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Auto blogMon, 02 Dec 2013 16:59:00 EST
Three months after kicking off production of the Ford Fusion at its Flat Rock, MI factory, Ford Motor Company is taking steps to trim output in the face of heavily discounted competition from Toyota and a growing supply of vehicles.
The addition of Fusion production in Flat Rock - which also builds the Mustang - was meant to be what pushed the handsome mid-sizer past its arch-nemesis, the Toyota Camry. An extra facility building Fusions was also meant to curb the growing demand for Ford's highly profitable sedan.
But with word that Flat Rock would take "approximately" one extra week off for the holidays combined with an 88-day supply of Fusions - reportedly due in no small part to what Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas called "aggressive discounting of the Camry" - some analysts are now beginning to wonder if Ford may have overextended itself by adding a second Fusion facility to the mix.
Ford is on a roll this year, with excellent quarterly earnings and better-than-expected vehicle sales leading to 800 more job opportunities with the Blue Oval. In January, Ford announced that it wanted to hire 2,200 salaried employees, but, since then, that figure has been revised to 3,000, representing a 36-percent increase over original projections. About 1,500 of those jobs remain, 80 percent of which are technical professional positions.
"Engineers and technical professionals are in as much demand as our cars, trucks and SUVs," says Felicia Fields, Ford Group Vice President for Human Resources. Helping to spur this job growth are increasing market share on both the West and East Coast and robust demand for the Ford Escape and F-150.
To find job candidates, Ford is reaching out to them via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, in addition to the company's corporate career site. The Blue Oval is also ramping up its presence on college campuses.
Let's get this unfortunate though important tidbit out of the way right off the bat: The Ford S-Max isn't sold in the United States, and it's not coming here, at least not anytime soon. And so it's with our European friends in mind that we share this information about the next-gen S-Max (previewed about a year ago in concept form) that is set to debut all across Europe next year and will be shown off at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Now, moving on...
As with the first-gen S-Max, the new model will boast seating for seven passengers, along with a decent amount of storage space, all packed into a relatively reasonably sized package. Powering the front wheels (or optionally all four) will be the buyer's choice of EcoBoost gasoline-turbocharged or turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines along with automatic and manual transmission options. Included in the mix is a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost with 160 horsepower, though the 240-horse 2.0 is likely to be seen as the headliner.
There are all kinds of new technologies on offer, ranging from Adaptive Steering to Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeams, and it's all housed inside new, more sleekly designed bodywork riding atop a chassis with new suspension architecture designed to make the S-Max a people-hauler that's still fun to drive. For all the details, we suggest you scroll down below to read through Ford's official press release.