As far as safety recalls go, this one’s pretty sizeable, and it impacts a company that’s seen a lot of money lost on safety recalls in recent years. Ford Motor Company has announced the recall of nearly two million examples of the world’s best-selling vehicle to prevent the seemingly unlikely occurrence of seatbelt-related blazes.
The recall, affecting 1,995,776 trucks in North America — 1,619,112 of them in the United States, is the result of 17 documented fires or reports of smoke in 2015-2018 model year F-150 regular cabs or SuperCrew models sold stateside. Another six incidents took place in Canada.
The fires originated inside the vehicles’ B-pillar, with the seatbelt pretensioner as the source of the issue. While the life-saving device works properly to restrain the front-seat driver and passenger in the event of a crash, it’s what occurs after the device’s deployment that has Ford worried.
With Ford Motor Company dropping all but one car from its lineup to focus on utility vehicles and crossovers, there’s little reason to run ad campaigns for both. You don’t see Coca-Cola running spots for both Diet Coke and Coke BlāK, as the latter of the two beverages disappeared from store shelves roughly a decade ago. Companies don’t bother pushing products they don’t have, and pretty soon Ford won’t have cars.
Thus, the automaker has ended all nationwide marketing for the Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and Fusion. Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said the automaker intends to use the freed advertising dollars on the company’s current and forthcoming utility models — setting aside a portion for the Mustang. But the Fusion, which is slated to stick around for another two years, will have to go without.
When the current-generation Fusion appeared for 2013, its Aston Martin styling was a cold glass of water in the face of milquetoast midsized family sedans. Part of Alan Mulally’s “One Ford” plan, the stylish car added zest to a bland segment.
Now, with recently minted CEO Jim Hackett having decreed the Mustang to be Ford’s only car worth keeping, the Fusion has been left to weather crushing competition from competitors that have undergone significant renewals – twice, in some cases.
Over the weekend, the future of Ford’s Mondeo midsize sedan (and wagon) looked as bleak as that of its U.S. Fusion twin. Britain’s Sunday Times, citing anonymous sources, claimed the automaker was poised to ditch the Mondeo, as well as a crop of other models, in an effort to shore up its sagging European operations.
Not so, claims Ford, though the murky timeline for the Fusion’s demise has us wondering if this reprieve for the Mondeo stands to be short-lived.
U.S. Ford Focus production ended in May, but the automaker planned to import the next-generation Focus Active, a slightly lifted, mildly cladded five-door, in order to have something to sell to entry-level buyers. With the subcompact Fiesta ceasing production early next spring and the Fusion following it a couple of years later, that left very little low-end product for new or returning customers.
Well, scratch a crossoverized Focus off your shopping list. The automaker now says the Focus Active will not arrive on these shores in the latter part of 2019, or any date after that.
After learning this, how many of you are now pricing a three-cylinder, FWD EcoSport? Anyone? Hello?
It was always a weird partnership, but, despite ending five years ago, it seems a struggling Harley-Davidson can’t stop thinking about its ex.
For more than a decade, Ford Motor Company sold Harley Davidson Edition F-150s to consumers whose other car was a bike. The “wow” factor varied, as over the years the model morphed from an appearance package to a performance variant to a luxury castle, only to be muscled aside by a growing roster of high-end trims.
Well, Ford and Harley-Davidson are back at it, but it isn’t an official reunion.
Ford’s been wringing its corporate hands over stock prices for ages. While the market itself is generally rising, the Blue Oval seems to perpetually find itself in Wall Street’s basement. It is arguable that lackluster performance on this front cost Mark Fields his job earlier this year.
Things are not looking up in that department. Yesterday, FoMoCo’s credit rating was cut to Baa3 by Moody’s Investors Service, just a single notch above junk status.
Ford formed a team this week, called it the “Enterprise Product Line Management (EPLM) group,” and put it to work with the company’s marketing, engineering, mobility, and product development arms to overhaul the company’s product lineup. The goal is to study what customers want and use that information to build more profitable, competitive vehicles.
The team is split into ten smaller divisions that will focus their efforts on a specific model or product group — including everything from electric models to rugged off-roaders. However, EPLM won’t simply be responsible for their development — it’s also in charge of making sure customers are engaged with everything Ford offers, and that the products are brought to market swiftly, sell well, and remain profitable to manufacture. That’s a pretty full plate, if you ask us.
