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Ford Adds 2,000 Jobs

Meeting the demand for F-150 pickup, Transit.

by on May.02, 2013

Ford is adding 2,000 jobs at Kansas City Assembly to account for an increase in F-Series sales.

Ford Motor Co. is investing $1.1 billion and adding more than 2,000 jobs at its Kansas City Assembly Plant to meet rising demand for the Ford F-150 and planned production of the all-new Ford Transit.

“Customer demand for today’s F-150 is strong and continues growing, the truck segment is growing three times faster than the overall industry, the housing market is strengthening, and we are seeing growth in the U.S. economy,” said Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of The Americas. “Our ‘Built Ford Tough’ F-150 is America’s favorite pickup, and we are going to expand operations in Kansas City to ensure we have enough trucks to meet customer demand.”

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Ford is adding 900 jobs and a third crew in the third quarter of 2013 to build F-150. U.S. sales of Ford’s F-Series trucks increased 24% in April and is up 19% year to date. Ford also is adding another 1,100 jobs starting in the fourth quarter to prepare for the introduction of the all-new Ford Transit full-size van in 2014.

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Toyota Rolls Out All-New Tundra

New truck takes aim at dominant domestics.

by on Feb.07, 2013

The 2014 Toyota Tundra makes its Windy City debut.

You don’t get to be number one by sitting on the sidelines. Yet, since rolling out the original T100 more than two decades ago, Toyota has largely been left on the bench in the U.S. full-size pickup market.  It remains the only major segment where the world’s largest automaker has repeatedly failed to become a significant, if not dominant player.

But Toyota is nothing if not patient.  It took a series of tries to get on the boards in the once-thriving minivan market. And the Japanese maker is betting that it will eventually come up with the right formula for a full-size truck.

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Like the one it is showing off in Chicago this week, an all-new version of the Toyota Tundra that has clearly been designed to correct past mistakes.  The third-generation Toyota truck features a bolder, more rugged design, a bigger and quieter cabin, and a number of what the maker claims to be truck segment firsts, including Blind Spot Monitoring and Cross-Traffic Alert.

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Atlas Concept Truck a Pick-Up for Ford Stock

Unexpected unveiling offers a hint of replacement for best-selling F-Series.

by on Jan.15, 2013

The surprise debut of the Ford Atlas concept pickup.

Ford Motor Co. stock took a sharp jump following the automaker’s unexpected unveiling of the Atlas Concept truck, a prototype offering a hint of what’s to come when the maker replaces its best-selling F-Series pickup in 2014.

In an appearance to an industry conference coinciding with the North American International Auto Show, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly marveled at the reaction to the preview.  The unveiling of the Atlas had been whispered about but unconfirmed by the maker until the huge silver truck descended from the ceiling of Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena.

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“How about that,” proclaimed Mulally in an off-the-cuff remark following  his speech to the Automotive News World Congress. By the time the NY Stock Exchange closed, Ford common was up 31 cents, or 2.22%, for the day, to $14.30.

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Ford’s Atlas Concept Signals Plan for Next-Gen F-150

Truck wars keep heating up as Ford concept takes aim at new Chevy, GMC and Chrysler pickups.

by on Jan.15, 2013

The Ford Atlas Concept signals the maker's plans for the next-generation F-Series pickup.

Ford tossed a hand grenade into the already escalating truck wars, literally dropping in on the North American International Auto Show with the Atlas, a concept pickup that provides some clear hints about where the maker is going with the next-generation F-Series, the country’s best-selling truck for more than a third of a century.

The widely-rumored reveal came just a day after Chrysler won the coveted North American Truck of the Year award during the Detroit Auto Show’s opening ceremonies. Meanwhile, Chevrolet had hoped to steal the show with Monday’s official unveiling of the next-generation Silverado pickup.

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Senior Ford officials did little to deny that they were intentionally trying to steal their competitors’ thunder by bringing the Atlas to the 2013 NAIAS and teasing what they promised would be a wide range of new industry-benchmark features and capabilities.

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GM Planning Four-Mode Hybrid

Next-gen hybrids could yield big gains for big trucks.

by on Aug.14, 2009

GM's two-mode hybrid has yielded significant fuel economy gains in vehicles like the 2010 Cadillac Escalade, but a more advanced four-mode system is under development.

GM's two-mode hybrid has yielded significant fuel economy gains in vehicles like the 2010 Cadillac Escalade, but a more advanced four-mode system is under development.

If each new generation of computer processor is able to double the speed of the previous one, is it any surprise that GM’s next-generation gas-electric hybrid powertrain for its big pickups and SUVs will be four-mode instead of the current two-mode?

We first heard a four-mode hybrid powertrain was in the works in 2007, during a conversation  with then-vice-chairman and product czar Bob Lutz – now GM’s marketing chief. We’ve picked up a bit more information after our latest visit to GM earlier this week for a product and technology preview.

Good in any mode!

Good in any mode!

“It’s all about any hybrid system,” said John Turzewski, GM’s lead development engineer for full-size truck hybrids. “As you evolve and go through your next generation, it’s cost reduction, smaller, lighter and better packaging. There’s lots of improvement all along those lines.”

