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Ford CEO Alan Mulally may be about to announce his long-rumored retirement from the Blue Oval, according to a pair of insiders who spoke to Bloomberg. An official statement on the succession could arrive as soon as May 1. Chief Operating Officer Mark Fields is rumored to step up as the new CEO. The company is said to be readying the announcement soon to ensure an orderly transition of power, according to the insiders.
Mulally's retirement from Ford has been a hot topic for a while. He was seriously rumored last year to be leaving the automaker to take over as the CEO of Microsoft. The board even said at one point that it was okay with them if he stepped down early. However, the CEO maintained he would stay with the business through at least the end of 2014. Fields has been rumored as a frontrunner to take over the top spot at the company since he was promoted to COO.
For the moment, Ford isn't officially confirming any of these plans. "We don't comment on speculation. We do have succession plans in place for our key leadership. We take succession planning very seriously," said Susan Krusel, Ford Global News Manager, to Autoblog.
Typically when we report on the findings of an investigation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it's because the government body has discovered a safety issue and prescribed a recall. In this case, however, NHTSA has closed an investigation into a reported performance deficit without ever getting to the recall stage.
The issue revolves around the Ford F-150 - specifically those equipped with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine - of which some 360,000 were built in the 2011, 2012 and 2013 model years. After receiving an initial 95 complaints, NHTSA opened an investigation last May - almost a year ago - into the reported issue of reduced engine power under hard acceleration. The agency has since received a total of 525 such complaints, and Ford itself reported receiving over 4,000.
Together, NHTSA and Ford determined that the problem resulted from cylinders misfiring, an issue itself stemming from water getting into the charge air cooler (CAC) mated to the turbochargers. In particularly humid or rainy conditions, water was found to get into the CAC, causing some of the cylinders to misfire, which in turn triggered the ECU to disable those cylinders in order to protect the catalytic converter from damage.
A California lawsuit over the fuel economy claims for the 2013 Ford C-Max was first reported back in December. Based on the numerous reports we've heard of disgruntled owners failing to get their car's EPA fuel economy ratings on the C-Max and 2013 Fusion Hybrid, we suspected there would be more to this story. The Detroit News is reporting that two California law firms are combining their lawsuits against Ford on this matter for "false and misleading" claims.
The article states that there are hundreds of C-Max and Fusion Hybrid owners who have joined the lawsuit, but the issue isn't limited to customers. In December, Consumer Reports extensively tested both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max and found that both hybrids performed significantly worse than their EPA claims. This all comes just a few months after Hyundai and Kia took the unprecedented step of lowering the fuel economy ratings for all of their 2012 and 2013 model-year vehicles.