If the Ford EcoSport was Elon Musk, there’d be a special online site created to champion the tarring and feathering of the writers at this publication. While we’re in agreement that the subcompact crossover space is a much-needed segment for Ford, especially given its plan to ditch conventional passenger cars, we question the automaker’s decision to bring the EcoSport here.
One of our readers wasn’t too thrilled with his experience behind the wheel, but we’ll all reserve final judgement until after we spend a week in one. There’s further reviews on the way. (Maybe it’ll hack our lives and our emotions.)
Having said that, the EcoSport, which saw its first ever U.S. deliveries in January, sees its monthly sales continue to climb. Much to the chagrin of a certain PEI resident, it seems Americans have taken to the thing.
We’ll miss it when its gone. The Ford Fusion Sport debuted as a pleasant throwback to an era of attainable muscle, just as the passenger car death plunge got underway in earnest. By taking a sensible family sedan, stuffing it with the largest mill its engine bay could handle, sending a propshaft to the rear wheels, and upgrading the sedan’s wheels and suspension, Ford crafted a blistering bargain that easily handles the daily duties of modestly-sized families. It’s an unlikely blast.
But soon it’ll be dead and you can have an Edge ST instead.
As all Fusions prepare for the afterlife, Ford’s new trim and content strategy (less of the former, more of the latter) means prices are on the upswing for 2019. The greatest hike in the Fusion lineup is reserved for the Sport.
Ford’s upcoming heavy duty gasoline truck engine, codenamed “7X,” was believed to be a 7.0-liter V8 built with the express purpose of replacing the 6.8-liter Triton V10 and perhaps the 6.2-liter Boss V8.
While the program will indeed bear fruit at Ford’s Windsor Engine Plant next year, there’s a new report claiming the mill’s layout should stir memories of famous engines of yore. We’re talking a large displacement (7.3 liters), iron block, and pushrod valve actuation.
Ford’s F-150 Raptor is one of the meanest off-roaders you can purchase from the factory and, for the 2019 model year, the automaker’s doing its part to further improve its trail worthiness. Instead of going for visual upgrades that might tempt impulsive shoppers, Ford is sticking with hardware and technology.
The 2019 Raptor will receive upgraded shocks, Recaro sport seats, and a new Trail Control system that allows the pickup to cruise through seriously rugged terrain at low speeds — allowing the driver to focus on steering, instead of maintaining momentum and traction. According to the manufacturer, the system automatically adjusts power and braking to each individual wheel and is functional up to speeds of 20 mph. It also works for hill ascent and descent, even on craggy landscapes.
Ford’s upcoming “ Mustang inspired” electric crossover, which appeared (or didn’t, really) in a video shown the Detroit auto show, stands to ride on a new architecture that doesn’t bring to mind either the Mustang or the Explorer.
While a new report doesn’t provide us with an OEM-sourced image of the 2020 crossover, which may carry the Mach 1 name, it gives as sense of what to expect in terms of size.
Ford’s all-electric performance crossover, bound for a 2020 debut, is a model without a definite name that remains shrouded in mystery. It isn’t known whether this supposedly “Mustang inspired” crossover (Ford’s claim) is at all different than the 300-mile crossover EV promised by Ford as part of its electrified vehicle push. They could be one and the same. Or, one is a go-fast variant of the other.
Right now, all we know is that Ford garnered plenty of backlash for calling the thing the Mach 1 at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, where the automaker released a video depicting an ominous storm swirling over the Motor City and a lightning strike melding an Explorer and Mustang into something new and unseen (Ford’s “Team Edison” offices in Corktown served as the birthplace of the new model).
For what it’s worth, there’s now a new description of the vehicle that’s sure to get your brain working.
Following the private sale of his Ford GT, superstar wrestler John Cena found himself looking down the barrel of the automaker’s legal team. Ford had publicized that the chosen recipients of the exclusive model were forbidden from selling it within the first two years of taking delivery. Cena was in breach of contract, or so it initially seemed.
Things became murky when the former “Doctor of Thuganomics” had his legal council point out that the dealer’s sales agreement included no such clause. The matter is now before the courts, with Ford seeking damages and Cena asking for dismissal.
