Ford's Planning to Make Its Largest SUVs Greener (and Its Smallest a Lot Greener): Report

Despite festooning its large utility vehicles with the latest and greatest fuel-saving technologies — turbocharging, dual injection, 10-speed automatics — Ford isn’t finished reducing the thirst of its big SUVs.

According to sources with knowledge of the automaker’s product plans, the push for better MPGs includes giving those gas-fueled engines a break once in awhile. Care for an extra motor in your Expedition or Navigator?

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Rare Rides: 1985 ASC McLaren Mercury Capri - the Fox Body Mashup

Last time on Rare Rides we featured a V8-powered American muscle car that started out as a coupe and had the roof removed by an aftermarket company. Opinions of the Callaway Speedster were mixed, ranging from “meh” to “1990s meh.” So for this Rare Rides entry, we are [s]doing something completely different[/s] following the exact same formula, executed in a different way.

It’s a very special Mercury, at a much lower price point. McLaren anyone?

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It Looks Like Ford Has a Problem With Its Nuts

Ford Motor Company finds itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit concerning the simplest part of any car or truck: the lug nuts.

In this case, nuts that swell and delaminate not long after purchase, rendering the vehicle’s lug wrench useless in the event of a flat tire, or when the owners decide to swap their seasonal rubber. The lawsuit, filed by Hagens Berman Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, seeks class-action status. Hundreds of claimants have put their name to the suit.

Millions of Ford vehicles dating back to 2010, including the popular Fusion and F-150, feature two-piece lug nuts with a steel core and chrome, aluminum, or stainless cap for appearance purposes, the lawsuit claims. That outer cap can swell, potentially endangering owners’ lives and wallets.

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Ford CEO Sees a Future for Hands-on Driving, but a New Patent Shows the Company Hedging Its Bets

If you believe certain segments of the media, we’ll soon be able to avoid the drudgery of turning a steering wheel, pressing and releasing pedals, and — gasp! — shifting gears.

The inevitable onset of self-driving vehicles, tech aficionados and urbanists tell us, will bring traffic fatalities down to zero, somehow remove all congestion from the road, and turn our lives into a never-ending sojourn of blissful tranquility. Never again will you take that aimless and unprogrammed late-night drive, just for the hell of it. Never again will you bother with buying and owning a car. Automakers will simply turn their driverless cars loose, emptying driveways while filling streets with hands-off ride-sharing pods.

Not so fast, says Ford’s newly minted CEO.

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The World's 20 Best-Selling Vehicles in 2017's First Half

The Ford F-Series was the planet’s best-selling line of new vehicles in the first half of 2017. Boosted by a 9-percent year-over-year global sales increase, the broad F-Series range produced 519,000 total sales in 2017’s first six months, according to JATO Dynamics, about 47,000 more sales than the second-ranked Toyota Corolla.

The F-Series wasn’t the only pickup truck on the list of Earth’s 20 most popular vehicles in 2017, to date. FCA’s Ram P/U lineup ranked 11th and the Chevrolet Silverado grabbed the 15th position. The United States market, on its own, accounts for the overwhelming majority of global sales generated by these full-size pickup families: more than 80 percent for the F-Series, just under 80 percent for the Ram, and nearly 90 percent for the Silverado.

Utility vehicles, meanwhile, earned seven of the top 20 positions. And while seven of the nine cars sold less often in the first half of 2017 than in the equivalent period in 2016, six of the seven crossovers reported year-over-year improvements.

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Ford F-150's V8 Market Share Shrinks to Just a Quarter

As Ford prepares to launch the refreshed 2018 F-150 with a thoroughly updated engine lineup, Blue Oval product planners expect 2017’s engine selection to continue. That means the 5.0-liter V8, while mildly upgraded for 2018, will be found under the hood of only one in four 2018 F-150s.

The transition has been a rapid one. Twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6s were surprisingly effective when, in early 2011, 35 percent of F-150 buyers made the leap from conventional naturally aspirated powerplants. Three years later, when Ford was planning to expand the F-150’s EcoBoost lineup with a less costly 2.7-liter variant, Ford expected 56 percent of F-150 buyers to choose one of the turbocharged units.

Heading into 2018, Ford’s truck marketing manager Todd Eckert tells Automotive News that the 2.7-liter EcoBoost will be the most popular F-150 engine followed by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Together, they’ll claim 65 percent of all F-150 sales, leaving 10 percent for the new entry-level 3.3-liter, and roughly 25 percent for the five-point-oh.

So how many V8 engines is that?

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Rare Rides: The Crazy 1998 MSV, an RV That Time Forgot

Look at the large creature before you. A fiberglass cacophony of components from various manufacturer parts bins, known as the MSV. Initially, I thought the short acronym could only mean My Special Van, but those letters actually represent the company behind this beast: Mauck Specialty Vehicles.

Hop in the back, and we’ll embark on a voyage to… recreation.

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Spied: Will Ford's Upcoming Ranger Spawn a Midsize Raptor?

This ties in nicely with an earlier post detailing the only two options availabl e for midsize pickup buyers wanting more off-road prowess. For now, it’s Chevrolet and Toyota’s arena. Both GM and Toyota dominate the midsize pickup segment — a class that saw its U.S. market share rise to 17 percent of total pickup sales last year.

