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Industry News: Volkswagen Could Use Ford's Plants in the U.S. To Build Vehicles

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Back in June, Ford and Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a new alliance that would focus on commercial vehicles. Since then, the two companies have been in discussions about it and there have been various rumors flying about. Yesterday, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess added some more fuel to the fire.

Speaking to reporters outside of the White House, Diess revealed that the German automaker is interested in using Ford's plants in the U.S. to build vehicles.

"We might use Ford capacity here in the U.S. to build cars for us," said Diess.

“We need additional capacity here in the United States, we need an additional car plant for VW and Audi combined.”

The company is in "quite advanced negotiations in Tennessee" about a new plant in the state - Volkswagen operates one in Chattanooga for the Passat and Atlas. But Diess did say "there might be other options as well," most likely talking about using some of Ford's plants in the U.S.

For now, this is an idea being floating out there. The two are continuing their talks about what this alliance will look like. Diess said more details would come out in January.

Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)


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Makes total sense as it would also help Ford out with under utilized manufacturing and could reduce the estimated 25,000 layoffs that the financial world says is coming with Fords $11 Billion restructuring.

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The layoffs will still happen, especially if Ford sells the plants to VW/Audi. This may well be more about cutting costs in Germany than just having vehicle capacity in the USA.

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49 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

This may well be more about cutting costs in Germany than just having vehicle capacity in the USA.

VW needs to have saleable product to need Fords production capacity. Subaru took over the market for funky cars  for hipsterish people over a decade ago and never looked back. Golf sells in Tiny numbers here, huge in Europe. VW already has Puebla and Chattanooga. Their chance of needing more production capacity is dismal.

Outside of a very few vehicles, very little is built in Germany for the US market IIRC,

49 minutes ago, riviera74 said:

The layoffs will still happen,

UAW is going to soon equal Unknown Auto Workers.

1 hour ago, dfelt said:

Makes total sense as it would also help Ford out with under utilized manufacturing and could reduce the estimated 25,000 layoffs that the financial world says is coming with Fords $11 Billion restructuring.

More layoffs will follow.

Edited by A Horse With No Name
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Does this union remind anyone else of the union Between Sears and K-mart.,..two companies in trouble that ended up feeding off of each others misery?

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2 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Does this union remind anyone else of the union Between Sears and K-mart.,..two companies in trouble that ended up feeding off of each others misery?

No. Sears and K-Mart actually merged to become a single company. 

This is actually a smart move by VW and it works out for Ford.  It's a way to get around Trump Tariffs while also not committing billions to build another plant in the US. Ford gets some financial relief from the burden of running these plants.  I actually expect these types of arrangements to become more common. 

Purely a speculative example based on no evidence, but Benz could contract with GM to build E-Classes in Hamtramck to get around the tariff. Or BMW using Lordstown to build 3-series.  It would help both companies involved. 

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6 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

No. Sears and K-Mart actually merged to become a single company. 

This is actually a smart move by VW and it works out for Ford.  It's a way to get around Trump Tariffs while also not committing billions to build another plant in the US. Ford gets some financial relief from the burden of running these plants.  I actually expect these types of arrangements to become more common. 

Purely a speculative example based on no evidence, but Benz could contract with GM to build E-Classes in Hamtramck to get around the tariff. Or BMW using Lordstown to build 3-series.  It would help both companies involved. 

Tesla should do this. GM knows much more about building cars than Tesla.

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5 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Tesla should do this. GM knows much more about building cars than Tesla.

Tesla sorta did.  Their plant in California is the old Toyota-GM joint site called NUMMI and Telsa got (some) advice from Toyota on building electric cars. 

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14 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Tesla sorta did.  Their plant in California is the old Toyota-GM joint site called NUMMI and Telsa got (some) advice from Toyota on building electric cars. 

I know about that....was thinking that a Tesla-GM indirect partnership might pay off.

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Just now, A Horse With No Name said:

I know about that....was thinking that a Tesla-GM indirect partnership might pay off.

If it's only for a plant for production, yeah. If it's anything more, there's nothing in it for GM. Tesla's patents are all public. 

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Just now, ccap41 said:

If it's only for a plant for production, yeah. If it's anything more, there's nothing in it for GM. Tesla's patents are all public. 

If it kept the lights on at Hamtramck, GM might also be able to build something else there profitably. 

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17 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Tesla sorta did.  Their plant in California is the old Toyota-GM joint site called NUMMI and Telsa got (some) advice from Toyota on building electric cars. 

Clearly Musk did not listen as he still wanted to roboticize in a way not done by the OEMs. That really seems to have mucked him up.

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1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

If it kept the lights on at Hamtramck, GM might also be able to build something else there profitably. 

I'm all for keeping jobs around so if the theoretical "merger" were a thing, it would be great. Hopefully Tesla could take a few more notes on how to assemble vehicles before GM leaves them with the keys to the building. 

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Just now, ccap41 said:

I'm all for keeping jobs around so if the theoretical "merger" were a thing, it would be great. Hopefully Tesla could take a few more notes on how to assemble vehicles before GM leaves them with the keys to the building. 

I think you're confusing merger with a partnership.  Ford and VW would still be independent of each other, they would just share a workspace for assembling vehicles.  Like how Toyota and GM did with NUMMI (Corolla/Prism/Matrix/Vibe).  And Subaru and Toyota at Lafayette (Legacy / Camry)

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1 minute ago, Drew Dowdell said:

I think you're confusing merger with a partnership.  Ford and VW would still be independent of each other, they would just share a workspace for assembling vehicles.  Like how Toyota and GM did with NUMMI (Corolla/Prism/Matrix/Vibe).  And Subaru and Toyota at Lafayette (Legacy / Camry)

Yes! I just couldn't think of the word, LOL 🤦🏼‍♂️. That's why I quoted it because I knew it wouldn't be a merger(in theory). 

Edited by ccap41
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11 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

If it kept the lights on at Hamtramck, GM might also be able to build something else there profitably. 

Exactly. And it might keep Tesla profitable...they seem to have a lot of production issues.

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17 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Exactly. And it might keep Tesla profitable...they seem to have a lot of production issues.

But ya know Musk is the smartest person in the room and it would be a cold day in hell before he would snuggle up to Barra to have a joint manufacturing where they actually built a consistent auto and quickly off the assembly line.

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20 minutes ago, dfelt said:

But ya know Musk is the smartest person in the room and it would be a cold day in hell before he would snuggle up to Barra to have a joint manufacturing where they actually built a consistent auto and quickly off the assembly line.

A legend in his own mind, yes.

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      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.
    • By Drew Dowdell
      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.
       

      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      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.
       
    • By William Maley
      In Europe, Volkswagen offers a couple of plug-in hybrid models such as the Golf GTE. But don't expect any those plug-in hybrids to come to the U.S.
      "It's a bridging technology," between internal-combustion and full-electric cars, said Matthew Renna, Volkswagen North America Region's vice president of e-mobility yesterday at the Chicago Auto Show.
      "It's very cost-prohibitive to have two different powertrains on one platform."
      Volkswagen has made no secret about their electric car ambitions, with plans to launch a full lineup within the next few years. While Europe will get a small hatchback based on I.D. Concept, the U.S. will get a production version of the Crozz concept. Volkswagen is also planning on selling their upcoming EVs in all 50 states, not only in those that require automakers to sell certain number of EVs.
      "The plan is to sell nationwide. The goal is a nationwide roll-out ASAP," said Renna.
      Source: Roadshow

      View full article
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