Keeping that in mind, it’s more than a little surprising that another second-generation GT is being offered for sale just a few months later. The vehicle in question is number 48 out of 250 from the 2017 model year — and it’s currently up for auction in Indianapolis.
It was a drama “worthy of a James Bond script,” the Detroit Free Press‘ sensational headline announced. Ford spokesman Mike Levine provided a hashtag-heavy rundown of the operation’s timeline via Twitter. The automaker even felt it worthy of a lengthy media release.
Never has a supply chain disruption provided a car company so much positive PR.
Today’s edition of Buy/Drive/Burn was inspired by our previous Question of the Day on hatchback crapwagons.
In the North American vehicle timeline, the fading days of the Personal Luxury Coupe (PLC) saw the rise of a different kind of two-door for the masses. Gone was the upright formal vinyl roof, opera lamps, and trunk. En vogue was a sporty fastback profile and a strut-supported liftgate. Attainable and economic sporty driving is the name of the game, and our front-drive trio was right in the heat of things in 1994.
While fewer competing models in a given segment stands to benefit any automaker left in that realm, Toyota isn’t sure just how loyal Ford car owners are to the Blue Oval brand.
Behind the scenes, there’s surely much licking of chops, but Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz wasn’t forthcoming with conquest predictions when he talked with Automotive News TV this week. One thing was clear, however. Toyota will remain a full-line brand for the foreseeable future, and the automaker stands to field a more car-heavy product mix for some time to come. And it’s just fine with that.
Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we checked out three C-body offerings from General Motors and forced you to choose one. The luxury flowed freely, and only limited salt was dashed upon its splendor.
Today we follow the same form with Ford, looking at offerings from three different brands riding on the same platform. Crack open a DEW and let’s get to it.
Anyone hoping to glean specifics about upcoming products during Ford Motor Company’s annual shareholder’s meeting likely walked away unsatisfied. During the Thursday meeting, the company’s leaders touted Ford’s plan to freshen its lineup and align its products with changing American tastes.
Killing off the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus was necessary, CEO Jim Hackett claimed, adding that the decision doesn’t mean the company plans to leave those buyers in the lurch.
“We want to give them what they’re telling us they really want,” he said. “We’re simply reinventing the American car.”
As we told you yesterday, Ford announced it will temporarily halt production of the F-150 and Super Duty after a fire at Meridian Magnesium Products of America knocked out a key supplier. While the Blue Oval isn’t the only automaker affected by the supply shortage, as General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz also report the likelihood of production interruptions, Ford has the most to lose.
Taking the company’s most profitable vehicle out of the mix for a few weeks is a big deal. During a bad month, Ford might sell around 50,000 F-Series trucks in the United States. But a good month can see around 90,000 deliveries, so an unplanned idle probably has the automaker tugging at its collar a little. Fortunately, Ford currently has a 84-day supply of F-series pickups. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel the pinch if the wait on parts takes longer than expected.
The factory shutdown affects F-150 production at the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant, which Ford said will last until at least May 14th. Super Duty lines at Kentucky Truck and Ohio Assembly have also shut down. Ford’s Dearborn Plant is expected to go down temporarily in the near future.
So, how far have the ripples spread?
Unless you’re living on Mars, you’ve heard that Ford Motor Company has officially thrown in the towel on the sedan business. It’s a shocking move, but not necessarily a disappointing one, given that the basic versions of those sedans weren’t all that great to begin with. But the performance versions of those sedans are special. If you need a practical, affordable car with a talent for separating you from your driver’s license, Ford has (or had) one for every budget, and that makes it a unique automaker.
But that’s the Old Ford. Apparently, New Ford is all about crossovers, and its newest offering in these parts is the already-sold-overseas Ecosport. Does the EcoSport provide a crystal-ball look into Ford’s future crossovers? For the company’s sake, I hope not.
Ford has paused production of the F-150 at its Kansas City Assembly Plant after a fire at one of the facilities belonging a Michigan-based supplier created a parts shortage. Meridian Lightweight Technologies makes instrument panel components for the pickup.
