Is a Meaner, Greener Ford Focus RS on the Way?

The Dutch seem to think so.

After bowing out of the North American market following a limited-edition run of 2018 models, Ford Focus RS production is expected to wrap up in April. The final versions see a special tune, adding an extra 20 horsepower to the the grippy hatch’s already healthy 350 hp rating. Officially, there’s been no word on a replacement.

Unofficially, how does 400 hp sound?

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After Nair's Sudden Exit, Lincoln's Galhotra Climbs the Corporate Ladder

Yesterday’s shocking ouster of Raj Nair as president of Ford North America, which came after an internal investigation into “inappropriate behavior,” left a leadership vacuum at the highest levels of the company’s food chain. On Thursday morning, the automaker announced a successor: Kumar Galhotra, soon-to-be former Lincoln Motor Company boss and Ford chief marketing officer.

Galhotra, 52, has overseen Lincoln since 2014, but his new role will see him pulling all the levers of Ford’s North American business.

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Raj Nair Out at Ford Over "Inappropriate Behavior" [UPDATED]

Raj Nair, the now-former executive vice president and president for North America, had a reputation as being one of the top “car guys” in Dearborn.

He may have had a different kind of reputation inside the halls of Ford HQ. That’s because Ford announced today that he’s leaving the company, effective immediately, following an “internal investigation into reports of inappropriate behavior.”

Ford’s investigation found that Nair behaved in a way “inconsistent with the company’s code of conduct.”

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QOTD: How Do You Rank the Six Generations of Mustang?

Yesterday, the B&B collectively lit up the Buy/Drive/Burn article regarding $45,000 coupes in praise of the V8-powered 2018 Mustang GT. While munching on all the delicious clicks, I thought about the QOTD published back in December 2017. In that post, I asked you, our dear readers, to rank all seven generations of the Chevrolet Corvette. See where this is going?

Today we want to know where you rank all six generations of the Ford Mustang. Line up your ponies!

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Buy/Drive/Burn: The B&B Burns a $45,000 Rear-drive Coupe

It is impossible to ignore the present pattern in the Buy/Drive/Burn series. We’ve had three entries in the series so far, two of which have been coupe-focused. In today’s fourth edition, we talk coupes again and sort out some questions of arson from B&B commenter Dal20402. He suggested today’s modern, rear-drive sports coupe lineup in the QOTD post where we introduced the rules for this series.

The coupe category spans three continents, each with its own idea of what a rear-drive coupe should be. Which one will burn?

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John Cena Ready to Take Ford to the Mat Over Supercar Contract

Late last year, Ford Motor Company decided to sue professional wrestler and actor John Cena after he decided to sell his GT supercar. Hoping to keep ownership of the vehicle exclusive, the automaker included a clause in the ownership contract that expressly forbade anyone from selling it within two years of taking delivery. Cena decided to flip the vehicle early, causing Ford to go after him in the courts on breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.

His position appeared to be indefensible. Ford’s lawsuit even alleges that John apologized after the automaker took him to task, saying, “I completely understand and as stated am willing to work with you and Ford to make it right.”

However, the winds may have shifted in his favor. Cena is reportedly asking the judge in the case to throw out the lawsuit on the grounds that his contract never included the clause that forbid resale within the first 24 months of ownership.

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Suddenly, a Ford Bronco Raptor Enters the Realm of Possibility

Ford’s 2019 Ranger might be new to the U.S., but the model’s uninterrupted existence in overseas markets means those customers get first dibs on the brawny Raptor variant. This assumes North Americans eventually get their hands on the wide-track, off-road Ranger model, and it’s a reasonable assumption.

As for the reborn Ford Bronco, a Ranger platform-mate slated for U.S. production in 2019, the existence of a beastly Ranger Raptor is enough to generate the faintest of hopes for a wilder SUV. Now, thanks to comments made to an Australian publication, those dreams don’t seem nearly as crazy.

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Ford Focus RS Ending Production As Clouds Gather Over Model's Future

It didn’t enjoy a long life, especially here in North America, and it didn’t make it through that short time span without an embarrassing engine defect, but good luck finding someone who’d turn down a hoon session in a Ford Focus RS.

As the king of all hot hatches, the Focus RS gave enthusiasts a sensible five-door for shuttling their kids to school and the ability to shred four tires into coleslaw on the trip home. Well, get ready to pick up a shovel. The Focus goes into its grave on April 6th, and the model line’s future has never looked shakier.

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Talk to Me, Like Drivers Do: Ford Comes Up With a New Way to Open a Door

The relationship between humans and cars is poised to become quite different in the years to come, or so the automakers [s]warn[/s] promise us. Autonomous vehicles will whisk us to whatever destination we desire, simply by inputting our desired address into a navigation system or, perhaps, just by speaking it aloud. Already, the level of communication between humans and the modern car astounds.

