Ford – We Talk Cars. Thu, 19 Apr 2018 23:50:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ford – 32 32 8746165 2018 Ford F-150: EPA Figures Announced For Power Stroke Diesel Engine Thu, 19 Apr 2018 22:44:44 +0000 Earlier this year, Ford revealed the performance specs for the F-150’s first 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel engine. At the time, fuel economy ratings from the EPA were forthcoming but Ford says those have officially arrived. EPA-estimates come in at 22/30 city/highway and 25 combined mpg.

“Even a few years ago, customers wouldn’t have imagined an EPA-estimated rating of 30 mpg highway would be possible in a full-size pickup,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford Executive Vice President, Product Development and Purchasing.

The fuel economy ratings are achieved in part by the F-150’s aluminum-alloy body, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and the use of durable materials like compacted graphite iron throughout the engine. The 3.0-liter Power Stroke shares similar commercial-grade technologies with the larger 6.7 found in Ford’s Super Duty trucks.

“Our team of crazy-smart engineers rose to the challenge,” Thai-Tang said.

The 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel generates 250 horsepower and 440 lb-ft. of torque to provide a best-in-class towing capability of 11,440 lbs., according to Ford. In addition to the tow rating, Ford says the new Power Stroke provides a best-in-class diesel payload of 2,020 lbs. for XL and XLT fleet applications, and 1,940 lbs. for retail applications.

The 2018 Ford F-150 with new 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel will begin shipping to dealers in May.

The Automoblog Staff contributed to this report and can be reached anytime.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Global Ford Focus Introduced; Inspires New Product Development Trends Wed, 11 Apr 2018 02:03:08 +0000 Take a new product development process, mix in human-centered design and customer feedback, and toss in a dash of new technology and simmer until tender. What do you have? The new Ford Focus.

“We’re evolving our successful One Ford strategy to find new ways to create a sporty-looking small car our customers will love,” explained Jim Farley, President of Global Markets, Ford Motor Company. “We’ll tailor which cars in the Focus lineup we offer in markets around the world to ensure we best meet customers’ different needs and preferences.”

Tailor Made

Ford employees spent hundreds of hours speaking with customers from around the world, and the new Focus will be “tailored” to each global region accordingly. Ford says, through the use of globally common but flexible architectures and modules, the new Focus can better appeal to individual needs while maintaining a high level of commonality but low complexity.

Future Ford vehicles will adopt this pattern. In essence, the automaker will move from individual platforms to more flexible architectures paired with modular “families.” This will streamline a number of common components like engines, electronics, and sunroofs.

The next generation Focus has as few as 26 configurations, depending on the global market, versus 360 for the current generation. Ford says the complexity reduction helps lower costs while ensuring customers can more easily find the right vehicle. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Tech Goodies

Expect the new Focus to tech it up with high-speed internet, wireless device charging, and the new CoPilot360 system, essentially a package of advanced safety features. The content of CoPilot360 will vary by region, but generally includes things like Adaptive Cruise Control, Speed Sign Recognition, Lane-Centering, Evasive Steering Assist, and an updated version of Active Park Assist.

The enhanced version of Active Park Assist operates the gear selection, acceleration, and braking when parking – prior versions required the driver to shift the gear and control the brake pedal. CoPilot360 also includes an Adaptive Front Lighting System, a camera-based technology that pre-adjusts the headlamps for improved visibility, like around a curve for example.

SYNC 3, housed in the eight-inch color touchscreen, is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. With SYNC 3, drivers can voice control a number of functions like audio and navigation, or climate and connected devices. The FordPass app has a vehicle locator service, just in case you lose your new Focus in the mall parking lot on a Saturday afternoon. That same app doubles as a remote start.

“Aha! Found ya! Thanks FordPass.” Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Big Things & Small Packages

Get ready to stretch out backseat passengers! The new Focus gains nearly 2.4 inches of shoulder room, two inches of knee clearance, and nearly three inches of legroom. Up front, Ford says the instrument panel is “optimized for getting in and out of the car.” Wonder how they pulled that off?! The electronic parking brake and rotary shifter make for easier access to the cupholders. Perfect. Coffee time!

There are even soft knee pads on the center console for added comfort.

And how about this: special consideration was given to the shape of the mirrors to help reduce that air throbbing effect when one window is lowered while driving. Pretty cool!

Those with furry family members will find ample room in the wagon models for pet carriers. With the rear seats folded flat, the new Focus wagon offers a generous 58 cubic feet of space. Ford says considering the needs of pet owners was important during development.

“May I always be the type of car owner my dog thinks I am.” Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Power & Performance

The new Focus receives a chassis and suspension overhaul to increase torsional rigidity by 20 percent. Standard drive modes include Normal, Sport, and Eco, and adjust the engine and transmission responses, steering feel, and Adaptive Cruise Control to match a driver’s preferences.

In China, the new Focus offers the 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine or an all-new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine. In Europe, customers have a 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel available. North American powertrain options will be announced at a later date. The engines can be paired to an optional eight-speed automatic that actively assesses vehicle and environmental information to adjust clutch pressures for smoother gearshifts.

“The transmission shifts so quick, I just can’t even.” Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Pricing & Availability

No word yet on pricing but configurations include, depending on the market, a four-door sedan, five-door estate/wagon, and five-door hatchback. Expect the new Ford Focus in Europe and China yet this year, and in North America in the second half of 2019.

