By on August 14, 2019

With another global recession looming on the horizon, executives at General Motors and Ford are busy touting the merits of being prepared. On Tuesday, the financial heads of both automakers were present at a J.P. Morgan Conference in New York to explain the steps being taking to mitigate economic disaster.

While financial hardship is not yet a guarantee for the United States, the ongoing trade war with China has impacted the cost of doing global business. Likewise, most sizable automotive markets are either underperforming or have surpassed peak growth levels. Depending upon the severity of the anticipated recession, GM claims its “downturn planning” could include postponing non-essential capital expenditures and shifting toward lower-priced automobiles. (Read More…)

By on August 14, 2019

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Ford took some heat after reports emerged that it was well aware of the issues plaguing the PowerShift transmission found in third-gen Focuses and sixth-gen Fiestas. While the automaker has issued numerous recalls on the vehicles in question, the transmission was never officially included. Instead, Ford provided impacted owners with extended warranties on the problematic DSP6 tranny and issued a software update.

Hoping to quell public outrage, the manufacturer said on Wednesday that it will stretch the warranty on certain 2014-16 model year Focus and Fiesta vehicles by two years and 40,000 miles. It also announced that software updates are incoming for customers who found the six-speed dual clutch a nonstop headache. While not quite a recall, it puts Ford on the hook for transmission repairs some customers had to pay for out of pocket.  (Read More…)

By on August 7, 2019

With the American public growing less inclined to visit car dealerships, Ford Motor Company is toying with an interesting solution — setting up shop in your local mall. The concept will be similar to the storefront Jake and Elwood crash through in The Blues Brothers after noticing “the new Oldsmobiles are in early this year.” It’ll be small, limited to a couple of showroom models, and will serve as a satellite for local dealerships.

However, shopping malls aren’t nearly as popular as they were in the 1980s. Back then, people actually left the house to do their shopping. But there’s still hope. Many malls are rebranding themselves as shopping centers and focusing more on experiential services and the kind of goods you wouldn’t want to purchase sight unseen. The rest continue to wither on the vine.  (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2019

Former union vice president Norwood Jewel has become the highest ranking UAW member to be convicted of corruption charges in a federal investigation that has lasted four years and delivered prison sentences for eight people, including Fiat Chrysler’s former labor negotiator, Alphons Iacobelli. You might recall him from to his extravagant spending habits.

The probe amassed evidence showing UAW officials receiving extravagant gifts, private residences, vacations, parties, and even cash furnished by FCA. Bribes, essentially, to help draw union concessions. Investigators looked into claims that high-ranking UAW members received kickbacks after giving business executives contracts to produce union-branded chachkies (shirts, keychains, frisbees, etc) and concerns that union members’ donations to flower funds intended for funeral services were misappropriated by the leadership.

Ford and General Motors are also under the microscope, with both saying they’re in full cooperation with authorities and cannot comment further.  (Read More…)

By on August 1, 2019

Earlier this year, Ford teased a bunch of updates for its 2020 F-Series Super Duty pickups — including the all-new 7.3-liter V8 the automaker planned on offering.

Timed perfectly to coincide with the exact moment we forgot the motor was supposed to be coming, Ford released some specs this week. They don’t look half bad. Designed to be as hardwearing as possible, despite not being a diesel, the Windsor-built V8 will be made broadly available — making its way inside F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis models and the upgraded E-Series van. (Read More…)

By on July 31, 2019

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While mobility has placed the automotive industry in a state of minor limbo, manufacturers achieving a major breakthrough may yet ascend to heaven — financially speaking. Ford has promised to deliver robot-driven taxis within a couple of years and expended quite a bit of cash to get there since acquiring Argo AI in 2017. However its autonomous arm, Ford Smart Mobility, has only encountered mixed success. Progress in terms of self-driving has been incremental, with the company shuttering some of the side businesses that explored alternative revenue streams (e.g. Chariot) and losing millions though its software investments.

Disinterested with failure, Ford partnered with Volkswagen Group earlier this year. As part of the deal, VW agreed to dump another 2.6 billion into Argo in hopes that it would accelerate development. Ford said it would be taking things a step further on Tuesday and announced the acquisition of two more tech companies.  (Read More…)

By on July 23, 2019

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As if preordained to coincide with Ford’s announcement of its electric F-Series prototype, news of a class-action lawsuit accusing the automaker of falsified fuel economy tests surfaced last night. The suit, filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by Seattle law firm Hagens Berman, asks $1.2 billion in damages for customers it claims are overspending on fuel.

The legal action piggybacks on the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Ford’s testing procedures for the 2019 Ford Ranger in April. However, the civil suit also ropes in the F-Series — claiming that customers could spend upwards of two grand in gas they never budgeted for.  (Read More…)

By on July 16, 2019

Ford was teasing a new pickup truck on Tuesday. No, it’s not the Bronco-based one we mentioned earlier in the day. This one is small, really small.