We’ve come a long way from Chrysler’s Electronic Voice Alert, that nagging companion of the 1980s.

Now, Ford Motor Company looks ready to take our current relationship to the next level, while putting the human in charge. A U.S. patent published today describes a car that opens its doors only when it hears its master’s voice. And by “open,” we mean wide open, not just unlocked.

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Ranger Danger: Ford Issues 'Stop Driving' Order for Another 33,000 Trucks

After alerting drivers of nearly 3,000 2006 Ranger pickups last month, Ford Motor Company wants the owners of another 33,428 trucks to stop driving their vehicle, get out, and walk away.

The vehicles involved in this latest “stop driving” order are, like the other crop, all presently under recall for a potentially deadly airbag defect, though recent tests show they could be especially dangerous in the event of an airbag deployment. Ford singled out the earlier group of vehicles after discovering a connection between two airbag-related deaths in the United States. The unstable Takata airbag inflators found in both vehicles, which detonated and sprayed both crash victims with metal shards, were assembled on the same day.

These 33,428 Rangers could be equally dangerous, the company says.

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Raptors in Richmond? Ford Makes Noises About Bringing the Uber-Ranger to America

Reno, Rochester, Roswell … take your pick to complete the alliteration puzzle above. Whichever one you choose, it’s a safe bet that the Ford Raptor Ranger will be plying its roads at some point in the future. We think. Maybe.

Last week, the Blue Oval dropped a Raptorized version of its Ranger at an event in Thailand. At the time, Ford remained mum about the truck’s chances of showing up on American soil. Now, thanks to a Glass House engineer’s conversation with Australia’s Drive, we have a bit more confidence in saying the Ranger Raptor will be sold in the United States.

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Ford Throttles Up Production of Big-buck Expeditions, Navigators, in Bid for Boffo Profits

For an automaker worried about shrinking profit margins, spending an extra $25 million is just fine if it means cranking out 25 percent more high-margin SUVs. And the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, now minty fresh after years spent withering on the vine, certainly fit the description of “guaranteed cash generator.”

Ford plans to add that sum to the $900 million already sunk into the Kentucky Truck Plant in an effort to boost production of its full-size SUV models, knowing full well Americans buyers will snap them up the minute they roll off the line. Is there a clearer example of an automaker treating SUVs as a license to print money?

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2019 Ford Transit Connect: Cure for the Common Crossover?

When Ford launched the Transit Connect in North America in 2009, it was little more than a budget-friendly hauler for small business owners who needed a small van to help with their blossoming flower-delivery service. By the second generation, it received new engine options and became decidedly more passenger friendly, but remained light on features and refinement. Still, if you put a gun to the heads of a lot of car experts and asked them to pick a do-anything small vehicle, the Transit Connect would probably be on their short list.

Updated for its third generation, Ford is further enhancing the model’s versatility and comfort. However, Ford appears to be marketing the Transit Connect toward a very specific demographic — baby boomers.

While we think the Transit van’s smaller sibling probably has a far broader appeal than just the AARP crowd, things like a hip-high slide-in driver seat (with more comfortable foam), plenty of room for the grandkids, and an ultra-low load height do seem like desirable features for aging shoppers. You’d think Ford would market the Connect a viable alternative to crossovers.

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Clever Girl: Ranger Raptor Appears … In Thailand

Sticking to an incomprehensible corporate script of teasing the hell out of American truck buyers, Ford today launched the long-awaited Ranger Raptor … but chose to do so halfway around the world from Dearborn.

It’s certainly a handsome brute, at least to this author, who admittedly is a fan of the brash and outrageous (*dons Texas-sized belt buckle before heaving himself into his obnoxiously bright-red brodozer pickup*). If the specs on the machine shown in Thailand make an intact transition to American soil, Blue Oval fans will have a true alternative to the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2.

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Class Warfare: Ford Appends the Word 'Elite' to Its Titanium Edge

Apparently running out of precious metals with which to name their fancy crossovers (and not yet ready to bring the Vignale badge across the pond), Ford has created a Titanium Elite trim for the freshly revised Ford Edge.

And they say the world of crossovers isn’t exciting.

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Spied: 2020 Ford Explorer, Possibly in ST Guise

As you hopefully read on TTAC earlier this week (if not, read it here), there’s some significant changes in store for the next-generation Ford Explorer. Expected to debut next year as a 2020 model, the upcoming Explorer ditches its front-drive-biased platform for a rear-wheel-drive setup, our sources say.

The change is made possible by the switch to Ford’s modular CD6 platform, which accommodates front-, rear-, and all-wheel-drive configurations. The engine lineup sees a similar shakeup, with a new variant spawned by the addition of a motor currently found only in the Lincoln stable. Yes, the ST badge is coming to the Explorer line.

Think of it as a high-riding, three-row Fiesta — a model Ford doesn’t want us to have anymore.

