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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    GM Engineers Take A Tour of the F-150 Plant For Inspiration

      Hiding in plain sight

    When General Motors decided to study the Ford F-150 to help make the next-generation Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra, they sent engineers to the front door of where the F-150 is built. 

    According to Reuters, engineers went on a public factory tour of Ford's Dearborn truck plant to study how Ford was building them. Special attention was paid to workers attaching aluminum body panels to the trucks. After watching and timing the fitment of parts with stopwatches, GM engineers found some problems.

    “They had a real hard time getting those doors to fit,” said Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer for GM truck programs.

    Focusing on the doors, engineers bought F-150 doors as parts and took them apart. What they realized is that they could cut weight in their trucks with a combination of aluminum and thinner high strength steel for a lower cost. 

    GM could have gone all-aluminum with their trucks. Herrick said the debate at the company “was a really hotly contested item for us.” But at the end of the day, the decision to use mixed metals will allow for a larger profit on the trucks.

    “We think we have thousands of dollars advantage (over Ford) just in the aluminum costs. It’s big,” said Herrick.

    Source: Reuters



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    It is always wise to learn from your competitors, especially where they fail.

    Now if only GM can get the Silverado AND Sierra to outsell the F-series combined.

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    22 hours ago, dfelt said:

    If not for the F150, Ford might very well be a dead company now.

    You mean they would have needed a bailout like their other US counterparts? 

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    43 minutes ago, ccap41 said:

    You mean they would have needed a bailout like their other US counterparts? 

    True in both regards, if they had not been able to secure their loans when they did they would have needed a US bailout. If they did not have the F150, I am not sure they would still be here, more like Pontiac, Ford would be gone I think without their truck lineup.

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    You mean they would have needed a bailout like their other US counterparts? 

    They needed the bailout before the crisis happened... they just did it before all the banks imploded and there was no one left to finance them.  GM was actually fine, not great, but slightly profitable, just up until the banks melted down. 

    Gotta remember the timeline

    1. The banks melted down

    2. Credit for healthy companies dried up, this is important for financing of operations, buying inventory, etc.  Target suddenly found themselves unable to buy inventory because their primary bank was in the process of failing.  This happened to lots of companies.  GM ended up in the same situation as Target, but being so huge and with long days to cash (time from purchasing parts to getting the cash from a sale) it put them into a major cash crunch.

    3. There was no where else for big, cash hungry businesses to turn but to the federal government. Banks and Automotive were saved, many others weren't. 

    But before all that happened, Ford was already in trouble.   Some wiz in Finance saw the same writing on the economic wall that I did and mortgaged the entire company right up to the name on the door before the crap hit the fan.  It wasn't by some miracle of management or superior vehicle design. It all came down to reading the tea leaves before a major storm.

    If anything, because of all the debt they took on, Ford is now behind their Detroit competition in many ways. They need to address that debt in order to catch up. They got their bailout... and they are still being bailed out by those giant loans they took. 

    This really isn't the sign of a healthy company....

    2018-08-13_11-36-45.png

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    So true, FORD is in many ways worse today as they still have a ton of Union pension debt obligation that GM and Chrysler do not have. I honestly think it would have been best for Ford to go the Route that GM did.

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    Oh I know they needed cash and they took care of it. My point was just that "ford would be dead if..." Well, the whole D3 would be dead "if" not for *insert a any one of a few things here*. 

    I know it wasn't some miracle of management but foreseeing a sh!tstorm and preparing for it vs not preparing for it is usually preferred. 

    Ford absolutely is in a worse way today because they're paying off loans. 

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    1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

    Oh I know they needed cash and they took care of it. My point was just that "ford would be dead if..." Well, the whole D3 would be dead "if" not for *insert a any one of a few things here*. 

    I know it wasn't some miracle of management but foreseeing a sh!tstorm and preparing for it vs not preparing for it is usually preferred. 

    Ford absolutely is in a worse way today because they're paying off loans. 

    I think the point that @dfelt and @A Horse With No Name are making is that the F-150 and Mustang are, until very recently, the only things holding FMC together.  I would argue that the Explorer, Edge, Navigator, and Escape, and MKC are pulling their weight as well, but otherwise largely agree with the sentiment. 

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    I think these trucks are very nice though but I think even with all this tech the gains are quite incremental. Did anyone notice how to meet the efficiency standards trucks are made bigger and bigger!!

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    8 hours ago, Suaviloquent said:

    I think these trucks are very nice though but I think even with all this tech the gains are quite incremental. Did anyone notice how to meet the efficiency standards trucks are made bigger and bigger!!