Don’t worry, Mustang owners. Ford Motor Company is definitely leaning away from naming its upcoming sporty, “Mustang inspired” electric crossover the Mach 1.
Fans of what will soon be the last remaining Ford car gave the automaker an earful after it teased the model at this year’s Detroit auto show. Hold on there, sailor, the voices cried — you’re telling me the V8-powered fastback of my dreams, the one with an optional Cobra Jet motor, is about to be sullied by a case of name theft? Why not just debut a bicycle called the Thunderbird while you’re at it? The back-peddling began almost immediately.
Now, it seems Ford realizes not everyone is as eager for an all-electric, self-driving (but maybe not completely self-driving, wink, wink) future as CEO Jim Hackett is. The Mach 1 revival seems doomed.
After Ford’s decision to cull all passenger cars except the Mustang, Blue Oval brass felt confident that existing and upcoming Ford trucks, SUVs, and crossovers (or crossover-like vehicles) would be more than enough to keep current car owners in the family.
That’s probably wishful thinking. A new survey of Ford sedan owners shows that the allure of other brands — those that still sell sedans — is enough to lure plenty of them away from the Ford flock.
Thanks to the internet, it’s hard to keep industry secrets. This is especially true when a product has lots of eyes on it, as at least a few of them will be of the prying variety. Fresh leaks concerning the 2020 Shelby GT500 claim Ford has added serious horsepower and a hefty curb weight to the most muscular of Mustangs.
According to documents shared via the Mustang6G forums, the new Shelby receives a 5.2-liter, port-injected V8 that produces 720 horsepower (at 7,500 rpm) and 650 ft-lb of torque (at 4,500 rpm) with help from a supercharger. However, the claimed weight distribution ought to make it more of a straight-line bruiser than the first car you’d want to take into a tight corner with a decreasing radius.
Going green shouldn’t lead to the appearance of orange flames, so Ford Motor Company wants you to bring your charging cord back to the dealer. A number of fires associated with the 120-volt factory charging cord provided with C-Max and Fusion plug-in hybrids, as well as the Focus Electric, forced Ford’s hand in the recall.
It seems some owners’ wall outlets aren’t the beefy piece of infrastructure Ford engineers assumed, but some owners can be faulted for using a cheap extension cord to “refuel” their environmentally sensitive ride.
Ford hasn’t confirmed the Raptor Ranger for the United States and it has really started burning everyone’s biscuit. The same is likely true in Canada — except for Quebec, where they would assumedly prefer the croissant. However, the collective annoyance doesn’t stem from fears that the middle-weight Raptor won’t make it to North America, as there’s already too much evidence to the contrary. Everybody just wants Ford to stop playing hard-to-get and cough up the details on their new pickup.
Using the Gamescom event in Cologne, Germany as a launching platform, Ford unveiled the Euro-spec Ranger Raptor to the public on Tuesday. While we’re still a little confused by the industry’s growing fascination with debuting new models alongside car-related video games, it is of little consequence. We don’t mind hearing about how it will be in the new Forza Horizon 4 as long as we get to hear some technical details.
In 1968, Ford issued a limited number of lightweight, “335-horsepower” Mustangs intended for the drag strip. While street legal, the vehicles were absolute beasts on the track thanks to the implementation of the 428 Cobra Jet engine. The powerplant utilized the racy 427 FE’s intake manifold and added ram-air induction, a functional hood scoop, and an engine bay full other performance modifications. It was serious business and produced far more horsepower than Ford claimed. Most estimates place the initial Mustang Cobra Jet’s output around 410 hp.
It’s now half a century later, and the model 50th anniversary is not an occasion you ignore. Ford chose to bring the Cobra Jet back for the occasion with iconic decals and mechanical upgrades that send it into the past and future, respectively. Unfortunately, onlookers can only enjoy the retro graphics and savage acceleration of this version at the track or in a garage. Because the Cobra Jet is way too extreme to be road legal.
Earlier this year Ford announced the impending removal of all passenger cars from its lineup, save the Mustang and — if we’re creative about what qualifies as a car — the lifted Focus Active. However, the automaker says it intends to fill the void over the next five years.
Speaking at a press event leading up to the Woodward Dream Cruise, an annual Detroit event celebrating classic automobiles, Ford product chief Hau Thai Tang said the brand plans to add nine nameplates by 2023 — effectively replacing the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Taurus, C-Max, and Flex, while adding in three additional models.
