Drive Type: rwd
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
The signs have been very positive for Ford's F-Series line of pickup trucks as of late, and after 24 consecutive months of increasing sales of the best-selling F-150, the automaker has added a third production crew at its Kansas City Assembly Plant that includes 900 new hourly workers to meet demand for the truck. This the first step in Ford's plan to add 2,000 hourly jobs at the plant to help meet demand for its trucks and to begin production of the new Transit van, the automaker says.
Despite some tough new competition, sales of the F-Series are the strongest they've been since 2006, according to Ford. The automaker sold 60,449 F-Series in July, the best sales figure for the mid-summer month since 2006, which also represents a 23 percent increase compared to July 2012. From January to July 2013, sales were up 22 percent compared to the same period last year.
Ford has committed to creating 12,000 hourly jobs by 2015, and with the 900 new employees added to the assembly plant in Missouri, the company says it has completed 75 percent of its goal. Ford has also invested $1.1 billion to retool and expand the Kansas City Assembly Plant to ready it for Transit production. Take a look at the press release below for more job and F-Series sales information.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is opening an investigation into the 2010-2012 Ford Fusion, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ, the 2012 MKZ Hybrid and 2011 Mercury Milan because the agency has hundreds of complaints of electric power steering failure in these models.
According to NHTSA's data, it has received 508 complaints of the power steering allegedly suddenly malfunctioning and resulting in increased effort to turn the wheel. In four incidents, these failures resulted in loss of control and crashes. According to the reports, in some cases a power steering warning message came on as the fault occurred, and other times the system restored itself by turning off and then restarting the vehicle. NHTSA said it has also received further field report data from Ford, but that information hasn't been publicly released yet.
For the moment, there isn't a recall for this failure on these models. NHTSA is just investigating them to "assess the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect," and the agency says an estimated 938,000 vehicles could potentially be affected.
The Ford F-150 is one of the best selling vehicles on the planet. Considering that, one can imagine that when it comes time for a redesign, there are hardly any half measures. For its lucky thirteenth generation, Ford has gone all-in on the single most important vehicle in its portfolio, redesigning it from the ground up.
The big news is the F-150's new, lightweight, Atlas-inspired body. Ninety-three percent of that new body is made from a sort of aluminum alloy not unlike what the US military uses in its M2 Bradley fighting vehicles and Humvees, and it accounts for up to 70 percent of the F-150's 700-pound weight reduction. As a side benefit, the aluminum body should prove more resistant to dents and dings. Built Ford tough, indeed.
If you're wondering where the other 30 percent of that 700-pound weight loss went, 8.5 percent (60 pounds) came from the increased use of high-strength steel (up from 23 percent to 77 percent) in its ladder-box frame. Ford claims this steel is comparable to some of the heavy duty pickups used by its competitors, with a PSI rating of 70,000.