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Auto blogMon, 15 Sep 2014 15:32:00 EST
Looking at a Ford Focus? These days you can get it as a five-door hatch, a four-door sedan, or... that's all. European buyers don't even get our sedan, but they do get a wagon. And while the three-door hatch, two-door coupe and two-door cabrio have long since ended production, buyers around the world can also get the company's larger C-Max. And now, like the Focus upon which it's based, Ford is preparing to roll out a new version.
The tall wagon (or small minivan, depending on your perspective) is being treated to what Ford says is "an extreme makeover." Details to accompany the teaser image above remain few and far between, but following the spy shots we recently posted, it looks destined for some of the same visual updates as Ford rolled out on the 2015 Focus, with "even more refinement, practicality and technology."
Like the Mercedes B-Class, which is only available Stateside as an EV, American buyers can only get the C-Max in electrified form, either as the C-Max Hybrid or C-Max Energi. Overseas buyers, however, will be able to choose from a range of powertrain options and two wheelbase lengths - the longer of which boasts seven seats and the Grand C-Max name. (Remember when Chrysler did the same with its minivans?) Both are set to debut on September 17, so watch this space. After that, we'll expect to see it on display at the Paris Motor Show.
Alan Mulally will not be following his successful term as president and CEO of Ford Motor Company with a run at an even bigger presidency. Rumors that the 68-year-old former Boeing exec would make a run at the White House sprouted after his apparent dodging of a reporter's questions about a potential candidacy during a forum in Indianapolis.
"I really think it's important that we all pull together. We really need to pull together around a compelling vision for our country and a comprehensive strategy to do it and work together. We really need to do it," Mulally said at the conference, according to The Detroit News.
He's since clarified by saying, "[I'm] honored at the suggestion, but that is not a role I am considering."
To quote Harry Hogge (played by Robert Duvall) in Days of Thunder, "rubbin, son, is racin'." That can mean some unfortunate damage to high-end racing machinery, which may be repaired easily enough in stock car racing, but when it comes to vintage racing, the stakes can be that much higher. And yet incidents do occur, like at this weekend's Goodwood Revival.
Among the many competitors taking part in the retro racing event in England was none other than Rowan Atkinson, the actor perhaps best known for playing Mr. Bean. Driving a classic Ford Falcon Sprint in the Shelby Cup event, Atkinson (pictured above at the 2012 revival) reportedly crashed head-on into another car on track.
According to reports, the two cars up spun out. The driver in between managed to avoid a pile-up, but Atkinson couldn't steer clear and hit the obstructing vehicle. Fortunately Rowan walked away unscathed (and, we imagine, in a humorous manner), but while we don't know how extensive the damage was to the Falcon, it was enough to take it out of the race.
Ford is recalling about 70,209 examples of the 2005-2008 Ford Escape Hybrid and the 2006-2008 Mercury Mariner Hybrid because the cooling pumps for their hybrid systems could fail.
According to the company's defect notice, it's possible for the original "Motor Electronics Coolant (MEC) Pump" to wear out and fail, which would could cause the hybrid system to overheat. If this happens, the vehicle goes into a safety mode that takes away most or all of its power. However, braking and steering still operate normally. After cooling down, the affected models restart normally. The company says that it's not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this problem.
Ford will begin repairing the vehicles in late October, and dealers will be installing improved, brushless pumps on the affected models at no charge to owners. If drivers had their pumps fail before this recall, they can contact Ford for a possible reimbursement. Scroll down to read the recall announcement from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or download the full defect notice as a PDF, here.
Fri, 05 Sep 2014 20:04:00 EST
Vaughn Gittin Jr. spends a great deal of his workday going sideways, but he's usually alone in the endeavor. For a guy that is clearly a dog lover, we imagine that can get a bit lonely.
That won't be a problem for Gittin in this latest video, which features the racer hanging out with his good pal Brody (a dog) and everyone's favorite hot hatch, the Ford Fiesta ST.
There's an evergreen debate among auto enthusiasts about whether they would prefer to have the latest and greatest car of today or a certified classic from yesteryear. What if you had to further define that, though, and the choice was between a brand new 2015 Subaru Legacy or a turbocharged Datsun 240Z with a hatch that wouldn't close? Roadkill aimed to find out that and more in one of its best videos to date.