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Detroit Three January 2018 Auto Sales: Trucks Can't Carry It All

After the industry’s first annual sales decline of the post-recession era in 2017, the small uptick in year-over-year U.S. auto sales in January 2018 shouldn’t be seen as a trend, analysts warn. This year will apparently bring more worry for automakers as buyers plan fewer trips to the dealership.

For the domestic brands, January brought a mixed sales bag. Two members of the Detroit Three posted significant sales declines, while the third squeaking by on the strength of light truck sales. Clearly, having a lineup full of pickups, SUVs, and crossovers helps a company’s bottom line, but it’s no guarantee of ever-higher volume in today’s market.

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Ford Wants Far Less Metal in Its Cylinder Heads

Iron or aluminum? For cylinder head construction, that’s the basic menu we’ve long grown used to. There’s advantages and drawbacks to both. Aluminum is lighter, but more prone to warping. Iron is stronger but heavier, with low thermal conductivity. Both materials are prone to the ups and downs of the commodities market, frustrating beancounters working at automakers everywhere.

In a U.S. patent application filed in October and published today, Ford Motor Company’s global tech division proposes something new: a cylinder head containing a barest minimum of metal. Called the Hybrid Composite Cylinder Head, most of the component’s bulk is made up of polymer composite, not aluminum or iron.

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Next-generation Ford Focus Due for April Reveal

Given the recent introduction of a new Expedition, EcoSport, refreshed Edge, and reborn Ranger, it’s easy to forget Ford Motor Company still sells small cars. While the current-generation Fiesta subcompact took a pass on the American market, the Focus remains, and there’s a new generation waiting in the wings.

Would-be buyers can gaze beyond the camouflage at the next-gen Focus in April, according to Automotive News Europe, with the model forgoing an expected reveal at the March Geneva Motor Show. What can we expect out of the new Focus? Going by recent reports, a slightly larger vehicle, along with a lot less choice for consumers.

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Ace of Base: 2018 Ford Expedition

Fifty thousand dollars is not exactly what springs to mind when one mentions the words “base model vehicle.” In fact, it’s likely to be precisely the opposite.

Thing is, this series isn’t solely about el-cheapo wheels. Sometimes, it’s about those rare occasions when an entry level trim for a particular model is the best one of the range. This is one of those times.

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The 2018 Ford EcoSport Hacks Your Life

Ford has finally brought its subcompact crossover to the United States. The 2018 Ford EcoSport, pronounced “EchoSport” for some reason, is hitting dealer lots as I type. Available in other markets since 2012, the recently refreshed second-generation EcoSport arrives on our shores to take on segment favorites like the Mazda CX-3 and Buick Encore.

The world seems to love mini crossovers. Ford is late to the party here, but the Blue Oval crowd are trying to make up ground with a class leading vehicle the best they could do on a budget. We have not driven the EcoSport, but we have sat in it. If anyone asks, we did not break any trim pieces. After sitting in the EcoSport, opening its doors, touching its Cozy Coupe-grade plastics, using its inconvenient rear hatch, and not being able fit my feet into the back seat, it is obvious that it is not good. No road test will change that.

But here we are, and Ford needs to offer a product in this segment. Engineering a vehicle for Third World markets while GM brought the upscale-branded Buick Encore to the U.S. proved to be a misstep. Now Ford has to poach buyers, make bold moves, and go further. We all know what that means: a marketing campaign!

According to Ford, the EcoSport is here to hack your life.

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Rare Rides: A 1991 Ford Fiesta RS Turbo - Slightly Better Than Our Festiva

In 1991, customers had a couple of hatchback options from the Blue Oval in the United States, in either the compact or subcompact segments. At the bottom of the barrel (in all ways) was the Mazda-designed Festiva, and positioned above it was the Mazda-based Escort.

Across the pond, Europeans received a Ford which was actually a Ford — the Fiesta.

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Rare Rides: A Year Later, Ghia's 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver

Today’s post serves as a couple of milestones at TTAC (for me, anyway); 200 articles written, and a year of Rare Rides. Since I did not plan this in any way or think about it in advance, I thought we might make this post a bit special. Bringing us back to the very first Rare Rides entry of one year ago, we have another concept car Ghia designed for Ford which never saw the production green light.

Presenting the 1983 Lincoln Quicksilver.

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Enter Ford X: Automaker Buying Two More Mobility Companies

Not to be outdone by General Motors’ excursion into autonomy, Ford Motor Company has announced it will purchase two mobility startups: Autonomic, which makes self-driving software; and TransLoc, which makes transit apps.

While Ford says it made a significant investment into the California-based Autonomic last year, it’s now rolling the company into a new team for developing mobility business models called “Ford X.”

This is familiar territory, as the Blue Oval also promised to put around $1 billion into Argo AI last year. The artificial intelligence startup is supposed to help Detroit automaker develop a “virtual driver system” for future autonomous fleets. But will the company’s strategy of acquiring businesses work as it hopes to reshape itself into a different kind of carmaker? Ford thinks so.

