Ada, Minnesota, United States
Agents of the FBI are investigating a potential case of industrial espionage involving a recently fired Ford employee. The Dearborn, MI-based manufacturer had its world headquarters searched by FBI agents on July 11, and according to The Detroit News, had warrants to seize recording devices handed over to Ford by Sharon Leach, a now-former Ford engineer.
Leach, who had spent 17 years with the Blue Oval, was fired last month, after Ford Security relieved her of eight Sansa listening devices. The FBI got involved shortly after her dismissal, searching her home on June 20 and seizing some two dozen items, including computers, jump drives and financial records, according to warrants obtained by The News.
Ford has remained quiet on the matter, with spokeswoman Susan Krusel confirming that the automaker was working with the FBI as part of a "joint investigation," while declining to provide any additional details.
The imposing commercial truck above has a feature that might be surprising to most Autoblog readers - a Blue Oval emblem on the front. Here in North America, Ford simply doesn't play in the eighteen-wheeler sandbox, but that doesn't mean that the Dearborn-based automaker is absent in the heavy hauling space in other parts of the globe. In fact, Ford presently fields two completely different big rig ranges under the Cargo moniker - one a product of an Eastern Europe/Turkey joint venture, and another from Brazil. But that's about to start changing with the advent of this new cab-over model seen here.
Unveiled in São Paulo, Brazil, this new generation of Cargo is perhaps the largest physical embodiment of CEO Alan Mulally's "One Ford" global streamlining strategy. Instead of multiple models, company engineers have developed a new single truck that it says will better meet the needs of truckers in all markets. Designed to compete in what's known as the "extra heavy-duty segment" elsewhere in the world, this Cargo was developed jointly by Ford engineering teams in Brazil, Turkey and Europe.
Specifics remain hard to come by (read: unreleased), but Ford is promising an all-new engine enabling hauling capability of up to 56 tons while still returning excellent fuel economy. Ford's global Cargo lineup will henceforth consist of a dozen models, but Ford tells Autoblog has no plans to bring this hot and heavy-duty action to North America.
Ken Block became famous for his series of Gymkhana videos, but he's a real racer in his own right. Block has competed many rounds in the FIA World Rally Championship and also rallied in the 2013 Rally America series. He nearly won that latter title last year - if not for a massive crash in the final event of the season.
Block and his co-driver Alex Gelsomino went into the Lake Superior Performance Rally needing a win to take the championship. However, missing a clump of dirt on the side of the road and one little word in the pace notes was all it took to catapult Block's Fiesta off the road and into a tumbling accident. Block says his initial reaction was anger because the crash came out of nowhere.
For 2014, Block is joining the FIA World Rallycross Championship for at least three rounds. He'll drive a Ford Fiesta for the Hoonigan Racing Division at the Norwegian, French and Turkish events of the 12-round championship. Former Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve will also compete in the series.