    That is because.. TA DAAAHHH... the "efficiency standards" do not obey the fundamental law of physics.  Yet the madness goes on, and when someone tries to come back to earth, the loons cry.

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    • By William Maley
      Previous Page Next Page You might not be able to tell that the 2021 Ford F-150 is all new. The shape, basic dimensions, and ladder-frame chassis are the same as the outgoing F-150. But you need to look a bit deeper to find the changes and new features that the blue oval hopes keeps their truck on top.
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      Press Release is on Page 2
      BUILT FOR GETTING THINGS DONE, FORD REVEALS THE TOUGHEST, MOST PRODUCTIVE F-150 EVER AND MOST POWERFUL IN ITS CLASS
      All-new Ford F-150 takes America’s truck of choice for work and recreation to the next level, targeting to deliver the most maximum towing, payload, torque and horsepower of any full-size light-duty pickup, with ingenious features that make customers even more productive and new technology like over-the-air updates and SYNC® 4 New exterior design has a bolder and even tougher look, and an all-new interior provides more comfort, technology and functionality for truck customers, along with enhanced materials, new color choices and more storage New available Tailgate Work Surface boosts productivity at the back of the truck, while new optional Interior Work Surface makes using a laptop or eating a meal more comfortable; available Max Recline Seats with nearly 180 degrees of recline help customers rest between jobs Available Pro Power Onboard™ means customers can leave the generator at home and free up cargo space; there’s enough energy to power 28 average refrigerators, charge a bed full of electric dirt bikes or run an entire job site worth of tools Class-exclusive 3.5-liter PowerBoost™ Full hybrid engine delivers Built Ford Tough capability – it is targeted to have the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup, at least 12,000 pounds of maximum available towing capacityᶧ and a targeted EPA-estimated range of approximately 700 miles on a single tank of gasᶧ DEARBORN, Mich., June 25, 2020 – As America returns to work, Ford reveals its all-new F-150 – part of the F-Series lineup that’s been America’s choice for getting the job done for 43 consecutive years. The all-new F-150 is purpose-built to be the toughest, most productive F-150 ever and targeted to be the most powerful light-duty full-size pickup truck on the market.
      “Since 1948, our hardworking F-Series customers have trusted Ford to help them get the job done,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer. “F-150 is our flagship, it’s 100 percent assembled in America, and we hold ourselves to the highest standard to make sure our customers can get the job done and continue to make a difference in their communities.”
      The all-new F-150 raises the standard for all light-duty trucks. It targets the most towing, payload, torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup, introduces all-new features to increase customer productivity, has new connected vehicle innovations such as over-the-air updates that help keep F-150 at the forefront of purposeful technology, and an available all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost™ hybrid powertrain with Pro Power Onboard™ – an integrated power generator.
      “We see it as our duty to deliver not just what our customers want and need, but what they might have never thought possible,” said Craig Schmatz, Ford F-150 chief engineer. “The F-150 will be tougher than ever, and with fully connected over-the-air updates, it opens up a much wider range of potential enhancements – from system upgrades to feature offerings.”
      Toughest F-150 ever
      The all-new F-150 starts with a durable, proven foundation – a fully boxed high-strength steel frame with a high-strength, military-grade, aluminum alloy body. Every panel of the distinctive, rugged exterior is redesigned while maintaining its bold and tough signature look, including an updated headlamp design, new power dome hood and wrap-around bumpers. Higher front fenders, a tucked-in midsection and larger-diameter tires pulled out three-quarters of an inch create a stronger, more powerful stance on and off the road.
      There are 11 grille options available across the series lineup, all differentiated in their design and all unmistakably F-150, plus new tailgate appliqués. Functional upgrades throughout include available LED headlamps and taillamps, and available full-length extended power running boards with kick switch that provide better truck-side cargo box accessibility.
      The all-new F-150 is also the most aerodynamic ever. New active grille shutters, a new automatically deploying active air dam, and new cab and tailgate geometry all work together to reduce drag and improve fuel consumption on every truck.
      The interior is completely redesigned to elevate truck owners’ experience with style, comfort, utility and technology. Featuring enhanced materials, new color choices and more storage, it is built around the functional needs of truck customers. Every surface has been thoughtfully designed, such as more soil-resistant two-tone seats for XL or the new standard dual glovebox.
      F-150 introduces an all-new 12-inch center screen – standard on XLT high series and above – that allows customers to split the screen and control multiple functions simultaneously, including navigation, music or truck features. The landscape design strikes a balance between demands for technology accessibility and the greater convenience of physical buttons. An 8-inch touch screen, standard on XL and XLT standard and mid-series trucks, means every customer gets touch screen functionality and better rearview camera vision. Both screens feature access to the new digital owner’s manual, which can help all customers find the information they need more easily, including how-to videos for additional explanation.
