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    Drew Dowdell

    ...more F-150 Buyers opting for Ecoboost...

    Ford said that it would be cutting a shift from its Essex Engine Plant in Ontario starting in October.  Ford says the move will "better align with consumer demand".  The likely cause? Ford F-150 buyers are shifting more of their purchases away from the 5.0 liter V8.
    F-150 buyers have a choice of 5 engines when selecting a truck, the 2.7-liter Ecoboost, the 3.3-liter V6, the 3.5-liter Ecoboost, and now a 3.0-liter PowerStroke Diesel, all in addition to the 5.0-liter V8, and the customer mix appears to be skewing towards the smaller displacement engines.
    The cut in shifts will not result in job cuts as those workers will be transitioned to another engine plant to build the 7.3-liter engine due to be installed in the 2020 Ford Super Duties. That transition will happen in November of this year. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...$801 million in Earnings...

    Ford reported first quarter operating earnings of $801m, up $160m over the same quarter last year.  The company says that it expects this quarter to be the strongest quarter of the year due to seasonal factors and major product launches later this year.  However, the company says it still expects to finish 2019 better than 2018.
    Outside of North America, Ford is still losing money, but those losses are shrinking.  Ford recently announced a restructuring plan for Europe that included over 6,000 layoffs. 
    Also in the earnings report, Ford revealed that the company is subject to a criminal investigation by the Justice Department due to its emissions certifications. We recently reported that Ford had launched its own internal investigation into its emissions certification process. 
    Ford's stock rose more than 6% in premarket trading. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...no plans for the US...

    Back in January, during the Detroit Auto Show, we found a sign that Ford was preparing a plug-in hybrid Ford Explorer even though it hadn't been officially announced.   A few days ago, Ford did officially unveil it as a Europe only model.
    The Ford Explorer Plug-in looks to be using the same running gear as the Lincoln Aviator GT, a 3.0 liter twin-turbo V6 plus electric motor that produces around 444 horsepower and 620 lb-ft of torque running through its specialized 10-speed transmission. All-wheel drive is standard.  It is able to run for about 25 miles in EV-only mode.
    Under the cargo floor is a 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, slightly smaller than the battery in the now canceled Chevrolet Volt. 
    The plug-in version will only be available on the S-Line and Platinum trim lines. 
    Read more about the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator below.
     
    Ford of Europe Press Release on Page 2
    FORD UNVEILS ALL-NEW EXPLORER PLUG-IN HYBRID SUV WITH 40 KM (25 MILES) ZERO-EMISSION CITY DRIVING RANGE
    All-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid seven-seat sports utility vehicle to go on sale in Europe later this year Electrified powertrain combines 3.0‑litre EcoBoost petrol engine, electric motor and battery for 450 PS, 840 Nm of torque, and 40 km (25 miles) pure-electric city driving range Vehicle is all-new to Europe and features as standard new Reverse Brake Assist as well as Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring Luxurious interior offers 10.1-inch touchscreen for SYNC 3 connectivity and features as standard FordPass Connect modem, B&O Sound System, easy-to-operate flexible seating Versatility, capability and refinement optimised with 10-speed automatic transmission, Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and Terrain Management System with selectable Drive Modes AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, April. 2, 2019 – The all-new Ford Explorer SUV today made its European debut at a special “Go Further” event in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as Ford announced a unique plug-in hybrid version of America’s all-time best selling SUV will go on sale in Europe later this year.
    The all-new Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will be offered in two distinctive, high-specification, left-hand drive variants – the sporty, Ford Performance-inspired Explorer ST-Line and the luxurious Explorer Platinum. Both are powered by a combination of Ford’s 3.0‑litre EcoBoost V6 petrol engine, electric motor and generator to deliver 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque, alongside pure-electric driving capability.
    Standard Ford Intelligent All-Wheel drive technology supported by seven Drive Modes and Ford’s 10-speed automatic transmission optimises performance in scenarios from urban driving to off-road. A refined and confidence-inspiring driving experience is enhanced with sophisticated driver assistance technologies as standard, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring functionalities.
    The exceptionally spacious, luxurious, comfort-focussed interior offers advanced features including a 10.1‑inch central portrait-mounted touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display. Families can get the most from road trips with versatile load and seating configurations and family-friendly innovations such as easy entrance and exit to the third row seats using just one hand.
    “I am very excited about the iconic Ford Explorer coming to Europe. The all-new Explorer comes with unstoppable design and phenomenal specification. The most versatile SUV we have ever offered for customers in the region is able to carry seven adults in comfort, tow a 2,500 kg trailer with ease, and still deliver 40 km (25 miles) zero-emissions city driving range,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales & Service, Ford of Europe. “Technologies like our 10.1-inch touchscreen and Reverse Brake Assist debut in Europe to make the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid supremely rewarding and easy to drive.”
    New from the ground-up the all-new sixth generation Ford Explorer was unveiled for customers in the U.S. earlier this year. First introduced in 1991, Explorer kick-started in the U.S. the rapid growth of the SUV segment that has now become immensely successful worldwide.
    Zero-emission driving
    The all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the energy-efficiency, refinement and performance benefits of an electrified powertrain in many driving scenarios, while maintaining the driving range of a traditional combustion engine. An electric-only urban cycle driving range of 40 km (25 miles) qualifies for tax breaks in some markets.
    Ford’s 350 PS 3.0-litre EcoBoost engine is supported by a 100 PS electric motor. The 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery can be charged using a charging port located on the front left-hand side fender between the door and wheel arch. In addition, the battery is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.
    The electric motor enables the Explorer to deliver zero-emission, pure-electric driving capability, and drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes. When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Explorer automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy for optimised fuel-efficiency. The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid will deliver anticipated 78 g/km CO2 emissions and 3.4 l/100 km fuel efficiency.*
    The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid’s parallel hybrid architecture also enables the full combined power and torque of both petrol engine and electric motor to be deployed simultaneously for enhanced performance on- and off-road, and 2,500 kg towing capability. Ford’s sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission further optimises fuel-efficiency and refinement.
    “The Explorer is a true SUV – designed for families with a real sense of adventure – so it was essential that the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid featured a powertrain that could haul anything from boats to horseboxes,” said Matthias Tonn, Explorer chief programme engineer for Europe. “We specifically chose a parallel hybrid architecture that lets drivers use all 450 PS and 840 Nm of torque. We’ve even added a more advanced version of our Blind Spot Information System, that covers a 10 metre trailer.”
    Advanced Intelligent All-Wheel Drive technology every 10 milliseconds analyses inputs from dozens of sensors, including vehicle speed and yaw, ambient air temperature, wheel slip and towing status to determine whether additional traction is needed. An all-new single speed transfer case featuring an electro-mechanical torque clutch can seamlessly adjust torque delivery between the front and rear wheels within 100 milliseconds for a more secure footing on the road. Like the 10-speed automatic transmission, the system uses adaptive learning algorithms to continually adjust responses for optimised refinement.
    The Terrain Management System uses selectable Drive Modes to enable customers to tailor their drive experience to road, weather and terrain conditions on demand, including Normal, Sport, Trail, Slippery, Tow/Haul, Eco, and Deep Snow and Sand modes – with each Drive Mode featuring a unique graphical display in the 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Hill Descent Control also helps make light work of off-road terrain.
    Stress-free journeys in town and country
    Sophisticated driver assistance technologies contribute to a refined and intuitive driving experience for Explorer Plug-In Hybrid customers, including features designed to make it easier to drive a large vehicle in urban environments.
    Available Active Park Assist 2 enables fully-automated manoeuvres into parallel and perpendicular parking spaces at the push of a button. The system identifies suitable parking spaces and the driver can control vehicle motion by simply selecting neutral and holding down a single centre console-mounted button. The vehicle then fully controls forward and reverse gear selection, throttle and braking, as well as steering to manoeuvre into spaces before engaging park. The technology can also help drivers exit parallel parking spaces using fully automated Park-out Assist.
    Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert warns drivers reversing out of a parking space of vehicles that may soon be crossing behind them, and can apply the brakes to avoid or mitigate the effects of collisions if drivers do not respond to warnings. In addition, Reverse Brake Assist uses radar and ultrasonic sensors to detect an object in the vehicle’s path, and can apply the brakes automatically to avoid an imminent collision when the vehicle is backing up at a low speed – such as when exiting a driveway. Also helping drivers negotiate awkward scenarios, rear-view and front-view cameras with built-in lens cleaners combine with additional cameras mounted beneath the door mirrors to provide a 360-degree view around the vehicle projected on to the central display.
    Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection technology can detect people and cyclists in or near the road ahead, or who may cross the vehicle’s path, and automatically apply the brakes if it detects a potential collision and the driver does not respond to warnings.
    Stop-start traffic, highway driving and long distance road trips are made less stressful using Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring. The technology helps the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid maintain a comfortable driving distance from vehicles ahead and can help keep the vehicle centred in its lane. In addition, the technology can adjust the vehicle speed to within legal limits by monitoring the roadside and overhead gantries for speed signs in addition to using information from the on-board navigation system.
    Stop & Go enables the ACC system to bring the vehicle to a complete halt in stop-start traffic, and automatically pull away if the stopping duration is less than 3 seconds. For stopping durations greater than 3 seconds, the driver can push a steering wheel button or gently apply the accelerator pull away.
    Lane-Centring technology monitors road markings and can apply gentle but discernible torque to the steering system to help drivers stay centred in their lane whenever the ACC system is activated. Designed to support drivers at speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph), the technology will deliver visual and audible warnings if it detects a lack of steering wheel input from the driver.
    Further technologies to help drivers avoid or mitigate the effects of accidents include Ford’s Lane-Keeping System, and Evasive Steering Assist that provides steering support to help avoid a collision. Post-Impact Braking provides braking after a collision to lessen injury and damage caused by a secondary crash event.
    “It’s not about filling the vehicle with technology for technology’s sake,” said Torsten Wey, manager, Driver Assistance and Safety Technology, Ford of Europe. “It’s about improving the experience, making driving less stressful, and helping the driver to feel more confident behind the wheel.”
    Capable and comfortable
    Standing more than 5 metres long, 2 metres wide and almost 2 metres high, the all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid delivers the luxury of space for up to seven occupants in three rows of seats.
    First and second row passengers benefit from more than 1 metre of headroom and legroom, and more than 1.5 metres of shoulder room. Offering 96 centimetres headroom, more than 1 metre of shoulder room and more than 83 centimetres legroom, the third row of seats can also easily accommodate adults in comfort.
    Standard Easy Fold Seats with Power Raise for the third row and Easy Fold Seats for the second row fold flat to create a cargo area that offers 2,274 litres of load space. The interior offers 123 litres of stowage space throughout the cabin, giving passengers in all three rows no shortage of places to stow personal items – alongside no less than 12 cupholders.
    A rotary gear shift dial for the 10-speed automatic transmission; heated and cooled 10-way power adjustable front seats; heated second row seats; wireless charging pad for compatible devices; heated steering wheel; retractable second row sunshades; and second and third row privacy glass are among the comfort enhancing features delivered as standard. Platinum models also feature a 14-speaker, 1000-watt premium B&O Sound System as standard, with a 12-speaker, 800-watt premium B&O Sound System for ST-Line variants.
    FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the Explorer Plug-In Hybrid into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:
    Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their SUV in sprawling shopping mall car parks Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your vehicle Remote Start** The 10.1-inch portrait mounted touchscreen – standard for the Platinum variant – enables navigation maps to fill the entire screen for easy viewing, or split the space with audio information. The screen uses capacitive glass comparable to that used in smartphones and tablets, providing a quicker, more responsive interaction with the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, which also allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands.
    The touch screen shares information with the available 12.3-inch all-digital instrument cluster, configured to support drivers in getting the most from their Explorer Plug-In Hybrid powertrain with dedicated screens including power flow, charging and energy-efficiency coaching. An 8‑inch central touchscreen and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster are standard for the ST-Line variant.
    Stylish, modern design
    A number of consistent design qualities have helped define Explorer during 29 years of success in the U.S., and the design team strived to hold on to these important pieces of heritage when designing the all-new generation. Longtime traits include Explorer’s blacked-out front and rear window pillars. A sporty, stylish appearance is achieved using a sloping roofline and short front overhang.
    The Explorer Plug-In Hybrid comes standard with bold 20-inch alloy wheels with black machined finish for ST-Line models and tarnished dark machined finish for Platinum models.
    ST-Line models feature a gloss black finish one-piece grille, and high gloss black for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also features red accent stitching for seats, floor mats and sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as carbon fibre-effect appliques for the instrument panel.
    Platinum models feature a satin finish one-piece grille, and satin finish for the roof rails tailgate applique and door claddings. The interior also adds real wood appliques for the instrument panel.
    “Massive charisma and unprecedented road presence come as standard with our all-new Explorer Plug-In Hybrid,” Matthias Tonn said. “With distinctive ST-Line and Platinum variants available, customers can find the right option to suit their personality.”
    # # #