Ford says they will formally introduce the new Focus in North America closer to its on-sale date, which hints at a possible reveal during the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, or the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Ford Issues Two Safety Recalls: F-150, Expedition, Mustang, Navigator Affected Sat, 07 Apr 2018 17:00:25 +0000 Ford is issuing a safety recall in North America for approximately 350,000 2018 F-150 and 2018 Expedition vehicles with 10-speed automatic transmissions, as well as 2018 F-650 and F-750 vehicles with six-speed automatic transmissions. The recall is for a potentially unseated transmission gear shift cable clip.

On some of the affected vehicles, a clip that locks the gear shift cable to the transmission may not be fully seated. Over time, a partially seated clip or a clip that becomes dislodged may allow the transmission to be in a gear different from the shift position selected by the driver.

This could allow the driver to move the shifter to park and remove the key, even though the transmission gear may not actually be in park. No warning message or chime would result when the driver’s door is opened. If the parking brake is not applied, this could result in unintended vehicle movement, increasing the risk of injury.

“Ford is aware of one reported accident and injury related to this condition,” the automaker said in a statement.

Affected vehicles include:

  • 2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant, Jan. 5, 2017 to Feb. 16, 2018.
  • 2018 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, Jan. 25, 2017 to Feb. 16, 2018.
  • 2018 Ford Expedition vehicles built at Kentucky Truck Plant, April 3, 2017 to Jan. 30, 2018.
  • 2018 Ford F-650 and F-750 vehicles built at Ohio Assembly Plant, April 25, 2017 to March 9, 2018.

The recall involves approximately 347,425 vehicles in North America, with 292,909 in the United States and federalized territories, 51,742 in Canada, and 2,774 in Mexico. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S10.

Dealers will inspect and verify that the shift cable locking clip was properly installed. If the clip is not properly seated, technicians will adjust the shifter cable and secure the locking clip at no cost.

Second Recall

Ford is issuing a second safety recall in North America for approximately 161 2017 and 2018 F-150 and 2018 Expedition vehicles, in addition to 2018 Mustang and 2018 Lincoln Navigator vehicles with 10R80 transmissions. The recall is for a potentially missing roll pin that attaches the park pawl rod guide cup to the transmission case.

The cause for concern is similar to above, where unintended vehicle movement could take place. Ford states they are not aware of any accidents or injuries involving this second recall affecting these vehicles:

  • 2017-18 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Dearborn Assembly Plant, Oct. 20, 2016 to March 5, 2018.
  • 2017-18 Ford F-150 vehicles built at Kansas City Assembly Plant, Dec. 22, 2017 to Feb. 26, 2018.
  • 2018 Ford Expedition vehicles built at Kentucky Truck Plant, Nov. 28, 2017 to Feb. 14, 2018.
  • 2018 Ford Mustang vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Nov. 6, 2017 to Feb. 12, 2018.
  • 2018 Lincoln Navigator vehicles built at Kentucky Truck Plant, Dec. 13, 2017 to March 8, 2018.

The recall involves approximately 161 vehicles in North America with 142 in the United States and federalized territories, 18 in Canada, and one in Mexico. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18S09. Dealers will inspect the transmission and install the roll pin if necessary at no cost.

For more information on this, or any other recall, visit

The Automoblog Staff contributed to this report and can be reached anytime.

Source: Ford Motor Company.

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2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt Ordering Now Open Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:43:20 +0000 The 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt was inspired by the Highland Green 1968 Mustang GT fastback Steve McQueen piloted in Bullitt now 50 years ago. As winter turns to spring, Ford dealers are ready to accept orders for the new Mustang Bullitt, a limited edition pony car with 480 horsepower.

“The new Bullitt will be every bit as cool and charismatic as the original ’68 Mustang,” said Corey Holter, Ford Car Group Marketing Manager. “Since its introduction earlier this year, Ford dealers have been fielding calls from customers wanting to know when they can order this unique piece of automotive history.”

Power & Performance

The new Mustang Bullitt features an open air intake, Shelby GT350 intake manifold, Brembo brakes, and a larger 87-millimeter throttle body. There are unique powertrain control module calibrations to help deliver the aforementioned 480 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. Top speed for the new McQueen machine is 163, an 8 mph increase versus the latest Mustang GT.

2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Colors & Treatments

Customers can choose between a Shadow Black or the more classic Dark Highland Green. There’s minimal badging inside and out, although the leather-trimmed interior features green accent stitching on the dashboard, door panels, center console, and seats.

Pricing & Availability

Those who opt not to order one won’t have to wait very long. The new Mustang Bullitt is expected at Ford dealerships this summer with a starting MSRP of $47,495.

The Automoblog Staff contributed to this report and can be reached anytime.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Ford & Mahindra To Develop SUVs, Electric Vehicles & Connected Car Technologies Sat, 24 Mar 2018 13:25:23 +0000 Ford Motor Company and the Mahindra Group have signed five agreements to develop new SUVs and small electric vehicles. Ford and Mahindra announced their strategic partnership in September of 2017, saying both companies were focusing on mobility programs, connected vehicle initiatives, and electrification strategies. The partnership will also explore sourcing and commercial efficiencies, and product development in general. Ford hopes to gain traction in India as well, an emerging automotive market.

“Ford is committed to offering the best vehicles, technologies, and services that fit the lifestyles and preferences of Indian consumers,” said Jim Farley, Ford Executive Vice President and President of Global Markets.