Roughly 3,600 unionized plant workers at the Kansas City facility have been told to cool their heels at home from May 7th to 14th, according to an Automotive News report.
Rare Rides has previously covered various sedans, coupes, convertibles, and a truck or two. And those types of vehicles are all well and good, so long as you don’t encounter an insurgency on your way to the grocery for milk and bread. But what if you do encounter such an enemy force?
Well, the Terradyne Ghurka’s got you covered.
You’re getting a four-for-one today, folks. With the Glass House deep-sixing all of its sedans, we figured it’d be an apropos time to inspect the cheapest of the lot bound for death row.
Picking on them in order of size sounds like a plan: Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus. Ready, Blue Oval fans? Let’s go!
Ford recently announced the elimination of the traditional car from its North American lineup. Within two or three model years, no four-door Ford will be available with a trunk. No Fusion, no Focus, no Fiesta, no Taurus. The demand-driven logic behind the decision is clear. Cars have declined from 35 percent of Ford sales as recently as 2012, to 23 percent last year.
The company does not report profitability by nameplate, but we can safely assume their declining contribution to net income has been even more dramatic. So Ford’s decision was predictable, if seemingly dispassionate. Less predictably, a relatively healthy automaker is executing a long-term strategic shift. In public. Before the market forced it to.
Herein lies the real story.
There’s been much made about Ford’s secret/not-so-secret plan to purchase a major chunk of Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood, including its greatest landmark — the monstrous, long-abandoned Michigan Central Station. Until now, however, the only words we had to go on were whispered by sources who preferred to keep their names out of the media.
Thankfully, Edsel B. Ford II decided to pipe up today.
The biggest automotive news story of the last week was Ford’s decision to abandon almost all passenger cars in the North American market. Whether you think it’s a smart business decision as consumers shift toward crossovers or a colossal misstep, you were probably envisioning a gradual phase-out as the company bolsters its domestic truck and SUV lineup for 2022. Well, you thought wrong, because Focus production ends this May.
Fortunately, you’ll have a little more time to snag a Taurus or Fiesta before those models are also killed off. Taurus assembly is slated to end in March of 2019, with the Fiesta murdered a couple of months later. After that, you’ll be stuck with whatever dealers have left on the lot and the venerable Mustang coupe. Americans will also have access to a Focus Active imported from China. But it’s as much crossover as it is hatchback, doesn’t start importing until the middle of 2019, and won’t be available in Canada at all.
Officially, there’s more than 220 Ford Motor Company employees ready to move into a refurbished former factory on Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s Corktown district sometime this year. A nice little burst of employment for a long-neglected, now-resurgent neighborhood, but it might be just the beginning.
The automaker is reportedly in talks with numerous property owners to create a campus totalling at least 1.1 million square feet, with the towering — and famously abandoned — Michigan Central Station as its anchor.
For a country that looks at its southern neighbor’s gasoline prices with lust and envy, you’d think small cars would make up a greater share of the vehicle mix. Well, they don’t. Canadians like their crossovers, pickups, and SUVs even more than Americans, and Ford’s future product lineup shows it.
It seems like just yesterday you could walk into a Ford dealer and check out a stingy and unsafe Aspire, before the hungry salesman upsold you on an Escort (or perhaps its sporty ZX2 sibling). Then there was the Contour, Taurus, and Crown Victoria to consider.
Those days are gone, and under Ford’s new truck-centric product plan, which ditches the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus, Canada won’t even get the crossover-ized Focus Active hatch. It’s a Mustang or nothing for small car lovers.
Apparently, we’ve made our bed and now need to lie in it.
Ford announced yesterday, via a filing with investors, that by 2020 there will only be two conventional cars (or gas-fueled cars, at least) in its lineup. Those models will be the venerable Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active.
I wrote our news hit on it, and in my rush to get it online, I perhaps wasn’t as in-depth with context as I could’ve been. I’d like to make up for that by digging more, both into the greater context of what’s a tectonic shift in product portfolio for a major, full-line automaker, and flesh out my thoughts on what it all means.
