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    • By William Maley
      The Ford Focus RS is a serious hot hatch with a high-output version of the 2.3L EcoBoost and an all-wheel drive system featuring a 'drift mode'. But there is a serious issue that could make the RS not so hot.
      During the past year, numerous RS owners have been reporting of a plume of white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, a tell-tale sign of burning coolant and possibly a head-gasket failure. A Ford spokesman confirmed to Autocar this issue and said that it is affecting models from 2016 to 2017, and with mileage as low as 6,000 miles.
      The Ford spokesman said the company is “working on a repair for all customers,” hinting that a fix could be rolled out to models that are not currently affected.
      “In the meantime, if vehicles show these symptoms, customers should visit their dealer for an inspection and repair under warranty,” the spokesman said.
      No reason was given by Ford as to what the problem is, but the company has replaced several engines under warranty that are "built to the latest specification".
      The issue seems like a head-gasket failure, but that might not be the case. Members on the FocusRS.org forum speculate the issue comes from engine block distorting over multiple heat cycles. This creates an opening between the block and cylinder head that the gasket cannot seal, allowing coolant to enter and cause the aforementioned problems.
      Interestingly, the Mustang which uses the same 2.3L EcoBoost isn't affected by this problem. It uses a different alloy for its cylinder head and engine block than the Focus RS.
      Source: Autocar, FocusRS.org Forums

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    • By William Maley
      The Ford Focus RS is a serious hot hatch with a high-output version of the 2.3L EcoBoost and an all-wheel drive system featuring a 'drift mode'. But there is a serious issue that could make the RS not so hot.
      During the past year, numerous RS owners have been reporting of a plume of white smoke coming out of the tailpipe, a tell-tale sign of burning coolant and possibly a head-gasket failure. A Ford spokesman confirmed to Autocar this issue and said that it is affecting models from 2016 to 2017, and with mileage as low as 6,000 miles.
      The Ford spokesman said the company is “working on a repair for all customers,” hinting that a fix could be rolled out to models that are not currently affected.
      “In the meantime, if vehicles show these symptoms, customers should visit their dealer for an inspection and repair under warranty,” the spokesman said.
      No reason was given by Ford as to what the problem is, but the company has replaced several engines under warranty that are "built to the latest specification".
      The issue seems like a head-gasket failure, but that might not be the case. Members on the FocusRS.org forum speculate the issue comes from engine block distorting over multiple heat cycles. This creates an opening between the block and cylinder head that the gasket cannot seal, allowing coolant to enter and cause the aforementioned problems.
      Interestingly, the Mustang which uses the same 2.3L EcoBoost isn't affected by this problem. It uses a different alloy for its cylinder head and engine block than the Focus RS.
      Source: Autocar, FocusRS.org Forums
    • By William Maley
      Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use.
      Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly.
      "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
      The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation.
      Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

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    • By William Maley
      Ford and General Motors have differing views on autonomous vehicles. GM is planning on launching a number of Chevrolet Bolt EVs in various urban markets in 2019 for a ride-hailing service. Ford, on the other hand, is taking a different approach in terms of powertrain and use.
      Ford's top sales executive, Jim Farley said their autonomous vehicle - due in 2021 - will be a hybrid vehicle with a focus on commercial applications. Farley explained that going with a hybrid powertrain would allow their vehicles to stay on the road longer thanks to a longer range when compared to EVs. The company expects their autonomous vehicles to be on the road for roughly 20 hours a day. Using an electric vehicle for this type of task doesn't make business sense as they would need to recharge constantly.
      "Anytime you're not carrying goods and people, you're losing money. The most important thing is uptime and profitability. What we see is the [hybrid] is a much better cost-of-ownership model," said Farley.
      The constant recharging also brings up another negative for electric vehicles, frequent replacement of the batteries due to increased degradation.
      Ford has already announced a pilot program with Domino's pizza to do deliveries in a self-driving plan. Next year, Ford will this commercial idea to the test by putting a fleet of vehicles in a "yet-to-be-named test city" with a number of partners.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)
    • By William Maley
      Earlier this year, we reported that Ford would be investing $700 million into their Flat Rock, MI plant for two new models - an electric crossover in 2020 and an autonomous vehicle following a year later. Those plans have changed as Ford will move production of the electric crossover to Cuautitlan, Mexico.
      This information comes from an internal Ford memo obtained by Automotive News last night. Flat Rock will become an “AV center of excellence”. AV, in this case, being autonomous vehicles.
      “This allows us to bring this exciting new vehicle to global customers in a more effective way to support our overreaching business goals,” the memo says.
      Ford spokesman Alan Hall confirmed the move to both Automotive News and The Detroit News last night. Hall said the company sees "a bigger opportunity" for their upcoming autonomous vehicle. Ford will be investing an additional $200 million to Flat Rock over the next few years in addition to the already announced $700 million.
      Part of the reason for Ford moving the production of the electric crossover down to Mexico is lower production costs, allowing the company to make a little more profit. Electric vehicles have low-margins when it comes to making money.
      Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required), The Detroit News

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