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Ford to Investors: We Have Good News and Bad News

Despite posting a 7 percent increase in revenue and a net income of $2.4 billion (up from a $800 million loss a year ago), Ford’s fourth-quarter 2017 earnings missed analyst expectations. Blame a few key factors.

First, Ford faced an increase in commodity prices, ratcheting up the cost of steel and aluminum. Add to that increased warranty costs, unpleasant foreign exchange rates, and sinking sales in China, and the company’s pretax profit fell 19 percent from a year ago, hitting $1.7 billion.

As the company seeks to convince investors to put its trust in the automaker’s vision, Ford delivered earnings of 39 cents per share, not the 42 cents analysts projected.

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2020 Ford Explorer Goes Rear-Wheel Drive, Steals Lincoln Engine

Since former CEO Mark Fields announced Ford would bring the Bronco and Ranger back to the United States, the Blue Oval rumor mill has focused mainly on those vehicles. With the 2019 Ford Ranger now out of the bag, car enthusiasts everywhere will now hone their attention on the 2020 Ford Bronco.

However, the Bronco is not the most important new Ford in 2020. That honor goes to the next-generation 2020 Ford Explorer, a vehicle that diverges from the current model in significant ways.

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Late Christmas for Focus RS Owners as Ford Gifts New Head Gaskets (and Maybe More!)

We told you recently of the tsunami of complaints from Ford Focus RS owners swamping the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — and other agencies — with minor gripes like, say, their brand new car burning engine coolant. Well, there’s a fix afoot.

In a recently released service bulletin, Ford describes the issue plaguing its hottest hatch and vows to replace every cylinder head installed in a Focus RS built between August 3, 2015 to July 6, 2017. That is to say all of them.

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2018 Pickup Crash Ratings Show What the New Crop of Trucks Needs to Get Right

Truly, this is a momentous year for trucks. Not one, not two, but three completely revamped or wholly new domestic pickups greeted us in Detroit last week, ready to capitalize on America’s unyielding hunger for vehicles that can haul, tow, ford, climb, traverse, and commute daily with a single occupant.

While we haven’t yet had an opportunity to put the 2019 Ram 1500, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, or Ford Ranger through their paces, we’d hope to find an increase in refinement and capability in returning models. Over at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, however, there’s a different testing regimen planned. Let’s just say it’s a hard-hitting one.

And if Ram or Chevy wants to get into the IIHS’ good books, those trucks had best perform better than their so-so predecessors.

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Safety Group Leans on Ford to Recall 1.3 Million Explorers

After receiving negative attention from various policing agencies over a potential carbon monoxide leak in Explorer-based Interceptor Utility vehicles, Ford is being urged by the Center for Auto Safety to recall over a million vehicles. While the automaker hasn’t yet done so, it hasn’t been sitting on its hands, either. The automaker issued technical service bulletins to service centers, dispatched its own investigative teams to examine police fleets, and said it would work with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the agency conducted a probe of its own.

Ultimately, Ford said the vehicles were safe — attributing the claimed monoxide leaks to aftermarket modifications common on police vehicles. However, it also agreed to examine and repair any Explorer (for civilian or official use) in the hopes of reassuring worried owners. Meanwhile, customer complaints ballooned after news of the story broke.

In July of 2016, the NHTSA had fewer than 200 Explorer-related grievances on file. The Center for Auto Safety claims that number has now grown to 1,400.

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Ask Jack: A Real Pain In the RS?

Did you watch HBO’s new David Simon show, The Deuce? It takes a while to get started, kind of like Season 2 of The Wire, also a Simon creation, but it eventually acquires some real momentum. Anyway, if you ever get around to seeing it, you will hear that the opening theme is a carefully edited version of Curtis Mayfield’s “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below, We’re All Going To Go.”

One of the best sections of that song goes something like this:

Everybody praying
And everybody saying
But when come time to do
Everybody’s laying
Just talking ’bout, “Don’t worry”

As you’ll see below, however, when it comes to using performance automobiles for improbable-bordering-on-impossible family tasks, sometimes people do more than just lay around…

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Contradiction at Cobo - Reflections on the 2018 Detroit Auto Show

When I left the media center at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, I turned to Steph to say I might write a roundup piece this week, but I wasn’t sure what angle to take. It’s true this year’s show was truck-focused, and I wanted to go beyond the obvious theme (which Jack eventually took on here) and see if there was more to the show that was getting lost in the truck madness.

“Maybe I will find inspiration on the open road,” I joked.

Instead, the “open road” greeted me with snarled traffic near Detroit and whiteout conditions a couple hours later in Southwest Michigan/Northwest Indiana. So, as I tried to keep a Camry pointed forward and not sideways while surrounded by insane open-road truckers whose response to the weather was to drive even faster, I realized I wasn’t going to come up with some grand, sweeping theme for this year’s show.