Shock, horror, outrage, grudging acceptance, agreement. This pretty much covers the reaction to the announcement buried within Ford Motor Company’s first-quarter earnings report.
The automaker that brought us the Thunderbird, Fairlane, Crown Victoria, LTD, Galaxy, Torino, Pinto, Fairmont, Tempo, Taurus, Fusion, Fiesta, Festiva (sorry), LTD II, Contour, EXP, Custom, Five Hundred, and other car models will relegate its passenger car lineup to just the Mustang and a lightly lifted Focus hatch, now classified as a crossover.
Almost anything can be a crossover these days.
Be it bold or short-sighted, Ford has at least made its vision of the near-term automotive future crystal clear. And buyers helped form that vision. Consumer preference led Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to make a similar decision two years ago, just without the same resulting ripples of outrage. No one wanted a Dodge Dart or Chrysler 200, so it left the compact and midsize sandbox in the hands of other automakers. Traditionalists still have their Dodge Charger and Challenger and Chrysler 300, and police fleets can turn to the Charger if the Ford Police Interceptor Utility isn’t to their liking. Urban types have the Fiat brand while it’s still around.
That covers two-thirds of the Detroit Three. But what about General Motors?
We’re always surprised with what counts as a van in Europe. For example, Ford just showcased a new one based on the Fiesta at the Birmingham Commercial Vehicle Show — and it’s kind of wonderful. However, we’re unlikely to see it on our roads. A vehicle like this makes almost no sense for the North American market.
In fact, I can only think of a handful of applications for such an automobile: high-volume pizza delivery, flower delivery, amateur plumber, organ transport, and pet grooming for a business that only takes modestly sized animals. But they would all have to take place in an extremely-dense urban environment to rationalize the use of such a small vehicle. Otherwise, business owners are going to splurge on a proper small van like the Transit Connect.
Back in March, as Matthew Guy waxed poetic over a base, Thailand-spec Ford Ranger, this author felt the tell-tale signs of desire flooding his body. “Look at all that basic utility!” my salivary glands cried. Yours did too, no doubt.
Well, give up all hope of seeing a cute little one-row Ranger midsize pickup in your near future, unless you’re jetting off to start a new life in Southeast Asia. It ain’t coming. But at least we now know what is.
Rumors of the Ford Fiesta‘s American demise have swirled ever since the 2016 launch of the seventh-generation model in Europe. On sale for the 2017 model year, the current-gen Fiesta overseas is not the current-gen Fiesta we see here. No, the older model continues on in North America, as whispers of its impending execution come and go.
Most recently, a Wall Street Journal report claimed the Fiesta would end production this year, with the Taurus sedan following it to the grave not long after.
That’s not what VIN decoder document obtained by TTAC claims.
The Ford Mustang might have been born in America, but it’s now doing burnouts around the world. Helped along with fresh sales in places like Germany and the U.K., global registrations topped 125,000 cars last year. Your humble author saw his first right-hand-drive Mustang last January.
One country where it’s doing particularly well? China.
Way back in 2013, General Motors and the Ford Motor Co. signed an agreement to collaborate on transmissions. The deal stipulated that GM would get access to Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission, intended for rear-drive applications, if the Blue Oval could have the Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed under development by The General for front-drive models — and everyone would save some money.
However, things didn’t play out as intended. Ford is now saying the nine-speed auto doesn’t provide enough of a fuel economy improvement to justify the added cost and weight of an extra gear. It won’t be using it, at least not in its current form. Instead, Ford engineers have decided to use a trio of transmissions with fewer gears for front-wheel-drive units.
During the middle 1990s, Volkswagen partnered with Wisconsin bicycle manufacturer Trek and sold Trek Edition Jettas, complete with a Trek mountain bike and roof rack. Ford marketers saw an opportunity to out-cool Volkswagen in the bicycle-car pairing department, and figured they’d go to the Pacific Northwest for the bike to include with their biked-up Focus.
Thus was the Kona Edition Focus born, and I managed to find one of these rarities in a self-service wrecking yard in California’s Central Valley.