Joint Development Plans


Under these latest initiatives, Mahindra and Ford will co-develop a midsize SUV both companies can sell independently as separate brands. The forthcoming SUV will be built on a Mahindra platform but both will explore sharing powertrain portfolios. The two companies will also examine the possibility of developing a compact SUV and an electric vehicle, along with a range of connected car technologies.

“Listening to our customers and incorporating their future needs is the core premise of this collaboration,” Farley added. “With utility vehicles and electrification as key focus areas, we are glad to see the progress our two companies have made.”

Ford EcoSport, Goa, India. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Continued Expansion

Overall, the strategic alliance will leverage Ford’s global reach and Mahindra’s scale in India. Ford entered India in 1995 and remains one of the country’s largest exporters. India is also the second-largest Ford employee base globally, with more than 14,000 working across the Ford India or Global Business Services operations in New Delhi, Chennai, and Coimbator. Likewise, Mahindra has lead the utility vehicles segment in India for seven decades. The Mumbai-based manufacturer owns a majority stake in the Ssangyong Motor Company in Korea, and has invested in ridesharing platforms in the United States.

“Both teams are working together on joint development areas in keeping with industry requirements and leveraging mutual strengths,” explained Dr. Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. “We are excited about the synergies unveiled through this collaboration and the potential opportunities it will bring.”

The Automoblog Staff contributed to this report and can be reached anytime

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company, Mahindra.

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2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van: One Size Fits Most Fri, 09 Mar 2018 02:36:21 +0000 The new Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van just hit the public eye at The Work Truck Show in Indianapolis. It comes with new driver-assist technologies, two new drivetrains, and aims to keep up the Transit Connect’s reputation as being the best-selling compact cargo van in America.

Safety & Convenience Technology

The 2019 Transit Connect is covered with driver-assist technologies – it actually has the most in the segment, according to Ford. There’s Automatic Emergency Braking, Pre-Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Side Wind Stabilization, and a Rearview Camera all standard. The optional safety features are just as impressive: Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping System, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

And, since everybody today is connected and has a smartphone, there’s a standard embedded 4G LTE modem that provides Wi-Fi for up to 10 devices, and an available 6.5-inch floating touchscreen running SYNC 3 to help you while taking customer calls or navigating hands-free to job sites.

Wireless phone charging is available for the 2019 Transit Connect Van. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Management Tools

FordPass is on board to help monitor small fleets, including such data points as driver location, fuel level, and tire pressure. The MyKey programmable ignition is standard on Transit Connect XLT, so owners and fleet administrators can preset warnings and limits for vehicle speed, but also restrict the entertainment system’s audio to 45 percent of the maximum volume.

Power & Performance

Ford likes to say that there are powertrains to fit every need when it comes to the 2019 Transit Connect Cargo Van. In fact, there are three different engines capable of running on five different types of fuels, so businesses have many choices when it comes to finding the right engine.

There’s a standard and new 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline engine with Auto Start-Stop and direct-injection. This plant is paired with a new eight-speed automatic for responsive around-town performance and low-rpm cruising on the highway. The 2.0-liter inline four is also E85 compatible and comes with a standard heavy-duty battery, and an available heavy-duty alternator if your job requires it.

There is also a new 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel engine sporting an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of at least 30 mpg on the highway. This new diesel engine combines the latest in Ford’s fuel injection, turbocharging, and emission control tech, and is fitted with the eight-speed automatic transmission. If you’re a heavy fleet user, there is also a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic and CNG/propane package available.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Cargo Capacity

But what about your stuff? This is a van after all, so it better be functional and capable when it comes to handling loads. Ford says the Transit Connect is a modern-day workhorse, and I am not about to doubt them. Although Ford did not provide us with exact capacity specs, they do say you can load a 48-inch pallet via forklift with ease thanks to the 180-degree, swing-out rear doors. And the doors can be locked in the open position, which is great news if you have to load and unload on a hill, for instance.

With a 38.3-foot turning diameter and shorter wheelbase, the 2019 Transit Connect should be able to handle tight city streets with ease. The Transit Connect will also tow 2,000 lbs. when you get the available tow package, so that’s handy too. Finally, there are dual sliding side doors (ideal for tight urban environments) and near-vertical walls inside with integrated tie-downs.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Add-Ons & Modifications

And since this is a work van aimed at the fleet market, the Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van is as customizable as they come. There is already substantial support from aftermarket upfitters and suppliers for interior cargo management solutions as well as adding stuff like ladders and roof racks. Ford says it doesn’t matter what your business is, from mobile dog grooming to pipefitting, the Transit Connect Cargo Van can be kitted out to meet your needs with ease.


So what you’ll end up with is a smaller van that delivers great competence and a compact footprint with city-friendly maneuverability. The new Transit Connect is great for small businesses and fleet administrators trying to “right-size” their vehicles. The 2019 Ford Transit Connect Cargo Van goes on sale this fall at more than 3,000 Ford dealers nationwide, including more than 650 dedicated Commercial Vehicle Center dealers.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Ford Issues Safety Recall For Certain Late Model Taurus Vehicles Sat, 03 Mar 2018 18:42:18 +0000 Ford is issuing a safety compliance recall in North America for approximately 2,100 2017 and 2018 Ford Taurus vehicles with a physical key and non-push button start. In affected vehicles, the key can be removed from the ignition switch even if the transmission gear shift is not in the park position. If an operator removes the key with the transmission in a position other than park, it could increase the risk of the vehicle rolling away

Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries associated with this issue.

