Body Type:Pickup Truck
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Blue
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: RWD
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Auto blogThu, 03 Apr 2014 08:00:00 EST
The Russian auto market, in decline for the past year and further hit by the declining value of the ruble and recent sanctions over its annexation of Crimea, has forced Ford to cut jobs and shifts at two of its joint venture plants there. Around 700 of the 2,700 total workers who build the Russian-market Focus and Mondeo will be cut at the plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg as it drops to a single production shift. A second plant about 700 miles away in Yelabuga, in the Tartarstan region, will lose 250 workers. That plant builds seven vehicles, including the Explorer, Kuga and Edge.
The Moscow Times says Ford has been especially hit by the market decline, the overall market losing 5.5 percent in 2013 compared to the year before, but Ford sales dropping 18 percent in 2013 year-on-year. This year isn't going any better, with The Blue Oval posting a 21-percent decline through the first two months of 2014. That's why, though the Yelabuga plant builds the CUVs that customers are moving into, even it is facing cuts.
The job cuts in Vsevolozhsk come on top four-week plant shutdown planned so that the paint and body shops can go to one shift. In a statement, the company said, "Ford Sollers remains absolutely committed to the Russian market and is confident it has the right product plan, people and assets to deliver long-term profitable growth."
Not long ago, the History Channel showed a seemingly unending stream of World War II documentaries, but it made a switch a few years ago to include an increasing mix of 'reality' programming. American Pickers was one of the early attempts at this new formula, with cameras following hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz around the country in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter as they tracked down collectibles and "rusty gold" for their Iowa shop, Antique Archeology. The show has since gone on to become one of the channel's most popular programs.
Starting in the new episode airing tonight, the affable hosts will swap their Benz for a 2015 Ford Transit, a nicely timed bit of marketing to coincide with the launch of the model's assembly at the Blue Oval's Kansas City Assembly Plant, which also kicks off this week. Ford is touting 2,000 new jobs created as part of its $1.1-billion investment in the plant.
No strangers to product placement, the guys from American Pickers say their switch away from the Sprinter is because they wanted to balance cargo capacity and fuel economy to make the most of their cross-country jaunts. They opted for the largest Transit available with a long wheelbase, extended body and high roof, giving them 487 cubic feet of cargo room. Hauling power comes from a 3.2-liter, five-cylinder diesel engine with 190 horsepower and 346 pound-feet of torque and a six-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive. Fittingly, the van wears the same Antique Archaeology logo over white paint as their old Sprinter.
As is the case with most auto shows, waiting for the reveal of hot new models is the worst part. So, while our own Drew Phillips has been wandering the halls here in Las Vegas since they unlocked the doors for SEMA 2014, we didn't expect him to come back with any big reveals until later in the day. Until this happened.
Meandering by the Ford stand, Phillips eagle-eyed a trunk lid that caught his attention. Popping out from an otherwise draped 2015 Mustang, the matte black lid clearly has the name King Cobra embossed on the rear.
That name is interesting for a few reasons: to start, Ford hasn't used the Cobra name (without "Jet" attached) since way back in 2004, so a new snake is certainly something to take note of. Second, the King Cobra name dates all the way back to the ill-remembered Mustang II, meaning there is a clear link to Blue Oval history here.