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No Fixed Abode: Auto Shows In The Time Of Icebergs

I left Detroit at 4:51AM on Tuesday morning, pointed south for a three-hour drive that would terminate with the beginning of my workday. I could have taken the morning off, but I like to surround my auto shows with a little bit of deliberate misery, lest I inadvertently become too comfortable in the entirely artificial universe of public relations and journalist-pampering that seems to gain steam every year even as the rest of the event comes to resemble the petal-dropping Enchanted Rose in the spare wing of the Beast’s castle. Thus the 4 AM wakeup and the trudge out to the frozen parking lot, hunchbacked with suit bags and audibly creaking from every joint, Danger Girl trailing behind me with the wide-eyed stare common to prisoners of war and victims of spousal abuse, even if it’s mostly musical in nature.

We were not the only people starting our morning, and our truck, before dawn. Long-time TTAC readers may remember that General Motors and a few other automakers pay the travel expenses of quite a few autojournos in exchange for obtaining control of their narratives. Most of them arrive a few days before the actual show, all the better to maximize the free meals and curated experiences. On Saturday, while my son and I were driving up to a skatepark in Cleveland for an evening’s worth of BMX riding, I’d seen a former colleague of mine whining on Instagram about the less-than-five-star nature of his complimentary accommodations at the GM Renaissance Marriott. The only way I could think of to register my disappointment was to change my own hotel reservation to the absolute cheapest room available on Hotels.com: $47 a night for the Allen Park Motor Lodge.

The motel, and the room, turned out to be kinda-sorta okay, although the bed didn’t really make the grade for two people with a hardware store’s worth of screws and bolts in their bones. Here’s the interesting part: I’d expected that most of my fellow motel-dwellers would be engaged in some form of recreational depravity, but in actuality the bulk of them were construction and service-industry workers taking advantage of the weekly rates. They were early to bed and early to rise. Our work-truck white Silverado, parked in a line of pickups that stretched all the way across the motel’s road frontage, was notable only for being slightly newer than the rest. As we backed out of our spot, I saw a few Carhartt-clad fellows trudging out to the Colorados and F-150s and Rams, tool belts slung over their shoulders, rubbing their eyes and exhaling cloudy yawns of crystallized steam towards the moon.

Back to life, back to reality. But there was a bit of irony in it for me, because this Detroit show was the first one in a long time to acknowledge the connection between the polished artifice of the press-event turntable and the early-morning trudge to one’s truck.

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Ford's Short-term Game Plan: Cull Cars, Slash Configurations, Boost Profits

There’s a bell tolling for probably more than one Ford passenger car model, though we don’t know which ones just yet. Or do we?

As part of its updated operational strategy, detailed at the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit Tuesday, Ford Motor Company plans to sink $11 billion into electrification by 2022, release 16 fully electric models on a global scale, and field SUVs in every possible segment and sub-segment. Exhibit A: the subcompact EcoSport and brawn-ified Edge ST.

The company’s goal is greater profits and a healthier return for shareholders, not to mention a hoped-for lift in share value. Certainly, Ford’s declining stock did former CEO Mark Fields no favors.

Unfortunately, in order for Ford’s fortunes to soar, certain models will have to die. The company says it “will shift toward a lower volume passenger car lineup in North America and Europe.”

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Ford Turns Up the Heat on the Mustang, Confirms New Shelby GT500

Ford Mustang fans won’t have to settle for 526 horsepower for much longer. That’s currently the model’s headiest output, churned out by the 5.2-liter V8 found under the hood of the Shelby GT350.

In 2019, however, a new snake slithers into Dearborn. Rumored endlessly, the Shelby GT500 will return as “the most powerful street-legal production Ford ever,” the automaker claims.

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Even Ford Thinks the Mach 1 Shouldn't Be an Electric SUV…

We know it’s a bad idea, you know it’s a bad idea, and as it turns out, even Ford knows using the legendary Mach 1 name on a “performance” battery electric SUV is a bad idea.

Initially, the rumblings were that Ford would revive the Mach 1 name for some kind of hybrid or full-blown battery electric high-performance Mustang. But it is not. Ford’s executive vice president and president of Global Markets, Jim Farley, quickly clarified to assembled media that the new boxy BEV could certainly be related to the Mustang, but would not be a Mustang.

Instead, the badge might live on the back of a new electric performance SUV coming in 2020. But Ford’s North American Product Communications Manager, Mike Levine, began backpedaling shortly after the announcement, following a groundswell of negative opinions. Levine was adamant the company was only considering using the Mach 1 name, claiming the Blue Oval brand would listen to public reaction before making an actual decision.