Affected vehicles include 2017 and 2018 Ford Taurus vehicles with a physical key and non-push button start that were built at Chicago Assembly Plant, July 21st, 2017 to February 13th, 2018. The recall involves approximately 2,100 vehicles in the United States and federalized territories. The Ford reference number for this recall is 18C02.

Dealers will replace the shifter assembly at no cost to the customer.

For more information on this, or any other recall, visit

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Ford Announces Senior Leadership Changes Thu, 22 Feb 2018 15:17:58 +0000 Ford Motor Company has announced what they deem as “key changes” to their senior management team in the interest of “improving the company’s operational fitness” while accelerating a “strategic shift to capitalize on emerging opportunities.” While that is certainly true for the sake of economics, the most recent shuffle does come on the heels of Raj Nair’s departure, Ford’s former head of North America.

Phoebe Wall Howard of the Detroit Free Press reports that Nair exited Ford after unspecified but “inappropriate behavior.”

Leadership Changes

Kumar Galhotra, 52, is appointed Group Vice President and President, Ford North America, effective March 1st. Galholtra will be responsible for leading all aspects of Ford’s North American business. He will report to Jim Farley, Ford’s Executive Vice President and President, Global Markets.

Galhotra has been with Ford for nearly 30 years and has served in a multitude of senior-level engineering and product strategy positions around the world. Since 2014, he has led Lincoln but took over the company’s top marketing position last year. Joy Falotico, 50, is now Group Vice President of the Lincoln Motor Company and Chief Marketing Officer, succeeding Galhotra. Her appointment is effective March 1 st.

Since October 2016, Falotico has been Group Vice President, Chairman, and CEO of Ford Motor Credit Company. With $151 billion in receivables, it’s Ford’s second-largest profit contributor. In 29 years at Ford Credit, she has served in a number of executive positions around the world.

Reporting to Galhotra will be Stuart Rowley, 50, who is named Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Ford North America, effective March 1st. Rowley, who was previously Vice President of Strategy, will be responsible for driving the redesign of the North American business to improve its overall fitness.


Succeeding Falotico is David McClelland, named Vice President of Ford Motor Company and CEO of Ford Credit. A 25-year veteran of Ford Credit, McClelland, 48, was most recently Executive Vice President, Marketing and Asia Pacific. McClelland has been instrumental in Ford Credit’s growth in China, and the move into new fintech and mobility initiatives like the Canvas vehicle subscription service. His appointment is effective March 1st, reporting to Bob Shanks, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

John Lawler is appointed Vice President, Strategy, succeeding Rowley. Lawler, 51, who joined Ford in 1990, brings a deep background in finance and general management into the strategy role, including his current position as Ford’s Corporate Controller. Lawler also previously served as Chairman and CEO, Ford China. He will report to Shanks in the new role effective March 1st.

Cathy O’Callaghan, 49, is now Ford’s Vice President and Corporate Controller and CFO, Global Markets, succeeding Lawler. O’Callaghan also joined Ford in 1990 and is currently Chief Financial Officer, Ford South America. O’Callaghan will report to Shanks in her role as Corporate Controller and Farley in her role as CFO, Global Markets.  Her appointment is effective June 1st.

Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett praised the organization’s talent, saying the automaker is “very fortunate to have an experienced and committed executive team in place.” Hackett elaborated, saying the executive team is committed to strengthening Ford’s business and committed to the automaker’s vision of becoming the “most trusted” mobility company with “smart vehicles for a smart world.”

Photo & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Ford’s Canvas Car Subscription Business Gets Bigger Mon, 19 Feb 2018 23:34:58 +0000 Ford, although a bit of a Johnny-come-lately to the “cars on demand” idea, actually seems to be making it work with their Canvas car subscription service. Ford says during the past year, Canvas has “seen significant milestones” during its initial roll out phase in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Essential Details

Just to get some persnickety details out of the way, Canvas is actually a division of Ford Motor Credit Company and not the car company itself. That makes sense, since the car company wants to sell cars and Ford Motor Credit Company deals with, duh, the money end of things. Canvas is a straightforward and adaptable way to have access to a car that falls somewhere between daily rentals and traditional leasing or buying. Think of Canvas as Ford’s in-house version of a longer term Zip Car and you’ll get the picture. With Canvas you don’t have to hassle with all the other stuff like insurance, warranty, maintenance, and those sorts of things.

So here we are a year later and Canvas is serving 600 customers in the San Francisco Bay and west Los Angeles areas. And not resting on their laurels, Canvas has added more features, like allowing for the addition of multiple drivers and accepting flexible mileage packages. So far Canvas drivers have driven more than 3 million miles.

Unlimited Access

This is all thanks to the way Canvas works. Canvas customers (subscribers, actually) have access to a vehicle 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, just like it were their own car. Customers pay a bundled monthly subscription fee that covers a preferred mileage package. Essentially, you tell them how much you think you’re going to be driving and they charge you accordingly. That monthly subscription fee also gets you comprehensive insurance, a warranty, maintenance, and roadside assistance.

Monthly subscription packages start at $400 depending on the vehicle you choose and other options. And you get all this through the Canvas website, where you can pick out your vehicle, mileage package, delivery location, and all that. When you’re ready to return your car, you simply give seven days notice and Canvas will actually come by pick up your vehicle at a convenient location. Neat, no?