However, Ford’s late-to-the-game Ranger pickup, arriving on these shores in 2019 as a 2020 model, should bring a third player to the midsize mud and rock jamboree. It might not carry the Raptor name made famous by its bigger brother F-150, but this spied test vehicle shows Ford isn’t willing to send the Ranger to America wearing just work clothes.

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Ford Announces Improved Hauling and Long Haul Economy for the 2018 F-150

As promised, Ford is updating the engine lineup in the company’s best-selling F-150 for the 2018 model year, providing improved fuel economy and maximum towing capacity across the board.

While it’s always a good idea to hold out a bit of skepticism until review time, Ford previously low-balled its economy estimates for the F-Series — as such, we’re working with some previously existing good faith.

News has been trickling out regarding Ford’s upcoming styling tweaks, advanced safety tech, and a powerful new diesel engine for the 2018 model. We also knew the F-150’s gas engines would be getting upgraded specs and, while some alterations are minor, there are a few big numbers worth disclosing.

And they have little to do with the 5.0-liter V8.

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Ford Identifies Source of Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Leak in Police Vehicles

Ford has assembled five squads of investigators to help police departments cope with the growing number of reports of exhaust fumes incapacitating on-duty officers in Explorer-based Interceptor Utility vehicles. While the problem appears to exist in civilian spec SUVs as well, police vehicles are getting the most attention from Ford and the press, especially after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited three wrecked patrol vehicles and numerous drivers looking green in the gills.

The NHTSA ramped up its engineering analysis since then, which could lead to a recall on all Explorer-based models from 2011 to 2017. But Ford hopes to get out ahead of the issue by making good on an earlier promise, dispatching its own investigative teams to ensure police departments don’t look to other automakers the next time they need to replenish their fleets.

According to Ford, it’s already making headway in solving the problem.

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Ford's New Patent Eliminates the Remaining Reason for Opening Your Hood

It’s no secret that vehicle owners are becoming more hands-off when it comes to vehicle maintenance and repair. Some of that blame can be attributed to the increasing complexity of modern cars, and automakers are using that to their advantage as they attempt to make cars even more hands-off. The tool roll and spare tire you’d find in older cars have been replaced with a can of fix-a-flat and a roadside assistance card.

Changes like the disappearance of the spare tire are the result of chasing fuel economy standards, though others — like increased use of plastic engine covers — seem like the automaker’s way of telling owners they’ll need to subscribe to a service plan instead of trying to turn a wrench on their own. A recently published patent shows someone at Ford had the idea to take this to next level — so owners will never have to open the hood at all.

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Junkyard Find: 1979 Ford Mustang Coupe
The Fox Mustang replaced the much-reviled (but big-selling) Pinto-based Mustang II for the 1979 model year, and production continued through 1993 (or 2004, if you consider the Fox-based SN-95 platform to be a true Fox).Today’s Junkyard Find, spotted in Denver, is a triple rarity: it’s a first-year Fox Mustang, it’s a notchback, and it has the 200-cubic-inch straight-six engine. Let’s take a look.
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Picture Time: American Muscle From the Keeneland Concours

In our previous concours edition of Picture Time, we shared five distinctly American luxury cars from years gone by. Today we move forward in history a little, and subtract some luxury for the sake of sheer power.

Follow along now for some great American muscle cars from the show.

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The Polite 2018 Ford Mustang GT Will Allow You to Schedule Quiet Times

Like a good neighbor, Ford Mustang is there.

We noticed last week that Ford’s more costly 2018 Ford Mustang GT offers an $895 Active Valve Performance Exhaust option. Only now, however, do we know just what that performance exhaust system entailed.

Sure, it can be loud, but the 2018 Mustang GT’s optional exhaust is more than just a baffle that opens under heavy throttle. Now you can hush your Mustang at the crack of dawn to avoid waking Dan and Mary next door; the pesky neighbors who mow their lawn at 8 a.m. on Saturdays but hate everything about your all-American muscle car.

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NHTSA Expands Ford Explorer Probe After Probable Police Gassings

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is inching its way toward what could be a massive recall of Ford Explorers. An initial probe kicked off in 2016 after owners entered numerous complaints of an unpleasant exhaust smell in the cabin into the NHTSA database.

Formal grievances swelled into the hundreds by the end of the year and continued growing into 2017. The issue was so serious, one California police officer faulted it for overpowering him while behind the wheel of his Explorer-based Interceptor Utility, resulting in a crash last February. He wasn’t alone. On Thursday, the NHTSA announced at least three other wrecks could be attributed to carbon monoxide exposure inside the vehicle. All in all, the agency stated it is aware of 41 injuries and over 2,700 complaints linked to the issue.

While the injuries are mostly instances of nausea, severe headache, and dizziness, those symptoms pose a serious risk while driving. Concerned the problem could result in another crash, the NHTSA has broadened the probe to encompasses 1.33 million vehicles from 2011 to 2017 and upgraded it to a complete engineering analysis.

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Another Ford Recall: Seats, Seatbelts Could Give Way

No automaker remains immune from safety recalls, but Ford Motor Company has had a bad go if it, as the British would say. The latest recall, spanning four models, concerns roughly 117,000 vehicles with potentially faulty anchors for the seats, seatbacks and seatbelts — all things you’d want to work properly in the event of a crash.

The automaker, which recently saw a slew of recalls munch heartily on its corporate profits, claims improperly tempered attachment bolts could cause any of the components to give way during a crash, or even a sudden stop.

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Ford B-Max Is the Latest Deceased Minivan - When Sliding Doors Die, Angels Cry

It’s a question parents don’t ask often enough: are is our children learning?