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Ford Resurrects the Mustang Bullitt as Film's 50th Anniversary Nears

The first Bullitt go-round was a 2001 attempt to upgrade the Mustang GT with a modicum of extra power and a styling nod to an old movie that couldn’t be more forgettable, were it not for a stellar chase sequence. The 2001-2002 Mustang Bullitt, however, couldn’t do anything about its facelifted 1990s sheetmetal, which hardly asks, “Are you going to San Francisco?”

It was the fifth-generation Mustang’s retro design that proved a far more suitable canvas for Ford’s performance brush. Endowed with a more generous helping of brawn, the 2008-2009 Bullitt was a fitting homage to a certain Dark Highland Green ’68 Mustang 390. Still, all good things must come to an end. Or do they?

If you’ve heard rumors recently, consider this a confirmation. The Bullitt is back, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Steve McQueen flick that made chassis-bending jumps popular a decade before the Duke boys. Driven onto the Cobo Center stage in Detroit by McQueen’s granddaughter, Molly McQueen, the Sunday night reveal of Ford’s turtleneck-and-sport-coat ‘Stang was a pleasant distraction from the automaker’s incessant future-speak.

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The Next Mach 1 Will Be Electric, but Will It Be a Mustang? UPDATE: High Performance Electric SUV?

One of the talking points at Ford’s reveal of the North American market Ranger, Edge ST, and the latest coming of the Mustang Bullitt, was the automaker’s commitment of $11 billion dollars to the further electrification of Ford’s product lineup. An upcoming hybrid version of the F-150 pickup truck was announced and the presentation ended with the tease of a “performance” battery electric vehicle to be on sale for the 2020 model year under the Mach 1 name.

While it’s now clear that the new Mach 1 will be a purely electrically powered vehicle, Ford was less forthcoming about what kind of vehicle it is going to be. Don’t assume that it will be based on the Mustang.

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Power Ranger: Ford (Re)Introduces Its Midsize Pickup

After watching helplessly as competition from Toyota, General Motors, and Nissan ate its lunch in the midsize truck game, Ford has finally rolled out a new Ford Ranger. Last seen darkening dealer lots as a 2011 model, the old Ranger was put to rest after soldiering on for years with underpinnings dating back to the Jurassic era, or at least the Clinton administration.

No such concerns are on tap for the 2019 Ford Ranger, which deploys all the latest technology ranging, from a Terrain Management System to an off-road cruise control type system called Trail Control. Customer demand for trucks has never been higher, so the time is right for Ford to join the midsized pickup fray. The Ranger’s back, and we hear Sajeev is planning a party.

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Ford Seeking Group of Ranger Owners With Extremely Dangerous Trucks

Some 2,900 Ford Ranger pickups from the 2006 model year pose such a high risk to their owners, Ford Motor Company wants those people to stop driving them immediately. So great is the concern, Ford is recalling vehicles already named in an earlier recall, just so it can identify who the owners are.

Of the 21 deaths and hundreds of injuries reported from exploding Takata airbags, only two fatalities occurred in vehicles not built by Honda. A Ranger airbag explosion in 2015 killed a female driver. Now, the automaker claims it has discovered the July 2017 death of a West Virginia driver was also the result of a Takata inflator — and that both victims’ inflators were manufactured on the same day.

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2019 Ford Edge ST: The Unlikely Athlete

With the Focus RS out of production and the Fiesta ST heading off into the sunset, Ford’s attainable performance stable was starting to look a little bare. Maybe it still is, depending on your reaction to the vehicle pictured above.

Regardless of how you feel, it’s happening. For 2019, the Blue Oval is slapping its performance badge onto the midsize Edge crossover, cranking up the power, swapping the transmission, and sending the model to the plastic surgeon for a facelift. It’s 2018, and this is apparently what we want.

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What Will Ford ST Next?

Ford has teased that it will be giving something the ST treatment next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It hasn’t said what, at least not publicly, as of yet. We may or may not know, but embargoes are something we abide by here at TTAC, so we’re not spilling any beans. That is, if we know, which we might, but might not.

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Ford Dishes Specs on New 3.0-liter Diesel F-150

Not willing to cede any pickup ground to its rivals, Ford Motor Company will soon open orders for a light-duty diesel pickup. Under the hood of its F-150, the Blue Oval’s new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6 promises class-leading fuel economy (in a very small class) and greater towing capacity than its Fiat Chrysler competitor.

The model’s trailer-yanking potential is the result of the latest battle in the great, ongoing Torque War.

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Ford EcoSport Hits Dealers With Big Lease Incentives in Tow

To put it mildly, the TTAC crew has been less than enthusiastic about the 2018 Ford EcoSport ever since Ford Motor Company announced the overseas subcompact crossover would come to America, filling a gap at the bottom of Ford’s utility lineup. Having not driven one, we’ll hold off on any assumptions about the model’s abilities or quality.

But it’s interesting to note, as EcoSports arrive on dealer lots across the U.S., that Ford’s giving the model a helping hand right out of the gate.

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QOTD: Can You Crystal Ball Future Ford Fusion Fortunes?