    Drew Dowdell

    ...could swell to Dodge Challenger size...

    According to a report in Automobile Magazine, the Ford Mustang could move to the CD6 platform that underpins the 2020 Ford Explorer, but the soonest that would happen is 2026. The CD6 platform also underpins the Lincoln Aviator and will be used in the next generation Ford Edge.
    One of the side effects of moving to the new platform is that the Mustang would become much larger and heavier than the current S550 platform car, possibly up to the length of the Dodge Challenger.  Currently, the Mustang is 188.3 inches long and rides on a 107.1 inch wheelbase, while the Challenger clocks in nearly 10 inches longer at 197.9 inches with a 116.2 inch wheelbase.  The widths of the two cars are pretty much dead on.
    Part of the reason the Challenger is so large is because it is built on the same full-size sedan platform as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Chevy had the same issue with the 5th generation Camaro which was built on a full-size sedan platform shared with the Pontiac G8.  While Ford would be taking that a step further by using an SUV platform, the CD6 architecture is said to be flexible enough to build a 2-door sports coupe upon.
    Sources differ on when this CD6 platform Mustang, code-named S650, will appear, but they range from 2026 to 2029.  So either way it is clear that the current car has a lot of life left in it.   Ford apparently has a major refresh planned that will include all new sheet metal and underbody work. That refresh will also be where the hybrid Mustang appears. There is also the second Ecoboost 4-cylinder coming that we have yet to get details on.  You can read more below. 
    Related:
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...we don't have a name, but now we have a range...

    Ford revealed during a debut event for its European electrified models that the as-yet-unnamed Mustang inspired electrified crossover will have a range of 370 miles when it arrives in 2020, but those are using the WTLP cycle, and the EPA range rating could be lower.  Ford has previously stated they were targeting a range of 300 miles, so a good guess for the EPA range would be somewhere between those two numbers.  Ford has recently trademarked the name "Mach-E" and "Mustang Mach-E". Could this be a name for this new EV crossover? Time will tell. 
    Earlier in 2019, Ford stated that all future vehicle will have an electrified version, something borne out by yesterdays unveiling of the 2020 Ford Escape with two hybrid variants. 
    Ford also teased us with the Puma, a compact crossover set to slot between the Ecosport and Kuga, the Euro version of the Escape.  The Puma uses a 48-volt batter and a belt-alternator-starter system mated to a 1.0 liter 3-cylinder EcoBoost engine. No word yet if the Puma will make it to the U.S., but with pint-sized crossovers selling so well in the U.S., we'd not be surprised to see it here in the near future. (Click image to enlarge)

    Drew Dowdell

    ... heading to Escapeville...

    Ford unveiled the completely redesigned 2020 Ford Escape today ahead of its official showing at the New York Auto Show in two weeks.  Some of the biggest news about the Escape comes under the hood where 4 new powertrains debut. 
    The standard engine will be a 1.5 liter Ecoboost 3-cylinder that can run as a 2 cylinder during light load situations.  The engine is projected to produce 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque when fueled with premium gas. This is the first Ford engine with cylinder deactivation. The engine will be standard issue on S, SE, and SEL level trims. When properly equipped, the 1.5T will tow up to 2,000 lbs. 
    For those wanting more power, the Titanium trim will have a 250 horsepower, 275 lb-ft Ecoboost displacing 2.0 liters and coming standard with AWD. When running 93 octane, Ford says it will propel the Escape to 60 10% faster than the outgoing model. Towing for the 2.0T is maximum rated at 3,500 lbs. Both Ecoboost engines send power to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic.
    For the Eco-minded the hybrid returns to the Escape lineup after a 7 year absence, also joined by a plug-in variant.  The Plug-in uses an all new 2.5 liter 4-cylinder Atkinson cycle hybrid engine paired with a CVT.  The combined output of the hybrid is rated at 198 horsepower and is capable of 85 mph in electric only mode. The hybrid will be available only on the SE Sport and Titanium trim.
    The Plug-in hybrid will be available on SE, SEL, and Titanium trims. It will have an electric only range of 30 miles. Level 1 and Level 2 charging are available. Level 1 110 volt outlet takes 10 to 11 hours for a full charge from empty, switching to level 2 cuts that time to about 3.5 hours. Total system power increases over the standard hybrid to 209 horsepower, but will not be available with All-wheel drive. 
    Both hybrid models feature 4 EV modes that allow the driver to adjust drive settings to the most suitable for conditions and needs.
    Auto EV mode - the vehicle decides whether to run on gasoline or electric power. EV Now Mode - the vehicle operates on all-electric drive. EV Later Mode - the vehicle operates on gasoline power to conserve electric miles for later EV Charge Mode - the vehicle operates on gasoline and recharges the battery for later EV only mode. Helping on the efficiency front, Ford designers made the most aerodynamic Escape ever.  They made a more sloped roofline and strake, an efficient underbody, and an optimized liftgate spoiler. Overall, the 2020 Escape is 200lbs lighter than its predecessor.  The new Escape is longer, lower, and wider than the outgoing model. The two ecoboost engines boast a range of 400 miles per tank, while the standard hybrid with FWD aims for a range of 550 miles. 
    Inside, Ford engineers optimized space to increase headroom and cargo capacity.  With the second row in the fully forward position, the rear cargo area can accommodate 4 golf bags or a full size dog crate. 
    On the safety front, the Escape comes with Ford Co-Pilot 360 standard.  Other technologies like Adaptive Cruise and Lane-Centering are available.  Passengers are entertained via an 8-inch touch screen standard on SE and above. The gauge cluster is a 12.3 inch all digital system that uses 3D animated graphic to indicate drive mode. 
    The 2020 Ford Escape will reach dealers in the fall with the Plug-in Hybrid variant due in Spring 2020. 
    We will have more of the 2020 Ford Escape from the New York Auto Show on April 17th.
     