Before you start getting over-excited about the potential return of the Ford Fairlane or Torino, seven of these vehicles fall into the pickup or utility segment. That leaves two open spaces for prospective sedans or, more likely, quirky electrics.
Of course the majority of my childhood toys were wheeled in nature. How else did I end up here? From tiny Matchbox cars, to plastic Tamiya kits, to an expensive lesson in destroying a high-end Team Associated remote control car, the playthings of my youth neatly foreshadowed the obsession that would consume my life.
My favorites, of course, were the seriously solid Tonka trucks that invariably ended up rusting over the winter because I left them in the sandbox. Otherwise indestructible, I imagined myself hauling tons of whatever to build whatever… not realizing that upon reaching adulthood, such work would require physical labor on an already-sore back.
So, when physical labor presented itself in the Tonn homestead — namely, a brick patio project — I looked to my past for inspiration. Fortunately, a 2018 Ford F-550 Super Duty with a Rugby dump bed recently appeared in the press fleet, which piqued both sandbox Chris’ and aching-back Chris’ interest.
Here’s that Ranger day
They told me about
And I laughed at the thought
That it might turn out
Apologies to the Chairman Of The Board on that one, but I couldn’t help myself. You see, I never truly believed that the Ranger would return to this country. I absolutely did not believe that it would come back as an American-made product in a newly configured factory, during what amounts to the endgame senescence of its platform. This is the kind of against-all-odds urgency that one typically associates with desperately needed products like the K-car or the first-generation Ranger — vehicles that had to be rushed into showrooms because the dealerships were screaming bloody murder and the Japanese had moved from mere flensing to actual bone-eating.
This Ranger, on the other hand, will arrive in the market to find itself lined up against a few equally superannuated sluggards from Nissan and Toyota, the indifferently-received Colorado/Canyon twins, and… is there anybody else? The unibody Ridgeline? Is it even possible to make money in this segment? Why bother doing it, particularly when the Rangers could have been rushed over from Thailand in a matter of months in the event of another oil and/or confidence crisis?
Ours is not to reason why; ours is but to do and buy. Truth be told, I’m kind of excited about the Ranger, because I saw a bunch of pumped-up ones in Thailand and I was more than mildly impressed. If you could get it with a 3.7-liter V6 in addition to the 2.3L EcoBoost I don’t know if the Chevy dealers would even bother to order any Colorados for stock in 2019. There’s only one little problem: it’s far from cheap.
Which brings us to an unpleasant topic: How much is a compact pickup worth?
Ford Motor Co. recently released a 44-page report, entitled “ A Matter of Trust,” which clearly states its vision of the autonomous future the tech industry’s attempting to stuff down our collective throats. The file covers Ford’s overall philosophy on self-driving vehicles, a milestone timeline, answers frequently asked questions, and states what the company intends to do over the next couple of years.
While we applaud any automaker that takes the initiative to craft a comprehensive report detailing what they’re plotting, we can’t say we’re enthralled with what we’ve read.
A large portion of the report focuses on giving a general idea of how autonomous vehicles function, what they’ll have to cope with, and answering difficult questions in a frank and honest manner. But Ford also said it intends to launch an AV in 2021 that lacks a steering wheel or pedals. We weren’t happy hearing about General Motors’ development of a car without driver controls back in January and nothing has changed our minds since then.
The year is 1982. You’re a lover of domestic sports cars, but also suffer from a distinct lack of funding in this era of American Malaise. Three updated, base model, fuel sipping rides are in your purview — all of them with four-cylinder engines.
Which one do you take home?
This time last week, Ford was busy claiming the leaked Build & Price tool for the 2019 Ford Ranger was “inaccurate.” At the time, most of the internet got a quick glance at the truck’s pricing and options packages before the Blue Oval hauled it down.
The official configurator is now live. About the only “inaccuracies” we could find? The listing for a Regular Cab truck has been replaced by a listing for a two-wheel drive Extended Cab pickup with no box.
Frankly, it’s doubtful many people imagined anything else.
Not content with just foisting a new Bronco on us (while keeping the design under wraps for an infuriating length of time), Ford will debut a new small SUV alongside the returning nameplate. Just don’t expect any sharing between the two.