By the end of the year, you’ll know whether your next front-drive, non-supercar Ford might contain a carbon fiber cradle for its engine. As promised, supplier Magna has delivered a carbon fiber composite subframe prototype to Dearborn, destined for a rigorous life in a Fusion testbed.
There’ll be calculators working overtime as Ford engineers and bean counters figure out whether the lightweight, parts-saving component has a place in the brand’s stable.
Ford was all but gloating… okay, it was gloating when it unveiled the coveted “30 mpg highway” figure for the upcoming 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6 earlier this week. A full-size pickup with a 30 mpg rating? That sets it apart from all others, including the 27 mpg (highway) Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
What the automaker didn’t mention was how much green you’ll need to shell out for a Power Stroke-powered F-150. Well, the beans are now spilled, but the product positioning seems a little odd.
Ford Motor Company claims its 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6, due to appear under the hood of the F-150 starting in May, blows the competition out of the water in terms of fuel economy. The automaker now cites an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway figure for its light-duty diesel pickup, beating Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel in pump-passing power.
The real test, however, comes later this year, when General Motors debuts its own light-duty Duramax mill — a Flint-built diesel inline-six of unannounced power and efficiency.
In the halcyon days of NASCAR, men drove coupified versions of machines one could actually buy on the showroom floor: rear-drive Thunderbirds, Grand Prix coupes, and Monte Carlos simultaneously plied both racetracks and dealer lots as recently as the 1980s. Race fans know what happened by 1989, of course, when GM slapped the names of mid-size front-drivers on their V8 NASCAR racers, with Ford following suit within the next 10 years.
Last year, GM made an infinitely logical move, bringing its Camaro nameplate to to the top-tier Winston Nextel Sprint Monster Energy Cup Series. Ford’s now mercifully following suit, binning the Fusion and putting a Mustang in the hands of those who choose to run the Blue Oval.
Ford has dropped a teaser image for its 2018 Mustang Cobra Jet, which is set to challenge the Dodge Demon for drag-strip supremacy.
Certainly, it won’t be for sales supremacy, as the Demon’s production run has come to an end and Ford won’t make nearly as many Cobra Jets. Oh, and the Cobra Jet won’t be street legal. So there’s that. But die-hard dragsters won’t care – getting a factory-prepped car that can tear up the quarter-mile will make those few who can snag one happy.
And if the initial reports prove true, this new pony will run.
Beneath the recently unveiled next-generation Ford Focus is an architecture that stands to proliferate through the Ford ranks, underpinning models as large as the Ford Edge.
While American consumers won’t see the new Focus until the latter half of 2019, well after buyers in Europe and China (where the U.S.-bound model will be built), the unnamed platform, which barely got any type of billing during the model’s reveal, stands to bring Ford’s front-drive vehicles into the third decade of the 20th century.
The resurrected Ford Ranger hasn’t yet sold a single unit in the United States, but for one class of truck customer, what we saw unveiled in Detroit in January lacked the necessary cohones. As such, they’re holding out for word on a midsize pickup with the brawn and, um, width of the F-150 Raptor.
It must make these customers boil with frustration to see the likes of Australia and Southeast Asia getting all the Ford Ranger Raptor action, with nary a word spoken from the Blue Oval about the variant’s future, or lack thereof, in the United States. Maybe these photos, taken in a Michigan where winter won’t let up, will stoke those fires of hope.
Don’t let the right-hand drive throw you. There’s two reasons why this appearance is worthy of excitement.
We appear to be entering into a minor renaissance for modestly sized cars, thanks largely to global influence and technological advancement. The timing couldn’t be better, either — with crossovers usurping more of the market every day, these little scamps need all the help they can get. That’s especially true of small cars with declining sales. Like, say, the Ford Focus.
While the third generation of the model enjoyed a massive sales surge in its rookie season, it’s been losing volume ever since. That’s to be expected of any maturing model, but the Focus went from 245,992 U.S. deliveries in 2012 to just 158,385 in 2017. So Ford is setting up the fourth generation on its new C2 platform, regardless of what country it’s sold in, as well as some big changes in terms of equipment and styling.