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ... here are a few teasers to hold you until then.

    Ford is getting ready to introduce a new Escape for the 2020 model year on April 2nd.  The compact crossover is one of Ford's best sellers, moving as many as 308,296 units in 2017.  The growth trend has stalled though and sales dipped to around 272k units last year.  The current generation went on sale in 2013 and was facelifted for 2017, but since then, new editions of the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equiniox, updated Jeep Cherokee, and Toyota RAV-4 have hit the market.
    Ford offered a teaser video via twitter today that gives some hints as to what to expect from the 2020 Escape. 


    The 2020 VIN decoder shows that the current 2.5 liter 4-cylinder will not be making a return, instead replaced with the 1.5T that will carry over.  The 2.0T also remains as an upgrade.  Hybrid fans can rejoice because after a 7 year absence a hybrid will be returning to the lineup and will also be joined by a Plug-In Hybrid option like the Lincoln Corsair.  No word yet on the range of the PHEV.
    We'll hear the whole story about the Ford Escape on April 2nd. 
     


    Drew Dowdell

    .... more cuts for Ford.

    Ford will exit Russia's passenger car market and focus solely on the light commercial vehicle market says a report from Bloomberg.  Alligned with those moves, Ford will cease production in the country at two vehicle assembly plants.  Those plants will close by the end of June 2019.  Ford produces the Focus, Mondeo, Fiesta, and Ecosport in Russia.
    These cuts will cause significant job losses for Russia.  This move comes after Ford announced as many as 6,000 job cuts in Germany and the UK  and cut jobs at a transmission factory in France. 
    Honda, Nissan, and BMW have all recently announced cuts or closures in European operations.
    Related:
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...sales have surged 35%

    Ford is adding 550 workers to their Kentucky plant that builds the Navigator and Expedition in order to meet surging retail demand for the big SUVs.  Retail sales were up 35% which has netted Ford a 5.6% gain in market-share for the Expedition.  The Navigator is doing even better with a 70% increase in sales. 
    Ford has already increased line speed and split some jobs to multiple people in an attempt to increase  production. Vehicle production will be increased after the July shutdown. 
    Along with the increase in production, Ford will be starting an advertising campaign focusing on the size and spaciousness of the Expedition.  
    Ford increasing job and production in the US stands in sharp contrast to the steep cuts of over 6,000 jobs Ford announced for Europe. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...trying to pull EU operations back to profitability

    Ford's operations in Europe books a 351€ billion loss for 2018 in contrast to a 324€ billion profit the year prior.  Already in the midst of a major restructuring, Ford has now announced job cuts in Germany and the UK.
    Ford employs roughly 24,000 people in Germany with expectations to lower that by 5,000 to 19,000 total. Most of the cuts are expected to come from voluntary redundancies and early retirement.   Ford aims to make the cuts "in the most socially responsible way possible."
    In addition to the German job loses, another 1,150 employees will lose their positions in the UK. 
    Ford has already shuttered an assembly plant in France and cut its vehicle lineup. 
    Ford's moves follow that of Honda which is closing its plant in Swindon, Nissan which is reducing output in Sunderland, Infiniti leaving Western Europe and Volkswagen laying off 7,000 workers.

    dfelt

    Obscure Legal question could decide the fate of Ford's small vans in America.

    In the latest round of Trade War rhetoric is a question that has ended up in the courts, when is a passenger van really a cargo van and does this tariff engineering really justify getting around the 25% chicken tax?
    In response to President Donald Trump's tariff war, automakers are find interesting ways to play the grey area of the legal system. According to BNN Bloomberg and Bloomberg news, trade attorneys are closely watching the Ford Motor Co. legal case play out in federal court. This case deals with the importation of passenger vans that are then stripped down once they clear customs and sold as cargo vans. The difference here is that Ford pays 2.5% import duty on passenger vans versus te 25% import duty on light trucks / cargo vans. This challenge against Ford brought by U.S. Customs is challenging the practice of tariff engineering. The art of building a product one way, then changing it once cleared by customs for another use. With all the increased tariffs imposed by the Trump administration this could have critical impact on a region that many automakers have used to bring in a profitable product for market needs. 
    According to the news stories, a ruling by the Court of International Trade ruled in Ford's favor in 2017 but is being challenged by the administration in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Regardless if the U.S. and China come to terms for a new trade agreement, there are no promises that the in place tariffs would be repealed. Ford's argument is that tariff engineering is a legitimate maneuvers for firms exploring ways to mitigate duties by project reclassification, shifting production to other countries which changes the origins of product assembly.
    Trade lawyers across the country say this case will help establish legal guidelines for tariff engineering. To quote the story from BNN Bloomberg: 
    The U.S. Court of International Trade has stated that under the well-established customs law, manufacturers can intentionally make a product that can avoid higher tariffs with simple changes. What cannot be done is situations such as hiding a higher quality product in a lower quality product like high grade tobacco inside a case of lower grade tobacco. This case has come down to the wording on the import paperwork of "principally designed for the transport of persons". The current administration says this is a scheme for avoiding taxes and local jobs. Ford argues that the goods must be classified in their condition as imported, regardless of later alterations and ended use by consumers.
    Appeals court is expected to rule in the coming weeks.

    Drew Dowdell

    Two new engines, a new transmission, and All-Wheel drive

    Ford released their new 2020 Ford Transit yesterday at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. 
    While it has been updated alll over, the biggest changes are mechanical.  The biggest news is around the new all-wheel drive system. Ford designed the Transit's AWD to not raise the load floor or seat height, making the AWD model as easy as the RWD model for entry, exit, and loading.  The AWD system can send 100% of the torque to the front wheels when needed in low traction situations.  All-wheel drive will only be available on gasoline engine equipped Transits.
    Under the short hood is a choice of an all-new gasoline V6 which replaces the 3.7 liter, an all new 2.0 liter bi-turbo 4-cylinder diesel which replaces the 3.2 diesel, and a carryover 3.5 liter Ecoboost gasoline V6, now with start/stop.  Both of the gasoline engines can be ordered with heavy duty alternators to help run add-on equipment.  No matter which engine is chosen, power is shifted through a 10-speed automatic.
    All new 2020 Transits get standard driver-assist features like automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, post-collision braking, lane-keeping system, and auto high-beam headlamps.  Passenger XLT versions are equipped with those features plus Ford's Co-Pilot360 which includes blind-spot information system, cross-traffic alert, and side and rear sensing system. 
    The 2020 Ford Transit will hit dealers Fall of 2019.
    Ford Press Release on Page 2