      An available new 12-inch digital gauge cluster features a large information-on-demand area, along with truck-specific graphics and animations that respond to the all-new F-150’s selectable drive modes and can display off-roading data and turn-by-turn navigation.
      Most productive F-150 ever
      Ford’s deep understanding of truck customers informs new features on the all-new F-150 that help take productivity to the next level.
      Creating the ultimate durable, anywhere office, F-150’s new optional Interior Work Surface is ideal for signing documents, working on a 15-inch laptop or enjoying a meal when parked. It is available in both bench and captain’s chair seating configurations on XL to Limited. Knowing many customers prefer a console shifter, Ford has created a stowable unit for F-150, which easily folds into the center console with the push of a button and allows full access to the large work surface when in park.
      Class-exclusive Max Recline Seats available on King Ranch, Platinum and Limited models provide ultimate comfort during downtime. Max Recline Seats fold flat to nearly 180 degrees, with the bottom cushion rising to meet the back cushion and the upper back support rotating forward up to 10 degrees for maximum comfort.
      Available lockable, fold-flat rear storage adds a vault to the F-150 that extends the width of the rear seats. It’s as easy as lifting the bottom cushion of the rear seat, dropping valuables in and locking them away for safe keeping. Great for storing long items like fishing rods or blueprints, it even has a divider to keep gear organized.
      Every all-new F-150 comes standard with new cleats mounted to the sides of the tailgate to act as tie-down locations for extra-long items in the bed. New clamp pockets are built in to the tailgate of every truck, so customers can hold materials down for precision work. An available flat Tailgate Work Surface also includes integrated rulers, a mobile device holder, cupholder and pencil holder.
      Customers can keep going into the night with exclusive available Zone Lighting. This allows occupants to turn on and off individual sections of exterior lights through the SYNC® 4 screen or remotely with the FordPass app on their phone, so they never have to work, camp or do anything in the dark.
      The all-new F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup to offer available Trailer Reverse Guidance and Pro Trailer Backup Assist. Trailer Reverse Guidance, made popular on Super Duty, uses the truck’s high-resolution cameras to provide multiple views along with helpful graphics that tell drivers which way to turn the steering wheel while backing up. Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a dial, continues on F-150.
      Most powerful in its class
      The all-new 3.5-liter PowerBoost full hybrid V6 powertrain is targeted to deliver the most torque and horsepower of any light-duty full-size pickup. Available on every trim level from F-150 XL to Limited, the no-compromise PowerBoost system – the only light-duty full-size pickup to offer a full hybrid – adds instant electric torque to Ford’s 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6. It is targeting an EPA-estimated range of approximately 700 miles on a single tank of gasᶧ and will deliver at least 12,000 pounds of available maximum towing – equivalent to the average weight of 43 NFL linemen.
      PowerBoost combines Ford’s proven EcoBoost engine and 10-speed SelectShift® automatic transmission with a 35-kilowatt (47-horsepower) electric motor integrated into the transmission, as well as software calibrated specially for truck use, including drive modes like tow/haul mode to help customers better manage towing heavy trailers.
      The electric motor applies regenerative braking energy capture to help recharge the 1.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. The battery is efficiently packaged underneath the truck, leaving the cab and cargo box of PowerBoost F-150 as spacious for passengers and cargo as other comparably equipped F-150 models. The system is capable of sustained battery usage at extreme outside temperatures or under heavy loads.
      Power isn’t only important under the hood. Available Pro Power Onboard expands F-150’s capability by bringing generator levels of exportable power to work sites, camp sites and everyday life. Pro Power Onboard is available with a 2.0-kilowatt output on optional gas engines, while PowerBoost-equipped F-150 comes standard with 2.4 kilowatts of output or an optional 7.2 kilowatts of output. Power is accessible through in-cabin outlets and up to four cargo bed-mounted 120-volt 20-amp outlets, with a 240-volt 30-amp outlet on the 7.2-kilowatt version. The system even provides power on the move to charge tool batteries in between jobs.
      Most connected F-150 ever
      F-150 represents Ford’s next big step in bringing connected vehicles to customers. The all-new F-150 is North America’s first full-size pickup with standard over-the-air updates, helping customers’ trucks stay at the forefront of purposeful technology. These updates are bumper-to-bumper, and can include all-new functions and additional features throughout the life of the truck. They can support preventative maintenance, reduce repair trips, provide improved performance and ultimately result in more vehicle up-time. The majority of updates will be completed in under two minutes and can be performed at times customers choose, so they won’t have to put their lives on hold.