According to the hosts, Subaru came to them, handed over some money and challenged Roadkill's project cars against its latest Legacy. The result is every bit as good (or better) than any automotive-themed show you could find on television.
Things start simple with a figure-eight race in a rodeo arena with the Subaru taking on Roadkill's 1968 Ford Ranchero, originally built for ice racing. From there the Legacy races a 1968 Dodge Charger with no windows around and off-road rally stage. Finally, the Subie goes head-to-head against the Rotsun, the aforementioned turbocharged 240Z, through an abandoned neighborhood. Plus, there's a bonus drag race challenging them all.
The Ford C-Max hatchback looks to be getting a few cosmetic updates, as evidenced in this latest set of spy photos. Like the smaller Focus, which also received a nip/tuck for the 2015 model year, the C-Max appears to be getting a revised front fascia with slimmer headlamps and a more, shall we say, Aston Martin-like grille. Around back, there looks to be a new bumper with redesigned taillamps, as well.
In other markets, the C-Max people-mover is available with a range of powertrains, but here in the US, it exists either as a traditional gas-electric or plug-in hybrid. The C-Max's fuel economy has been a particular topic of interest lately, with its official fuel economy ratings having been lowered twice since the vehicle's launch. Sales initially suffered a bit following this fiasco, though numbers have since leveled out. It's unclear if Ford is working on any powertrain tweaks for the updated C-Max seen here, however.
Ford has likely spruced up the hatch's interior, as well, though we don't have photos of that at this time. Mum's the word on when we'll see the new C-Max, but our best guess is that it'll arrive sometime in the next year.
Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload numberTue, 02 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST
The ongoing heavy-duty truck battle between Ford and Ram is showing no signs of slowing down. The Blue Oval is trying to remove at least one point of contention between the two brands by testing its 2015 F-450 Super Duty using the Society of Automotive Engineers J2807 towing standard, which Ram also uses. In the new evaluation, the F-450 is rated at a max towing capacity of 31,200 pounds. That's an identical amount as under Ford's own, previous test.
"We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds - whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development, in the company's release.
At the same time, Ford is also changing how it calculates the F-450's payload. Instead of using its minimum curb weight as before, the brand is now using the truck's base curb weight. The revision lowers the pickup's rating to 5,300 pounds, compared to 5,450 pounds previously. The company said in its announcement that the reason for this is "aligning its payload rating practices with other manufacturers to make it easier for customers to compare vehicles." General Motors made a similar switch for its pickups in August.
Ford hybrid customers apparently have very short memories. With two EPA fuel economy reratings in the last year, sales of the C-Max, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ haven't been too terribly dented, Ward's Auto reports.
All three vehicles saw sales dips following the August 2013 rerating, although sales of the MKZ Hybrid had begun to rebound as early as November of that year. C-Max sales, meanwhile, took slightly longer, with sales on a steadily improving course as early as February of this year.
The second rerating, in June of this year, has had an even smaller effect on the Blue Oval's hybrids. The C-Max has actually been subject to a sales increase, while both the MKZ and Fusion saw minor sales drops (less than 400 units between the two in the month following the rerating).
When it comes to forbidden fruit, few vehicles are spoken of in as hushed a tone as the Ford Focus RS. The turbocharged, five-cylinder hot hatch could only be seen from afar by American customers as it tore up the roads of Europe. And while it's safe to say that Ford's Yankee fans are quite happy to now be on equal footing with drivers in the old country thanks to the Focus ST, we doubt there'd be much protestation over a successor to the RS arriving stateside.
Of course, we've seen images of the new RS undergoing testing, but a new story by Road and Track aims to fill in some very large blanks in our knowledge of that car, thanks to a pair of mysterious insiders at the Ford. Chief among those is this - the RS will almost certainly make its way to the US, albeit in limited quantities. It gets better, though.
Under hood, the new RS is unsurprisingly expected to borrow the 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder from the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2015 Lincoln MKC. While that twin-scroll turbo produces 310 horsepower in the Mustang and 285 ponies in the MKC, R&T expects the RS to deliver quite a bit more firepower - 325 to 350 hp, with preference going to the higher output due to the limited-edition nature of the RS. This roughly fits with previous reports.