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…)

By on June 11, 2020

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On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. announced two safety recalls. One is a brake line issue involving 343,900 F-150 pickups equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6. The other relates to door latches — an obnoxiously familiar headache for the company — and encompasses a whopping 2.15 million vehicles from the 2011-15 model years.

Ford says the affected vehicles may not have had all door latches correctly replaced or replaced at all when repaired by dealerships under safety recalls 15S16 or 16S30 — both of which were done fix faulty equipment that was susceptible to failure in direct sunlight.

Apparently, the thermal threshold of the parts wasn’t all that impressive,and a few doors popped open while vehicles were in motion. While the manufacturer said it was unaware of any injuries related to the incidents, having a door randomly pop open on the motorway is universally undesirable.

Ford is going to take another whack at it.  (Read More…)

By on June 4, 2020

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On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co. offered some clarity to salaried workers wondering just how much longer they’ll have to work from home. If you happen to be one of those individuals and missed the official announcement, we’d kindly ask you to take a seat and find something to bite down on so you don’t end up hurting yourself.

Citing ongoing safety concerns tied to the coronavirus pandemic, Ford has decided to keep salaried employees home until at least September — tacking an extra two months onto its earlier prediction.  (Read More…)

By on May 21, 2020

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Ford Motor Co. temporarily shut down its Chicago Assembly Plant for a portion of Tuesday after two employees tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The facility had only been open for a single day, suggesting automakers may have to contend with infected employees on a regular basis. Responsible for Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor Utility, and Lincoln Aviator production, the site was idled briefly for disinfection before being reopened on Wednesday morning.

This return proved short-lived. The Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Assembly closed again today, although COVID-19 was not to blame. Wednesday’s culprit happened to be those nasty supply chain issues we’ve been harping on. Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant (home of the F-Series) did have a fresh coronavirus case, however. The facility was forced to match the Chicago factory’s response and shut down for sanitization measures on the same day — though at least Dearborn Truck seems to have a sufficient number of parts on hand.  (Read More…)

By on May 14, 2020

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Ford investors are reportedly irked that Ford Motor Co. seems to be pursuing the dynasty management route by issuing elevated positions to individuals of the correct bloodline. Like it or not, Ford has been a family business for the majority of its existence, but it’s facing new scrutiny after adding 32-year-old Alexandra Ford English to the board of electric truck manufacturer Rivian and making 39-year-old Henry Ford III (great-great grandson of the big dog himself) the face of investor relations.

The Ford family currently holds the largest slice of the corporate pie, thanks to their special class of stock, and 40 percent of the voting rights. But the business faces severe headwinds, hampered by the coronavirus and a share price that’s trended stubbornly downward since 2014. This has prompted concern among longtime shareholders and split opinions on whether or not Ford should continue keeping things within the family.  (Read More…)

By on May 12, 2020

Over-the-air (OTA) updates are opening new doors for manufacturers, providing a way to continuously update vehicles after they’ve been purchased. We’ve had mixed feelings on their implementation.

While Tesla has used OTA updates to enhance features on its products, it also sees the technology as a way to rationalize customers paying up front for systems that have failed to manifest. The company has showed a willingness to digitally remove content on vehicles entering the secondhand market — to the chagrin of sellers and those taking possession of a freshly neutered automobile. Meanwhile, Volkswagen has deemed adhering to the launch date of its ID.3 electric hatchback more important than having all the software bugs worked out — with the assumption being that they’ll just be fixed later.

Our cursory assessment on over-the-air updates has been that they seem to possess countless opportunities for the industry to innovate and/or take advantage of customers. And it’s the main reason we’re not celebrating Ford’s recent announcement that the Mach-E will be equipped to receive OTA updates quite as loudly as other outlets.  (Read More…)

By on May 6, 2020

Mercedes-Benz is nixing its all-electric EQ hatchback, according to R&D boss Markus Schäfer. Instead, it’s going to play a GLA-sized EQA crossover as its next hand.

Speaking with Autocar, Schäfer basically said it was a question of market demand. The EQC has already been delayed until at least 2021 for U.S. customers, though we’ve heard talk that its suspension could prove indefinite as the brand reassesses what should — and shouldn’t — be included in its future lineup. “We have to watch customer demand and, at the moment, SUVs and crossovers are the absolute favorites. Those are our first priorities,” Mercedes’ R&D head explained.

It’s only the latest chapter in a complicated story about an industry that’s constantly having to rethink how it handles electric cars.  (Read More…)

By on May 5, 2020

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Ford Motor Company COO Jim Farley has purchased $1 million of stock in the company he works for as a sign of faith that the Blue Oval can and will recover. You might recall Farley from his recent promotion, one resulting from a March management shakeup that forced Ford’s former head of automotive Joe Hinrichs out of the company. That situation ruffled a few feathers, but it’s ancient history now, considering what landed on Ford’s plate later in the month.

