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…)

By on March 30, 2020

With the United States on pause for the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve been left scratching our heads as to how it might impact the timetable of numerous vehicles slated to debut later this year. Apparently, working remotely isn’t as big a hassle for engineers as one might assume — provided the car is nearing completion. Ford is reportedly continuing development of the all-electric Mustang Mach-E by allowing staff to tweak and test prototypes from their homes.

Ideally, the crossover would be spending more time on factory proving grounds while being fussed over by a full complement of engineers. Yet Ford faces a situation where that’s not possible and doesn’t want it stalling the model’s launch. This is the automaker’s first real attempt at a purpose-built EV and the timing is important. A bad impression could send investors running for the hills; meanwhile, any delay would bring the Mach-E that much closer to obsolescence in the minds of customers.  (Read More…)

By on March 27, 2020

News arose yesterday that General Motors’ and Ford Motor Company’s battle plans rely heavily on SUV and pickup sales, rather than electric vehicles. Details of the corporate strategies, first shared by Reuters, soon circulated through the media, with many outlets upset that the pair seem to have oversold the role electrification will play in their respective lineups through 2026. One wonders how they could possibly be this surprised.

Using data issued to parts suppliers from the two automakers, AutoForecast Solutions predicted North American production of SUV models from GM and Ford will outpace the assembly of traditional cars by more than eight to one in 2026. Roughly 93 percent of those models are expected to be dependent upon gasoline. Meanwhile, Reuters compared the manufacturers’ strategy against Tesla — a company that only exists for the explicit purpose of selling EVs and has never assembled a gas-powered automobile — as if all manufacturers are equal in scope and cater to the same type of customers.  (Read More…)

By on March 26, 2020

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While Ford Motor Co. plans to reopen several factories by early April, it’s not doing much of anything at present. That’s a standard problem among domestic brands with the coronavirus afoot, and two of them — Ford and General Motors — are coming off sizable restructuring efforts that included staffing reductions in the thousands. Additional cutbacks aren’t desirable; not with everyone watching how these companies handle the outbreak.

As it secures extra spending power from credit lines, Ford knows the steep financial cost of having the majority of its workforce stuck at home (to say nothing of its customers) will be steep. A plan is now afoot to keep jobs secure. (Read More…)

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