According to a Ford exec, the “Baby Bronco” will do its best to mimic old Broncos of yore, despite sharing parts with the Escape and Focus. A body-on-frame bruiser this ain’t.
Figuring out how best to shave weight from the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra wasn’t an easy task, with some General Motors engineers resorting to taking public tours of Ford’s Dearborn truck assembly plant just to see how their rival handled its all-aluminum body.
Ultimately, GM opted for a hybrid solution of sorts — some aluminum, backed up by varying grades of steel, to slim down its 2019 full-size pickups. But the obsession with Ford didn’t end with the plant tours.
Today, readers, we learn the value of keeping browser tabs open. This is a more fruitful activity than, say, leaving a bag of potato chips open — which inevitably leads to soggy crisps.
While viewing the not-yet-ready-for-public-consumption Ford Ranger on Tuesday, a site promptly pulled down by the Blue Oval, we learned of the upcoming midsize truck’s (estimated) pricing and (likely) options packages. The page was largely devoid of interior shots, however. Until now.
You have to wonder if Donald Frey and Lee Iacocca knew what they had when the first Ford Mustang rolled off the assembly line in 1964. Despite having a storied career of dramatic highs and lows, the model has been an overwhelming success, standing the test of time. This week, Michigan’s Flat Rock Assembly is celebrating that history after finishing production on the 10 millionth Mustang to grace this planet.
While this represents a grand achievement for a vehicle that’s undoubtedly an American icon, its sales volume is nothing compared to the mighty Toyota Corolla — which has sold 43 million units worldwide. Still, 10 million cars is incredibly good for any model and exceptional for a performance model. In fact, the Mustang is the best-selling sports car in history and has been for years. For the sake of comparison, Chevrolet has built roughly 5.5 million examples of the Camaro since its introduction in 1966.
Ford hopes to nab the attention of Chinese customers by unveiling a new midsize sport utility vehicle specifically designed for the region, placing an emphasis on more space for less money — a concept which would likely be appreciated worldwide. However, the model isn’t entirely new. The automaker is actually reviving the Ford Territory, an Australian-market crossover based on the defunct Falcon.
It’s a departure from the trend of Western manufacturers focusing on China’s appetite for luxury vehicles. Still, Ford may have missed its opportunity there. Chinese consumers swarmed Buick like flies on a carcass; Ford wasn’t so fortunate. It performed abysmally in The People’s Republic this year, posting 400,443 sales for the first half of 2018. That represents a 25 percent slip compared to last year’s volume and the worst first half since 2001.
Tuesday was — accidentally, it turns out — all about the Ford Ranger, at least for those with no interest in Tesla and its business machinations. As we await the return of the midsize pickup’s online build and price tool, Ford is taking an unusual step to get old versions of the truck into the repair shop.
The automaker is offering dealers cash for every 2006 Ranger they can track down and pull off the road.
It seemed like Ford Motor Company had answered prayers Tuesday, after an online configurator for the 2019 Ranger pickup finally appeared on the automaker’s consumer website. But, just as quickly as it appeared, Ford pulled it down. Apparently someone goofed up.
A company spokesman told Jalopnik that the posting “was a mistake,” adding that, “the pricing shown is inaccurate.” The build and price tool, the spokesman said, will appear next week.
It’s true that the configurator showed a regular cab selection, but clicking it only took you to the extended SuperCab bodystyle. A fleet or overseas option, maybe? We have to wonder just how different the actual pricing will be compared to what we just saw. So, for the sake of future comparison, here’s what Ford’s now-disappeared site told us (or didn’t) about the 2019 Ranger:
In a market that shrunk 3.7 percent in July, Ford managed to escape the steep volume loss seen by some of its rivals. Still, the Ford brand saw a year-over-year U.S. sales drop of 2.7 percent last month, with its Lincoln division falling 11 percent. Over the first seven months of 2018, both brands posted a loss — 1.6 percent for Ford, 10.8 percent for Lincoln.
For the Blue Oval, at least, that’s in line with forecasters’ estimates of a slow industry decline in 2018. Lincoln’s another matter.
A peek at Ford’s sales figures shows why Dearborn hasn’t much love for cars. Minus the Fiesta, which you won’t have to worry about much longer, every other Ford passenger car model declined in both July and 2018 (with the niche exception of the GT). Try as they might, Ford’s truck sales couldn’t replace the lost passenger car volume, but they certainly dumped more cash in Ford coffers — on average — for each model sold.