    A MOM, A HIKER AND A DELIVERYMAN WALK INTO A SHOWROOM; EACH DRIVES OUT IN A NEW 2020 FORD TRANSIT
    New features for best-selling Ford Transit family include available all-wheel drive for improved traction; 2020 Transit also sees two all-new engines and new 10-speed automatic transmission New driver-assist features – including standard Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking and available Ford Co-Pilot360™ technologies – help improve on-road confidence, uptime and productivity for customers Standard FordPass Connect™ modem with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and connectivity for up to 10 devices helps drivers stay in touch with their vehicle, business and customers INDIANAPOLIS, March 5, 2019 – Proving once again that the best never rest, Ford – America’s van leader for 40 years – improves its best-selling Transit family with smart new technology, advanced driver-assist features and enhanced capability for a wide range of customers whether they use their vans to carry kids, seek out adventures or deliver cargo.
    “When we introduced Transit five years ago, it immediately became America’s go-to full-size van for fleets, small businesses and large families,” said Mark Buzzell, Ford director, fleet, lease and remarketing operations. “We listened to our commercial and family customers and updated Transit with useful amenities like standard Wi-Fi so kids or crew can stay connected, and helpful driver-assist features like available adaptive cruise control to take the stress out of traffic.”
    Upgrades include an available all-wheel-drive system, all-new 2.0-liter EcoBlue® bi-turbo I4 diesel, all-new 3.5-liter PFDi V6 gasoline engine with port fuel and direct injection and new 10-speed automatic transmission, plus new interiors and seating options.
    The 2020 Ford Transit offers the most vehicle configurations in its class to help customers specify just the right van for any job. In addition to cargo van, passenger van, chassis cab and cutaway, a new crew van joins the lineup. It can carry five people in two rows of seating with side curtain airbags. Tailored for owners who need to move larger crews plus gear to a job site, the crew van is an enhancement to the 2020 Ford Transit family based on customer feedback.
    A more capable Transit
    Because work doesn’t stop when the weather gets bad, Transit offers an intelligent all-wheel-drive system that’s always on to provide enhanced traction on icy, snowy or muddy roads.
    “We integrated Transit’s new all-wheel-drive system into the vehicle design early on to ensure it does not raise the load floor or seat height, making this van configuration as easy to enter and exit as the standard rear-wheel-drive model,” said Ray Eyles, Ford Transit chief program engineer. “This is a significant benefit for commercial drivers who are in and out of their vehicles dozens of times a day, as well as for shuttle bus passengers and families.”
    In normal mode, this all-wheel-drive system continuously monitors and optimizes torque output with the capability of sending up to 100 percent of available torque to the front wheels to help prevent slipping on loose surfaces. Using the vehicle’s selectable drive modes, the driver can engage mud and ruts or slippery modes at any speed to help increase the all-wheel-drive system’s capability for traveling in challenging conditions. All-wheel drive is available with gasoline powertrains.
    With 2020 Transit chassis cab and cutaway models, customers can also carry more, as the maximum GVWR increases from 10,360 pounds to 11,000 pounds.
    New and improved powertrains are designed to meet a wide range of customer needs including advances in fuel efficiency. The all-new 3.5-liter PFDi V6 is the new standard gasoline engine. It features port fuel and direct injection for improved efficiency versus the outgoing 3.7-liter engine. An available all-new 2.0-liter EcoBlue® bi-turbo I4 diesel engine is more fuel-efficient and offers more power and torque than the outgoing 3.2-liter diesel engine. It is equipped with Auto Start-Stop and is quieter than its predecessor. Customers can also choose the proven 3.5-liter EcoBoost® gas engine, which now includes Auto Start-Stop Technology, as well. Both gas engines can be ordered with dual 250-amp alternators to provide a robust power supply for upfit equipment.
    All engines are paired with Ford’s proven 10-speed automatic transmission, which offers a wide span of gear ratios, off-the-line performance and low engine speeds while highway cruising – all designed to contribute to improved fuel efficiency for model year 2020.
    Nicely equipped, Transit is easy to drive
    Ford adds new driver-assist features to an already well-equipped van to create the smartest Transit ever. These features can decrease the likelihood of an accident and improve uptime.
    New driver-assist features standard on every 2020 Transit cargo van, crew van, passenger van, cutaway and chassis cab include Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking and Pedestrian Detection, forward collision warning, post-collision braking, Lane-Keeping System and auto high-beam headlamps.
    Transit passenger van XLT is equipped with Ford Co-Pilot360™, which includes the features listed above plus Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage and cross-traffic alert. A new side sensing system joins the existing reverse sensing system as standard on XLT.
    Available enhanced active park assist can simplify maneuvering into parallel or reverse perpendicular parking spots. With the touch of a button, it provides prompts to the driver to manage gear selection, accelerator and braking, while Transit automatically steers itself into place. Enhanced active park assist includes park-out assist, which automatically steers the van out of a space while the driver controls the gear shifter, accelerator and brakes, making for less stress.
    Other new driver-assist features available include adaptive cruise control, front and rear split-view camera and adjustable speed limiting device.
    Smart and connected Transit is incredibly useful and fun
    The ability to stay in touch comes standard with the new Transit with an embedded FordPass Connect™ modem with 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and connectivity for up to 10 devices – fun for families and incredibly useful for commercial customers who use their van as mobile office or workshop. USB outlets in every row of the passenger van can even mitigate family squabbles.
    Fleets can further enhance efficiency by choosing available new Ford Telematics™ and Ford Data Services™, which put an array of tools at the disposal of fleet managers. Fleet managers can optimize their business with easy-to-use features like detailed live map GPS tracking with order-to-delivery status, geofencing with alerts and key performance indicators. Fuel waste reporting helps identify ways to save costs, while Ford Telematics suggests coaching opportunities to increase efficiency, reduce waste and reveal concerns like seatbelt use or speed compliance. Managers can receive proactive maintenance notifications and vehicle health alerts, enabling them to schedule service, plan ahead and maximize uptime.
    Other technology updates include a center stack that can be optioned two different ways – either with a standard 4-inch full-color multifunction display or 8-inch slim-line touch screen display, each with the latest in SYNC® 3 plus Android Auto™ or Apple CarPlay™ compatibility. A 4.2-inch productivity screen in the cluster provides vehicle information and phone call status. AppLink for SYNC allows customers to control select apps on the touch screen without plugging in their Android or iOS device.
    Form follows function
    Exterior updates for Transit are subtle but functionally driven. A new power sliding door is available for cargo van and passenger van to make getting loaded up as well as exiting the vehicle easier. Premium high-intensity discharge headlamps with signature LED surround are available. Three grilles will adorn different models in van, chassis cab and cutaway configurations – a three-bar design with black or chrome bars and an open mesh design for maximum cooling. Vans equipped with the powerful 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine get a larger grille for maximum cooling.
    Transit has a new interior with a modern dashboard and features designed to improve comfort and practicality, such as durable new fabrics on the seating surfaces, plus myriad cupholders and compartments for storing gear and gadgets. Grab handles are improved, vents are updated to better direct heated and cooled air, and overall ergonomics are enhanced to make using everything a bit easier. Optional swivel front seats are available for the first time in response to recreational vehicle customer requests.
    The upgraded 2020 Ford Transit will ship this fall to Ford’s nationwide network of 3,000 dealers, including more than 675 dedicated Commercial Vehicle Center locations.

    Drew Dowdell

    End of the line for a pioneering nameplate

    Over 8 Million Ford Taurus cars have been built over the years as U.S. Taurus production came to a close yesterday in Chicago.   The Taurus was first introduced at the 1985 Los Angeles Auto Show. The original Taurus changed the design landscape for family cars in the U.S. from a traditional boxy shape to a very rounded aerodynamic one. Offered in sedan and wagon variants, the popular model became the best selling car in America by 1992.  In 1989, the SHO was introduced, a 220 horsepower V6 engine provided by Yamaha.  There was a two-year pause from 2006 to 2008 when the model was called the Ford Five Hundred. 
    While the Taurus is ending in the U.S. an unrelated Taurus continues production in China.  The Chinese Taurus was introduced in 2016 and is based on an extended Ford Fusion platform. 
    Though production of the Taurus has ended in Chicago, Ford is investing $1 billion to expand their Chicago Assembly Plant and Chicago Stamping plant to get ready for the 2020 Ford Explorer , Ford Police Interceptor, and Lincoln Aviator.  Ford is replacing or updating 75% of its U.S. lineup by the end of 2020.






    Drew Dowdell

    Hires an outside firm to investigate.

    Ford is launching an investigation into its own emissions and fuel economy certification process according to a statement released by the company.  The issue was brought to light back in September when a number of employees reported concerns through Ford's internal Speak Up channel.
    The concern surrounds Road Load, a vehicle-specific resistance level used in dynamometer testing. Too much or too little resistance will alter the results of the emissions and fuel economy. Road load is determined through engineering estimates that are then validated on the track.  Ford is evaluating changes to the road load determination process.
    The company is quick to point out that none of the potential concerns involve the use of defeat devices and that no determination has been made on the need to restate Ford's fuel economy or emissions labels. 
    Ford has hired an outside firm to conduct an investigation into Ford's current processes and has shared their findings with both the EPA and CARB.
    The first vehicle to be re-evaluated is the 2019 Ford Ranger with others to follow.

    Drew Dowdell

    A hotter hatch for everyone except the U.S. 

    When Ford decided to pull the plug in the U.S. on all of its cars except the Mustang, it meant that the U.S. will miss out on a lot of the goodness that European markets get from the Blue Oval.  Today, more evidence of that was released in the form the the updated Ford Focus ST.
    The 2019 Focus ST gains a 2.3-liter turbo 4-cylinder, replacing the 2.0T previously offered. This motor is the same basic unit found in the Focus RS and Mustang.  The motor bumps power up to 276 HP and 310 lb-ft of torque, an increase of 24 hp and 40 lb-ft of torque over the previous car. Running from 0-62 mph (100 kph) takes under 6 seconds. 
    Diesel buyers can opt for a 2.0T diesel Focus ST rated for 187 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.
    Drivers can choose between a 6-speed manual or an additional cost 7-speed automatic.  Power is sent solely to the front wheels through an electronic limited-slip differential.  Selectable drive modes are available with Normal, Sport, and Slippery-Wet. For manual drivers, there is a Performance pack which includes an additional Track mode plus launch control system, red brake calipers, and rev-matching. 
    The Ford Focus ST will be available in hatch or wagon version and goes on sale this summer.
    See page 2 for the full Ford Press Release







