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Auto blogMon, 12 May 2014 16:29:00 EST
Among automakers with a big US presence, General Motors is the worst to work for, according to a new survey from Tier 1 automotive suppliers, conducted by Planning Perspectives, Inc.
The Detroit-based manufacturer, which has been under fire following the ignition switch recall and its accompanying scandal, finished behind six other automakers with big US manufacturing operations. Suppliers had issues with trust and communications, as well as intellectual property protection. GM was also the least likely to allow suppliers to raise their prices in the face of unexpected increases in material cost, all of which contributed to 55 percent of suppliers saying their relationship with GM was "poor to very poor."
GM's cross-town competitors didn't fare much better. Chrysler finished in fifth place, ahead of GM and behind Dearborn-based Ford, which was passed for third place this year by Nissan. Toyota took the top marks, while Honda captured second place.
We at Autoblog love the new little Ford Fiesta ST, and apparently, folks in Europe are pretty impressed with it, as well. According to Ford, the automaker's European arm has already logged 3,000 orders for the new hot hatch since it hit dealerships this March. The US-spec car, which will only be available as a five-door, will go on sale in the United States this summer.
What's perhaps most interesting about the Fiesta ST ordering is that the majority of customers appear to be ordering high-spec cars. According to Ford data, 60 percent of customers have opted for the leather interior with Recaro buckets, and 90 percent have selected the upgraded 17-inch wheels (seen on our test car, above). Spirit Blue has been the most popular color, commanding 27 percent of all orders. As for the technology upgrades, 19 percent of customers have ponied up for the Sony stereo with navigation.
To recap, the Fiesta ST is offered with Ford's 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, putting out 179 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, mated exclusively to a six-speed manual transmission. We had an absolute blast flinging the hot Fiesta through the French Alps, and we can't wait for this sharp little hatch to make its way over to the States.
Soon enough, Ford will offer its 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine under the hood of the Fiesta here in the United States, building on the success of the small powerplant overseas. In fact, this success has caused other automakers to take notice, and according to Automotive News Europe, Daimler is now talking to Ford about this engine for use in its own products.
In other markets, Ford offers the 1.0-liter mill under the hood of the Focus (we had the chance to sample this package on our home turf), as well as the B-Max MPV. For this new collaboration, Daimler would use the turbo-three in the next-generation Smart ForTwo, as well as the Renault Twingo, which the German automaker will be collaborating on as part of its alliance with Renault-Nissan. Speaking to AN, a Mercedes-Benz engineer called the 1.0-liter mill an "interesting and impressive engine."
In exchange for details about the EcoBoost inline-three, Daimler will supply Ford with information regarding its Euro6 stratified lean-burn gasoline engine, which is found in the new E-Class sedan.