Tesuque, New Mexico, United States
Ford is rumored to be considering concurrent production for old and new F-150 models in a bid to minimize supply chain disruptions and inventory. Automotive News is reporting that the Blue Oval will build both the current F-150 and its replacement, which we showed you testing just last month, side by side for about half a year before switching over entirely to next-generation production.
As IHS Automotive analyst Mike Jackson told AN, "In order to ramp up, you have to retool...and that means you have to take capacity offline." Building both models alongside could allow Ford to cope with the still strong demand for the current F-150, while populating dealer supplies and working out supply chain kinks for the new model before making a full-time switch.
A loss of capacity when demand is so strong, even for a short period, could spell bad news for Ford, which nets an estimated 90 percent of its global profit on pickups and large SUVs. As AN states, Ford produces the F-150 in both Kansas City, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan, which allows it to maintain some degree of flexibility in production. The new F-150 is expected to arrive at the 2014 North American International Auto Show as a 2015 model, with a design inspired by the Atlas Concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show last January.
The second-generation Ford Transit Connect is almost upon us, and to get work- and family-oriented customers ready for the new model, Ford has launched a configurator for both van and wagon versions. Both body styles will go on sale early next year with the base TC Van starting at $22,000, but customers wanting side windows and rear seats will have to pony up at least an extra $3,000 for the TC Wagon.
Ford is definitely looking to get back into the family van business with the 2014 TC Wagon offering three available trim levels, two engines and the choice between five- and seven-passenger seating (with two wheelbases). Like many recent Ford products, a fancy Titanium trim level is offered, and opting for it will cost you - this trim starts at $29,000, and we were able to spec it out with a panoramic roof, tow package and front and rear parking sensors for a little over $33,000.
Businesses looking for a small, fuel-efficient work vehicle now get more options on the TC Van like the choice of split, hinged rear doors or a liftgate (with or without glass), a long wheelbase ($1,000) and Ford's CrewChief vehicle tracking system ($925). Fully loaded, this van is still costs less than the fullsize E-Series. On both Van and Wagon, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is a $795 option, but it is only offered on short-wheelbase models and Ford has yet to release power or fuel economy specs yet. With the standard 2.5-liter engine, the TC will get up to 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The rust issue in the rear wheel wells of 2004-2007 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans has finally led to a recall. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began an investigation into the matter in 2011, said investigation being upgraded to an engineering analysis a year later while NHTSA tried to figure out how many model years should be included in the assessment.
Ford has decided to recall all of the 230,000 minivans potentially affected, namely those sold in salt-belt states and countries like Canada. The excess rust in the rear wheel wells was also able to prevent the third-row seats from locking to the floor of the minivan. To repair the problem, owners can take their minivans to dealers, and the dealers will place new panels in the wheel wells, replace the third-row seat mounting brackets and relocate the latches to an area away from any corrosion.
Ford says it will begin notifying owners during the last week of March.