It’s become a safe bet that no matter how Ford Motor Company fares at sales time, the F-Series will do just fine.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the movie Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen, Ford is reviving the special edition Bullitt Mustang. This is the third time Ford has modified a Mustang to honor McQueen’s ride in the movie.
For this Mustang, there are two important factors that determine if it will be successful. First, obviously, it has to be a good car. Second, it has to be a car that makes you feel like Steve McQueen, or at least Frank Bullitt, when you’re driving it.
We hit up the streets of San Francisco, which was where the movie and the iconic car-chase scene were filmed, to see if it really will make you feel like Bullitt McQueen.
Yes, you’re right – the Raptor is as far from a base truck as The Onion is from real news. However, there’s an argument to be made that the Raptor is as much of an individual model as the Focus RS is a model separate from the workaday hatchback. That is the argument I am making here today.
Raptor pickups can quickly climb into pricing’s nosebleed section, stretching bank accounts of off-road fans and vacuuming their wallets clean. Is a no-options Raptor worth their time? Given that the majority of add-ons augment the truck’s performance not one whit, I think it is.
The F-150 Limited – which is, naturally, limited only to the number they can sell – currently sits atop the truck’s totem pole, usurping the King Ranch and Platinum as the most expensive half-ton F-Series pickup. This will last until the boffins at Ford dream up a new super-lux trim called the Rhodium Precious Bullion Edition.
Recognizing that folks who have the means to lay out nearly a hundred grand on a pickup want the most powerful engine available, the Blue Oval has decided to plug the Raptor’s powertrain between the Limited’s fenders. This means that 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque are now at the disposal of drivers who prefer sumptuous leather seats instead of desert-busting suspensions.
It’s generally agreed that former Ford CEO Mark Fields was shown the door after failing to turn around the company’s steadily declining stock, but his successor hasn’t had any success on that front, either.
Jim Hackett took over in May of 2017 and, despite an ongoing cost-cutting program and numerous new model (and technology) promises, Ford’s share price shows no lift. Wednesday’s earnings call was easily the worst of Hackett’s tenure.
For those wealthy enough to afford a Ford GT — and lucky enough to be chosen by Ford for the current model run — relax, things could be worse. But there’s no denying that waiting on a car, especially one as scarce and desirable as the GT, is a painful experience. It’s one made all the more painful by the fact that GT production didn’t exactly lift gracefully from the launch pad.
Of the 250 GTs Ford planned to build for the 2017 model year, only 138 carbon-fiber beasts left partner Multimatic’s Canadian facility.
Ford promised a gutsy middleweight crossover that it hopes will satisfy enthusiasts after the automaker finishes eliminating the majority of its sporting passenger car segment. For 2019, the Edge ST replaces the standard Sport trim — resulting in added performance and a higher price.
However, it seems like the inflated MSRP will be worthwhile. At $43,350, the Edge ST plays host to a specially tuned 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 that generates 335 hp and 380 pound-feet of torque — a not immodest improvement over the Sport. It also gets a new eight-speed transmission, all-wheel drive, performance seats, and implements a specially tuned suspension. Considering all of that comes in at roughly $1,500 more than the trim it’s replacing, we’d say the Edge ST is looking like a bargain.
Automatic transmissions that shift into park but don’t actually end up in park are one of the greatest automotive sourges of our time. Of all automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Ford seem to have the worst luck with this.
On Wednesday, Ford Motor Company announced a recall of roughly 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to prevent the vehicles from getting loose, though some wonder why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t step in earlier to force the recall.
Future archeologists will recognize this period in man’s history by the thick layer of Ford F-150s covering the entire planet, pointing to an era where one vehicle could seemingly do no wrong.
As the world’s best-selling vehicle line for what seems like forever, the F-Series’ sales performance over the first half of 2018 points to an impending record for the hard-working and increasingly plush lineup. Ford can be expected to push for it.
Think back to the very early days of the previous decade and memories of awful mainstream rock compete with visions of the first-generation Ford Focus sedan. It was everywhere, and quite a few people has quite a few problems with theirs. By the end of the decade, however, those issues were mainly in the rear-view, as Ford was busy preparing to heap dual-clutch transmission woes onto its customers.
