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Auto blogFri, 06 Sep 2013 13:30:00 EST
Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine hasn't been around that long, but it sounds like the engine is getting to be fairly popular in the automaker's global car lineup. The Detroit News is reporting that Ford has add a second shift that will allow its German engine plant to double daily output from 500 engines to 1,000.
The increased capacity is part of a plan to sell more than 300,000 vehicles a year with this engine in Europe by 2015. Europe is currently the only market where the smallest of the EcoBoost engines is offered (including in the Focus pictured above), but US-spec Fiesta models will be getting this mill for 2014.
Three-cylinder engines are expected to continue to grow in popularity in coming years with the report indicating that global production of these engines will double by 2018 to 9.8 million units. General Motors, BMW and Mitsubishi are all expected to introduce three-cylinder engines in the near term, as well.
Ford is making a big bet on aluminum with its new 2015 F-150, and it's possible that the decision will hurt the company financially, at least in the short term. After earning a record $8.6 billion in 2013, the Blue Oval does not expect to set another record in 2014. According to Automotive News, that's "largely attributable to F Series," says Bob Shanks, Ford's Chief Financial Officer.
To retool for the new F-150, Ford will idle its Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan for 11 weeks and the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri for 2 weeks. "3 of the 13 overall weeks occur during what normally is our summer shutdown timeframe," said Mike Levine, Ford Trucks Communication Manager, in an email to Autoblog. The extra 10 weeks will be preparing for the more aluminum-intensive construction for the trucks and will mean over 2 months of no F-150s being made. For comparison's sake, Chrysler boss Sergio Marchionne just confirmed that the 200 plant in Sterling Heights, MI will be down for 30 days to retool for the new model, but obviously there are many more F-150 production variables than for the midsize sedan.
Levine notes that Ford is already running three shifts at both plants, and says the automaker has plans to ensure that there is adequate supply of the full-size pickups during the retooling process. The company does not want to suffer a shortage of the vehicle that accounted for 31-percent of its 2013 US sales and an even bigger percentage of its profits.
Ford is recalling 5,675 of its 2014 F-150 pickups over an issue with the electric power steering system. There haven't been any injuries or accidents due to the issue.
Ford spokesman Mike Levine told Autoblog that the "electric power-assisted steering and motor position sensor gear were incorrectly installed by a supplier," leading to the recall.
While the recall is larger on the surface, it's important to note that only 260 trucks have been delivered to customers. The remaining pickups are currently en route to dealers. The affected vehicles were manufactured between May 26 and June 19.