    All-New Ford Focus ST Blends Track-Day Performance, B-road Fun and Everyday Usability Without Compromise
    Ford Performance-developed all-new Focus ST enhanced with advanced sports technologies will go on sale in the summer in five-door and wagon body styles Powerful, free-revving powertrains include 280 PS, 420 Nm, 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol with twin-scroll turbo and anti-lag; 190 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel with 400 Nm from 2,000 rpm First Ford front-wheel drive electronic limited-slip differential improves traction and stability. Rev-matching offered for short-shift six-speed manual gearbox. Seven-speed auto available Selectable Drive Modes a first for Focus ST, adjusting features including Electronic Brake Booster and fastest Ford electric power-assisted steering to match performance to scenario Comfort and driving experience optimised with Recaro sports seats and advanced independent rear suspension configuration with available Continuously Controlled Damping COLOGNE, Germany, Feb. 18, 2019 – Ford today revealed the all-new Focus ST – developed by Ford Performance to deliver nimble hot-hatchback thrills in a stylish, comfortable and practical family car.
    The all-new Focus ST builds on the class-leading driving dynamics of the fourth generation Focus in five-door and wagon body styles. Ford’s new C2 architecture is enhanced with unique suspension, braking and powertrain configurations for the most responsive and agile Focus ST driving experience ever – on road and track.
    A new engine line-up makes available to drivers up to 12 per cent more power and 17 per cent more torque compared with the previous generation Focus ST. Ford’s 280 PS 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol and 190 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engines* both deliver a broad spread of power and torque across the rev-range, for fast-revving sports performance.
    Ford’s first application of an electronic limited-slip differential (eLSD) for a front-wheel drive vehicle further enhances as standard the cornering and stability of the EcoBoost-powered variant – sharpening responses to changing grip levels and driver inputs using computer-controlled pre-emptive actuation.
    A choice of six-speed manual or quick-shifting new seven-speed automatic transmissions is offered, and Selectable Drive Modes technology is introduced to the Focus ST for the first time, enabling drivers to adjust the vehicle’s character to suit the driving scenario. Continuously Controlled Damping (CCD) – standard for five-door EcoBoost variants – enhances the short long arm (SLA) independent rear suspension configuration for ultimate refinement.
    “Intelligent technologies like eLSD and CCD make our all-new Focus ST the most ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ yet, able to switch from refined tourer to focussed performance car at the push of a button,” said Leo Roeks, Ford Performance director, Europe. “We’ve incorporated learnings from programmes including our Ford GT supercar and the acclaimed Focus RS to develop a mid-size performance car with a degree of flexibility that’s unique in its segment.”
    The all-new Focus ST will be manufactured with best-ever craftsmanship and quality following a €600 million investment at Ford’s Saarlouis assembly facility, Germany.
    Responsive power delivery
    A new generation of Ford’s 2.3-litre EcoBoost all-aluminium engine is the most powerful ever offered for a Focus ST. Using advanced turbocharging technology to deliver 280 PS power at 5,500 rpm and 420 Nm of torque from 3,000 rpm to 4,000 rpm, it is also the most free-revving Focus ST engine ever, and supports anticipated 0‑100 km/h (0-62 mph) acceleration in less than 6 seconds.
    Engine response is enhanced using a low-inertia twin-scroll turbocharger, which scavenges exhaust gas energy more effectively using separated channels to minimise interference between gas pulses. An electronically actuated waste-gate allows closer control of boost pressures for optimised engine performance. In addition, a unique exhaust system that reduces back pressure, bespoke air intake system and optimised intercooler further improve breathing.
    Innovative anti-lag technology developed for the Ford GT supercar and F-150 Raptor pick-up is introduced to the Focus ST, for immediate power delivery in Sport and Track Drive Modes. Anti‑lag keeps the throttle open when the driver lifts off the accelerator pedal, alleviating the reversal of air flow from the turbocharger to maintain compressor wheel speed and enabling boost pressure to build faster on demand.
    Ford’s 190 PS 2.0-litre EcoBlue is the most powerful diesel engine ever offered for a Ford Focus model, delivering peak power at 3,500 rpm and 400 Nm of torque between 2,000 rpm and 3,000 rpm – and 360 Nm from 1,500 rpm – for immediate and linear acceleration.
    A low-inertia variable geometry turbocharger; steel pistons for less expansion when hot; and an integrated intake system with innovative mirror-image porting for optimised combustion help to deliver a diesel powertrain that produces 10 per cent more power and more than twice as much torque as the 2.0‑litre Duratec ST petrol engine in the first generation Focus ST.
    The Focus ST’s six-speed manual transmission enables more urgent gear-changes and provides a sportier feel with a shift-throw reduction of 7 per cent compared with the standard all-new Focus. Ford’s new rev-matching technology that debuted on the new Ford Mustang is also introduced as part of an optional Performance Pack for 2.3-litre EcoBoost manual models.
    Delivering smoother, faster downshifts, the technology is accompanied by a shift indicator light, and uses the engine’s electronic control system to briefly “blip” the throttle as the driver engages a lower gear – matching the engine rotation speed to that of the gear that is being selected.
    Rev-matching enables less-experienced performance drivers to benefit from the seamless, momentum-maintaining gearshifts delivered by the “heel-and-toe” driving technique, while also enabling experienced performance drivers to deactivate the system if they prefer.
    A new seven-speed variant of Ford’s latest intelligent automatic transmission family complements the rewarding, engaging and sporty 2.3-litre EcoBoost driving experience. Gear differentiation is optimised for performance, and Adaptive Shift Scheduling – which assesses individual driving styles to optimise gearshift timings – is enhanced to offer more flexibility and the ability to differentiate between road and track use. Drivers can select gears manually using steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters.
    “The EcoBoost petrol and EcoBlue diesel powertrains have unique characters, but are equally charismatic,” Roeks said. “The Focus ST’s sporty ‘pops and bangs’ soundtrack perfectly matches the car’s feisty performance and is an essential part of the ST experience.” 
    Intuitive dynamics enhanced with technology
    Building on accomplished Ford Focus driving dynamics, the new Focus ST was developed to blend B-road fun-to-drive, legitimate track-day performance, and everyday usability better than any vehicle in its class.
    The SLA suspension configuration helps optimise the vehicle’s responses to driver inputs without sacrificing comfort, and includes a unique geometry for wagon models that repositions the dampers helping the vehicle remain nimble and responsive even when fully loaded. The agile and energetic character of the standard Focus is retained using the original spring specifications, with damping stiffness increased up to 20 per cent at the front and 13 per cent at the rear, and ride height reduced by 10 mm, to improve road-holding and response in performance driving scenarios.
    Ford’s sophisticated CCD technology every 2 milliseconds monitors suspension, body, steering and braking inputs to adjust damping responses for outstanding ride quality and driving dynamics.
    The driving experience is further enhanced using eLSD technology for Focus ST 2.3 litre EcoBoost models. Incorporated into the transmission, the system uses hydraulically activated clutches to limit the engine torque delivered to a wheel that has reduced traction on the road surface, and redistributes up to 100 per cent of available torque to the wheel with more traction to counteract wheelspin that can hamper acceleration through, and out of, corners.
    The Borg Warner-developed technology is faster to deploy and offers greater precision than a traditional mechanical LSD. The system can pre-emptively adjust torque distribution using inputs from powertrain and vehicle dynamics sensors, rather than responding to wheelspin as it occurs, and can apply differential locking gradually for fine-tuning performance.
    Focus ST 2.0-litre EcoBlue models feature Torque Vectoring Control technology, which improves road holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering.
    The all-new Focus ST steals Ford’s fastest-steering-response crown from the acclaimed Fiesta ST. The electric power-assisted steering (EPAS) system is 15 per cent faster than the standard Focus, requiring just two turns lock-to-lock.
    Class-leading connected feel is supported by unique steering knuckle geometry, with a rod attachment point 9 mm further forward and 6.5 mm higher than the standard Focus for sharper responses. New Steering Torque Disturbance Reduction software for EPAS also helps reduce torque steer, making it even easier to deploy with precision the Focus ST’s power and torque via bespoke-specification Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.
    Larger front and rear brake components provide the foundation for a high performance braking system with improved stopping power and fade resistance. Front disc dimensions have grown to 330 mm x 27 mm and feature dual-piston callipers. Rear discs now measure 302 mm x 11 mm. Focus ST braking performance was verified using the same demanding test procedures as the Ford GT supercar, and achieved almost four-times the fade resistance performance of the previous generation Focus ST in testing.
    The C2 architecture’s Electric Brake Booster (EBB) further demonstrates its advantages in the Focus ST application. The technology builds brake pressure faster than a hydraulic system for a more connected, confident and consistent pedal feel across a broader range of operating conditions. For the Focus ST, this means the system can both mitigate for changes in braking behaviour experienced during high performance driving, and can adjust the braking feel and dynamics to match the selected Drive Mode.
    In addition, Slippery/Wet, Normal, Sport and – for models equipped with the Performance Pack – Track Drive Modes adjust eLSD, CCD, EPAS, throttle mapping, automatic transmission shift scheduling, electronic stability control, electronic sound enhancement (ESE) and climate settings to suit the driving scenario. A dedicated “Sport” button on the flat-bottomed steering wheel gives direct access to Sport mode, and an additional “Mode” button allows drivers to quickly scroll through the Drive Mode options.
    “Selecting Track mode instantly makes braking response more direct and edgy; introduces higher steering efforts for more feedback; tunes the throttle to be more aggressive; instructs the eLSD to deliver maximum traction; and gives drivers more leeway within the ESC system,” said David Put, Ford Performance vehicle dynamics. “Drivers can have full confidence in the Focus ST’s ability to deliver on the track.”
    The traditional Focus ST gauge cluster benefits from a contemporary execution inspired by the Ford GT supercar. Digital turbocharger boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature gauges are now displayed in a bespoke Ford Performance screen on the 4.2-inch, TFT colour instrument display. Launch Control for consistently fast standing starts on track is also delivered via the Performance Pack for 2.3-litre EcoBoost models.
    Developed for form and function
    Developed to be as comfortable as it is fun-to-drive, the all-new Focus ST exploits the class-leading roominess and exceptional refinement of the standard Focus range, and features an upscale interior that balances everyday practicality and a true sporty driving experience.
    Ford Performance engineers fine-tuned the positioning of supportive Recaro front seats to complement the connected and in-control feel for the driver, while ESE technology amplifies genuine engine and exhaust noise in Sport and Track modes – heightening the sports driving sensation and delivering additional feedback to assist performance drivers.
    Tuned engine mounts and an isolated subframe – alongside available CCD technology – increase refinement for all occupants. Generous front shoulder room and best-in-class rear knee clearance combine with maximum 1,653-litre wagon luggage capacity and a boot space that can comfortably accommodate a large dog crate, for maximum comfort and practicality.
    In addition to the sports steering wheel and Ebony coloured Recaro seats with a choice of high-quality cloth, leather, or partial leather and Miko Dinamica materials, the unique Focus ST interior intensifies the sporty atmosphere with an ST-embossed aluminium gear knob and scuff plates; alloy pedals; metallic hexagonal and satin silver decorative elements; and metal grey stitching for the seats, door inserts and centre console soft side pads.
    The Focus ST builds on the premium, sporting Focus silhouette with subtle, functional styling changes and unique alloy wheel designs. Revised upper and lower front grille designs are optimised for increased cooling capability, and bold signature lower wing elements channel air in to the air-curtain inlets for improved aerodynamic performance.
    A larger, more steeply angled rear roof spoiler increases downforce to support the Focus ST’s driving dynamics. A twin exit tailpipe configuration borders the aggressively styled rear diffuser element, and improves practicality by delivering the towing capability that was prevented by the centre-exit tailpipes of the previous generation Focus ST. The Performance Pack also adds red brake callipers.
    Exterior colour options chosen to emphasise the Focus ST’s dynamic styling include exclusive Ford Performance Blue and Orange Fury, alongside Frozen White, Magnetic grey, Race Red, Ruby Red and Shadow Black. Bold alloy wheel options include 18-inch Dark Sparkle and Magnetite designs, with a 19-inch wheel also offered in Magnetite.
    The Focus ST also benefits from the comprehensive range of sophisticated Ford driver assistance technologies that have helped the all-new Focus win 13 awards and a 5-star safety rating since going on sale in 2018.
    Seamlessly integrated technologies that enable an intuitive, stress-reducing and refined driving experience include:
    Adaptive Cruise Control now enhanced with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition and Lane-Centring for effortlessly negotiating stop-start traffic Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System with new camera-based predictive curve light and sign-based light that pre-adjust headlamp patterns for improved visibility by monitoring bends in the road and – for the first time in the industry – road signs Active Park Assist 2 that operates gear selection, acceleration and braking in addition to steering, to enable fully-automated manoeuvres at the push of a button Ford’s first Head-up display to be offered in Europe, helping drivers focus their attention on the road ahead Evasive Steering Assist, a segment-first technology that helps drivers steer around stopped or slower vehicles to help avoid collisions Ford’s SYNC 3 connectivity system allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands supported by an 8-inch colour touchscreen. The system provides Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ compatibility free of charge, and available FordPass Connect embedded modem technology turns the vehicle into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices
    “Our target was to deliver an all-new Focus ST that is as effortless to drive day-to-day as the rest of the Focus line-up,” Roeks said. “The model’s comprehensive range of technologies means customers gain exhilarating ST performance without sacrifice.”
    The all-new Focus ST will go on sale across Europe in summer 2019.