Canvas was also smart enough to work closely with its first customers, the proverbial “early adopters,” to understand how people are using their vehicles, then refine the entire experience to better meet customer needs in the future. All of this adds up to offering a wide range of Ford Motor Company models. After launching with just two models, Canvas now gets you everything from compact cars to SUVs (handy for long trips) to trucks (handy for moving stuff, home projects, and such).

Canvas has also allowed for more personalized packages. You can now create more options to better customize your service, including the ability to add multiple drivers to an account, which half of Canvas customers have already done. There are also new mileage packages that allow you to adjust your mileage up or down as often as needed, even in the middle of a month.

“Building on our success in 2017, we plan to further expand our platform and offerings in 2018 to meet even more customer needs,” said Canvas Founder and CEO Ned Ryan. “As our product evolves over the coming year and beyond, we’ll be focused on adding more customization to the platform, implementing solutions to improve the scalability of the business, and offering bigger savings for customers who want longer terms.”

Have you used Canvas? Let us know on Twitter how it went.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Credit Company.

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Ford Aims 2019 Transit Connect Wagon At Baby Boomer Generation Thu, 15 Feb 2018 14:03:40 +0000 Ford is trying to win over baby boomers in a big way with their 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon (one of Automoblog’s favorite vans). Their press materials from this year’s Chicago Auto Show are crammed with enough condescending references to the post-war generation to gag Grace Slick. But those egregious faux pas aside, the 2019 Ford Transit Connect Wagon has some pretty good stuff to offer.

Influential Generation

Why try to reinvent the van and sell it to boomers? Ford is direct and up front as to why: “Boomers … grew up driving vans, [and] at 111 million strong and holding 63 percent of American financial assets, the 50 plus demographic is the number one consumer demographic in the United States.” Or to be even more succinct: Boomers already know vans, there are a lot of them, and they have a lot of money. According to AARP, one in three Boomers plans to purchase a car in the next three years.

So, besides the corny and insulting hippie references in the press release (i.e. Life’s Still a Trip, Today’s Magic Bus) what does the 2019 Transit have to offer?

2019 Transit Connect Wagon. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Safety & Security

For starters, it has room for five to seven passengers and, since you can easily reconfigure the interior, cargo duty is just as easy as hauling people. American Transit buyers will also get their choice of a new gas or diesel engine, along with a collection of driver-assist technologies like Automatic Emergency Braking.

In addition, the 2019 Transit Connect Wagon comes with Pre-Collision Assist and Pedestrian Detection to help avoid big bang-bangs and thump-thumps. Adaptive Cruise Control is also available to make highway driving easier by automatically slowing the van when the system detects traffic ahead. A Blind Spot Information System with Cross-Traffic Alert is available. It also uses the Transit’s radar system to detect surrounding vehicles that loom at you unobserved from the sides. There is also an available Lane Keeping System that vibrates the steering wheel, and can apply extra steering wheel torque to help you keep the vehicle centered.

Trim Levels & Engines

The 2019 Transit Connect Wagon comes in two wheelbases and three trim levels: XL, XLT, and Titanium. The interior is expansive and adaptable, so fitting people in or loading in cargo is a breeze. There are dual sliding side doors, and the available roof rails give you even more versatility with the number of accessories that can be fitted to the roof. So, hauling bikes, kayaks or that vintage Greg Noll surfboard you’ve had since 1966 should be easy-peasy.

Even the engines got a going over, as I mentioned before. There’s an all new powertrain lineup, including the 1.5-liter EcoBlue diesel that promises at least 30 mpg highway. The diesel plant is coupled with a new eight-speed automatic. There is also a new 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline mill with direct injection on offer. That engine comes with Auto Start-Stop as standard and is also mated to that new eight-speed automatic.

Wanna tow stuff? The Transit Connect Wagon offers a towing capability of 2,000 lbs. when equipped with the trailer tow package.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.


According to Ford, the 2019 Transit Connect Wagon will be one of the most affordable seven-passenger rigs you can get, although Ford did not actually disclose pricing. The long-wheelbase version has more interior cargo volume behind the first row than the 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe, according to Ford’s measurements. So think about that, comparison shoppers. Expect it this fall at dealers nationwide.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant Responds To Growing Luxury Vehicle Demand Tue, 13 Feb 2018 17:26:16 +0000 The Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator are selling like hotcakes! Lincoln dealers say they cannot order new Navigators fast enough; the luxury SUVs are on the lot an average of just seven days before being sold. It’s a similar story for the Expedition, with an increased transaction price of $7,800 and retail sales up nearly 57 percent last month. Like the Navigator, the new Expedition is lucky to spend a week on dealer lots, with the high-level Platinum trim accounting for nearly 30 percent of total sales.

“The response from customers regarding our new full-size SUVs has been exceptional,” said Joe Hinrichs, President, Global Operations, Ford Motor Company.

Demanding The Finest

It’s worth noting how the higher trim levels continue to be the most desired in Ford’s lineup. With regard to the Navigator, nearly 85 percent of all buyers are opting for the higher-end Black Label and Reserve models. In fact, demand for the Black Label and Reserve series contributed to an average transaction price increase of more than $21,000 in January versus a year ago. Add to that how Navigator retail sales were up triple digits in every region of the country last month, and the growing interest from younger buyers, and it’s easy to see the demand is there.

In order to meet this seemingly insatiable appetite for large, luxurious SUVs, Ford is doubling down on their manufacturing strategies at the Kentucky Truck Plant, home of the Navigator and Expedition. The magic number in Louisville is 25: Production targets were increased approximately 25 percent and an additional $25 million is coming to increase overall “operational fitness.”

