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Auto blogSun, 25 May 2014 08:51:00 EST
Ford has, for at least the second year in a row, teamed up with techno promoter Paxahau and a couple of artists to make music in recognition of the Detroit Movement music festival. This time, Movement performers Ataxia and Secrets were selected by Ford, and were invited to spend some time at the automaker's Michigan Assembly Plant, which gives birth to the Ford Focus and Focus Electric models.
Now that we know the what, how about the why? According to Ford, "Detroit is uniquely tied to the origins of the electronic music scene. In the 1980's variations of electronic music stemmed from inspirations of industry, including the automotive sector." So, there you go. If you're interest is piqued, feel free to read the press release, watch the video and listen to the tracks below.
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."
Analysts are saying that Ford Motor Company may have earned a record $2.7 billion pretax profit in North America during the first quarter of 2013, a number that represents its highest first quarter profit ever. The impressive earnings are further proof that the American automaker is making a solid comeback as the economy begins to recover.
Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Chase are estimating that Ford's first quarter North American profit may have topped 12 percent. The firm cited the automaker's fresh lineup, but noted that CEO Alan Mulally needs to uphold the pace as the company works to gain ground in the car and utility segments.
Ford's success has been led by increased demand for its F-Series pickup, the best-selling vehicle in the US for 31 years, and by the Fusion sedan that recently recorded its best-ever quarterly sales in the domestic market. Ford is expected to release its first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, of this week.