    Drew Dowdell

    A VIN decoder document gives it away.

    The folks over at Hagerty found something interesting on the NHTSA website the other day, a VIN decoder ring that shows a second 2.3 liter 4-cylinder turbo with a horsepower rating of TBD.   Ford dropped the V6 in the base Mustang after 2018 deciding the Turbo-4 was enough, but crosstown rival Chevy kept their V6 going alongside their 275 horsepower 2.0T.  While Ford's 2.3T beats the Chevy Turbo in power, it comes up short against Chevy's V6.  With this finding, it looks like Ford is going try to rectify the deficit.
    Given that a similar 2.3T is good for 350 hp in the Focus RS, Ford should be able to easily surpass the 335 horsepower the Camaro V6 produces.  A statement from a Ford representative declined to give details but said that we would have exciting news about Mustang in Spring 2019.
     

    William Maley

    Deals with the shifter interlock

    The Ford Ranger is beginning to hit dealers, but it has already been hit with a recall.
    Ford announced today that 3,500 Rangers in North America (3,000 in the U.S. and 500 in Canada) have an issue with the PRNDL bezel wiring, The problem deals with the wiring interfering with the shifter interlock override, preventing the transmission from locking when put into park. This means you can shift it out of park when the vehicle is off and without a foot on the brake.
    Ford says that it is unaware of any accidents or injuries arising from this issue. The trucks involved were built between June 4, 2018 and Jan. 9, 2019.
    Dealers will investigate whether or not the truck does shift out of park when it is turned off, and without a foot on the brake. If it does, then dealers will relocate the harness and perform the test.
    Source: Ford


    Ford Motor Company Issues Recall For Select 2019 Ranger Vehicles To Verify Shifter Interlock Functionality
    DEARBORN, Mich., Feb. 6, 2019 – Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall on certain 2019 Ford Ranger vehicles to verify shifter interlock functionality. In the affected vehicles, the PRNDL bezel wiring may interfere with the shifter interlock override, preventing the shifter from locking in the park position and allowing the driver to shift the transmission out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal.
    Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries resulting from this condition.
    This action affects approximately 3,500 Ranger vehicles in North America, including approximately 3,000 in the United States and 500 in Canada. 
    Affected 2019 Ranger vehicles were built at Michigan Assembly Plant, June 4, 2018 to Jan. 9, 2019.
    Dealers will verify shifter interlock functionality by attempting to move the transmission shifter out of park with the vehicle off and without a foot on the brake pedal. If the shifter moves out of park, dealers will look for wiring interference, relocate the wiring and retest. The Ford reference number for this recall is 19C02.

    William Maley

    Farley makes some comments about it

    That rumor about Ford introducing a smaller truck below the Ranger from last summer? It seems we have gotten some confirmation on that.
    Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets confirmed the plans during the Deutsche Bank Global Auto Industry Conference in Detroit - the same place where he dropped the F-150 electric bombshell.
    Ford is "investing in more affordable versions of our truck business" and that "you can expect new nameplates below where we compete today," Farley said at the conference. No timeframe was given. Interestingly, a Ford spokesman said “we’ll have more details to share about new nameplates in the future.” Usually, they go with the boilerplate answer of 'no comment."
    Last July, Automobile magazine reported Ford was working on a replacement for the Brazilian market Courier subcompact pickup truck. The new model would switch from the Fiesta to the Focus platform. Apparently, this project has caught the eye of Ford's U.S. office and there is talk about bringing here by 2022.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    Drew Dowdell

    If you look at the signs....

    Ford released details on the Ford Explorer Hybrid at the Detroit Auto Show this week, but a Plug-in Hybrid wasn't mentioned.  Curiously, at the Ford stand, the sign next to the hybrid version of the Explorer mentioned it as a Plug-In.  One of the engineers standing nearby told me this was a misprint, but that is a pretty serious misprint to make and then actually put on the show floor.
    We do know that the Explorer platform is capable of being a plug-in hybrid as its stable mate over at Lincoln, the Lincoln Aviator is getting a plug-in hybrid in its GT form. 
    Is it likely that Ford is holding back on announcing the Ford Explorer Plug-In Hybrid just so that the Lincoln Aviator can get some traction with its version first?  Sound off below.