Sam Kirtley and Derek Clark of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant work with a collaborative robot to prepare glass for installation. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Factory Fit

The investment covers more than 400 new robots at the Kentucky Truck Plant, many of which were utilized during a remodeling of the body shop last year. The robots inevitably increase line speed but also keep employees safe from repetitive-motion injuries. A special “robot lab” was added, where software is tested and potential issues undergo troubleshooting away from the factory floor.

Also onsite in Louisville is a new 3D printer so parts and tools can be made quickly and economically. In most cases, manufacturing a prototype part with traditional methods can take eight to 16 weeks at a cost of more than $250,000 in tooling. Producing that same part with 3D printing can take days – or maybe just hours – and can be done for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

Wayne McKinney of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant checks a part that was just printed using a new 3D printer. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Analytics & Vending Machines

Finally, the investment includes an overhaul to the data analytics system so the assembly line moves as efficiently as possible. These systems are as interesting as they are complex but in short, they help plant officials address thousands of concerns in near-real time. The “data analytics hub” at the Kentucky Truck Plant includes seven big-screen TVs with minute-by-minute updates showing whether production is on schedule or not. Any potential concerns are flagged and can be addressed accordingly.

The system also notifies workers as parts are running low so they can have a new batch delivered to their area before they run out. And like in the break room, a spare parts “vending machine” allows workers to easily locate any part.

“Using a combination of Ford’s advanced manufacturing and American hard work and ingenuity, we’ll deliver more high-quality Lincoln Navigators and Ford Expeditions to customers than originally planned,” Hinrichs said.

Brad Steward and Dan Boone of Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant review information at the plant’s data analytic center. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Kentucky Truck

The Kentucky Truck Plant opened in 1969 and employs more than 8,400 people, about 8,100 of which are hourly. The plant builds the Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, and Ford Super Duty. Like the two former, the latter has a higher-end trim level Ford says is directly proportional to what buyers are looking for today, i.e. luxury and premium features. In fact, the demand for all three is so strong, workers are taking overtime, voluntary, and weekend shifts in Louisville.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Kentucky Truck Gallery

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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This 1968 Mustang LEGO Kit Makes Us Want To Stop Growing Up Sun, 11 Feb 2018 02:00:59 +0000 When I was a kid, I enjoyed LEGO sets much like any other youngster does today. I constructed a number of the Legoland pirate and medieval arrays, sometimes placing the knights in with the pirates for a gag. As I got older, I found the Technic series a bit more challenging with the helicopter ones being my favorite. However, my Duplo days as a tot stand out. I would try and recreate the cars and trucks I saw with those bigger Duplo blocks. At the time, we lived in a two bedroom apartment – a bigger unit as I recall – but my signature was leaving a LEGO in every room.

My father could walk our hallway and not even look down, he was so accustomed to stepping over them.

Days Gone By

As I blaze the trail through my late thirties and into that uncertain vortex known as “your forties,” I am naturally inclined toward anything that even slightly reminds me of my childhood. I’ve made it a habit to wander through the toy section on my trips to Meijer in hopes to find a new Hot Wheels or Matchbox car. In my quest to declutter and disconnect, I am ever more drawn to things that are wholesome and fun, yet still really cool. One such thing is the 1968 Ford Mustang fastback race car, the latest entry into the LEGO Speed Champions lineup.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Small & Sharp

When assembled, the 183-piece kit yields a sharp green performance car, complete with gold stripes, racing graphics, and a removable windscreen. The set even includes a Ford-branded timing board and a little racing figurine, that I would place in the pirate ship while Captain Red Beard has a go in the Mustang.

“The new Ford Mustang LEGO Speed Champions set gives parents and children the chance to share their passions – generations of fans have grown up building LEGO sets and spending time together behind the wheel,” explained Myra Lind, LEGO Speed Champions Marketing Manager. “This partnership of iconic brands allows kids of all ages to enjoy the latest products from two great companies.”

“We worked closely with LEGO to design a vintage Mustang, personalizing the fastback with stripes and decals that harken back to Ford’s racing heritage,” added Matt Monroe, Ford Licensing Manager.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Big Kid At Heart

I don’t know why I love this little thing so much. Maybe it’s because I want kids of my own someday, or maybe it’s because – like I said above – as I get older, I find remarkable value in things that are wholesome and fun. Career-wise, I’m picking up the pace, which is what any man my age should be doing, but the faster we move on that trajectory, the more likely we are to forget the innocence of our childhood. It’s been so long since I last sat down and put a LEGO set together – probably twenty some years.

That’s simply too long.

We at this publication will consider ourselves kids (just slightly taller) on March 1st when the LEGO Mustang goes on sale. I’m going to get one, put it together, and set it next to my Lava Lamp on my desk. This forthcoming 1968 Mustang joins the GT40, F-150 Raptor, Fiesta WRC, and a handful of other blue oval heroes in the LEGO Speed Champions Ford collection.

So if I want more opportunities to be a kid, I have them.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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New Study: Driving A Sports Car Is Good For Us Fri, 26 Jan 2018 19:51:17 +0000 Ford, just like us, is concerned about your sense of well-being and emotional fulfillment. So they actually went out and conducted a study to find out just what gives us a feeling of happiness and demonstrative contentment. And you know what Ford found? That you should forget romance or fine dining or a weekend streaming binge. Ford’s research shows that driving a sports car on a daily basis is the best way to find your sense of well-being.