However, we’re left wondering how these updates will translate when the model makes it way to North America. The new Focus hits the streets of Europe and China later this year, but won’t arrive in the United States until the second half of 2019, presumably as a 2020 model. That gives Ford time to adapt the vehicle but, with the exception of some powertrain changes, we’re not entirely sure what to expect.
Ford Motor Company is calling back nearly 350,000 trucks and SUVs in North America to prevent possible rollaway incidents. The issue — one we’ve grown used to as of late — involves drivers thinking they’ve shifted into park while the vehicle is actually still in gear.
However, this recall isn’t the fault of confused drivers not understanding their newfangled shift levers or dials. There’s a real, physical problem here.
Ford may have shuffled production of the next-generation Focus to China, but it hasn’t given up on the model entirely. That’s sufficiently good news for small car fans, what with domestic automakers dropping small car models like a scalding spatula.
The 2019 Focus reveals itself in a London, England event on April 10th, but the automaker’s European division saw fit to post a classy black-and-white video in advance of the reveal. While European buyers can look forward to numerous bodystyles, it’s not going to be close to the same lineup over on this side of the pond. Ford wants the next Focus to move slightly upmarket while offering less overall choice. If buyers aren’t taking to the compacts in the same numbers as before, why not try to squeeze extra profit from each vehicle?
So, what can we learn from this teaser?
The Ford EcoSport, a new (to North America) subcompact crossover hastily inserted at the bottom of the Blue Oval’s lineup, went on sale in January of this year. No TTACer who sat in the vehicle at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit walked away impressed, and it was odd to see a new model introduction go without the obligatory first drive event.
Still, the vehicle, which starts at a hair under 20 grand and carries a 1.0-liter three-cylinder as a base powerplant, isn’t being ignored by the buying public. March EcoSport sales in the U.S. topped that of the well-regarded — but not especially capacious — Mazda CX-3. Still, as all things truck continue to garner ever greater market share in the U.S., the little Ford faces a difficult upward climb.
A recent report on the potential demise of the long-running Taurus nameplate brought mixed reactions in the comments section, and is still doing so as of this writing. Said report also inspired today’s Buy/Drive/Burn, in a get it while you can sort of way. Soon, the Blue Oval in this trio will take the dirt nap.
But that’s then and this is now — and you must choose what to do with three full-size American sedans on sale in 2018.
It’s a bad news day if you’re a lover of traditional passenger cars, but surely you’ve grown used to this thing by now. As automakers, especially domestic ones, cast a critical eye on their lineups, many models without rear liftgates will inevitably fall victim to the quest for greater profit.
We brought you a report of the Chevrolet Sonic’s impending demise earlier today, but now it’s time to turn from GM to Ford. The same report, drawing on sources with knowledge of the company’s product plans, says the storied Taurus nameplate is not long for this world. Imagine dropping this bombshell on someone in the late 1980s.
Nowadays, you’d likely be greeted with, “They still make the Taurus?”
If you’re a superfan of the 1968 film Bullitt, or maybe just of Steve McQueen, prepare to split the difference between the price of a Ford Mustang GT and a Shelby GT350.
The limited-edition 2019 Mustang Bullitt, the third generation of which bowed in Detroit in January, commands a sticker price of $47,495 after delivery, the automaker announced today — positioning it more than $11k above the GT and nearly $11k below the GT350. Of course, neither of those models offer retro-themed flourishes, nor can you order Highland Green paint.
You also get 20 extra horsepower than the GT for all that expense, which is mercifully 5 hp more than the automaker first estimated.
Look at the truck shown above. Blacked-out grille and bumpers, old-school phone dial steel wheels of a reasonable size, and an honest, hardworking cleat system on the outside of the bed. I’d drive it and I’m pretty sure you would, too. Raise your hand if I’m correct.
Hear that Ford? Approximately 100 percent of the American public TTAC readers would sign the note on a base model Ranger. The SuperCrews you showed us in January were a good start, now stop teasing us with overseas mini-Raptors and please whip up a base model.
Keeping with Ford’s naming tradition, I’m dubbing this the Ranger XL.
