By on September 30, 2020

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Ford is recalling over 700,0000 vehicles in North America over poor electrical connections that can put the rearview camera display on the fritz. The feed runs the risk of providing drivers a corrupted image or cutting out intermittently, raising crash risks, and violating present-day vehicle safety mandates. While the tried and true method of turning one’s head and using the mirrors should allow for drama-free parking, Ford is still under obligation to repair these systems.

Documents submitted to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) have indicated that affected models include Ford’s Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, F-150, F-250, F-350, F-450, F-550, Mustang, Ranger, and Transit vehicles from the 2020 model year. Lincoln will also be recalling the 2020 Lincoln Corsair and Nautilus.

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By on September 17, 2020

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Ford has really been hyping the upcoming F-Series EV this week by assuring customers the new pickup will make the gas-powered one look like the unsightly substance you cough into the sink every morning. Not only with the electrified F-150 come with more power than your standard Ford truck, but it’ll also be cheaper to own and operate  once you get past the higher purchasing price, of course.

The automaker is spending a whopping $700 million to add EV production facilities at the Dearborn Truck Plant on top of the lofty cost of development, so it’s going to tell you whatever it takes to get you to buy one. It has to recoup those expenses somehow and, unless it’s a bald-faced lie, the automotive industry always seems willing to be “extremely optimistic” about a vehicle prior to launch. Unfortunately, Ford has to remain slightly more grounded than some of its peers because the electric F-150 isn’t so completely novel that the manufacturer can claim it will totally transform the driving experience or makes ludicrous suggestions about it driving itself.

We already have an F-150 and people seem to think it’s good enough to warrant nearly a million sales per year. The electric version is a spin-off Ford wants us to understand builds on those strengths.

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By on September 2, 2020

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Barely a full day after news broke that Ford was on the cusp of announcing layoffs, Ford announced those layoffs. On Wednesday, the automaker informed employees that it needs to eliminate 1,400 salaried jobs as part of its $11-billion restructuring program. The good news is that these cuts will be handled through retirement buyouts that won’t leave the departing workforce empty handed. The automaker’s internal memo also stated that the buyouts would be voluntary.

The Blue Oval previously said it expects a full-year loss in 2020 thanks to the pandemic, with a pre-tax profit of anywhere between $500 million and $1.5 billion in the third quarter. (Read More…)

By on September 1, 2020

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With a large number of automakers pinching pennies these days, it’s easy for the details of various restructuring plans to fall down the memory hole. For example, Ford has been engaged in an ambitious cost-cutting program since 2018. The $11-billion plan was said to take anywhere from three to five years to complete, requiring legitimate sacrifices at the company — including the discontinuation of all sedans in the United States, ending operations in Russia, closing facilities in Europe, and rolling layoffs around the globe.

Ford has actually accelerated its timeline to see how much it can get done before 2021, resulting in the elimination of 7,000 salaried positions globally last year. The company has decided to end another 1,000 salaried positions in the United States. (Read More…)

By on August 31, 2020

If electric vehicles are ever to supplant the tried-and-true gasoline-driven automobile, we’ll need to make a lot of changes. Infrastructure will need to tailor itself to electric driving by implementing more charging stations while bolstering the electrical grid with more power plants and a higher capacity for energy storage. But auto manufacturers will also need to manufacture them at a scale that will adequately feed society, requiring more capable machines — and the batteries they’ll be dependent upon.

While most large automakers have dumped billions into R&D for “mobility projects,” including items pertaining directly toward advancing EVs, their approaches have varied. Some manufacturers (e.g. Tesla) built battery plants to support themselves, others are contented with having made deals with suppliers. Ford has officially taken the latter approach, according to its own leadership. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2020

Ford has been pretty clear that it wants to offer the Bronco in an array of flavors catering to numerous customer types. While the Bronco Sport name has been reserved for its smaller sibling (an interesting decision straight out of the Mitsubishi and Nissan playbook), it was assumed the Blue Oval would eventually provide us with a hardcore variant of the larger model. The mere existence of the Baja-blasting Bronco R seemed to suggest that Ford was already considering the possibility, while the Ranger Raptor filled us with hope that the company would put those plans into action.