The automaker went into the coronavirus pandemic in the midst of a comprehensive and costly restructuring campaign. Government-mandated lockdowns soon stymied the economy, negatively influencing Ford’s share price. Plenty of automakers find themselves in similar situations, creating an impetus to further walk back mobility claims they were all betting on — or, more accurately, getting Wall Street to bet on.  (Read More…)

By on May 1, 2020

On Friday, Ford Motor Co. announced Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr’s daughter would immediately join Rivian’s board of directors. In 2019, the automaker dumped $500 million into the electric vehicle startup with aims to build a new Lincoln product using its “skateboard” platform. That plan was scrapped earlier this week, leaving us wondering what that meant for the partnership.

The Blue Oval has since reaffirmed its commitment to use Rivian’s hardware on another project, and now has this marriage of state (or whatever the more tepid modern equivalent would be) with Mr. Ford’s daughter.

Alexandra Ford English has a fairly brief professional history within the automotive industry. She’s been with Ford since 2017, moving from an MBA intern to working within the automaker’s mobility program. She was made director of autonomous vehicles that same year and was later promoted to director of corporate strategy in February of 2020.  (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2020

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Rivian and Ford Motor Co. are nixing plans to deliver a jointly developed Lincoln EV. Despite Lincoln President Joy Falotico saying the model would deliver one of the most tranquil and luxurious driving experiences on the planet back in January, Lincoln told dealers on Tuesday that development would be scrapped.

Ford invested $500 million in Rivian last year. The collaborative project was intended to deliver a high-end, battery driven vehicle built on the “skateboard” platform underpinning Rivian’s R1T pickup and R1S SUV. Had the project not been taken behind the shed and shot this week, an assumed mid-size Lincoln crossover would have arrived in 2022.

(Read More…)

By on April 17, 2020

While Ford long ago put the kibosh on the Focus RS for this market, Europe planned on eventually bringing the blisteringly hot hatchback back from the grave. Unlike the United States, where the entire Focus line has been discontinued, European and Asian markets press onward with the car’s fourth generation. That model was originally presumed to include the performance-fixated RS variant; however, EU regulations have reportedly made that impossible.

The continent’s new CO2 emission mandates now require automakers to either meet a fleet-wide average of 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre in 2021 or ready their accounts for sizable fines. With everything going on, Ford decided it wasn’t worth the trouble to try and make the model complaint. And yet the Focus RS isn’t some V8-powered monstrosity that’s single-handedly upping fuel prices. It uses the same, modestly sized 2.3-liter turbo found in many Ford products — just tuned for maximum output.  (Read More…)

By on April 16, 2020

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Ford is experimenting with social-distancing wristbands as a way to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus once factories reopen. In recent weeks, the company has tested various preventative measures at facilities where it swapped from building cars to producing ventilators and respirators to supply hospitals amid the health crisis. While much of that effort revolved around good hygiene practices and the addition of sanitizing stations near assembly areas, Ford also experimented with some outside-the-box ideas.

Workers are now required to complete daily health questionnaires about how they feel and who they’ve been in contact with. But that’s just the start. Most automotive manufacturers are trying to establish a framework allowing employees to return to work without risking secondary outbreaks. For Ford, that means testing dozens of options while factories remain shuttered so the most-useful strategy can be implemented as things return to normal.

What counts as “normal” in this not-distant future sounds like it will be very different than what would have qualified before the pandemic.  (Read More…)

By on April 3, 2020

With social distancing measures throwing automotive sales straight into the dumpster, Ford is reportedly getting ready to float some interesting ideas by the U.S. government. It’s vying for a stimulus deal aimed at giving the industry a jump start after the health crisis posed by the novel coronavirus subsides.

One of the models Ford’s pushing is unsettlingly familiar.  (Read More…)

By on April 2, 2020

Despite Ford’s rejiggering of the Mach 1 name for use in the Mustang-inspired Mach-E crossover, the original will not be superseded by the new EV. Based upon leaked dealer VIN decoder guides, it appears the storied pony car trim could be returning for the 2021 model year.

We haven’t seen the Mach 1 since 2004, when it briefly appeared as the high-performance alternative to the Mustang GT. While not as brutal on paper as the SVT Cobra, it was loaded with the best parts the manufacturer could source from other Ford models reliant on the 4.6-liter V8. Having driven both vehicles when they were new, your author can attest to the supercharged snake being the superior performance coupe. Its independent rear suspension was unique within the Mustang lineup at the time, and it offered 390 horsepower against the Mach 1’s naturally aspirated 305 hp — though both vehicles seem to have been underrated by the manufacturer. (Read More…)

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