More commonly queried: why not are our doors all is sliding? Furthermore, why is minivans are not mini?

Ford gave it a five-year whirl, slapping sliding doors on the side of the Fiesta-based B-Max. But according to a report in Romania’s Automarket, production of the Romanian-built B-Max ends this fall.

Are is our automakers learning?

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2018 Ford Mustang GT Base Price Rises $1,900; Pricier Options Take the Bill to New Heights

The 2018 Ford Mustang GT, freshly facelifted and powered up, will cost you 6 percent more than the 2017 Ford Mustang GT.

The base price for a Ford Mustang EcoBoost falls to $26,085, a $610 drop as Ford eliminates the basic Ford Mustang V6 from the lineup and moves the EcoBoost downmarket to aid affordability. Now with 310 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque, the least expensive 2018 Ford Mustang is $400 more than the least expensive 2017 Ford Mustang.

But it’s the 2018 Mustang GT, now priced from $35,995, that’s growing increasingly expensive. A $1,900 jump is nothing to sneeze at, particularly given the speed with which the $40K barrier is now crossed.

Non-Shelby Mustangs can get pricey in a hurry.

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Ford Bumps 2018 Mustang's Power, Claims Sub-four-second 0-60 Time for GT

As evidenced by its constantly evolving truck and SUV lineup, Ford isn’t happy printing the same horsepower and torque figures year after year. Fuel economy and cargo volume are all nice and good, and God knows American consumers love space for unnecessary, child-related crap, but performance cars aren’t dead yet. Nor is the desire for ever more rubber-shredding power.

In the hopes of satisfying those not waiting lustily for the upcoming 1.0-liter EcoSport, engineers at the Blue Oval cranked the power output of its facelifted EcoBoost and GT Mustang variants a few notches higher for 2018. The company’s also making noise about speed. Specifically, the time it takes to reach 60 mph in the 2018 Mustang GT.

Ford claims a 0-60 figure of less than four seconds when equipped with newly available Drag Strip mode — a stunning, if vague, figure that should garner bragging rights if owners are capable of replicating the feat themselves. With no exact 0-60 time given, the 2018 Mustang’s 13.5 cubic-foot trunk provides ample room for those grains of salt.

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RIP, Ford Fiesta? Blue Oval Exec Says 2018 Model Isn't Coming to America

After months of speculation as to the fate of the Ford Fiesta in North America, as well as months of hazy non-answers from communications staff, Ford Motor Company’s B-segment program manager, Robert Stiller, has stated that the subcompact car segment in Dearborn is dead.

No more Ford Fiesta.

After going on sale in the U.S. in mid-2010 as a 2011 model, the Fiesta’s American seems destined to end this year. Buyers in Europe and overseas — always a reliable draw for itty-bitty cars — are guaranteed a seventh-generation model. Oh boy, do they ever receive a new model. The 2018 Fiesta bows not just as a three- or five-door hatch, but also in luxurious Vignale and soft-roading Active trims.

Over here? Hug your 1.0-liter EcoBoosts tightly and shed a tear, Fiesta fans. The little guy appears doomed for the chopping block. Can Ford interest you in a subcompact crossover?

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Picture Time: Vintage American Luxury From Keeneland Concours

The other weekend, I traveled down to the rolling green acres of Kentucky for the annual Keeneland Concours event. There was a wide selection of vehicles at the show, and I love taking pictures.

Read on if you’re ready for some vintage American luxury.

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Five Island Beaches, One 2017 Ford Fusion Energi – Can It Be Done on EV Power Alone?

The planning session was brief. At TTAC’s virtual HQ, also known as TTAC Slack, Steph Willems, Corey Lewis, and Adam Tonge were busy formulating an idea.

Fascinated by the Cain family’s recent move to rural Prince Edward Island, the guys wondered if, on electric power alone, Ford’s plug-in hybrid 2017 Fusion Energi SE could cross Prince Edward Island from the north side’s Gulf of St. Lawrence to the south side’s Northumberland Strait, which separates Prince Edward Island from mainland Canada.

Sure it can, I said, but that’s too easy. There are many narrow parts of Prince Edward Island. Crossing Rte. 308’s nine miles from Naufrage to Rollo Bay wouldn’t be much of a challenge.

Building on that idea, however, we developed a plan that would grant yours truly a midday office reprieve, or so I thought. From the Cain homestead in Margate, just outside the bustling metropolis of Kensington, I would depart with a fully charged 2017 Ford Fusion Energi and attempt to reach five spectacular beaches along the Gulf of St. Lawrence on PEI’s so-called Green Gables Shore.

Google Maps said I would need to travel 22 miles. The 2017 Ford Fusion Energi has 23 miles of pure EV range. This’ll be a breeze, I thought to myself, and I fled my office and TTAC’s virtual HQ minutes later, thoroughly unprepared for what came next.

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Ford Delivers Another 'Pursuit Rated' Vehicle to Law Enforcement

Ford recently began giving law enforcement agencies more options in terms of the type of automobiles they want to put into active duty. The company provided America’s preferred pursuit vehicle, the Crown Victoria, for years and has moved on to a broader fleet of sedans, SUVs, and pickups specifically equipped for police use. Earlier this year, Ford showcased the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan as part of its Greener Shade of Blue campaign — dubbing it the “first pursuit-rated hybrid police car.”