Ford Motor Company has a lot invested in Europe. While the continent spent decades operating facilities under the lose leadership of Ford of Britain, Detroit acquired direct ownership in 1950. From there it extended its influence dramatically, buying up established European manufacturers near the close of the 20th century. But things haven’t always been good; economic hardships have been par for the course and things haven’t been easy in a long time.
Presently, Ford makes around $75,000 in profit for each of its employees in the United States. In Europe, that number is about $4,300 per worker. While we’re sure that makes domestic line workers feel entitled to a small pay increase, the point is that the profit margins across the pond are pretty slim for Ford.
However, unlike General Motors, the company doesn’t want to abandon the region. The automaker says it’s taking a renewed interesting in figuring how to keep profits up and is avoiding any speculation that it might duck out of Europe entirely. But let’s revisit its hardships over the last decade so we can establish a framework for why Ford is having a rough go of it.
China got a headstart in the “countries with over a billion people who suddenly love owning a car” race, but India’s trying its best to catch up.
With a growing pool of consumers ready and willing to hand over cash for a car, Ford Motor Company knows partnering with a local company that knows the lay of the land is a speedier and cheaper route to profits, so last year it formed an alliance with Mahindra Group. You know Mahindra — the company currently building a retro Jeep-shaped ATV for nostalgic Americans.
This week, the two companies further consummated their bond by signing off on the joint development of SUVs.
We’ve been on a Nineties streak lately, and our last four editions of Buy/Drive/Burn have all taken place within the decade. Well, ready your baggy beige suit and adjust its extensive shoulder pad region, because today we talk 1992. Specifically, Gtem suggested three luxury SUVs which were very popular with middle-class families across the country.
Ford, Oldsmobile, and [s]AMC[/s] Jeep — which makes it to your garage?
There’s two departures occuring at Ford Motor Company for anyone thinking of advancing their career. The automaker announced late Wednesday that Musa Tariq, vice president of the company and Ford’s chief brand officer, is leaving the automaker, effective this week. Joining him is Raj Rao, CEO of Ford Smart Mobility, who takes his leave on the 1st of May.
The mobility division was created in 2016 by former Ford CEO Mark Fields, with Rao serving as its CEO. The subsidiary’s chairman, Jim Hackett, now has a pretty good idea of what Fields’ job entailed. Tariq joined the company in January 2017.
No reason was given for either of the two departures, but the personnel loss leaves Ford with some very important roles to fill.
Squint harder. Yes, there are changes afoot in the 2019 Ford Fusion’s visage, though you’ll be forgiven if you can’t spot them from across the Lowe’s parking lot.
The automaker released images and information for the lightly refreshed model on Tuesday, ahead of its official debut at the upcoming New York Auto Show. Besides styling tweaks designed to keep things young and pert, all 2019 Fusion trim levels boast one of Ford’s new Co-Pilot 360 suite of driver assist features — even the lowly S model. For green car aficionados, the Blue Oval added an extra helping of electrons to the plug-in hybrid Energi model. Expect to burn ever so slightly fewer gallons of gas in a given year.
For now, Ford isn’t saying what others have: that this might be the last Fusion we ever see.
Detroit’s skyline-defining riverfront Renaissance Center is better known to car enthusiasts as the RenCen, home to General Motors, which has owned the seven tower complex for more than 20 years. Less well known is the fact that the RenCen was the brainchild of Henry Ford II. Shocked by the aftermath of the 1967 riot that devastated many Detroit businesses, the Deuce, as Henry Ford’s grandson was known, saw the RenCen as means of revitalizing the city’s economy. Construction began in 1971 and the facility opened in the summer of 1976. By then, however, the domestic auto industry was hit with the 1973 OPEC oil embargo just as it was struggling to meet new federal emissions and safety standards. Car guys call it the “Malaise Era,” and it was the start of four decades of decline of the Motor City.
That decline, however, genuinely appears to have finally bottomed out. Class A commercial real estate is in high demand downtown and commercial development is spreading to other areas of the city. Unemployment in Wayne County, Detroit’s home, is down to just 4.5 percent, compared to 17.4 percent in 2009.
Now, almost 50 years after Henry Ford II envisioned the RenCen as reviving Detroit, comes word that the car company with his name over the door may well revive and restore one of the most iconic images of Detroit’s decline.