It may have already. Reports have surfaced that a Ford engineer updated their LinkedIn profile to include they were now an “EDS Systems Engineer” for the “2021 Bronco” and “2023 Bronco Raptor.” (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2020

General Motors and Ford Motor Company are about to conclude their prolonged stint of ventilator production. In case you were unaware, these businesses typically manufacturer automobiles (cars, for the layperson) and have allocated a portion of their factory space to build medical equipment that was assumed to be useful during the pandemic. However, the United States now has more ventilators than it knows what to do with, and most of them seem like they won’t be required — so it’s mission accomplished, unless COVID-19 suddenly becomes a much more vicious illness.

Either way, GM and Ford both plan to re-prioritize vehicle production. The Blue Oval moved core staff off ventilator lines and back to their normal places of assembly months ago. Some of the remaining temporary workers hired to assist with the medical equipment are said to have an opportunity building the new Ford Bronco. Meanwhile, GM says it wants to move ventilator production to a facility in Kokomo, Indiana, next month, where it will hand operations over to Ventec Life Systems as it regains the union employs allocated for the project. Temporary hires will be absorbed by Ventec. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2020

With the Ram 1500 TRX assumed to arrive with a V8 making oodles of power, Ford’s F-150 Raptor may round out the year with egg on its face. In 2017, the Blue Oval ditched the model’s 6.2-liter V8 for a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and added a quartet of gears  pissing some die-hard fans of the model right off. Baja boys bemoaned the decision to put a more complicated motor into a vehicle that’s designed to be abused largely off-road, while others were just mad they were missing out on that V8 sound. However, most of those who weren’t obsessed with SVT badging agreed the changes hadn’t ruined the truck and that the second-gen suspension upgrades ultimately made for a better off-road vehicle.

That said, Ram dumping a model onto the market that targets the same audience, and with a V8 on board, is bad news for Ford. But it doesn’t have to be, especially if the noises we hear coming from the tailpipes of the latest test mule are what some listeners claim. (Read More…)

By on August 13, 2020

General Motors said it plans to share some of the safety technology it developed as a countermeasure to the coronavirus pandemic this week. These include a thermal scanning kiosk that uses infrared imaging to take temperatures of people as they stream into facilities, as well as a touchless printer app designed to keep staff from repeatedly touching the control panel. However, it’s the third item, GM’s contact-tracing software, that’s the most novel and controversial.

Practically every company in the world is working on ways to better track people, and their efforts have only accelerated during the pandemic. The presumption here is that by knowing every person someone has come into contact with, you can effectively track the progress of a virus. Despite sounding terrifyingly dystopian just a few years earlier, the notion has become a favorite among tech giants  most of whom are working on their own version.

GM’s involves a wristband, integrated into iOS and Android devices, that keeps tabs on how close employees are to each other. The company has since added support for Bluetooth beacons.

“We believe our application advances the state of the art when it comes to mobile apps for contact tracing, which is the subject of massive software development efforts across multiple industries today,” Tony Bolton, GM’s chief information officer of Global Telecommunications and End-User Services, said in a release. (Read More…)

By on August 12, 2020

Unifor will take on the Detroit automakers this week, with the Canadian union undoubtedly planning to do everything within its power to keep as many jobs as it can manage. Unfortunately, that might be easier said than done, what with vehicle demand suppressed by months of lockdowns and an associated economic recession. Despite the positivity surrounding Wall Street, regular folks aren’t in the mood to buy lately.

No matter. Union negotiations are always famously contentious anyway. Corporations want rock-bottom prices for top-shelf work and labor associations always have to ask for more to rationalize their existence. Unifor President Jerry Dias noted that he’s ready for whatever the Big Three throw at him, though we doubt it will include totally sweet offers for line workers. The best the union can probably hope for in 2020 is not losing more Canadian jobs than absolutely necessary. (Read More…)

By on July 27, 2020

2017 Ford Escape Assembly Factory Production, Image: Ford Motor Company

As vehicle production rates begin tipping back towards normalcy, the pandemic continues to rattle supply chains. The wheels of industry may be in motion, but they’re not yet in sync — making a comeback difficult for some players.