Now, the Focus sedan’s officially dead as the Blue Oval embarks on a nearly car-free voyage to the future. Only the faux crossover “Active” version of the next-gen 2019 Focus stands to see any customers in North America, but it’s a privilege reserved only for citizens of the United States. Canucks need not apply.
Too bad, as the next-gen Focus sedan’s a looker. Its designers aren’t exactly thrilled that so many countries have taken a pass.
While European customers can look forward to many more years of new Ford Fiestas, the same can’t be said of American buyers. Ford’s smallest domestic passenger car ceases production next summer, but there’s still time to have fun before our future gives way to sport crossovers.
For 2019, the scrappy Fiesta ST hot hatch continues unaltered, while customers gain a new Fiesta trim offering plenty of flash and probably no extra dash.
The attractive Ford Fusion seems to be on track to linger around a bit longer than its passenger car stablemates, even in its current form. Focus, Taurus, and Fiesta production should wrap up by the middle of next year, with the Fusion’s end date currently shrouded by haze. All signs point to the current midsize sedan ending its run in 2021.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a new Fusion waiting to replace it.
Today’s Buy/Drive/Burn trio of unfortunate crossovers was concocted by commenter JohnTaurus. From a time early in the development of the midsize three-row crossover, none of today’s competitors really worked from a sales perspective.
Three unfortunate entries from three different marques. Which one goes home with you?
Who doesn’t love a battle between automakers? Personally, I find the upper-crust sniping between Rolls-Royce and Lagonda both charming and hilarious, but the fun ramps up when the fight involves builders of more accessible products.
In a Wall Street Journal article published late Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk copped to sleeping under his desk near his Fremont assembly plant’s body shop, part of an all-out effort to reach a lofty (and delayed) June 30th production target. Some of the plant’s assembly work has moved into a large outdoor tent. Old-fashioned manpower has been called in to help crank out vehicles. This, from an automaker that not long ago expressed worry that wind resistance might slow down the pace of its futuristic automated assembly line.
Musk admitted he’s made some mistakes. There’s a tent, after all. But that didn’t stop him from telling the reporter, “I think there’s a good vibe—I think the energy is good; go to Ford, it looks like a morgue.”
Ford was quick to respond.
Apparently, the increasingly complex array of buttons on the side of a modern driver’s seat has become too much for humans to process. There’s just too many ways to adjust our seating position (though not in this writer’s car).
What if, instead of pressing buttons and switches, we could bark orders or use a touchpad? That’s the future Ford envisions.
Never mind the bollocks coming from professionally cynical actors-turned-rappers: This is America. At least it is for much of this country’s working middle class. The F-150 is designed in America, tooled-up in America, and made in America. By an American company. For a customer base that is overwhelmingly American. It’s also a solid candidate for the title of World’s Best Passenger Vehicle.
Don’t believe me? I don’t blame you. The media has long vilified the full-sized pickup as an avatar of this country’s long-discredited and frankly unwanted silent majority. Never mind the fact that today’s pickups have long surpassed traditional automobiles in many of the qualities that real customers want and will pay for. Nor should you look too closely behind the curtain that covers the deficiencies of unibody SUVs when compared to full-sized trucks. My colleagues in the car business, many of whom are notable for their childlessness, sedentary lifestyles, and complete lack of a classical education, love to screech about BANNING these HICK-MOBILES from the VIBRANT STREETS OF AMERICA. Some of their points have merit: I’m far from thrilled with the ride height of today’s half-tons from both an active safety and a visibility standpoint. Most of their complaints, however, are so much sound and impotent fury signifying nothing more than the fact they can’t afford to drop $60k on a cowboy Cadillac of their own.
The 2018 F-150 is already in showrooms and media fleets, but if you know me then you know I prefer the spin-free zone of the rental counter to the walled garden of a press trip drive. Furthermore, there are thousands of trucks just like this available through secondary sources for prices in the $24,000-28,000 range. What do you get for that money? Let’s find out.
Ford Motor Company and Volkswagen AG seem to be on the verge of a relationship that could yield jointly developed products aimed at the commercial sector. It’s looking a lot like the rumored FCA/VW partnership we reported on last year, only that date ended with cold showers.
Late Tuesday, Ford and VW issued a joint statement announcing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two automakers. This “potential alliance” might lead to the conception of any number of vehicles.
All eyes were on the now Ford-owned Michigan Central Station in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood on Tuesday morning, as the automaker formally announced its plan for the derelict building and surrounding neighborhood.