      All-new SYNC 4 is standard, helping keep owners connected and make their days more productive with more natural voice control available as well as real-time mapping and customizable information on demand. The technology builds on more than 10 years of SYNC innovation by helping minimize distractions with hands-free voice control as well as core features such as making phone calls and selecting music. With twice the computing power of the previous-generation system, new SYNC 4 can wirelessly connect smartphones without the USB cord for seamless integration of Apple CarPlay™ or Android Auto™ compatibility as well as SYNC AppLink® apps like Waze and Ford+Alexa.
      Customers can access more than 10,000 hours of on-demand content, live channels, ad-free music, sports, entertainment, news and personalized recommendations, and they can search for related content with available SiriusXM with 360L satellite and streaming service. The new eight-speaker B&O Sound System by Bang & Olufsen is available starting on F-150 XLT, while the optional 18-speaker B&O Unleashed system with speakers in the headliner and front headrests is available on F-150 Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum, and standard on Limited.
      Ford offers complimentary technology including 911 Assist® that automatically alerts emergency responders in the event of an accident, and FordPass, a mobile device app that allows Ford drivers to start or unlock their vehicle from a distance, as well as control new truck-focused features like Zone Lighting, Trailer Theft Alert, Trailer Light Check and Pro Power Onboard.
      Driver-assist technologies
      All-new F-150 offers the latest driver-assist features as part of Ford Co-Pilot360™ 2.0. More features are now standard on XL, including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection to help avoid a possible collision with another vehicle or a pedestrian, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist, auto high-beam headlamps and auto on/off headlamps.
      F-150 also adds 10 new driver-assist features and is the only pickup to offer Active Drive Assist, which allows for hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of divided highways in all 50 states and Canada. Its advanced driver-facing camera tracks head position and driver eye gaze to enable hands-free driving when available. It allows owners on certain sections of pre-mapped, divided highways to drive with their hands off the steering wheel – if they continue to pay attention to the road ahead – granting them an additional level of comfort during long drives. The Active Drive Assist prep kit contains the hardware required for this feature, while the software to enable functionality, expected in the third quarter of the 2021 calendar year, will be delivered by over-the-air update or dealer visit. Separate payment will be required to activate full functionality at that time.
      Other new available features include Intersection Assist, which detects oncoming traffic while the driver is attempting a left turn. If there is risk of a collision with an oncoming vehicle, F-150 will apply the brakes to mitigate or avoid it. F-150 is the only light-duty full-size pickup with available Active Park Assist 2.0, which handles all steering, shifting, braking and accelerator controls during a parallel or perpendicular parking maneuver while the driver holds down a button.
      Every F-150 is proudly assembled at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri. The all-new F-150 will be available this fall.
      ᶧProjected EPA calculated range. Actual range will vary. Final EPA-estimated ratings available later in the 2020 calendar year.
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    • By William Maley
      While the focus on the electric vehicles have been on the ultra plush and quick models from the likes of Tesla, Audi, and Jaguar, there is a lot of work being done for electric delivery vans. The combination of reduced maintenance, low fuel costs, and an abundance of torque to deal with heavy loads make them a perfect to do deliveries in urban areas. Rivian is the most-well known player here with plans to build out a fleet of electric vans for Amazon. Another player is ready to join the fight.
      Reuters reported yesterday that General Motors is working on a electric van for the commercial market. Five sources reveal that the van - codenamed BV1 - is expected to go into production late next year. It is expected to use Ultium battery technology that GM first talked about back in March. Utilizing this could solve one of the big issues with EVs, price. By switching Cobalt (expensive) for Aluminum (less expensive), GM says it will drop the cost of a battery to $100 per kilowatt-hour - making it around the same cost as regular gas powered van. Analysis done last year put the kilowatt-hour cost of a battery at $159. 
      One item still being debated internally is whether the van will be sold as Chevrolet, GMC, or a new brand. 
      When asked by Reuters, GM said it is “committed to an all-electric future and is implementing a multi-segment, scalable EV strategy to get there. At this time, we do not have any announcements to make regarding electric commercial vehicles.”
      GM isn't the only company getting on the electric van train. Ford has announced plans for an electric version of the Transit to launch in 2022, and British startup Arrival which has the backing of Hyundai, currently has an order of 10,000 vans from UPS.
      Source: Reuters

      View full article
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