To which we here in beautiful One Automoblog Towers responded: Duh!

Good Vibrations

As someone who’s owned and used a sports car almost exclusively for the past 20 years, I can personally agree with this. I don’t really think about it, and honestly, I don’t drive a sports car because I want to increase my sense of well-being. I drive a sports car because they go, turn, and stop so very, very well. All that “sense of well-being” stuff is a byproduct of owning and driving a sports car.

And Ford knows all this, but they decided to study it anyway, just to codify where sports car driving falls on the “I’ve got to do more of this” spectrum. Ford measured what they called “buzz moments,” those peak thrills that perform a fundamental role in our overall wellness. So Ford got a bunch of volunteers and measured their physiological responses while doing exciting things like cheering on their favorite football team or watching a riveting Game of Thrones episode (yawn). They even included things like enjoying a passionate kiss, or intense salsa dancing.

They found that, apart from the occasional highs of riding a roller coaster, nothing beat out the daily buzz of a commute in a sports car. Now, I should say this study was conducted by Ford in England, so that probably skewed things like “passionate” kissing. Because, pal, I gotta say, if you find anything on the list more exciting than that, you gotta reevaluate your priorities.

Anyway, to find out how all this worked, Ford teamed with neuroscientists and designers to build the “Buzz Car.” In this case, a customized Ford Focus RS with wearable and artificial intelligence tech to animate the driver’s emotions in real time across the car’s exterior. Yes, that sounds goofy, and yes, a lot of us (me included) could quibble with calling a Ford Focus RS a sports car, but let’s just go with it, shall we?

Ford Focus RS. Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Blinded Me With Science

Ford teamed up with Designworks and spent 1,400 hours creating the tricked out Focus RS Buzz Car. All of the “buzz moments” experienced by the driver were analyzed using an “emotional AI” system developed by Sensum, then transferred into a luminous animation across almost 200,000 LED lights integrated into the car. The Buzz Car Focus RS also featured a high-performance Zotac VR GO gaming PC, 110 x 500-lumen daylight-bright light strips, and 82 display panels with 188,416 individually addressable LEDs. Nothing says Science better than flashing lights!

“This study shows how driving a performance car does much more than get you from A to B – it could be a valuable part of your daily well-being routine,” said Dr. Harry Witchel, Discipline Leader in Physiology. “A roller coaster may be good for a quick thrill, but it’s not great for getting you to work every day.”

Study guinea pigs, er participants who sat behind the wheel of The Buzz Car experienced an average of 2.1 high-intensity buzz moments during a typical commute. Compare this with an average of 3 buzz moments while riding on a roller coaster, 1.7 while on a shopping trip, 1.5 each while watching a Game of Thrones episode or a football match, and none at all while salsa dancing, fine dining, or sharing a passionate kiss. Insert joke about bloodless Englishmen here. Also: Shopping? Really? People get a buzz out of that?

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Healthy & Happy

All this data was handed over to the staff at the Ford Research and Innovation Center in Aachen, Germany. The Innovation Center is looking into how vehicles can better understand and respond to our emotions, which sounds like a good thing (at this point). Ford is investigating how future in-car systems could be informed of our emotions and stress levels, distraction and fatigue, and then provide prompts and warnings in emergency situations.

“We think driving should be an enjoyable, emotional experience,” said Dr. Marcel Mathissen, Research Scientist at Ford of Europe. “The driver-state research Ford and its partners are undertaking is helping to lead us towards safer roads and – importantly – healthier driving.”

That all sounds nice, but so very obvious to us here at Automoblog. You just could have asked us. Shopping? Meh. Kissing? Yes please! Football game? Snore. Half-baked TV show? Not so much. Roller coaster? Why not? Sports car? YES!

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format

Photos, Video & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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2019 Ford Ranger Showcased In Detroit Mon, 15 Jan 2018 22:44:49 +0000 Hey, the Ford Ranger is back, and it wants to bring midsize truck buyers a new choice that’s tough, modern, and dripping with driver-assist technologies. Right off the bat, this seems like a smart move by Ford with demand increasing for midsize trucks. Since 2014, sales are up 83 percent and the new Ranger is set to carve out a chunk of that growth for itself.

Packages & Technology

The 2019 Ford Ranger ticks all the boxes with a new exterior design, chassis, and powertrain. High-strength steel frame, check. 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine, check. Ford’s trick 10-speed automatic transmission, check. And there is a wide range of trim levels to choose from: the entry-level XL, mid-level XLT, and high-level Lariat, with available Chrome and Sport appearance and FX Off-Road packages. The 2019 Ford Ranger will come in a SuperCab or SuperCrew configuration.

I know, that’s all pretty standard truck stuff, but the 2019 Ranger comes with all the tech modern buyers expect too. Ranger integrates advanced driver-assist technologies like Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Keeping Assist, Lane Departure Warning, a Reverse Sensing System, and a Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage for XLT and Lariat trims.

The Ranger’s FX4 Off-Road Package also includes a Terrain Management System akin to the F-150 Raptor’s. The TMS has four distinct drive modes: normal, grass, gravel, and snow; mud and ruts; and sand. The TMS gizmo can shift on the fly to automatically change throttle responsiveness, transmission gearing, and vehicle controls to tailor traction, drivability, and performance. You should be able to handle any given terrain or weather condition, which sounds like a very nice and practical thing for a truck to do.