Ford Motor Company recently took the century-old structure, abandoned since 1988, off the hands of its longtime owners, the Moroun family. There’s still no dollar figure attached to that deal, but that’s not what Tuesday was about. Ford’s plan, ambitious and big on vision, breaks down as this: there’ll be 2,500 Ford workers employed in the Corktown neighborhood, tasked with developing autonomous vehicles and related tech. The towering train depot, once restored, will serve as the nerve center.
Joining those employees in Ford-owned buildings scattered around the site will be an equal number of employees working for partners and suppliers, or so Ford hopes. The automaker’s aiming for a miniaturized version of Silicon Valley clustered around Michigan Avenue.
Professional wrestler John Cena has settled a lawsuit filed by Ford Motor Company over the sale of his Ford GT for an undisclosed amount. If you’ll recall, the automaker affixed a clause to the purchasing agreement that forbade buyers from reselling the vehicle for 24 months.
However, after the automaker filed its lawsuit, Cena’s legal team alleged there was a legal loophole that allowed for the flip. Since the agreement was not included in the final dealer documents, it speculated there was some wiggle room. Regardless, it doesn’t appear to have been enough to squirm away from Ford’s contract entirely.
It’s June, which means it’s the time of year for my son to visit his grandfather in South Carolina and spend a week at golf camp. Sometimes I have to spend the week working, sometimes I spent it traveling, and sometimes I get to spend it hanging out with my dad and his friends.
Most of them are cast from the same group of molds: either self-made or with only minor family advantages, a long history of executive positions or highly remunerative small business ownership, more millions left in the bank than they have years left in the tank. They’re not interested in art or literature, they have a casual and hilarious disrespect for modern social ideas, they maintain a sort of gruff good humor about everything from heart attacks to coastal hurricanes. We will not see their like again, which is kind of a shame.
Yesterday one of them came over to say hello, meet the grandchildren, and to ask me a couple of questions about his next vehicle purchase. I long ago figured out that these fellows don’t necessarily want my authentic opinion regarding the merits of the SL65 or the Continental GT. Rather, they want me to nod approvingly at whatever they’ve already decided to buy, at which point we can have a nice lunch and engage in some mutual appreciation of our good fortune in life, regardless of how unevenly said fortune is distributed.
This fellow was different. He came prepared: with notes, impressions, questions. He had hard financial limits in mind, which is vanishingly rare among a class of Baby Boomers who no longer bother to count pennies or Krugerrands. Most importantly, he gave me something to think about long after he’d left.
The builder of the world’s best-selling vehicle, which just happens to be a large truck, finds itself in the crosshairs of yet another environmental ad campaign. Like past campaigns against the automaker, the coalition of four leading environmental groups claim Ford’s commitment to the environment pales in comparison to its thirst for profits.
Oh, and Ford Motor Company might as well change the name on its logo to “Trump.”
That’s what readers of The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press read on Saturday morning, after the Sierra Club (which is not a British Ford fan group, to be clear), Greenpeace, Safe Climate Campaign, and Public Citizen ran giant ads in both newspapers slamming the automaker for backing the Trump administration’s planned rollback of fuel economy standards.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, take it easy, Ford responded.
The next time you’re in a new town and decide to hail a cab instead of opening Uber or Lyft on your phone, there’s a chance you may find yourself in one of Ford’s new fleet offerings.
Two new options are now available through the Blue Oval: an EcoBlue-powered Transit Connect and a Fusion Hybrid Taxi. The latter is apparently purpose-built for livery service, and includes a few bits from the 2019 Police Responder Hybrid Sedan — news that’s sure to please Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues.
This edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by the comments some of you left on the recent QOTD Crapwagon Garage post on coupes. Though roadsters and convertibles were off limits there, the conversation turned to them wistfully. Don’t worry, convertible week is coming.
In the meantime, we’ve got a ragtop from 2005 to burn. Which one will it be?
As you learned here, the 2020 Ford Explorer adopts the rear-drive platform found beneath the upcoming Lincoln Aviator, as well as the luxury division’s top-flight engine. A twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 of unspecified power will appear under its hood and mate to a 10-speed automatic, a source tells us, while the 3.3-liter V6 found in the F-150 replaces the current 3.5-liter unit. The 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder carries on unchanged for thrifty buyers.
