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"Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last year." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China during the first half of 2014." "Ford opened 88 dealerships in China last month." None of those statements - even the last one - would seem unbelievable. Saying "Ford opened up 88 dealerships in China last Thursday," though, is a bit more dramatic.
Yes, on June 19 alone, Ford opened the doors on nearly 100 showrooms in the People's Republic, boosting the Blue Oval's total presence in the country to 750 dealerships. Of course, while an overabundance of dealers in the US proved troublesome for American manufacturers back in 2008 and 2009, there's no such concern in China. Considering the country's huge population and the breakneck pace of the local auto industry, you could be forgiven for being surprised Ford only has 750 outlets at this stage.
What's notable about this most recent push, besides the sheer volume of new stores, is their location. Over three-quarters of the new dealerships are in so-called Tier 4 cities, which are smaller towns that still contain millions of people. This fits with Ford's strategy in China of avoiding the bigger battlegrounds that are already dominated by competitors and focusing on setting up shop in newer markets that may have been overlooked, according to Automotive News.
Thu, 27 Jun 2013 15:45:00 EST
The EPA says it stands behind its fuel economy test for hybrid vehicles following controversy about the testing process after Ford C-Max Hybrid customers and automotive journalists alike struggled to achieve 47 miles per gallon, the advertised mpg number, Automotive News reports. Ford responded to the issue almost two weeks ago by claiming that a 1970s-era EPA general label rule was responsible for the inaccurate mileage numbers, rerating the C-Max Hybrid's mpg numbers and offering customers rebates. Ford later said it didn't overstate the C-Max Hybrid's fuel economy and that it was surprised by the low numbers.
Ford technically didn't do anything wrong because it was following the general label rule, but agency regulator Christopher Grundler says the automaker was exploiting a loophole when it came up with the hybrid C-Max numbers, and that the testing process remains accurate. The general label rule allows vehicles that use the same engine and transmission and are in the same weight class to share fuel economy numbers, but it doesn't take into account other factors such as aerodynamic efficiency, which affects hybrids more drastically than non-hybrid vehicles. Ford originally used the Fusion Hybrid economy figures for the C-Max Hybrid and claimed the engineers didn't realize that its aerodynamic efficiency would affect fuel economy as much as it did.
Just ahead of January's Detroit Auto Show, surprising rumors pegged Ford as revealing some sort of F-150 concept, perhaps as a hurried effort to deflate some of the buzz building around General Motors' new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins, which were also making their auto show debut. Those rumblings turned out to be true, as Ford rolled into the Motor City with its Atlas concept (inset, right), touting the truck's bold styling as a precursor to the next-generation F-Series.
The show truck featured all kinds of clever details, including active wheel shutters and a front air dam that raised and lowered to improve aerodynamics while preserving off-road ability. It also had a genuinely snarly face. And it's that pugnacious snout that may well be on its way to production. The good folks at TopSpeed have worked up the plausible-looking artist's rendering above by cross-referencing the Atlas concept with what little has been revealed from recent spy shots. The look is toned-down pretty dramatically from the concept truck, but its Atlas roots are clear, with a massive three-bar grille and bracket-shaped headlamps hiding a next-generation EcoBoost engine. In the rendering, the show truck's deeply contoured hood and roofline have been ditched and larger, more traditional side mirrors have been fitted - all likely concessions in the move to production sheetmetal.
While Ford has yet to officially announce when it will unveil the 2015 F-150, all signs point to next year's Detroit Auto Show - one year after the Atlas shrugged off GM's new pickups.