According to Ford’s product communications manager, Mike Levine, more details on this in-development vehicle will emerge later this week. But we already know what it is — an emoji.  (Read More…)

By on July 11, 2019

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Making a mistake while trying to remedy an earlier one is a routine part of the human condition. We’re imperfect creatures and sometimes the easiest solution after a string of foulups is to just sweep something under the rug and hope nobody ever bothers to look there — even though they probably will. Incredibly, this logic can spread to an entire organization and with roughly the same effectiveness.

Earlier this week, Ford issued a safety recall on select Focuses manufactured within the last decade (1.5 million were recalled previously). But not before becoming the subject of a scathing report from the Detroit Free Press claiming the automaker knew the cars had bunk transmissions and did everything in its power to keep that under wraps in order to continue selling them.  (Read More…)

By on June 28, 2019

$73,995 will be the cost of entry for the fastest production Mustang ever made, including destination and the gas-guzzler tax. Fully-optioned, the Shelby GT500 can top $100,000, which also makes it the most expensive production Mustang ever made.

The Mustang6G Forum first published leaked pricing and an order guide for the 2020 Shelby GT500, while Motor Authority has verified the information with Ford. At its base price, the 760-horsepower Shelby GT500 costs comparatively more than either the 797-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye ($73,440) or the 650-hp Camaro ZL1 ($64,695) — though we don’t yet know exactly how the performance will stack up.

The GT500 will likely make up for the power deficit to the Redeye via better handling, even in widebody form ($79,440). Comparing to the Camaro ZL1 with the track-focused 1LE package ($72,195), the Shelby has 110 hp in hand over its historic rival. Even if it takes the $18,500 Carbon Fiber Track Pack and $1,500 Handling Package to do it, this author is expecting the GT500 will set the new benchmark for outright pony car track performance. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2019

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Back in January, Ford provided the preliminary details for its European restructuring plan. The company had been losing money there for years and didn’t want it to be remain a liability as it dumped cash into autonomous research and electric vehicle development. With aims to achieve a 6-percent operating margin within the region, the automaker’s plan to tidy up the business was put into motion.

Thus far, Ford has ceased production at three plants in Russia, cut shifts in Germany and Span (rest in peace, C-Max), and has earmarked additional facilities in France and the United Kingdom for closure. By the end of next year, the automaker expects to have cut 12,000 jobs related to its European operations.  (Read More…)

By on June 21, 2019

Ford is planning on sharing some big, GT-related news for America’s birthday. On Friday, the company said that it would be making “a special Ford GT supercar announcement” during a dedicated press conference at the 2019 Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 4th.

While that’s the correct date, it’s taking place in the wrong country. But we assume Ford has good reason for that. We’re betting this is some performance-plus variant of the model aimed at achieving enviable lap times. As the Goodwood hill climb is all about the beating a stopwatch, perhaps Ford intends on showing the world what its new car can do. (Read More…)

By on June 19, 2019

When Ford unveiled the 2020 Shelby GT500 in January, the automaker claimed it would be the most powerful vehicle it had ever created outside of motorsport applications. With a suggested 0-to-60 time within the 3-second range, we presumed that the Blue Oval would be targeting Dodge’s Hellcat in terms of power and don’t appear to have been far off.

On Wednesday, Ford confirmed that the meanest Mustang’s supercharged V8 will play host to 760 horsepower and 625 lb-ft of torque. The manufacturer is proclaiming it to be the most energy dense supercharged production V8 in the world. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2019

This outlet has frequently made light of Ford’s more imaginative mobility projects, but they’ve spanned the gamut in terms of functionality. While dressing up college students to resemble a car seat in order to test the public’s perception of autonomous vehicles was certainly funny, it also provided some meaningful R&D insight. Meanwhile, Carr-E and the automaker’s lane-keeping bed were little more than comic distractions, outperforming many of today’s hottest stand-up entertainers in terms of laughs per minute.

However, Ford’s latest project deserves to be taken more seriously. It’s both far more useful than what we’ve grown accustomed to and holds far broader implications for society. (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2019

As per its $11 billion investment in electrification, Ford intends to have 40 electrified vehicles — 16 of which will be battery-only — on sale by 2022. That includes the widespread hybridization of trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. As towing has not historically been a great strength of hybrids, the automaker is developing a new transmission system it calls “modular hybrid technology.”

The system, which debuts on the 2020 Explorer, is said to incorporate an electric motor, clutch and torque converter to help vehicles deliver superior fuel economy without sabotaging a vehicle’s ability to haul ass or whatever customers choose to hitch up behind the tailgate.  (Read More…)

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