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Auto blogSat, 23 Feb 2013 13:00:00 EST
Wed, 24 Jul 2013 10:59:00 EST
It would seem Volvo is finally getting around to throwing all of Ford's things out of the apartment. Automotive News reports the Swedish automaker is preparing to unleash a range of new engines as well as a fresh platform designed entirely in house. The powerplants include an all-new four-cylinder engine set to bow before the end of this year before arriving in the US by 2014. Shortly thereafter, the world should get its first glimpse at the next-generation XC60, which will the company's first model to make use of the Volvo scalable platform architecture (SPA). US buyers can expect to see that machine on their roads by early 2015.
The next V70 and S80 will also use the SPA, though those models will carry V90 and S90 designations when they hit dealer floors. But that doesn't mean Volvo has completely weened itself off of Ford technology. The V40 will continue to ride on Ford bones until the model's next chassis can be co-developed between Volvo and Geely.
Ford is rolling along nicely, with a positive second-quarter sales report and a $2.3 billion profit in North America. The Dearborn, Michigan-based manufacturer captured $1.2 billion globally from April to June, with a $177 million profit in Asia. Even in Europe, the land of doom and gloom for automakers not named Mazda, Ford saw some success as it lowered its expected full-year loss from $2 billion to $1.8 billion. The company lost $348 million in Europe during the second quarter, which, believe it or not, represents a $56-million improvement over 2012.
According to the report on CNBC, Ford enjoyed a three-percent increase in pre-market trading thanks to the news. The strong demand for the F-150 propelled growth in the US market, while Ford's 47-percent increase in Asian sales can be attributed to the new EcoSport crossover and Kuga (Ford Escape in the US) arriving in the somewhat fragile Chinese market.
Pre-tax profits for Ford are expected to be in the neighborhood of $8 billion by the end of the year, with sales the US, Europe, and China all looking up. The company also shifted $4.78 billion of asset-backed debt in the form of bonds, according to a report by Bloomberg. This move came amidst rumors of the Federal Reserve cutting back on its $85-billion-per-month bond purchases. Ford wasn't alone among automakers looking to sell off debt, though, as Mercedes-Benz and Nissan shifted around $1 billion each in bonds relating to auto loans.
It's hardly a secret that the auto industry is undergoing an enormous, tectonic shift in the way it thinks, builds cars and does business. Between alternative forms of energy, a renewed focus on low curb weights and aerodynamic bodies, the advent of driverless and autonomous cars and the need to reduce the our impact on the environment, it's very likely that the car that's built 10 years down the line will be scarcely recognizable when parked next to the car from 10 years ago.
Few people are as able to explain the industry's many upcoming changes and challenges as clearly as William Clay Ford, Jr., better known as Bill Ford. The 57-year-old currently sits as the executive chairman of the company his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, founded over 110 years ago.
In an op-ed piece in The Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Ford explains that the role of automakers is, necessarily, going to change to suit the needs of the future world. That means changing the view of not just the automobile, but the automaker. As Ford explains it, automakers will "move from being just car and truck manufacturers to become personal-mobility companies."