    William Maley

    Going to be some time before we see it

    Ford isn't shy about making its ambitious plans on electrifying their lineup known to the world. But the automaker had decided to raise the stakes with plans to build an all-electric F-150.
    “We’re going to be electrifying the F-Series — battery electric and hybrid,” said Jim Farley, Ford president of global markets at the Deutsche Bank Global Automotive Conference.
    Car and Driver was able to get a Ford spokesperson to confirm Farley's comment.
    Farley didn't provide any details or a possible timeline as to when the F-150 EV will debut. Car and Driver is speculating that we could see this model with the next-generation F-150, possibly expected to appear sometime early in the next decade. It could be facing some tough in the form of the Rivian R1T that was revealed at the LA Auto Show in November. It promises a max range of 400 miles and max towing capacity of 11,000. The company is planning to begin production in late 2020, but that remains to be seen.
    Source: Detroit Free Press, Car and Driver

    William Maley

    Expected to debut sometime after 2022

    There was a number of people who were disappointed at the news that Ford wouldn't be bringing over the Ranger Raptor to the U.S. When you take into consideration that the current-generation model has been sold around the world since 2011, Ford decided it was too late in the lifecycle of the model to design a Raptor variant to meet various regulations. But there is the chance of the next-generation Ranger Raptor coming to the U.S.
    Road & Track has done some sleuthing into social media profiles for various Ford engineers and has uncovered some interesting information. The current Ranger has an internal project code of P375 and is expected to stick around for a few more years. The next-generation model, due in 2022, uses the code of P703. It is expected that the next-generation Ranger will be sharing a number of parts with the Bronco.
    How does the Raptor fit into this picture? In a recently posted project description, it mentions a chassis engineer has been working on a Ranger Raptor with the P703 code being built with North America in mind. The engineer has also worked on the current version of the Ranger (known as P375N) and the Ranger Raptor. Doing some more digging and speaking to some sources at Ford, the new Ranger Raptor is likely to be called “Project Redback” internally. Project Redback was the project name for the current Ranger Raptor.
    Road & Track doesn't have any information the powertrain, but speculates that North America would likely get a gas engine. Other markets get a diesel engine for the Raptor.
    Source: Road & Track

    William Maley

    All in an effort to improve profitability 

    This morning in Europe, Ford announced a broad restructuring plan for its European unit that will include job cuts and the possibility of closing down plants. This is part of the automaker's global restructuring plan
    Ford has been struggling to make a profit in Europe for some time - losing close to a billion dollars in the last five years.
    “Ford of Europe has never really been sustainably profitable,” said Steve Armstrong, group vice president and president of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa.
    “As we look to the future of the business globally, (CEO) Jim Hackett and (CFO) Bob Shanks have been very clear: We can only afford to allocate capital to places where we can get a return on that invested capital.”
    Here is what Ford is planning to do with their European operations,
    Introduce a number of measures to cut costs in key areas such as purchasing and engineering Cut a number of jobs throughout the region Bloomberg is reporting that thousands could be cut. Armstrong declined to give a number of cuts. Also in the cards is possible plant closures. Review its operations in Russia Grow their lineup of crossovers and SUVs in the region, along with bringing more niche models like the Mustang Double-down on their commercial vehicle lineup Offer electrified powertrains on all models Leverage relationships, "including a potential alliance with Volkswagen AG, to support commercial vehicle growth." “We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers,” said Armstrong.
    Source: Ford, Automotive News (Subscription Required), Bloomberg, Detroit Free Press


    Ford To Strengthen European Competitive Position And Profitability; Sets Vision For The Future
    New strategy targets near-term profitability and a more competitive business for the future Near-term actions underway to improve profitability and reduce structural costs, with parallel redesign to include a more targeted vehicle line up within three customer-focused business groups – Commercial Vehicles, Passenger Vehicles and Imports New all-electric vehicles and electrified options to be offered for all models Leveraging relationships, including a potential alliance with Volkswagen AG, to support commercial vehicle growth Ford to improve or exit less profitable vehicle lines and address underperforming markets; also undertaking a strategic review of Ford Sollers, the company’s joint venture in Russia COLOGNE, Germany, Jan. 10, 2019 – Ford is starting consultations with its union partners and other key stakeholders to implement a comprehensive transformation strategy aimed at strengthening the Ford brand and creating a sustainably profitable business in Europe.
    The strategy – which is part of the company’s broader global vision of providing smart vehicles for a smart world – will offer differentiated vehicles designed to create a deeper connection with Ford customers.
    Near term, Ford is accelerating key fitness actions and reducing structural costs. In parallel, the fundamental redesign will include changes to Ford’s vehicle portfolio, expanding offerings and volumes in its most profitable growth vehicle segments, while improving or exiting less profitable vehicle lines and addressing underperforming markets.
    “We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” said Steven Armstrong, group vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We will invest in the vehicles, services, segments and markets that best support a long-term sustainably profitable business, creating value for all our stakeholders and delivering emotive vehicles to our customers.”
    Ford is entering into formal consultation with its Works Council and trade union partners, and is committed to working together with all key stakeholders to enable the new strategy.
    Near-term profitability and cost improvements – reset for 2019 and 2020
    To improve near-term financial performance, Ford will drive improvement in profitability across its product portfolio. This improvement will be driven by reducing the complexity of existing Ford products, optimizing the most profitable vehicle configurations, and increasing volumes of profitable vehicle lines.
    Structural cost improvements will be supported by reduction of surplus labor across all functions – salaried and hourly. An improvement in management structure, announced in December, already is underway through Ford’s redesign of its global salaried workforce, that will improve the agility of the organization.
    Ford aims to achieve the labor cost reductions, as far as possible, through voluntary employee separations in Europe and will be working closely with social partners and other stakeholders to achieve this objective.
    Future business redesign
    Ford is establishing three customer-focused business groups in Europe – Commercial Vehicles, Passenger Vehicles, and Imports – each with clearly defined aspirations and dedicated organizations. The new operating model will better enable the businesses to make fast decisions centered on customer needs.
    Ford of Europe is targeting a 6 percent EBIT margin longer term, with returns in excess of the cost of capital for each business group.
    Commercial Vehicles: Ford will continue to enhance its commercial vehicle leadership in Europe with a tightly integrated offering of smart vehicles, services and partnerships that deliver lifetime value for commercial customers. Already highly profitable, Ford is Europe’s No. 1 commercial vehicle brand in terms of sales volume, and more than one in four Ford vehicles sold today in Europe is a commercial vehicle.
    In line with Ford’s global fitness approach to build, partner or buy, Ford of Europe will leverage relationships – such as the successful Ford Otosan joint venture and the potential alliance with Volkswagen AG – to support its commercial vehicle growth.
    Passenger Vehicles: Ford will establish a more targeted portfolio of European-built passenger vehicles focused on the quality, technology-rich and fun-to-drive DNA of the Ford brand, with the goal of building emotional connections with customers through sporty and progressive designs.
    Every Ford nameplate from the all-new Ford Focus onwards will include an electrified option.  This includes new nameplates and new versions of existing vehicles. From Fiesta to Transit, either a mild-hybrid, full-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full battery electric option will be offered, delivering one of the most encompassing line-ups of electrified options for European customers.
    Ford also will build on its success in the growing utility segment in Europe. Ford SUV sales – comprising EcoSport, Kuga and Edge – hit a record high in 2018, surpassing a quarter million vehicles sold for the first time.
    Imported Vehicles: A niche portfolio of imported iconic nameplates for Europe that builds on the heritage of the Ford brand will include Mustang, Edge, and another SUV to be revealed in April, along with an all-new Mustang-inspired full-electric performance utility in 2020.
    Additional efficiency actions
    Ford’s new strategy will result in a more efficient and focused business. Key actions already underway include:
    Production at the Ford Aquitaine Industries plant in Bordeaux, France, which manufactures small automatic transmissions, will end in August 2019. Formal discussions have begun between Ford and its Works Council to end production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX at the Saarlouis Body and Assembly Plant in Germany as the compact MPV segment shrinks in Europe. Ford is undertaking a strategic review of Ford Sollers, its joint venture in Russia. Several significant restructuring options for Ford Sollers are being considered by Ford and its partner, Sollers PJSC. A decision is expected in the second quarter.   Ford plans to consolidate its UK headquarters and Ford Credit Europe’s headquarters at the Ford Dunton Technical Center in South East Essex to improve business fitness and create a customer-centric technical hub. The action is subject to union consultation and local approvals. “Working collectively with all stakeholders, our new strategy will enable us to deliver a more focused line up of European-built passenger vehicles, while growing our import and commercial vehicle businesses – for a healthier and more profitable business,” added Armstrong. 
    Ford will provide specific details of its strategy in the coming months, once appropriate formal consultation with its Works Council and trade union partners has concluded.

    Drew Dowdell

    Ford's most important vehicle not named F-150 gets revealed tonight.

    The hints about it have been flying for months, but the day for the 2020 Ford Explorer reveal is finally here.  Tonight at an event at Ford Field, Ford will take the wraps off the most important vehicle in their lineup not named F-150.
    The new Ford Explorer will ride on an all-new rear-wheel-drive platform first seen in November with the Lincoln Aviator at the Los Angeles Auto Show.  We've already seen some hints of the new Explorer with the new Ford Police Interceptor along with some spy shot.  Ford is not going to mess with success here, already one of the best selling full-size crossovers on the market, the 2020 Explorer will maintain a very familiar shape in spite of its all-new underpinnings. Exx 
    As far as powertrains go, we are expecting the new 10-speed automatic also found in the Ford Ranger and a carry-over of the 2.3-liter turbo with a slight boost in power as it makes the transition from FWD to RWD. We're also expecting a V6 or two.  We do know that a hybrid version could be offered as such a powertrain will be available in the Police Interceptor and is also finding its way into the Lincoln Aviator.
    Ford will be live-streaming the reveal event starting at 7pm Eastern time at the following link - https://streamworks.media/AllNewFordExplorer/ Tune in then and see if you can spot me in the audience.
    You can also follow @CheersnGears on Twitter or @CheersandGears on Instagram as I will be posting photos from the event.

