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17" forged aluminum wheels
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Auto blogMon, 15 Sep 2014 17:00:00 EST
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary investigation on the 2011-2013 Ford Fiesta because the regulator has received 61 complaints from drivers, including one claim of an injury, about the doors on the subcompacts failing to latch and sometimes even flying open while driving. NHTSA has estimated that the problem could affect as many as 205,000 vehicles.
NHTSA is still gathering further data about the problem, but looking at the complaints so far, both front and rear doors appear to be potentially involved with the alleged failures. Among the reports, there are 12 claiming that the door opened while driving. Several also indicate the "Door Ajar" warning illuminating during this problem. The one purported injury happened when someone attempted to shut the door, and it bounced back.
Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker told Autoblog via email, "We are cooperating with NHTSA on this investigation, as we always do." Scroll down to read the report from NHTSA.
Aluminum is the new buzzword in the automotive industry. The latest Range Rover and Range Rover Sport both take advantage of the lightweight material to shave huge amounts of body fat (only it's called "aluminium" over there). Audi and Jaguar have been using the stuff for years in their A8 and XJ, respectively, and now, aluminum is going mainstream, arriving on the 2015 Ford F-150.
While we're excited to see aluminum make an impact outside the premium market, its widespread adoption apparently won't come without some problems, notably in terms of supply. "There isn't an automotive manufacturer that makes vehicles in North America that we're not talking to," Tom Boney, of Novelis, the largest global supplier of aluminum sheetmetal, told The Detroit News.
According to Boney, Ford's use of aluminum on such a large scale has forced auto manufacturers in "every boardroom" to reconsider their plans following the F-150's unveiling, for one simple reason: there's not exactly enough aluminum to go around, at least in the short term. The auto industry presently only accounts for six percent of the aluminum sheet produced, but as the material is adopted by more and more brands, that figure is expected to swell to 25 percent within the next six years.
Speeders beware, the police are going to be getting quite a bit faster. Ford has just announced that it will be offering its 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged, EcoBoost V6 in the Explorer Police Interceptor. The new engine will be joining the existing 3.7-liter V6. The 365-horsepower, 350-pound-foot mill should be familiar to consumers as the powerplant that's found in the Ford Taurus SHO (and its LEO equivalent, the Taurus Police Interceptor) and the Ford Explorer Sport. It should also provide quite a kick in the pants to officers used to the naturally aspirated 3.7 and its 304 ponies and 279 pound-feet of torque.
The move to the more potent powerplant was born out of all the equipment officers need to carry on a day-to-day basis. These days, there's so much stuff that police need on a regular basis, that there's a genuine market for a faster Police Interceptor Utility, as it's known officially. The Explorer-based cruiser has already accounted for 68 percent of Ford's LEO sales in 2013, and that's with just the 3.7, and we'd only expect that number to increase once the twin-turbo, 3.5-liter V6 is available. Ford won't offer up any indication of what the take rate will be on the new engine, but we're guessing it'll be fairly high.
The success of the Explorer PI couldn't have come at a better time for Ford. The decision to end Crown Victoria production was not a popular one with police, and combined with Chevrolet and Dodge diving into the LEO market feet first, Ford hasn't been performing as well as it's wanted to. The Explorer has been helping it turn around, though. And with the inclusion of the EcoBoost, Ford also has a legit competitor for the Chevrolet Tahoe on the big utility side of the police market.