Have you driven a Ford, lately? I haven’t — but Ford has nonetheless been on my mind. Last week, my QOTD inquired about the upcoming Bronco, and whether Ford would mess up the established Bronco formula. The majority of you seem to think they will. That same day, we ran a post about the cancellation of a Fusion redesign.

And that’s left me with even more Ford questions, and fears about future Fusion fates. Let’s discuss.

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Ford Kiboshes the Fusion's Redesign: Report

Everyone who’s excited about the next-generation Ford Fusion, take one step forward.

Not so fast, guys.

A new report lends weight to rumors that Ford Motor Company isn’t all that enthused about letting its passenger cars wither on the vine while buyers look elsewhere for riper, fresher fruit. Fruit with a cargo bay, to be clear. It seems the Ford Fusion’s redesign program is now off the table, turning the model’s future into a giant question mark.

Death becomes Fusion?

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Put 'er in Low: Ford's Crash-diving Transmission Earns Another Investigation

In 2016, Ford Motor Company’s stable of rear-drive vehicles came under scrutiny for six-speed transmissions that couldn’t decide whether to sprint or crawl. Owners reported that their 2011-2012 F-150s, Expeditions, Mustangs, and Lincoln Navigators would, suddenly and without warning, downshifting from upper ratios to first gear, ultimately forcing the automaker to recall some 153,000 of the vehicles in the United States.

It now looks like it didn’t recall enough of them. Dangerous downshifts continue, and not just in vehicles covered by the recall. Another concern is that the problem is reappearing in supposedly “fixed” vehicles.

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QOTD: Do You Think Ford Will Ruin the New Bronco?

For 2019, Ford will debut a new Ranger (1982-2011), followed the next year by a new Bronco (1966-1996). While there have been some camouflaged Rangers seen running around, Ford is not showing anybody what the new Bronco will look like.

Since they’re leaving it up to our imaginations, do you think they’re going to ace the new Bronco, or drop a big deuce?

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Ford Inadvertently Confirms the GT500's 200 MPH Top Speed, Supercharged V8, and Carbon Ceramic Brakes

Two weeks ago, an image of a supercharger embossed with the iconic Shelby snake made its way onto the internet, followed by another claiming to depict the biggest set of rotors ever affixed to a factory Mustang.

The GT500 rumor mill went ballistic.

Now, we have official — albeit inadvertent — acknowledgment from Ford that a new Shelby GT500 is incoming, courtesy of the company’s OEM service portal, which revealed wiring diagrams and a slew of service procedures which incidentally confirm several details about the upcoming Über Mustang.

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Ford Econoline 150 Campaign Van
During the 2016 American presidential election, those voters who loathed both Trump and Clinton had the option of voting for one of a couple of long-shot third-party candidates, or perhaps the far more rational fourth-party candidate. Those rebellious souls who opted for the fourteenth-party candidate in 2016 went for that Econoline-driving Californian: Jussy G.G. Prussly.Here is Jussy’s once-glorious van, now retired in a Central Valley self-service wrecking yard.
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Junkyard Find: 1995 Mercury Tracer Trio

Kicky appearance packages and vivid colors were all the rage among Detroit makers of cheap econoboxes during the late 1980s through middle 1990s, and so it became necessary for the Dearborn masterminds to create a Mercurized Ford Escort that would enthrall younger car shoppers. Thus was the Mercury Tracer Trio born. Here’s a screaming purple ’95, spotted in a Denver self-service yard.

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Takata Problems Force Recall of Ford Ranger (No, Not That One - the Old One)

Ford is recalling the Ranger. No, not the one they’re likely to show on stage at Detroit in about a month’s time. Rather, they’re calling back nearly 400,000 of the old Rangers. You know, the ones they stopped producing way back in the, uh, wow, 2012 model year.

In fact, the recalled units stem from much further back than that, with the company saying it will replace the airbags in 391,394 units of the 2004 through 2006 model-year Ford Ranger. Yes, Virginia, this is another problem related to Takata airbags.

Plus, we just wanted an excuse to run a photo of the old Ford Ranger.

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UAW Prez Gets It All Off His Chest, Slams Ford Motor Company

United Auto Workers president Dennis Williams, due to retire in June, isn’t letting Ford Motor Company off the hook for its recent decision to send production of a key product south of the border. Actually, as union heads are wont to do, he’s not letting his government off the hook, either.

The question Williams would like Ford CEO Jim Hackett to answer is: what Mexicans are going to buy an electric Ford?

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Rare Rides: A 1984 Dodge Rampage, the Efficient Forgotten Trucklet

The small car-based truck market was an interesting place in the early 1980s. Chevrolet had a hit on its hands with the El Camino, and it caught other manufacturers empty handed. By then, Ford had lost its LTD-based Ranchero pickup, and in its grief turned to a short-lived experiment called the Durango, based on the Fairmont Futura.