    William Maley

    Our best look at the upcoming 2020 Explorer

    There's a new police vehicle that you'll need to be on the lookout for as Ford revealed the 2020 Police Interceptor Utility yesterday.
    Before we get any further, this is our best look at the all-new Explorer, which we'll see next Wednesday. It appears that Ford is keeping the basic profile of the current Explorer, but has made some minor changes such as new grille shape and lower roofline. The Interceptor has some additional exterior treatments such as a push bar and searchlights. For the interior, Ford has fitted heavy-duty cloth upholstery to the front seats, along with anti-stab plates mounted in the backsides.
    The base engine will be an all-new 3.3L V6 hybrid powertrain that Ford claims a 41 percent improvement in fuel economy over the 3.7L V6 found in the current Utility. Ford also says testing done by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police shows the hybrid powertrain to be quicker than the 3.7 V6. Other engines include a non-hybrid 3.3L V6 and 3.0L EcoBoost V6. All engines will come teamed with a 10-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
    There is also a number of features exclusive to the Police Interceptor Utility to protect officers,
    Police Perimeter Alert System: Sensors monitor approximately 270 degrees around the vehicle to alert officers if someone is coming close to the vehicle. It can also secure the vehicle by locking doors and rolling up windows, along with providing a track of the intruder in the instrument cluster. The steel wheel and tire setup has been designed to deal with 8-inch curb impact, a median crossing, and a 30-mph railroad crossing. Ford claims this model has been engineered to withstand a 75-mph rear-impact crash. Optional safety features include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and forward collision warning. The order books for the new Police Interceptor Utility are open now and deliveries will begin in the summer.
    Gallery: 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility
    Source: Ford


    All-New Ford Police Interceptor Is The Future Of Pursuit-Rated Police Vehicles
    Powerful yet efficient new powertrains and custom Ford technologies to help keep officers safe build on Ford’s police vehicle dominance in North America All-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility, with standard hybrid all-wheel-drive powertrain, will save police agencies and taxpayers as much as $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs* over current Police Interceptor Utility equipped with 3.7-liter gas engine Technologies exclusive to Ford’s all-new Police Interceptor Utility – including Police Perimeter Alert and Ford Telematics™ – help elevate safety and fleet management for law enforcement officials across the country Dearborn, Mich., Jan. 4, 2019 – Already accounting for nearly two-thirds of police vehicle sales in the United States, Ford believes it has found the key to continue winning over the hearts of the law enforcement community – even better-performing vehicles that keep officers safer and save departments, and taxpayers, money.
    Led by a new hybrid variant of its popular Police Interceptor Utility, Ford’s new lineup of pursuit-rated vehicles aims to build upon its 65 percent of U.S. police vehicle sales in 2017.
    When the all-new Police Interceptor Utility takes to the streets in 2019, that lineup will include Police Responder Hybrid Sedan, F-150 Police Responder, Expedition SSV, F-150 SSV, Transit PTV and SSV Plug-In Hybrid Sedan. 
    Hybrid technology is ideal for law enforcement – and taxpayers – because of the potential for significant idle-time fuel and cost savings. When police vehicles are stationary, a conventional gasoline engine must run continuously to power emergency lighting, radios, computers and other on-board electrical equipment. The Police Interceptor Hybrid’s powertrain allows the engine to shut off for extended periods, powering the electrical equipment via its lithium-ion hybrid battery, helping achieve significant reductions in fuel usage and CO2 emissions.
    “Our Police Interceptor Utility’s standard hybrid powertrain provides the potential for significant fuel savings with improved performance and no tradeoffs in safety or interior passenger or cargo space,” said Stephen Tyler, Ford police brand marketing manager. “It’s a win-win-win formula for law enforcement.”
    The all-new 2020 Police Interceptor Utility hybrid has a projected EPA-estimated rating of 24 mpg combined, a 41 percent improvement over the current Police Interceptor Utility equipped with a 3.7-liter gas engine. Projections indicate the first pursuit-rated hybrid police utility will save between $3,500 and $5,700 per vehicle annually in fuel costs versus the current Police Interceptor Utility*. If those savings were applied to every Police Interceptor Utility sold in 2017, it would equate to between $118 million and $193 million*, or more than 43 million gallons of fuel.
    In recent testing by Michigan State Police, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid had the fastest 0-100 mph acceleration, fastest lap, fastest average lap and highest top speed of 137 mph, versus competitive police utility vehicles tested, including V8-powered entries. The only faster entry was its cousin – Ford Police Interceptor Utility powered by a 3.0-liter EcoBoost® engine.
    And at Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department testing, the new Police Interceptor Utility hybrid bested the outgoing 3.7-liter model in 0-60 mph by 1.1 seconds and 0-100 mph by 4.7 seconds. It also turned a fastest lap time that was 2.4 seconds better than the 3.7-liter and fastest average lap time that was 1.7 seconds better.
    As is the case with other Ford hybrids, there is simply no compromise in terms of functionality. The Police Interceptor Utility platform was engineered around its lithium-ion battery, which does not intrude into the cargo area, meaning there are no tradeoffs in passenger volume, cargo volume behind the first row, cargo volume behind the second row or total interior volume – in fact, most of these measurements improve over the current vehicle.
    Using technology to keep officers safer
    The all-new Police Interceptor Utility introduces a number of advanced innovations designed for officer safety.
    Factory-installed Police Perimeter Alert uses sensors to monitor an approximately 270-degree area around the vehicle. It analyzes nearby movement to detect potentially threatening behavior. When such motion is detected, the system automatically turns on the rear camera, sounds a chime, rolls up the windows and locks the doors. Motion trails of the detected threat appear on the digital instrument cluster so officers can monitor.
    Ford also equips its new Police Interceptor Utility and Police Responder Hybrid Sedan with a Ford modem and two years of complimentary Ford Telematics™ service that enables timely feedback of vehicle usage and location to agency fleet managers.
    “Officers take care of people in our communities, so we feel it’s important that our vehicles help take care of our officers,” Tyler said.
    Available driver-assist technology includes Pre-Collision Assist with automatic emergency braking, which features Pedestrian Detection and forward collision warning. A unique disable switch for law enforcement allows officers to temporarily override the system to perform precision immobilization technique maneuvers when necessary.
    Additional optional equipment includes Rear Camera On-Demand, which allows officers to view behind the vehicle at the touch of a button, and a host of factory-installed and factory-sealed wiring and lighting packages that offer agencies turnkey solutions.
    Purpose-built features include heavy-duty cloth front seats with reduced bolsters for comfort and easy entry and exit for officers. Vinyl rear seats and vinyl flooring enable easy cleanup. Anti-stab plates in the rear of the front seat backs help protect officers from potential threats.
    Three powertrain options for the all-new Police Interceptor Utility include a standard 3.3-liter hybrid, plus available 3.0-liter EcoBoost® and 3.3-liter V6 engines. All are powered by a new 10-speed automatic transmission and feature standard full-time Intelligent All-Wheel Drive and deep snow/sand traction control mode.
    Ford Police Interceptors remain the only vehicles in the world engineered to meet Ford’s stringent 75-mph rear-impact crash standard. The federal standard for such testing is 50 mph. Additionally, safety cell construction directs collision force around the occupant compartment, and features advanced ultra-high-strength boron steel, crumple zones that absorb and dissipate crash energy, and SPACE architecture that provides structural reinforcement and side-impact protection.
    Police Interceptor Utility is tested for enhanced police durability, including improved cooling, specially tuned braking system, front-door tethers, and police-purposed steel wheels, tires and hubcaps that are designed to withstand the rigors of a chase. The vehicle is also tested for eight-inch curb impact, median crossing and 30-mph railroad crossing validation, and water fording to 18 inches at 15 mph and 10 inches at 40 mph.
    “Whether patrolling or sitting idle, the all-new Police Interceptor Utility will change the way officers work,” said Bill Gubing, chief engineer for Police Interceptor Utility and Ford Explorer. “Everything about it was designed for keeping police officers safe, comfortable and ready for action.”
    Other standard equipment includes Bluetooth™ pass-through commands to mobile devices, to help officers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, low- and high-beam LED headlamps, four user-configurable steering wheel switches, a Class III trailer tow receiver with 5,000-pound capacity and a tilt/telescoping steering wheel.

    William Maley

    Will begin in April

    Ford will soon be joining General Motors in reporting sales every quarter. Automotive News is reporting that Ford will transition to a quarterly call and release of sales numbers beginning in April. The company will still be proving monthly sales numbers to various data agencies.
    "We feel it's kind of transitioning to more of an industry standard. We think the intense focus on month-to-month numbers is just not how we want to run the business. We believe quarterly will provide great transparency," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service during a call with analysts and the media.
    Various analysts have cautioned that moving to quarterly reporting may lead "less transparency and more speculation and errors," especially if some automakers still report monthly.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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