We condemned Ford for its bragging, mainly because Chevrolet already provided a hybrid police vehicle and there was no concrete evidence that the Police Responder Hybrid Sedan was actually pursuit-rated. Unfortunately, we may be forced to do that all over again with Ford’s new F-150 Police Responder pickup. It’s another new, likely welcome, entry into the automaker’s extensive law enforcement fleet that leaves us doubting the validity of the terminology used.

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New Ford Patent Seeds Engine With Water, Promises Horsepower Boost

Ford’s German division has filed a patent for a new water injection system that could bring exponential improvements in efficiencies and high horsepower gains.

Truthfully, water injection isn’t a new technology, World War II fighter planes used vaporized water to improve low-speed thrust during take off, plus, an extra spurt of speed during dogfights. Post-war, both Saab and Oldsmobile offered vehicles with factory installed water injection systems before the technology enjoyed a renaissance in high-performance Group B rally cars during the 1980s.

Traditionally, water injection has been used as a shortcut to high performance, where a 50/50 water-alcohol mix is injected into the intake manifold where it’s used to lower combustion temperatures and cool the pistons and cylinder walls. This, in turn, reduces the likelihood of detonation and allows for higher compression ratios, which can manifest as either higher performance metrics or a more efficient engine.

But where Ford’s design differs is its focus on injecting water directly into the combustion chamber instead of its traditional upstream location in the intake tract.

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Report: New Head of Ford Car and Crossover Design Is Michigander Joel Piaskowski

Ford Motor Company is reportedly creating a new position underneath Moray Callum, Ford’s vice president for design, for Ford of Europe design chief Joel Piaskowski.

Piaskowski, the head of design at Ford of Europe for the last three years, will become the global design head for cars and crossovers, according to Automotive News Europe.

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Chevrolet's Real People Commercials Are Once Again Pitting Silverado Against F-150

With the July 10 launch of a new Chevrolet Silverado commercial, General Motors is once again using its Real People, Not Actors campaign in an attempt to tarnish the Ford F-150’s good name.

This methodology doesn’t appear to have had an impact in the marketplace in the past. Yet two years after General Motors displayed conversations between Howie Long and GM engineer Eric Stanczak discussing repair costs on the Ford F-150’s aluminum bed and one year after Chevrolet punctured a Ford F-150’s aluminum bed with 825 pounds of concrete blocks, General Motors is turning to admitted Ford F-150 owners as a means of casting aspersions on America’s top-selling full-size truck.

After earlier rounds, Ford gained ground in America’s full-size pickup truck market in 2016. Indeed, Ford is continuing to gain ground in that same market in 2017. Ford is selling more trucks than its rivals. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization. Ford is selling more trucks with less incentivization at higher average transaction prices.

So, GM sends the Chevrolet Silverado back to the same ol’ well.

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Long-term Tester Review: The FoRS Is Strong With This One (and the Return of the Bark)

“It’s been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you.”

-Rakim, I Know You Got Soul

Anybody who was thinking Aaliyah when they read that quote, feel free to click “X” in the top corner of your browser. To everybody else, it’s good to be home at TTAC. Since my last post here, people across social media have been asking me three questions:

  1. Whatever happened to your Focus RS? Do you still have it?
  2. So, how about that Focus, huh? Are you ever going to update us on it?
  3. ????

Okay, so it’s really only been one question. Fear not, friends. I’m back like a rebel making trouble to tell you all about my first nine months of FoRS ownership. Also, my thoughts on Maxine Waters. No, just kidding. We’ll stick to the Focus thing.

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Ram's Three-month-long Streak of Outselling the Chevrolet Silverado? It Ended in June

March 2017 marked just the third occasion in three years in which Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram P/U line outsold the Chevrolet Silverado in the United States.

One month later, in April, Ram did it again.

Then in May 2017, Ram made it a threepeat, outselling the traditional No. 2 pickup truck in America by more than 1,000 units. By the end of May, the Silverado was only 5,055 sales ahead of the Ram on year-to-date terms, a narrow gap which served to highlight the possibility that the Ram could outsell the Silverado for the first time ever in calendar year 2017.

But June 2017 marked an end to Ram’s party, at least for the time being. General Motors reported 50,515 Chevrolet Silverado sales in June, a 2-percent year-over-year uptick and 7,442 more sales than FCA’s Ram truck lineup managed.

How did GM manage to end the trend? By earning less money per truck, naturally.

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Just Make a Decision Already: Ford CEO Wants Automaker to Pick Up the Pace

While he’s only been in the big chair for little over a month, Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Hackett has already pinned down a serious problem in need of immediate change. Decision making. Or, more specifically, the need to get the lead out when rapidly changing market trends threaten company profit.

The former chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC, who replaced an ousted Mark Fields in late May, was brought in to guide the Blue Oval through a “transformative period” in the industry. One way he might do this is to borrow an idea from the NBA.

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Ford Decides to Make Burnouts Easier for Mustang EcoBoost Owners

In a move that will make my next rental car choice slightly more difficult, Ford has decided to equip the entirety of its Mustang lineup with electronic line locks as a standard feature. While the technology has become almost ubiquitous among V8-powered American muscle cars, it’s a welcome addition to the smaller-displacement models.

Now, more hooligans can undertake longer, safer, more glorious burnouts without abusing their rear brake pads — be it while warming the tires at the drag strip or just showing off for dumb friends in a parking lot. Hopefully, the good people at Avis don’t mind losing a little tread on the rear tires.

