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Auto blogTue, 06 Aug 2013 10:31:00 EST
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.
Recently, the finance arm of PSA/Peugeot-Citroën was in such debt trouble that it was pricing itself out of the car loan market. The rates it was paying to service its debt, which was rated one step above junk, were so high that it was forced to charge car-buying customers higher rates than they could find elsewhere. This was adding to Peugeot's already impressive woes by sending revenue out the door to competitors.
Two months ago a deal was worked out with the French government whereby the state would provide 7 billion euro ($9 billion USD) in bonds to guarantee the finance arm's loans. The French government could nominate someone to join the Peugeot board, Peugeot would guarantee more French jobs, and on top of that deal, other banks would provide non-guaranteed loans. The government would take no equity stake in the car company.
Although not yet finalized, the arrangement is meant to create some breathing room for Peugeot Finance to lower its interest rates for customers, and a government-nominated board member, Louis Gallois, was recently named to Peugeot's supervisory board. The arrangement was also openly questioned by at least three competitors: Ford, Renault - which is 15-percent owned by the French government after it received state aid - and the German state of Lower Saxony, itself a 15-percent shareholder in Volkswagen.
Car buyers have a responsibility to be well-informed consumers. That's not always a very simple task, but some guidelines are self-evident. If you live in a very snowy climate, you generally know a Ford Mustang or Chevrolet Camaro might not be as viable a vehicle choice as an all-wheel drive Explorer or Traverse, for example. If you want a fuel-efficient car, it's generally a good idea to know the difference between a diesel and a hybrid. But what if it's kind of tough to be an informed consumer? What if the information you need is more difficult to come by, or worse, based on different standards for each vehicle? Well, in that case, you might be a truck shopper.
For years, customers of light-duty pickups have had to suffer through different ratings of towing capacities for each brand. For 2015 model year trucks, though, that will no longer be a problem. According to Automotive News, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler Group have announced that starting with next year's models, a common standard will be used to measure towing capacity. The Detroit Three will join Toyota, which adopted the Society of Automotive Engineers' so-called SAE J2807 standards way back in 2011.
The standard was originally supposed to be in place for MY2013, but concerns that it would lower the overall stated capacity for trucks led Detroit automakers to pass. Ford originally passed, claiming it'd wait until its new F-150 was launched to adopt the new standards, leading GM and Ram to follow suit. Nissan, meanwhile, has said it will adopt the new standards as its vehicles are updated, meaning the company's next-generation Titan should adhere to the same tow ratings as its competitors.