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Auto blogWed, 22 May 2013 13:29:00 EST
Most domestic automaker assembly plants traditionally take a couple of weeks off during the summer. The shutdowns give each plant time for much needed repairs and maintenance, and in some cases, help better align production with demand. Not this year, though, as demand for many models is outstripping what Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plants can produce.
Ford has announced that it will shorten its annual summer shutdown for most North American plants from two weeks to one. The shorter shutdown will increase the carmaker's annual North American production by 40,000 units on top of the 200,000 extra units that it was already planning to produce this year versus last. Automotive News reports that Ford produced 2.8 million vehicles on this continent in 2012, and that output this year has already increased 13 percent through April.
Chrysler, meanwhile, is also operating at full tilt and plans to run some plants through the summer with no shutdown at all. Those not getting a break include Jefferson North where the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are assembled, Toledo North that will assemble the new Cherokee, and Conner Avenue, home of SRT Viper production. Other assembly plants will be down for a single week, while all of Chrysler's engine and transmission plants except one in Indiana will continue operating with no shutdown this summer.
Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine hasn't been around that long, but it sounds like the engine is getting to be fairly popular in the automaker's global car lineup. The Detroit News is reporting that Ford has add a second shift that will allow its German engine plant to double daily output from 500 engines to 1,000.
The increased capacity is part of a plan to sell more than 300,000 vehicles a year with this engine in Europe by 2015. Europe is currently the only market where the smallest of the EcoBoost engines is offered (including in the Focus pictured above), but US-spec Fiesta models will be getting this mill for 2014.
Three-cylinder engines are expected to continue to grow in popularity in coming years with the report indicating that global production of these engines will double by 2018 to 9.8 million units. General Motors, BMW and Mitsubishi are all expected to introduce three-cylinder engines in the near term, as well.
The news keeps pouring in from the Consumer Electronics Show now underway in Las Vegas, and the latest comes from Ford which has announced two new apps for its Sync AppLink system.
First up is a cooperative app launched by Ford together with Domino's Pizza that lets drivers of the former order pizza from the latter right from their car. The service allows those with Ford Sync AppLink in their car or truck and are registered with a Domino's Pizza Profile to place an order for their favorite pie using Dearborn's voice-recognition software for either pickup or delivery. Save your information in your Pizza Profile and it'll be sent to your house without even the push of a button, which strikes us as awesome a use of technology as we've ever seen.