By on May 10, 2021

2017 Ford Explorer Sport

Ford Motor Co. is recalling over 660,000 2016-2019 model year Explorer sport utility vehicles over the suspect roof rails the company initially claimed were probably fine. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration got involved last year, following a string of complaints of the rail cover loosening and sometimes being jettisoned from the vehicle, and recommended the automaker bring them in for repairs.

But Blue Oval felt that was unnecessary, claiming the odds of one decoupling were extremely low and likely to be battened down before anything happens. Besides, they’re just fiddly little pieces of trim and unlikely to do much damage. Obviously, opinions have changed since then with documentation from the NHTSA confirming Ford is moving ahead with the mostly voluntary recall.  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2021

Ford is introducing a new trim level for the Explorer, targeting both outdoorsy types and those who desperately want to be but only manage to spend a couple of weekends at Kampgrounds of America.

The 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline delivers a mix of visual accouterments and practical components that should actually make the SUV better off-road.

Don’t expect it to keep pace with a Raptor pickup, however. Despite the Timberline’s menacing new grille, skid plates, unique 18-inch wheels, and Bridgestone Dueler all-terrain tires, it’s not a Baja buggy waiting to be jumped off the next sand dune — though it may be the best option for Explorer shoppers who don’t want to spend oodles on aftermarket parts.   (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2021

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On Tuesday, Ford Motor Co. said it would be putting $185 million toward the construction of a research and development site focused on electric vehicle battery development in southeast Michigan. The facility will be called Ford Ion Park and employ roughly 150 full-time employees that will be focusing on small-scale projects that it hopes might lead to technological breakthroughs offering it a competitive advantage.

While the facility was said to also be capable of manufacturing cells, Ford made it clear during the teleconference that it won’t be operating as a battery plant. Any packs assembled at the R&D center are likely to exist exclusively for evaluation, with the luckiest batteries being installed into concept or test vehicles.  (Read More…)

By on April 20, 2021

Ford debuted a new concept in Shanghai today, one that might hint at the vehicle that will be filling in for the Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) as the automaker continues removing all traces of the sedan from its lineup. While the Evos is intended to become the manufacturer’s default midsize for the Chinese market, it seems to possess many of the aspects promised on the long-awaited Fusion Active — the presumed successor of the venerable Fusion sedan.

Though the car itself resembles something closer to the Mach-E or perhaps a lowered version of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Evos’ general shape exists somewhere between a crossover and a traditional passenger car, much like the Subaru Outback the Fusion Active has been assumed to be targeting. But it’s not a perfect fit and Ford is keeping many of the details to itself, making it very clear that the concept will be the blueprint for future models and not necessarily a snapshot of something that’s production-ready.  (Read More…)

By on April 9, 2021

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Ford will be ignoring the typical two-week summer shutdown this year as a way to make up for production downtime caused by the semiconductor shortage. That’s undoubtedly going to complicate some vacation plans. But Blue Oval has already given loads of workers time off and has more downtime planned through April and now that the necessary factory maintenance can be accomplished while assembly lines are idled during supply chain issues, leaving employees to schedule any time off through their local union.  (Read More…)

By on March 29, 2021

Ford Motor Co. has reportedly issued a stop-sale on its electric vehicle home charging solution. The good news is that Mach-E buyers can use the included mobile charger to plug into any 120V outlet (or regular charging station) and still have the option to buy a third-party box that effectively does the same thing as the wall unit Ford has placed on a sales hiatus. But it’s not particularly heartening to learn that the automaker had to stop selling a $799 EV charging device that hasn’t been working properly when it only started manufacturing the Mach-E a few months ago.

Then again, traditional automakers haven’t had the best track record with EVs. The industry as a whole seems to be struggling with them and their peripheral equipment, likely due to the segment still being in its infancy. At least Ford seems to have learned how to roll with the punches.  (Read More…)

By on March 19, 2021

On Thursday, Ford issued a statement explaining that some of its vehicles will be manufactured without the electronic modules dependent on semiconductors. While the automaker faulted the global semiconductor shortage, it also made mention of the winter storms from last month. A few shifts will reportedly be cut until supply chains stabilize while other lines will be constructing vehicles minus some electronics. The plan is for Blue Oval to hold onto them until more chips come in, minimizing production losses.

General Motors proposed a similar solution last week and has since started building 2021 light-duty full-size pickups without a fuel management module.

“Due to the global shortage of semiconductors impacting the global auto industry, we are making Active Fuel Management/Dynamic Fuel Management unavailable on certain 2021 model year full-size trucks,” said GM spokesperson Michelle Malcho.

(Read More…)

By on March 3, 2021

Ford Mustang Mach-E buyers will be receiving monetary compensation for delivery delays the automaker has attributed to enhanced quality checks. While we’re inclined to believe it may also have something to do with production troubles, nobody should be upset that an automaker is giving their new EV another inspection or two — especially after the botched launches we’ve seen from other manufacturers.