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Get Ready to Hear About the 2020 Ford Mustang All The Time for Three Years

Ford Motor Company, in a tremendously public product planning moment, revealed at the beginning of 2017 that the automaker would produce an F-150 Hybrid, Transit plug-in hybrid, and a Mustang Hybrid by 2020.

Then-CEO Mark Fields said at the time, “Ford is committed to being a leader in providing consumers with a broad range of electrified vehicles.” But now that Ford revealed plans for the 2020 Mustang Hybrid, the Blue Oval has a three-year gap in which to talk about a car that doesn’t yet exist.

How to talk about it now, three years prior to launch? Ford Canada is placing promoted ads on Twitter that are endlessly popping up in my feed.

The Mustang Hybrid is not shown. But the future earns a prominent mention.

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You're Still Not Invited to the Blue Oval Fiesta; Ford Subcompact's Status Still Unknown in North America

At TTAC, we’ve been doubtful of the Ford Fiesta’s future for many months.

It’s not merely the condition of the subcompact market, where sales are down 17 percent so far this year, that causes us to doubt.

It’s not only the Fiesta’s relative North American youth — it’s only been on sale since 2010 — that makes us wonder about the car’s long-term viability.

Indeed, our doubt isn’t even centered on those two factors combined, or on the fact that the Fiesta is on track for fewer sales in calendar year 2017 than the Nissan Versa has already produced.

No, we find it difficult to believe in the Fiesta’s prospects because Ford won’t even discuss the Fiesta’s North American future.

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Ford to Fling Driveshaft Repairs at Transit Owners Until It Figures Out a Solution

There’s a problem underneath 2015-2017 Ford Transit models and, until the Blue Oval figures out a long-term fix, owners and operators of all Transit variants can expect a new driveshaft flexible coupling every 30,000 miles.

The automaker has announced a safety recall for 402,462 Transits sold in North America in order to prevent instances of driveshaft separation caused by a faulty flexible coupling. Ford seems to have become aware of a looming problem with each vehicle’s driveline, which apparently isn’t nearly as robust as the automaker had hoped.

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Rare Rides: A Like-new Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe From 1988

Check out these two words: Turbo Coupe. They roll off the tongue nicely, and all car enthusiasts should know exactly they mean — or used to. In 2017, they usually mean someone with a mullet is nearby, driving a beat-to-hell Thunderbird with peeling logos and ruined paint. Likely while listening to Whitesnake.

Our example today is what the term Turbo Coupe used to mean. It is perfect, painted a gleaming black, and on the floor there’s a five-speed manual. Here I go again…

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Ford's Latest Venture Involves Rear-Wheel Drive and Zero Emissions

Let’s say it altogether: Mobility! That’s what Ford Motor Company is up to in the tech-obsessed Millennial enclave of San Francisco. No longer will you have to turn to a truck, SUV or Mustang for rear-wheel Blue Oval motivation, and emission levels from the automaker’s latest vehicle depend solely on where the rider ate.

Yes, Ford has diversified itself right into the realm of bicycles, but don’t think for a second you’ll be able to take one home for a quick custom job. These rides must remain factory stock. While the automaker’s plan to blanket the Bay Area in bicycles might seem like a quick way to score green points for the Super Duty maker, there’s actually a team devoted to creating more of these ventures.

Still, Ford’s new GoBike network isn’t immune from the same challenges faced by its automobile division. You see, competition looms on the horizon. Competition with more power.

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Losing Focus: A World Where Ford's Compact Car Production Stops for a Year Is Our Reality

Ford has plans to halt production of the compact Focus — a one-time juggernaut of a model — for an entire year. But wouldn’t you rather talk about the upcoming Ranger and Bronco?

Of course you would. You’d rather buy one, too, if only the resurrected nameplates were already on lots. Back in 2002, when Limp Bizkit was still on the charts and frosted tips hadn’t entirely disappeared from the hair scene, Ford unloaded 243,199 Focus cars to U.S. buyers. Compare that to the first five months of 2017, where 67,146 Foci left dealer lots in a marketplace where passenger car sales are falling like Brent crude prices in 2014.

It’s against this backdrop that Ford plans to temporarily pull the plug on the Focus. While there’s good reason for the shutdown, the automaker doesn’t seem all that concerned about it.

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2018 Ford Expedition Pricing Revealed; Base Model Pushes Well Above 50 Big Ones

You’ll have to shell out a fair bit of extra cash to get into a 2018 Ford Expedition, as the completely redesigned full-size SUV now carries an entry price above the $50,000 marker. Ford has to pay for that aluminum body, you know.

Of course, buyers aren’t just receiving a lighter body and long-overdue styling update. More standard features and considerably more power comes as part of the package, as well as the return of an off-road package that disappeared as an option years ago. As buyers move up the trim scale, they’ll soon discover the price gap between 2017 and 2018 Expedition models only grows larger.

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Ford Focus to Become a Chinese Import for U.S. Buyers in 2019

There’s a good chance the next Ford Focus you purchase will have arrived via a slow boat from China. Despite abandoning assembly plans in Mexico earlier this year, Ford Motor Company has decided the next-generation model will remain an import, now by way of Asia.

Current Focus production in Wayne, Michigan will be eliminated in the middle of next year to make way for Ford’s upcoming Ranger pickup (in late 2018) and Bronco (in 2020). The automaker assures hourly workers they won’t suffer from layoffs resulting from the changeover, but admits to prioritizing its U.S. assembly plants for trucks and SUVs — vehicles Americans will actually buy.

