweight!

“You don’t get those same benefits to a consumer on a car side,” he explained, adding that, “truck buyers will pay for more capability. Car buyers will pay for better fuel economy, but there’s other ways to get fuel economy in a car.”

Facing stiff new emissions and fuel economy mandates, automakers like Ford are struggling to find ways to improve the efficiency of their vehicles. They’re adopting advanced powertrains and alternate fuels, adopting more aerodynamic designs, and putting a premium on “lightweighting.”


Ford Aims to Edge Out the Competition with All-New 2015 Edge CUV

Crossover will target Europe for 1st time.

by on Jun.24, 2014

The new 2015 Ford Edge adopts the same C/D platform as the maker's Fusion sedan.

Ford hopes to maintain its Edge when it launches an all-new version of its midsize crossover later this year, the 2015 Ford Edge marking the nameplate’s debut in the European market.

The new crossover-utility vehicle, originally introduced for the 2007 model-year, the Edge quickly gained traction in the booming U.S. CUV market, and it has been a major factor in Ford’s rapid growth in China. Now, the maker hopes to repeat that success in Europe as it launches an all-new version of the Edge that it boasts is more refined, more powerful and more fuel efficient.

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The new Edge also serves as the latest example of retiring CEO Alan Mulally’s One Ford strategy, the 2015 crossover migrating to a new platform that it shares with a variety of other key Ford products including the midsize Fusion sedan, the 4-door European Mondeo and S-Max people-mover, as well as the latest version of the Lincoln MKZ.


Toyota, Ford Execs Square Off Over Trade, Currency Manipulation

Thousands of U.S. jobs at risk, warns Ford's Hinrichs.

by on Feb.06, 2014

Ford's Joe Hinrichs said the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact could cost thousands of American jobs.

The increasingly bitter debate over trade and currency manipulation unexpectedly became one of the hot topics at the Chicago Auto Show on Thursday as two industry leaders squared off over the proposed Trans-Pacific Pact, a senior Ford executive warning thousands of American jobs could be at risk.

The agreement would unite a number of nations on both sides of the Pacific Ocean in an effort to reduce trade barriers and expand trade. But the addition of Japan to the proposed TPP has set off fireworks, critics contending that the island nation routinely manipulates its currency to gain a trade advantage.

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That position has only been enhanced by the recent, sharp decline in the value of the yen – and the subsequent run-up in profits of key Japanese corporations like Toyota Motor Co. The world’s largest automaker this week announced it had earned $5.2 billion during the final three months of 2013, fully half of that due to the changes in the dollar/yen exchange rate. (more…)

Ford Plans to Launch 23 New Models, Add 5,000 Jobs in 2014

Two new EcoBoost engines also in the works.

by on Dec.12, 2013

Ford President Joe Hinrichs said the automaker will introduce 23 new models and add 5,000 employees in the coming year.

While it’s likely to be one of the most high-profile models to come, the redesigned Ford Mustang will be just one of 23 new models the automaker plans to add next year, revealed Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s President of the Americas.

The maker plans to also add 5,000 new jobs to support that expansion in the U.S. – while opening three new assembly plants in other parts of the world, Hinrichs said during a media briefing. Along with the new products, 16 of which are targeted to the core North American market, Ford also plans to introduce two new versions of its high-mileage EcoBoost engine family.

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The rollout will see “more products launches than in any other year in our history,” Hinrichs proclaimed. (more…)

A Little Slowdown Isn’t Necessarily A Bad Thing, Suggests Ford’s Hinrichs

Americas chief says it helps keep capacity and demand in line – and maintains discipline.

by on Oct.16, 2013

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of the Americas, said the recent slowdown in sales may have been a good thing for automakers.

Whether you call it a statistical fluke or not, September saw U.S. car sales slow down a bit, and there are some signs that October could come in weak, as well, as a result of the government shutdown and deficit battle.  But at least one senior industry executive isn’t entirely upset.

The unexpectedly strong pace of the U.S. auto industry’s growth during the first eight months of the year threatened to stretch capacity to the limits, says Joe Hinrichs, Ford Motor Co.’s President of the Americas. Worse, it could encourage “certain behaviors” that nearly drove Ford into bankruptcy much like cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.