Kudos to Ford for doing the shadowy teaser image correctly this week. While the auto industry has decided darkened teasers are compulsory for all upcoming models, some automakers provide photographs resembling Spın̈al Tap’s Smell the Glove album — so comedicaly dark, they become unintentional parodies of the now popular trend.
But Ford’s photo makes us feel like we’ve seen more of the 2020 Shelby GT500 than we actually have without giving up the goods, allowing us to feel simultaneously satiated and hungry.
It’s the clearest look yet of the forthcoming Mustang model, and our first impression is that it seems really angry about something. The grille is expansive, seemingly occupying frontal real estate from the vehicle’s nose all the way down to the aggressive frontal lip.
The future is electric, industry leaders tell us, but it will also have room for cargo. Lots and lots of it.
In announcing its near-future product plans on Thursday, Ford Motor Company promised the replacement of “more than 75 percent of its current portfolio” by 2020, with sport utility vehicles filling the sales void created by declining car volume. By the start of the next decade, only 14 percent of sales will come from cars, Ford predicts.
Meanwhile, at Lincoln, there’s good reason to believe the automaker’s luxury brand might enter the coming decade completely carless.
Ford wants to be seen as a nimble, responsive automaker, quick to adapt to changing market trends, so today the automaker dumped a pile of product information on our heads.
Some of the vehicles Ford confirmed today were already known, like the upcoming Shelby GT500 super Stang, Ford Explorer ST, and hybrid versions of the Mustang and F-150. What we didn’t know until today was that the reborn Bronco, due out in 2020, will receive an electrified powertrain. Nor were we aware that it won’t arrive alone.
Ford’s calling the Bronco’s smaller companion the “Off-Road Small Utility” for now, but “Mini Bronco” sounds better to our ears.
It’s no secret Ford Motor Company cut its previous CEO, Mark Fields, loose after the company’s stock price fell 40 percent during his time at the helm. Eager to attract investors, Fields’ superiors must have looked at General Motors’ and Tesla’s valuation and wondered, Dammit, if a very profitable company and a very unprofitable company can do it, then hell, so should we.
Out the door Fields went. Since taking the big chair in Dearborn, CEO Jim Hackett has pissed off automotive purists with his “future cities” and mobility talk, and word that the Mach 1 will return as an electric crossover hasn’t done anything to endear him to the pony car crowd. The new Mustang Bullitt does not erase this sin.
Animosity aside, Hackett has managed to place a checkmark next to a top item on his to-do list: get Wall Street’s attention.
Ford Motor Company has announced a recall of 1,378,637 vehicles for a very concerning problem: steering wheels that may come loose and detach from the steering column while the car is underway.
It’s a problem first investigated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last year, but Wednesday’s recall spreads a wider net. Affected vehicles include Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans built in the U.S. and Mexico over five model years. According to Ford, the problem stems from a key bolt that just can’t stay married to the threads.
The Ford Mustang grabbed its passport and went overseas in 2015, crossing border after border as its parent company followed through on a plan to plunder (and grow) the right-hand-drive sports car market. Customers in Europe and China finally got a taste of pony car action as Mustang sales expanded to over 140 countries.
At home, the Mustang remains a strong seller, but the market’s growing distaste for passenger cars means even rear-drive coupes and convertibles with a storied heritage aren’t immune to volume loss. After reaching a post-recession U.S. sales high of 122,349 cars in 2015, Mustang sales fell to 81,866 units last year. Volume over the first two months of 2018 is down 21.1 percent over the same period last year.
Not to worry — the Mustang’s European popularity is keeping executives in Dearborn happy, right? Well, European customers help, but they’re far from the model’s savior. Especially if they stop buying.
The Ford Mustang, recently made pointier and stripped of its middle-child V6 engine, earns a California Special package for 2019.
On the rare chance that anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the California Special’s history, it emphatically does not include surfing lessons and a being stuck on the 405. Among other items, though, it absolutely features the de rigeur GT/CS stripe because in California, there’s no point in doing something if you don’t shout about it, right?