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The Ford Mustang's New Big Market: Australia

Thanks to the appeal of a modern independent rear suspension and the availability of right-hand drive, the sixth-generation Ford Mustang has encountered far greater global appeal than any Mustang before it.

The latest country to take a real liking to the Mustang is Down Under, where Australians are buying more Mustangs than any other Ford save the Ranger.

And it’s a good thing they are. While U.S. sales of Mustang plunged 28 percent in the first five months of 2017, production at Mustang’s Flat Rock, Michigan, assembly plant hasn’t been forced to slow down nearly that much. Through the first-third of 2017, Ford built only 4-percent fewer Mustangs than in the same period last year.

Put another Mustang on the barbie, indeed.

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Ace of Base: Ford Taurus Police Interceptor Sedan

Despite what y’all may think sometimes, we do listen to you guys around here. Take this week’s Ace of Base as an example: Suggested by an alert reader, Ford’s current foray into the fleet of police forces across the nation do fit the Ace of Base ethos: a sparsely equipped example of a mass-market car offered at a rock bottom price.

Seven investigations on Autotrader quickly turned up several examples of current model year Ford Taurus Police Interceptors with under 100 miles on their clocks for around $22,000.

Barren interiors, steel wheels, plus Blues Brothers-style cop car modifications? Watch your head getting in, sir; we’re going for a ride.

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2018 Ford Focus RS Gets a $5,000 Price Hike, Sort Of

2018 will be the final year for the current iteration of the Ford Focus RS.

Shed a tear.

Now shed another tear for the old base price, because the old base Focus RS is done, CarsDirect says. For 2018, Ford is equipping every U.S.-bound edition of the Focus RS with a limited slip differential, the RS2 package, and 19-inch wheels.

As a result, the $36,995 2017 Ford Focus RS gives way to a $41,995 2018 Ford Focus RS.

Paging the Civic Type R. Civic Type R to the showroom.

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Heresy: I Like the Old (New) Ford GT a Lot More Than the New Ford GT

13 years ago, Ford introduced a stunning V8-powered supercar. It was not affordable.

At roughly $150,000 — or $188,000 in 2017 dollars — the 2005 Ford GT was out of my reach. More than likely, the 2005 Ford GT wasn’t on your shopping list, either.

But because its price placed the reborn Ford GT in the realm of attainability, nearly 3,600 GTs found homes between the end of 2004 and early 2007. Sure, a lot of them spend much of their time parked in garages. Many scarcely move. And it’s not as though a Ford GT is daily commuter in mid-winter Des Moines.

But because of that Blue Oval badge and value-oriented pricing — hey, the GT cost a lot less than a Ferrari F430 — the Ford GT was common enough and American enough and crazy enough to be The People’s Supercar.

The new Ford GT, on the other hand, is a $450,000 beast with a pair of missing cylinders, disappointing noises, and such exclusivity that spotting one in the wild will be virtually impossible outside supercar havens in SoCal and South Beach.

Forgive me, but I prefer the old Ford GT.

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Ford's Rao to Ride-Sharing Firms: Our Service Centers Are Waiting; Come and Get It

Ford Motor Company may soon press dealership service centers to prioritize maintenance and repairs for ride-sharing fleets and their employees. This comes after the company’s decision to expand its in-house shuttling firm, known as Chariot, and as its long-term plan to bring an autonomous ride-sharing solution to market by 2021 takes shape. But Ford also knows rival companies can be a strong source of revenue. Omnicraft, anyone?

Even moderately sized cities have several thousand Uber and Lyft drivers, and Ford’s CEO of Smart Mobility Raj Rao thinks they represent an untapped resource. He believes service centers should go the extra mile for them, even if it means some dealerships have to stay open 24 hours to provide swift turnarounds.

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Winging It: Subaru Reveals Limited Edition 2018 WRX STI Type RA and BRZ TS

It’s a lot of letters, but not a lot of extra horsepower. That’s the synopsis of two limited edition performance models revealed by Subaru today.

We already knew both were on the way, and indeed the models seem well equipped to trounce the handling dynamics of their regular-production stablemates. The appearance, too. Festooned with every measure available to enhance downforce, braking, body stability, and traction, the 2018 WRX STI Type RA (“Record Attempt”) and BRZ tS are instant collector’s items for Subaru superfans.

Is there more power to be had? Are both the revamped WRX and BRZ faster than their corporate siblings? Short answer: yes, and…maybe?

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Trackday Diaries: Pick a Perfect Pickup

And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
The worst that I can find
And did you know desire’s a terrible thing
But I rely on mine

“Can’t Be Sure” was The Sundays’ brilliant 1989 debut, introducing all of us to the lovely Harriet Wheeler and her ability to sing the most heartbreaking lyrics possible in the voice of a spoiled British child. I took the above stanza to heart the minute I heard it, because it took something that had long animated me and put it into a few simple words. It’s no wonder that the Zen philosophers preach a detachment from desire, because it drives our worst and most selfish behaviors. Virtually every regrettable or repugnant episode in my life has begun with me looking at something (or, more often, someone) and pronouncing, like Henderson The Rain King, “I WANT!”

Yes, desire is a terrible thing — but I rely on mine, as I’ve recently been reminded. You see, I need a full-size pickup. But need is in no way synonymous with desire, so I’m absolutely stuck in the mud trying to figure out what I should do next.

