2007 Ford Five Hundred 4dr Sel on 2040-cars
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Auto blogFri, 07 Jun 2013 09:14:00 EST
The 2014 Ford Fiesta is in showrooms now with refreshed styling and new performance ST model, but it's what isn't yet available that should help the Fiesta stand out from the growing crowd of subcompacts. Aside from the new 1.0-liter EcoBoost model coming later this year, Ford recently told us that a new Fiesta SFE trim level is on the way that should put the updated Fiesta at the top of its class for fuel economy.
The new Fiesta SFE will hit an estimated 41 miles per gallon on the highway when equipped with the six-speed automatic transmission. The current listing on fueleconomy.gov shows the 2014 Fiesta getting up to 29 mpg city and 39 highway, but the SFE will get minor aero tuning and a recalibrated engine controller to help bump the highway figure past rivals like the Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa - both of which top out at 40-mpg highway. There's still no word as to when the small 1.0-liter EcoBoost will show in the US, but Ford has indicated that engine's fuel economy isn't expected to be released until October.
Detroit has no shortage of old, abandoned buildings, both within the city and in the surrounding communities. Few, though, have the historical significance of the old Ford Highland Park facility. Home to the very first moving assembly line, Highland Park was designed by the legendary Albert Kahn, and was one of the homes of the Model T.
Now, the Woodward Avenue Action Association is attempting to buy both the 40,000-square-foot admin building, which is located off the historic Woodward Avenue, and an 8,000-square-foot garage. The WAAA's goal is to convert the buildings into an automotive heritage center. The Detroit News spoke to the interim director of the WAAA, Deborah Schutt, who commented, "[Metro Detroit has] not been very good at telling our own story. So we've decided, let's pull everything together and tell our story."
The WAAA made an offer of $550,000 to buy the two buildings, and has $400,000 from the Michigan Department of Transportation and another $15,000 from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. It's trying to raise a further $125,000 through crowd-sourcing, starting a campaign called "Five Dollars A Day," after old Hank Ford's $5-per-day wage for line workers.
Ford is doing well. It can't make enough examples of its new Fusion, it can barely make enough of the aging F-150, it's getting good brand rankings, people like its turnaround story, it's selling oodles of product and its quarterly profit numbers end in the word "billion." As other high-flying examples have demonstrated over the past few years, though, big numbers can come with problems that aren't exactly small.
Automotive News has published a good "nutshell" report of Ford's progress and problems. The Dearborn automaker's optimistic "general label rule" determination of gas mileage for the C-Max Hybrid has led to lawsuits, hybrid software updates, a downward revision of C-Max fuel economy and millions in rebates. AN notes the C-Max was the "worst-scoring model in this year's J.D. Power Initial Quality Study," but Ford will probably be happy that it managed not to be mentioned further in the study's results after last year's mediocre showing. Its MyTouch and SYNC systems, the bugbears sabotaging Ford's J.D. Power results, have also led to lawsuits, software updates, more software updates and a center console rethink. On top of that, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in the 2013 Ford Escape that Ford called a "hero" was soon catching fire for three different reasons. And let's not even get into the troubled launch of the Lincoln MKZ.
The Automotive News piece notes that industry observers have been surprised at Ford's stumbles because everything has been looking so good. Nevertheless, there is still the issue of those billions in profits - the company is doing plenty of things, plural, right. Ford says it is tackling its problems, hiring engineers and instituting new quality control processes as part of its effort to find solutions. The test will be to see if in a year from now we begin the discussion of these issues with "Remember when Ford...", or "Problems continue at The Blue Oval."