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Auto blogSat, 09 Aug 2014 12:00:00 EST
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The stiff punishments are part of broader transportation legislation, but clearly McCaskill has automakers in her sights.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill threw down the gauntlet this week, proposing a bill that could send auto executives to prison for life if they were found to have delayed a recall. She also wants to eliminate the limit for fines for auto safety violations, which are currently capped at $35 million.
If you're in the market for a hot hatch, there are some excellent choices at your disposal - especially if you live in Europe. But if you want a diesel, well, your choices become rather more limited. Volkswagen tends to that niche market with the Golf GTD (essentially an oil-burning version of the GTI available Stateside), but that's about the extent of it. The pleas of those looking for more diesel-burning hot hatch choices haven't fallen on deaf ears at Ford, with the Blue Oval not only rolling out a facelifted gas-powered Focus ST at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, but also a new diesel version as well.
The diesel Focus ST (which we hope and pray isn't marketed as the STD) packs a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four producing 182 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to propel the oil-burning hot hatch to 62 in 8.1 seconds en route to a top speed of 135 miles per hour. With less power and only slightly more torque, that makes the diesel Focus ST considerably slower than the gasoline one, which packs 252 hp and 270 lb-ft, runs to 62 in 6.5 seconds and tops out at 154 mph, but (in a testament to how far particulate filters have come) the diesel model cuts carbon emissions by nearly a third compared to the petrol version and returns about 50-percent better fuel economy, which makes that much more of a difference in markets where diesel is already priced better than gasoline at the pump.
For buyers who wouldn't consider anything other than a diesel, it also represents 23-percent more power than the previous top-level diesel Focus. The VW Golf GTD, for reference, offers up 181 hp (just 1 horse less), 280 lb-ft (15 fewer torques) but is somehow estimated to reach 60 in a considerably fleeter 7.4 seconds.
The Russian auto market, in decline for the past year and further hit by the declining value of the ruble and recent sanctions over its annexation of Crimea, has forced Ford to cut jobs and shifts at two of its joint venture plants there. Around 700 of the 2,700 total workers who build the Russian-market Focus and Mondeo will be cut at the plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg as it drops to a single production shift. A second plant about 700 miles away in Yelabuga, in the Tartarstan region, will lose 250 workers. That plant builds seven vehicles, including the Explorer, Kuga and Edge.
The Moscow Times says Ford has been especially hit by the market decline, the overall market losing 5.5 percent in 2013 compared to the year before, but Ford sales dropping 18 percent in 2013 year-on-year. This year isn't going any better, with The Blue Oval posting a 21-percent decline through the first two months of 2014. That's why, though the Yelabuga plant builds the CUVs that customers are moving into, even it is facing cuts.
The job cuts in Vsevolozhsk come on top four-week plant shutdown planned so that the paint and body shops can go to one shift. In a statement, the company said, "Ford Sollers remains absolutely committed to the Russian market and is confident it has the right product plan, people and assets to deliver long-term profitable growth."