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QOTD: What Was the Most Awesome Car at Your High School?

It’s been a couple of weeks since we took a stroll down memory lane together. I asked you in May about the worst car you could recall in your high school parking lot. The incoming responses made it seem like our enthusiast B&B members were often aware they were the winner of the bad car blue ribbon in school. That speaks to our level of enlightenment and self-awareness. Think of how many people go through life not ever realizing how bad their cars are.

For today though, we run away from the rust buckets and 75-horsepower Malaise Wonders. I want to hear about the most awesome car in your high school lot.

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Ex-Ford CEO Fields Tried to Oust Top Executive Before Being Fired, Report Claims

There’s been no shortage of hot takes on former Ford CEO Mark Fields’ sudden departure from the big office in Dearborn, but a new report sheds light on the drama occurring at the Blue Oval shortly before Fields “elected to retire.”

Before his replacement by Jim Hackett, Fields reportedly attempted to fire Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, as a way of relieving growing scrutiny on his own performance. It didn’t go they way he had planned.

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Lawsuit Targeting Ford for Faulty Transmissions Powershifts Into High Gear

Ford’s dual-clutch PowerShift transmission has made the Blue Oval a number of enemies over the past several years. Now, nearly 7,000 U.S. Ford owners are looking for a pound of flesh.

A lawsuit filed against the automaker is seeking compensation for individual damages claimed by the plaintiffs, all of whom own a 2012-2016 Ford Focus or 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta. The suit, which is just the latest of many, contains a familiar complaint about Ford’s small-car tranny. Basically, that it’s awful, and not even an exorcist can free it from its demons.

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2017 Ford F-150 4×4 King Ranch Review - Southfork Living

It’s better than a 1937 Nash Lafayette, though fuel economy — in real world driving — seems to be slightly less, if I’m to believe the results of the Mobilgas Economy Run.

I’m referring to my great-grandfather’s 1937 (or ’38) Lafayette, a fixture of my mother’s otherwise carless childhood in postwar Baby Boom Alberta. What brought up this unlikely comparison, you ask? What could a technology-laden 2017 Ford F-150 King Ranch pickup possibly have in common with a six-cylinder Depression-era sedan?

Running boards. In my mother’s earliest memories, the running boards of her granddad’s car were fixed, spanning the distance between two fenders dulled by Prairie dust and providing easy access to the spartan cabin of a long-lived touring car. In the Ford’s case, they’re electrically operated, lowering into place upon the opening of any of the pickup’s doors, then receding out of sight below the rockers, propelled by engineering ingenuity and cash.

It’s an option I’ve always found ridiculous, especially in a climate where road salt is a depressing reality. I like a fixed board. Nothing fancy. However, to my mom, who I chauffeured to a Mother’s Day meal in the King Ranch, that feature alone was enough to make her consider pulling a bank job to meet the truck’s MSRP.

With this particular truck, payload capacity and off-road prowess is an afterthought.

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Former Product Chief Nair to Head Ford North America; Armstrong Moves Up

After Monday’s corporate shakeup at Ford Motor Company, which saw former CEO Mark Fields replaced with Jim Hackett and the elevation of Joe Hinrichs and Jim Farley up company ranks, the automaker has announced more appointments.

To fill the job left by Hindrichs, who moved from president of Ford North America to head of global operations, Ford has named its product development boss and chief technical officer as a successor. Raj Nair, 52, will officially take on the role June 1st, reporting to Farley, Ford’s new head of global markets.

Below Nair, a slew of changes are afoot.

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Overseas Demand Boosts Ford Mustang as Domestic Sales Wane

The Ford Mustang, a nameplate actually deserving of the word “iconic,” is no less vulnerable to the whims of the market than any other model. As domestic light vehicle demand in North America cools off, so have Mustang sales.

Fortunately for Ford, the automaker took it upon itself to fling Mustangs to every corner of the world for its most recent generation, and buyers in 140 countries are now able to take delivery of the original pony car. That volume, while not America-like, has bolstered sales.

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QOTD: The Most Daring Automaker of the 1990s?

Back in late May of this year, I inquired which modern automaker was the most daring. While I posited it could be Nissan or Volvo, many of you replied it was actually Dodge, followed by Kia and Mazda.

This week, let’s turn back the clock a couple of decades and see if all our answers require a bit of reworking. We’re off to everyone’s favorite car decade, the 1990s. Which automaker was most daring in the era of the neon and teal fanny pack? I’ll give you two specific model examples, much like I did before.

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QOTD: How Does Ford Turn It Around?

It’s the dawn of a new era at Ford. With luck, nothing will change with the upcoming Bronco except, hopefully, an earlier launch date.

By [s]axing[/s] retiring CEO Mark Fields and elevating Jim Hackett to the biggest office in Dearborn, Ford hopes to chart a course towards larger profits and happy, smiling shareholders. After Fields took the helm, the company’s share prices made like the Andria Doria. Can’t have that.

Flanking Hackett are two men with really long job descriptions. Joe Hinrichs, executive vice president and president of Global Operations, will tackle product development and purchasing (among other things). Jim Farley, hater of General Motors, is literally overseer of everything. Everything. All the regions, all the sales, all the mobility. Oh, and Lincoln — Farley will keep watch over Lincoln.

But imagine, for a moment, these three head honchos didn’t just advance their careers. No, you’re in the driver’s seat now.

