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Drive Type: Rear Wheel Drive
Newcastle, Wyoming, United States
It's hardly a secret that the auto industry is undergoing an enormous, tectonic shift in the way it thinks, builds cars and does business. Between alternative forms of energy, a renewed focus on low curb weights and aerodynamic bodies, the advent of driverless and autonomous cars and the need to reduce the our impact on the environment, it's very likely that the car that's built 10 years down the line will be scarcely recognizable when parked next to the car from 10 years ago.
Few people are as able to explain the industry's many upcoming changes and challenges as clearly as William Clay Ford, Jr., better known as Bill Ford. The 57-year-old currently sits as the executive chairman of the company his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, founded over 110 years ago.
In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Ford explains that the role of automakers is, necessarily, going to change to suit the needs of the future world. That means changing the view of not just the automobile, but the automaker. As Ford explains it, automakers will "move from being just car and truck manufacturers to become personal-mobility companies."
With the introduction of the aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 (and the likely use of aluminum in future Ford products), Ford is looking to help its dealerships reduce costs related to repairing this more labor-intensive material. Automotive News is reporting that Ford dealers with body shops will require an estimated $30,000 to $50,000 in equipment and training to work on aluminum, and to help alleviate the financial burden of the new F-150, Ford has announced a special 20-percent discount on this equipment.
Dealers will be able to save up to $10,000 on tools such as welders, air-filtration systems and rivet guns and to create aluminum-specific work stations. The new F-150 goes on sale in the fourth quarter, and dealers have until October 31 to take advantage of this deal, according to the report.
Ford hasn't had the best luck with its MyFord Touch and Sync systems, as the finicky infotainment system has been subject to a critical whooping while customer issues have helped sink Ford's IQS scores. The automaker has made a concerted effort, though, to try and fix MyFord Touch. And while the results have been mixed, The Blue Oval is hoping its latest free update, set to go live next week, will make things better.
According to a report from The Detroit News, the new system promises streamlined voice commands with fewer levels between opening query and actual result. Ford is also addressing where certain options are selected on the touchscreen. Rather than working one of the four quadrants on the homescreen, users will be able to select anywhere within the quadrant to make adjustments.
While it might only be a band-aid for MFT's problems, the fact that Ford is still trying to improve it is a promising sign. It's going to take more than just this update to address the system's ills, though.