Ford dealers report a shortage of replacement parts needed for repairs, with some components taking over to a month to arrive at service centers. Against this backdrop, the automaker issued a technical service bulletin telling dealers to check for coolant leaks in the cylinder head of the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engines found in the Escape (MY 2017-19) and Fusion (2014-19). The repair notice dropped in April, though Ford owners have complained about fluid leaks for a couple of years after a shocking number of owners noticed their engines were overheating  only to find that one of the cylinders was hoovering coolant. (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2020

Ford appears to have spent a fortune in order to convince the world that electric vehicles have nearly limitless potential.

Its latest spot promoting the Mach-E (and its current efforts to embrace battery power) include a high-powered prototype boating 1,400 horsepower and some of the most recognizable faces in motorsport attempting to challenge it — or at least help make for some quality entertainment while parodying the scientific method. The marketing campaign is so bonkers, it’s hard to be cross with the company even if Ford had taken the testing more seriously.

While physics-defying electrics aren’t new, they’ve only recently begun making appearances at Ford Motor Company. The Mach-E 1400 — developed in collaboration with RTR Vehicles — is here to drive home the message that the automaker isn’t taking electrification lightly.  (Read More…)

By on July 21, 2020

A legal dispute between South Korean battery manufacturers could force Volkswagen Group and Ford Motor Co. to deal with surprise supply shortages, according to documents filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The industrial duo had hoped to see SK Innovation produce batteries at a planned factory site in Georgia to supply the deluge of electric vehicles both have planned. However, courtroom drama between SK Innovation and LG Chem has complicated the matter.

The South Korean battery firms are currently involved in a bitter legal battle. SKI is being sued by LG over claims of industrial espionage in the United States, with the plaintiff demanding SK Innovation not be allowed to manufacturer equipment there. This isn’t the first time the duo have butted heads, either. They seem to really hate each other, and each appears willing to do whatever it takes to gain an advantage over the other. Ford and VW have warned that the situation puts them both at risk of supply shortages during a period where reliable battery supplies are already difficult to come by.  (Read More…)

By on June 22, 2020

If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that you can keep people isolated in their homes without any negative consequences whatsoever.

Sure, we’ve seen articles from scientific journals like The Lancet warning that similar experiments run on a much smaller scale resulted in psychological stress and disorder, including low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger, general irritability, emotional exhaustion, paranoia, drug abuse, depression and post-traumatic stress symptoms, but where’s the evidence of that happening this time?

Don’t answer that.

Employers the world over are already seeing the benefits of remote work and have begun to consider how to make it a long-term proposition. In addition to protecting companies against any new COVID-19 outbreaks, stay-at-home orders mean paying for less office space and utilities. Automakers are starting to think this is a pretty sweet deal — especially with productivity not having taken much of a hit — and are now considering whether to extend at-home employment indefinitely.  (Read More…)

By on June 12, 2020

Ford has weathered heavy criticism for moving bunk transmissions for some time. Normally, that conversation revolves around the PowerShift DSP6 (aka Getrag 6DCT250) installed in passenger cars with names beginning with the letter “F.”

The unit turned out to have a laundry list of problems and ultimately created a ruckus between management, engineers, and Ford’s legal team. Concerned that scrapping the dual-clutch automatic at the last minute would prove a costly decision in the midst of our last economic recession, the manufacturer ran with it — only to be confronted with annoyed consumers who felt the transmission wasn’t anywhere near up to par.

While the DSP6 is the unit that gets top billing for What Were They Thinking: The Movie, it wasn’t the only transmission prompting headaches in Dearborn. Another Getrag-sourced unit, the MT82 six-speed manual, is allegedly a sore sport for Mustang drivers. Owners of 2011-2019 model year Ford Mustangs are now suing the manufacturer for delivering what they claim is another faulty product.  (Read More…)

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