But customers annoyed by the wait will be pleased to know that they’ll be eligible for free 250 kWh fast charging and $1,000 in cash. All you need to do is make sure you’re signed up for its data services…

(Read More…)

By on February 25, 2021

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On Wednesday, Ford CEO Jim Farley told attendees of the Wolfe Research Auto Conference that the United States needs to start building batteries for the industry’s planned deluge of electric vehicles now that semiconductor shortages have revealed the dangers of needing to source essential components from the other side of the planet.

Farley is likely correct in stating that America really should be able to supply itself, and not just in regard to semiconductor chips. Pandemic-related lockdowns crippled countless industries by upsetting the balance of supply lines. Halfway through 2020, farmers were dumping millions of gallons of milk per day and plowing up fields of eatable vegetables as restaurants were shutdown; factories were idled as part shortages became commonplace; cleaning supplies and disinfectants became impossible to find.

But it’s hard to translate that into sympathy for Ford because, while all of the above was happening, the automaker’s leadership was saying that there was no good reason to manufacture its own batteries.

(Read More…)

By on February 18, 2021

Ford CEO Jim Farley announced his fondness for the Puma ST at the start of the week, going so far as to state that he wished the crossover was available in North America and other markets. This resulted in a steady stream of outlets suggesting that he’s totally forgotten his role within the company. As head of the brand, Farley would indeed have meaningful influence in regard to Ford’s distribution choices.

But he probably already knows that and we’re wondering if his social media musings about the rowdy little Puma — which borrows the Fiesta ST engine — were more about testing the waters on a global market push. While we don’t want to rule out the possibility of Farley kissing a photo of the crossover on his nightstand every night as he wonders how to spread its glory, something tells us there may be alternative scenarios.  (Read More…)

By on February 17, 2021

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Another day, another automaker making promises about electric vehicles. Today’s company is Ford, which has vowed to make all European automotive sales electric-only by 2030.

This comes with the footnote of having the ability to soften that promise with plug-in hybrids. But, since this is all about corporate virtue signaling, that’s not what automakers tend to lead with. The industry wants to focus upon net-zero carbon emissions, sustainability, and other buzz terms that allow something to sound environmentally friendly without our needing to check if that’s actually the case. By the time 2030 comes around, only a few dozen people are even going to remember these promises if they’re not kept anyway — giving companies another opportunity to move the goalpost.

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2021

Battery suppliers LG Chem and SK Innovation have what could be politely described as an intense rivalry. With the automotive industry desperate to secure reliable access to the most essential components for the planned electric vehicle offensive, chemical companies specializing in electronics are very much in demand and they’re all jockeying for power.

On Wednesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) sided with LG Chem after it had accused SK Innovation of misappropriating trade secrets pertaining to EV battery technologies. But Ford CEO Jim Farley is asking the South Korean businesses to call a ceasefire and settle things out of court, presumably through the transfer of a large sum of money.

(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2021

Ford/Zotye Agreement

Ford Motor Co. has decided against its plan to launch an electric vehicle joint venture with China’s Zotye Automobile. The American manufacturer confirmed the decision on Thursday, stating that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had made sweeping changes to its policies since the deal was initially agreed to in 2017.

Few specifics were given beyond that and Ford hasn’t indicated the move might suggest a retreat from the one-party socialist republic. Ford recently confirmed its plan to build Chinese versions of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. and maintains numerous joint ventures necessary to continue doing business inside Central Asia.

(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2021

2019 Mustang Bullitt

While Americans were busy scratching their heads over how to manage a Very Covid Christmas, Ford was producing the final examples of the Mustang Bullitt. Modeled after the Mustang GT driven by Lt. Frank Bullitt (Steve McQueen) in the 1968 American action thriller that shares the lead character’s last name, the Bullitt tends to hit the market whenever Ford feels the itch.

For its third incarnation, the automaker decided the 2019-2020 model years were enough and had previously hinted that the model would be supplanted by an updated Mach 1. That unit has since been confirmed for 2021, taking the best components in the Mustang lineup to build a solid performer that’s economical to produce. But it didn’t leave any room for the Bullitt, with Mustang spokesperson Berj Alexanian confirming to Ford Authority that the final batch left Flat Rock Assembly right around the time we published our last review on the throwback coupe(Read More…)

By on February 2, 2021

On Monday, Ford and Google jointly announced a strategic, six-year partnership to accelerate the automaker’s connected vehicle and data service programs. Framed as part of Ford’s natural evolution into an information focused mobility firm, the release was loaded with corporate buzz phrases that we had to clean up. But the gist is that Ford would like to leverage Google Cloud for its products, meaning all future Ford models will be running Android operating systems starting in 2023.

This clears a pathway for improved integration from Google Assistant, Maps, Play, or any third-party applications catering to the incredibly popular OS. Unfortunately, it also highlights how gaga automakers are getting about data for the umpteenth time.

(Read More…)

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