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What Happened To Ford's U.S. Market Share During The Mark Fields Era?

Prior to this morning’s announcement that outgoing Ford Motor Company CEO Mark Fields is “retiring,” Fields was in charge at the Blue Oval for nearly three years. Just a little more than ten quarters, to be more precise.

In eight of those quarters, Ford Motor Company U.S. market share declined, year-over-year.

Ford was not without excuse, of course. There was always market share to be taken if Ford wanted it. But an attempt to limit reliance on daily rental fleet sales, particularly with Ford’s passenger car division, did the automaker’s market share no favors. Ford’s transition from old F-150 to the new aluminum-bodied model was a major switch, too, and sales growth during the transition phase wasn’t easy to come by.

Nevertheless, Ford’s U.S. market share didn’t nosedive during the Mark Fields era. The burden on incoming CEO Jim Hackett’s shoulders won’t be the elevation of Ford Motor Company market share in the automaker’s home market.

No, it’s the price of a Ford share that matters right now.

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Ford Makes It Official: Jim Hackett is the Company's New Top Boss

Ahead of a news conference at Ford’s Dearborn headquarters, the automaker has announced Jim Hackett as its new president and chief executive officer.

The news follows last night’s report of the ouster of former CEO Mark Fields by the company’s board of directors. In an official release, Ford refers to Hackett as a “transformational business leader” who will succeed the “retiring” Fields.

Before being named chairman of the newly created subsidiary Ford Smart Mobility LLC in March of 2016, Hackett, 62, served on the company’s board for three years and was a member of its Sustainability and Innovation committee. Prior to joining Ford, the executive gained accolades for his turnaround of American office furniture company Steelcase, where he spent 30 years. As interim director of athletics at the University of Michigan, Hackett lured Jim Harbaugh away from the San Francisco 49ers to serve as head football coach.

Hackett’s job won’t be an easy one. Besides guiding the company through a disruptive era of new technologies, the new CEO must reverse Ford’s flagging fortunes.

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Ford to Announce Firing of CEO Mark Fields This Morning: Report

Mark Fields has reportedly been fired from his position as CEO of Ford Motor Company, to be replaced by a man he appointed as head of the automaker’s mobility subsidiary.

According to Forbes, the company will announce the appointment of Jim Hackett as CEO this morning, part of a broader shakeup of the company’s upper ranks. Hackett, former CEO of Steelcase, served on the automaker’s board for three years before being named head of Ford Smart Mobility LLC in March, 2016.

Fields, a 28-year Ford veteran who replaced Alan Mulally in mid-2014, was reportedly booted by the company’s board amid a continued decline in share values. Two weeks ago, the CEO was grilled by board members and shareholders alike over the direction he has taken the company.

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Android Auto, Apple CarPlay Available to 2016 Ford Owners, If They Want It

It looks like Ford’s offer to update 2016 vehicles equipped with its SYNC 3 infotainment system with free Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity has a lot to do with some recent hires.

The automaker has announced it will allow owners of one-year-old vehicles to install the feature, which comes standard on all 2017 models, at no cost. The offer positions Ford near the cutting edge in automotive technology. For a company seeking a starring role in the tech-heavy mobility realm, this is exactly where it wants to be.

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Front-drive Efficiency: Ford to Sink $350 Million Into New Transmissions

Despite news that Ford Motor Company has started making plans to scale back its workforce in North America and Asia, there are 800 Michigan-based employees who needn’t fear for their jobs — all thanks to commitments made in the company’s 2015 deal with the United Auto Workers. Ford confirmed on Friday that it will be investing $350 million into its Livonia Transmission plant.

Keeping its end of the bargain means the site will be safe from layoffs and may even bring aboard new employees, although the number of new hires is unclear. It’s assumed the majority of the 800 hourly positions will be filled by Ford dipping into its own staffing pool.

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Ford's Electric CUV Could Lead in a Surprisingly Crowded Segment

Ford is admittedly behind its main rivals in terms of offering practical and purpose-built EVs but, when it finally comes to market in 2020, its first long-range electric should deliver what buyers want. When Ford announced its plans to launch an electrified crossover at January’s Consumer Electronics Show, the Chevrolet Bolt had already begun to lose its geek chic luster. However, we have to defer our judgement as Ford’s entry could eventually have an EV spec sheet that’ll make GM blush.

We’re beginning to get a better picture of the upcoming Ford — which I’m going to begin calling the E-CUV (electric crossover utility vehicle) since it doesn’t have an official name — now that the company’s chief technology officer Raj Nair has started loosening his lips. The upside is that it will be an affordable unit targeting everything the average consumer wants. The downside is that it’ll have competition early in its lifespan.

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QOTD: Do You Want a Ford Mustang or a Chevrolet Camaro?

It’s a question that goes back some 50 years.

Nixon or Humphrey.

No, wait. Camaro or Mustang.

Forget your Camry vs. Accord monotony, your F-150 vs. Silverado one-upmanship, and the Smart Fortwo vs. Scion iQ debate that routinely breaks the internet. This, this is the American automotive debate of the decade. And the decade before. And the decade before that.

It’s as though Ali and Frazier just kept on fighting. Annually. For decades. It’s the Yankees and Mets meeting in the World Series every year. It’s like — and I know you don’t want me to go there — Trump vs. Hillary in 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032, 2036…

If you could have just the one, which would it be? Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro?

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  • Norman Stansfield Why are leaf springs still a thing on this truck?
  • 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.