For Sale By:Private Seller
Engine:223 INLINE 6
Drive Type: MANUAL
Garden City, Kansas, United States
"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.
Well at least we now know why Ken Block "just ain't care" about smashing up his Ford Fiesta rally car recently. It's because he's getting a full brand makeover including a new team name, new paint scheme and even a new headquarters. Formerly known as Monster World Rally Team, Block and his Fiesta will now be competing under the Hoonigan Racing Division name, which is based out of a new 12,000 square foot facility located in Park City, UT.
As you can tell in the image above, Hoonigan Racing will replace the familiar black, white and green paint scheme with a more colorful design featuring plenty of blue, purple and red; the Monster Energy logo retains some of the car's green. The new paint scheme was inspired by Block's love of skateboard graphics from the '80s and early '90s as well as "Miami Vice-era" speedboats.
Block will continue to compete in multiple rally racing series such as Global RallyCross, World Rally Championship and X Games. The new headquarters features office space on one side and a shop for the cars on the other side. The building features plenty of stuff you'd expect from a company designed around Ken Block, including a massive gaming station for racing video games, recycled shipping containers used throughout the facility and a black bear.
It's a fairly well known fact that removing weight from a car is essentially a panacea for many of the modern automobiles problems. Does it handle like crap? Remove weight. Underpowered? Don't add power; trim the fat. Need to improve fuel economy? It's diet time.
Actually executing a major weight reduction program, though, much like with human beings, is no easy task. Unlike you or I, where motivation is the issue, the prohibitive measure in trimming a car's waistline is money. Lightweight materials are expensive, with carbon fiber and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic still primarily in the domain of higher end vehicles. Even aluminum construction, pioneered on a mass-produced level by Audi and Jaguar, is only now starting to make its way into the mainstream, thanks to the upcoming Ford F-150.
With this concept, though, Ford is attempting to show that a mass-produced, lightweight vehicle isn't too far off. This is the Lightweight Concept, and while it may look like a Fusion, it weighs as much as a Fiesta. For reference, the lightest Fusion available to the public is the 3,323-pound, 2.5-liter model with a manual transmission. A manually equipped, 1.6-liter Fiesta, meanwhile, is just 2,537 pounds.