Debuting with the new Ranger’s FX4 Off-Road Package is Trail Control technology. It’s like cruise control for low-speed, rough terrain. Trail Control takes over acceleration and braking, delivering power and braking to each corner so you can focus on steering along the course.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Power & Performance

FoMoCo insists the Ranger is no parking mall poseur and is designed from the get-go to handle the rough stuff. The ground clearance is already plenty high, but if you opt for the FX4 Off-Road Package, the mud/dirt/gravel gets even easier to handle with off-road-tuned shocks, all-terrain tires, a heavy-gauge steel front bash plate mounted to the frame, and other frame-mounted skid plates. And, as one might expect, the 2019 Ranger will be motivated by the 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine. Ford’s little four-banger has direct fuel injection, a twin-scroll turbocharger, a 16-valve head, forged-steel crankshaft and con rods, and chain-driven dual overhead cams.

Speaking of putting the power down, that all happens thanks to Dana AdvanTEK independent front and solid rear axles on both 2WD and 4WD models. There’s an available electronic-locking rear axle standard on FX2 and FX4. 4×4 models feature 2-high, 4-high, and 4-low configs on the gearbox.

Functional Design

The design of the Ranger is there to reinforce the truck’s practicality, and to withstand the stresses and strains of everyday life. The high beltline emphasizes strength, while the raked grille and windshield seek an athletic appearance, according to Ford. The overhangs are short and functional for the clearing of off-road obstacles, while the tailgate itself is beefed up to handle people and cargo. The steel bumper at the back has an available trailer hitch receiver so you can tow all your toys.

Ford says the interior of the new Ranger merges comfort and functionality with room for up to five people and all their stuff. The center stack of the dashboard includes an 8-inch touchscreen for the available SYNC 3 system. The instrument cluster has dual LCD “productivity” screens for real-time vehicle, navigation, and audio information.

All this adds up to the inevitable reality that Ford will sell these by the train-load, even though pricing has not been announced.

In Person

The 2019 Ford Ranger is on display at the North American International Auto Show at the Cobo Center, downtown Detroit. The show officially opens to the public on Saturday, January 20th.

Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format

2019 Ford Ranger Gallery

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

Engine & Transmission Photos: Carl Anthony.

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2019 Ford Edge ST: The SUV Time Machine Sat, 13 Jan 2018 16:30:06 +0000 Throughout the year at Sioux Falls Ford, we received training on new vehicles before Ford released them. A specialist from Dearborn would arrive in the morning, with said vehicle, and put us sales guys through a day-long session of training and test driving. We learned everything about the forthcoming vehicle so we were prepared to answer any questions future customers might have.

Those were the good old days.

Showroom Shine

Looking back, a few vehicles from those training sessions really stood out: The 2010 Raptor with its suspension, the 2011 F-150 with its EcoBoost engines, and the 2010 Edge Sport with its 22-inch wheels. After training on the Edge that day, we held a public test drive event in the evening. Upper management invited many of our customers in for a chance to see and drive the Edge Sport. We took a few orders that night and enjoyed showing our customers this slick, new vehicle we received training on earlier in the day.

The next morning, I was on first shift, meaning I was usually at my desk by 7:45 before we opened at 8:00. As I was unpacking my things for the day, I glanced across the showroom and caught the morning sun bouncing off the Sport Blue Metallic paint and 22-inch chrome wheels. Since it was a demo vehicle for training, that particular Edge Sport was due to leave us, but for the time being, it was the perfect compliment to the Shelby Mustang sitting only a few feet away.

I get similar vibes from the 2019 Edge ST, Ford’s first SUV to be tuned by Ford Performance.

Photo: Ford Motor Company.

Power & Performance

The Edge ST features a specially-tuned 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine, pumping out 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft. of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic Ford notes as “quick-shifting.” Toggle over to Sport Mode and the Edge ST is suddenly more aggressive, holding gears up to the redline and resonating the exhaust notes a little further. All-wheel drive, a sport-tuned suspension, and an available performance braking package give the Edge ST a little extra “edge” on the road.

Exterior Styling

Just like the 2010 Edge Sport, the 2019 Edge ST catches the eye with its mesh grille, side skirts, redesigned hood, and dual exhaust ports. To enhance curb appeal, 21-inch wheels are available, while LED headlamps are standard.

Interior Design

Edge ST drivers will enjoy seats that offer additional bolstering, especially on longer trips. The center console is redesigned and the rotary gearshift dial reduces clutter and frees up space. The wireless charging pad, built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, and Sync 3 are nice upgrades for those who like having the latest tech. Music lovers will enjoy the available 12-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Safety & Security

The Edge ST features an array of advanced safety systems, two of which really stand out. Post Collision Braking reduces the likelihood of secondary impacts by applying moderate brake pressure when an initial collision is detected. Evasive Steering Assist, designed to operate at city and highway speeds, uses radar and a camera to detect slower-moving and stationary vehicles. Once detected, steering support is provided to help maneuver around a vehicle if a collision is imminent.

Manufacturing & Availability

The 2019 Ford Edge ST will be built at the Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Expect to see the Edge ST at Ford dealerships this summer.

Carl Anthony is Managing Editor of Automoblog and resides in Detroit, Michigan. He studies mechanical engineering at Wayne State University, serves on the Board of Directors for the Ally Jolie Baldwin Foundation, and is a loyal Detroit Lions fan.

Photos & Source: Ford Motor Company.

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