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With or Without Chrysler, Nissan Truck Production Will Continue

Despite Titan's near-death experience, Nissan intends to keep on trucking.

by on Apr.09, 2009

Better days: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn smiles as he debuts the original Titan pickup truck.

Better days: Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn smiles as he debuts the original Titan pickup truck.

Regardless of whether or not Chrysler and Nissan restart shelved plans to swap a small car and a full-size truck with each other, Nissan says it will continue to produce and sell the Titan half-ton pickup.

Last year, the two companies announced that the next-generation Nissan Titan would be built at Chrysler’s Saltillo, Mexico, assembly plant starting in early 2011, based on the Dodge Ram 1500 light-duty pickup. Current Titan production at Nissan’s Canton, Miss., plant was scheduled to end in late 2010, to make room for Nissan’s all-new lineup of light commercial vehicles.

The indefinitely postponed project raised questions about Nissan’s short and long-term plans for the Titan if the Dodge Ram-based version isn’t built.

Click Here to Subscribe to TDB“Our goal is to stay in the full-size market, even if Chrysler doesn’t build the (next-generation) Titan for us,” said Larry Dominique, Nissan North America’s vice president of product and advanced planning, on Wednesday at the New York Auto Show.  “[Light-duty] trucks sell about 1.1 million [units] annually right now. That’s important to us. We could potentially extend Titan production [beyond 2010] to stay in the market.”

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GM Puts Light-Duty Truck Diesel on Indefinite Hold

Another sign of money problems at GM?

by on Mar.11, 2009

GM is putting its light-duty truck diesel on "indefinite hold."

GM's light-duty truck diesel is on "indefinite hold."

Light-duty truck buyers interested in purchasing a half-ton diesel are going to have to wait until after 2010 at the very earliest. GM is the latest manufacturer to confirm a diesel engine won’t be offered any time soon in its light-duty pickups. Employees at GM’s Tonawanda Engine Plant near Buffalo, New York were told Monday that the all-new 4.5-liter Duramax V-8 diesel has been indefinitely postponed.

“Due to the capital constraints and the current economic climate, the 4.5-liter Duramax is on indefinite hold,” GM powertrain spokesperson Susan Garavaglia told PickupTrucks.com. “It’s not cancelled. Should the situation change, we’re still very interested in adding this technology to our product portfolio.”

The news of the so-called baby Duramax being placed on hold isn’t surprising. Ford and Toyota have also indefinitely paused their small diesel programs and Chrysler recently said a diesel for the Dodge Ram 1500 won’t be available until 2011 at the earliest. Ford, GM, Chrysler and Toyota had previously promised half-ton diesels by the 2010 calendar year.

A rapid surge in fuel prices last year that left diesel fuel with an approximate 20 percent price premium over regular gasoline and the dramatic decline in pickup truck sales have been cited as reasons by other truck manufacturers, as well as the deteriorating condition of the general economy.

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Spy Shots: New Lincoln LT Pickup

Lincoln will keep on trucking.

by on Mar.09, 2009

Lincoln's back in the pickup business with this luxury truck.

Lincoln's back in the pickup business in Mexico with this luxury truck, the new LT.

For U.S. truck buyers, this pickup is an unobtainable luxury, but our spies have just snapped photos of the all-new Lincoln Mark LT, which will continue to sell south of the border in Mexico.

The Lincoln Mark LT was discontinued in the U.S. after the 2008 model year due to slow sales. But this new Mark LT is based on the 2009 Ford F-150 Platinum edition and will be available to buyers in Mexico

The front end sports Lincoln’s distinct new double-waterfall grille design. It’s unlike any other snout in the F-150 lineup. In fact, it’s the seventh (!) unique grille we’ve seen on the current truck. The front rocker panels get Lincoln Mark LT lettering along with the tailgate, though on this test mule it still sports Platinum font across the back.

Reports have stated that the Mark LT will live on because the Lincoln brand has a very exclusive image in Mexico. Mexican buyers are prepared to pay more for a Lincoln-badged vehicle than they would for a similar one with a Ford blue oval.

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Pickups Surging

Ford adding third shift for F-150.

by on Feb.10, 2009

Harley-Davidson F-150 could spur demand further

Harley-Davidson F-150 could spur demand further

Beware conventional wisdom. If you listened to the pundits, just a few months back, you’d likely assume that the pickup truck is dead, particularly full-size models, such as Ford’s newly-redesigned F-150.

So, why is the automaker ready to add a third shift at its Rouge Assembly plant, in Dearborn, Michigan? Because despite its seemingly imminent death, the truck market is showing surprising signs of strength.

In December, in fact, as fuel prices plunged to as little as a third of their Summer 2008 peak, full-size trucks grabbed a solid 14.4 percent of the U.S. market. And though that was certainly down from where sales had stood before the recession began, it marked a timely, if unexpected comeback for Ford, and rival Chrysler, which also launched a new version of its Ram pickup for the 2009 model-year.

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