Oh, and there’ll be a hybrid version, too. Ford’s only willing to talk about the electrified Explorer at this point, and on Tuesday it made the unusual choice of debuting the 2020 Explorer in fuel-sipping felon catcher guise.
Enter the Police Interceptor Utility hybrid.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety never rests, always thinking up new ways to expose flaws in contemporary passenger vehicles. Lately, the IIHS has begun applying the dreaded small overlap front crash test to the passenger side of new models. There’s a seat on that side for a reason, and it’s not inconceivable that a roadside utility pole or obstruction could take out that corner of the vehicle.
The latest IIHS test put popular midsize crossovers through their paces, exposing serious safety concerns in two models.
While the mainstay Mustang received a new face this year, the Shelby GT350 will persist with the older model’s mug through 2019. We don’t particularly mind, as its unique bumper already makes it look better than a standard coupe. Besides, the GT350 is supposed to be about driving excitement and setting blistering lap times — which is exactly where Ford spent its R&D money for the 2019 model.
Of course, the biggest upgrade the factory bestowed on the new Shelby is something you could have theoretically done at home. Working with Michelin, the Ford team engineered new set of Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires with a GT350-specific tread pattern and a different rubber compound that promises significantly improved acceleration, lateral grip, and braking performance. While you may not have had access to the brand new Cup 2s, you could have nabbed some Pirelli Trefeo Rs or opted for a set of full-on racing slicks. Just be sure to limit them to track use only.
Ford claims the 295/35 (front) and 305/35 (rear) donuts are optimized to improve stiffness. You’ll find them draped over 19-inch aluminum wheels, which are also new. But they’re not the only upgrades the GT350 sees for the coming year.
If recent statements from Ford Motor Company were any indication, you’d think we were living in some futuristic society where our grandparents drove Nucleons and the need for a personal vehicle was almost nil. Yes, too much “mobility” talk gets under the skin.
That said, it’s Ford’s domestic rivals who are actually building and fielding production vehicles that drive themselves — and setting up businesses and partnerships that could make the automakers a bundle on the side. By next year, both General Motors and Fiat Chrysler could have self-driving vehicles roaming America, earning their companies money.
Be our guest, Ford claims. There’s bigger things to worry about.
The long-abandoned — and recently reglazed — Michigan Central Station building will host a Ford sign and many Ford employees in the near future, the building’s longtime former owner claims.
Matthew Moroun, son of Detroit businessman Manuel “Matty” Moroun, told Crain’s Detroit Business on Monday that the family has sold the hulking, derelict building to Ford Motor Company as part of the automaker’s wide-ranging plan to take over much of the Corktown district.
We’ve prattled on before about how General Motors sees data mining as its next big business opportunity. While much of our take focused on the risk that customers might lose their privacy and become both commodity and consumer, it would be stupid to suggest it isn’t also a highly lucrative business strategy.
Social media outlets sell your personal information on a daily basis and other industries see potential in that. GM isn’t the only automaker jumping on the bandwagon, it’s simply the one with the most transparent blueprint.
Ford recently opened up about its own data strategy. The company previously announced large investments into data centers, stating its intent to equip 90 percent of its global fleet with modem connectivity by 2020. Ford Smart Mobility was also reorganized earlier this year, an effort that included the acquisition of two tech firms focused on transit data. The automaker split the group to focus on key areas: transportation data, marketing, tech development, and the management of previously established programs like FordPass and Chariot.
Ford obviously had a plan in the works for a while, but we didn’t know exactly what Ford’s execution would look like until now.
Around Ford’s hundredth anniversary, heritage was all the rage. The company had already reintroduced the throwback Thunderbird and the Mustang was returning for the 2005 model year looking as close to the late-1960s units as possible. However, the corner piece of the company’s birthday cake was assuredly the GT40-inspired supercar the Blue Oval had in development.
Getting a little help from Carroll Shelby himself, Ford created the much-hyped car and offered it for sale in 2004 — with the left headlight reading “100” to celebrate the company’s centennial anniversary. Originally priced at $150,000, the first-generation Ford GT can easily go for twice as much on the secondhand market, with superior examples exceeding $500,000 at auction. With prices like that, you probably thought you’d never have an opportunity to own this particular piece of automotive history.
You would also be wrong, because there is a 2005 Ford GT for sale right now that nobody’s bidding on, and it carries an incredibly low reserve.