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In a wide-ranging interview with, Hinrichs acknowledges that “Our competitors and we all thought September would be stronger than it was,” car sales declining 4.2% for the month, the first time volume had dipped on a year-over-year basis in 27 months. (more…)

Lincoln Looks at Options for Chinese Production

Ford luxury brand initially will face steep import duties.

by on Aug.22, 2013

Ford EVP Joe Hinrichs at a factory opening during his time as Asia/Pacific chief.

Lincoln will rely on imports when it launches sales in China next year but it is also considering the option of producing vehicles in the booming market, according to a senior Ford Motor Co. executive.

The maker also will offer products tailored specifically to China – which means at least some models will get larger back seats than are currently offered on U.S. Lincoln products.

Relying on American-made products has a number of advantages, at least initially, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrichs told, including the ability to “establish the brand at an appropriate pace without the pressure of manufacturing which would force us to (try to) sell a lot.”

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But the downside is that Lincoln will initially face “pretty substantial duties,” which can run as high as 140% on some models. The hope is that increasingly affluent Chinese luxury car buyers will be willing to absorb the extra cost. There is a “strong desire” to purchase international brands even if they cost more, asserted Hinrichs, who until recently served as Ford’s top executive for the Asia/Pacific region.


Ford Likely to Show Record North American Profit

But Europe still an anchor.

by on Apr.24, 2013

Ford Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields will have to show that the changes he made in the Americas can translate overseas.

It’s likely to be both the best of times and worst of times for Ford Motor Co. as it reports its first-quarter earnings today.

Industry analysts are uniformly anticipating the second-largest domestic automaker will report record pre-tax profits for North America – but continue to linger deep in the red in a European market that has plunged to its lowest levels in nearly two decades, with little near-term upside potential.

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The troubles in Europe, as well as an anticipated loss in South America, should cut 37 cents out of the maker’s operating profit, according to a poll by the Bloomberg news service of 17 automotive analysts. Nonetheless, Ford should deliver a strong overall report, according to most, with pre-tax earnings in North America expected to come in at $2.7 billion, according to both JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley.


Ford Adding 2,200 New Salaried Jobs

The “direct result” of the One Ford plan, says new president.

by on Jan.11, 2013

Joe Hinrichs became Ford's new President of the Americas last month.

Ford Motor Company plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers in the U.S. this year – the largest increase in new salaried workers in more than a decade.

The move comes a day after the market announced it would double its quarterly dividend in recognition of its improving financial condition. The maker yielded a more than 11% profit margin for the first nine months in its core North American operations.

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After years of deep cuts, the auto industry has been among the most aggressive sectors of the economy when it comes to adding jobs over the last several years, Ford’s announcement coming a day after both Honda and General Motors announced significant plans to recruit more blue and white-collar workers of their own.


Fields Named New Ford COO – But Mulally Remains CEO Until “At Least 2014”

Farley, four other senior execs get expanded duties.

by on Nov.01, 2012

Mark Fields becomes the new Ford COO and heir-designate to succeed CEO Alan Mulally.

Ford Motor Co. has come a step closer to resolving two of the most frequently heard questions in the automotive industry, but it has not given a complete answer as to when CEO Alan Mulally will step down – and who will succeed him.

But a strong clue emerged Thursday morning with news that Mark Fields, currently Ford’s President of the Americas, will become the maker’s new Chief Operating Officer, a position all but certain to ensure he eventually moves up upon Mulally’s retirement. But the 67-year-old CEO, clearly in no rush to leave, will pare back his day-to-day role but continue as Ford’s chief strategist and internal cheerleader.

“At least thru 2014. Whatever happens, Alan is here two more years. And we could go longer” Ford Chairman Bill Ford clarified when asked how long Mulally would stay. “Obviously, I love Alan. I’ve never enjoyed working with anyone so much (and) I’d like him to stay forever. But part of the manifestation of a great CEO is developing a great team.”

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So, from a day-to-day management perspective, the man in charge will now be 51-year-old Mark Fields, the Jersey Boy who many – including Mulally — credit with creating the “great elements” of a turnaround plan which helped Ford avoid bankruptcy, unlike its cross-town rivals General Motors and Chrysler.