Dodge tried this one. The Rampage.

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Have You Driven a Lately? Production of Ford Fusion May Move to China

It’s no secret that the American buying public shuns four door sedans as if they were an especially virulent leper. Through the first 11 months of this year, the segment is off by over 300,000 units. Almost every car is down, even the spanking-new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry.

Reuters now reports that three of its sources claim Ford plans to consolidate global production of midsize sedans in 2020. The cars will be built in China and shipped to the United States and Europe.

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Ford Confirms Focus RS Engine Woes; Company Working on a Fix

It’s not just scorched rubber that’s responsible for the clouds of white smoke surrounding some Ford Focus RS models. The model’s high-output 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder, credited with turning the staid Focus 5-door into a performance hatch worthy of fanboy lust, seems to have a serious flaw.

Numerous complaints of white exhaust smoke seen during cold startups has forced the automaker to admit there’s a problem with the FoRS. The 2.3-liter is not electing a new Pope, as TTAC’s Matthew Guy quipped this morning — it’s burning coolant.

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Spied: 2019 Ford Ranger FX4 in Production Clothes

We’ve told you already that Ford isn’t letting off-road-focused variants of the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado have all the fun when the midsized Ranger comes to market next year. The long-awaited pickup, Americanized for its 2019 model-year debut, will arrive with a brawnier FX4 model in tow.

Thanks to these spy shots, we can now take a look at a Ranger FX4 that’s not a test mule.

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The Difference Between Ford and General Motors' Longterm Strategies

While General Motors has become progressively more brazen in outlining its plans for the future, Ford has kept its cards a bit closer to the chest. We do know both companies have similar long-term goals, but Ford has been (rather wisely) preoccupied, adjusting its fleet to meet global demand and ensuring production flexibilities that should prevent it from being caught off guard by an industry turnaround.

It’s interesting because, a little over a year ago, former Ford CEO Mark Fields was promising a complete evolution of the automaker into something called “a mobility company.” However, it now looks as if GM is the firm making a beeline toward alternative revenue streams and a new business model, while Ford takes a more measured approach.

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Rare Rides: The 2001 Qvale Mangusta, Certainly a Purebred Italian

Technically complicated, Italian designed, and American powered, the Qvale Mangusta mixed together ingredients from two continents into an exotic sports coupe.

But it wasn’t supposed to be called Mangusta, nor was it to wear a Qvale badge. The looks aren’t the only dramatic part of this coupe.

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Ford Performance Head Moves Into Mainstream Models

Ford’s former head of performance car manufacturing, Dave Pericak, is now the engineering director for the automaker’s North American unibody vehicles. While in charge of Ford Performance, the division launched the Raptor, Focus RS, Shelby GT350, and GT. Prior to taking the helm in 2014, he was also the chief engineer of the 50th anniversary Mustang.

Now responsible for mainstream models from both Ford and Lincoln, Pericak’s previous duties will be split between Mark Rushbrook and Hermann Salenbauch. Rushbrook will handle the company’s racing efforts as Salenbauch runs Ford’s production vehicle development.

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Stop, or I'll Separate You Two: Ford Delivers Another Ram Beatdown in the Ongoing Torque War

It’s become a trend. The annual who’s-got-more-twist competition between Ford and Ram is now so regular, so expected, we can even predict by exactly how many foot-pounds the new victor will reign.

Five lb-ft.

Recently announced by Ford, the 2018 Super Duty line’s 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 wrestles the torque crown back from the Ram Heavy Duty, which had held it for just a year. The exact same scenario played out in the leadup to that particular upset. At this pace, it shouldn’t be too long before American buyers are laying down greenbacks for twist numbers in the four-figure range.

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  • Syke The expected opening comments. Have had mine for two years now, the car has done exactly what I want out of it, and a little better. I'm quite happy with the car, haven't had to adjust my driving style or needs in the slightest, and . . . . oh, did a mention that I don't give a damn what today's price at the pump is?Probably going to go for a second one in the coming year, the wife's happy enough with mine that she's ready and willing to trade in the Nissan Kicks. Eventually, the not often used van will end up getting traded on a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, basically ensuring that we don't use gas for anything except the occasional long trip.And the motorcycles.
  • Bobbysirhan I've never found the Allegro appealing before, but a few years of EV rollouts make it seem downright desirable.
  • Scoutdude I know that dealership. Way back when my friend's grandfather was that Turner that owned the Chrysler Plymouth International dealer, in MacPherson. Of course the International was dropped when they didn't deem the Scout reason enough to keep the franchise. I moved from there in late 1978 so it is possible I saw this running around town way back when.
  • Lou_BC "Overpriced" is a misnomer. Arguably, if they are selling they are not overpriced. "Dealer mark-up above MSRP" is a mouthful but more accurate. Simple, don 't buy anything marked up. A computer will help you search the country. It's a PITA but doable.
  • Buickman GM sucks