Sub Model: Mach 1
Exterior Color: Blue
Interior Color: Black
Number of Cylinders: 8
Drive Type: Rear
Forest Grove, Oregon, United States
Most domestic automaker assembly plants traditionally take a couple of weeks off during the summer. The shutdowns give each plant time for much needed repairs and maintenance, and in some cases, help better align production with demand. Not this year, though, as demand for many models is outstripping what Ford, Chrysler and General Motors plants can produce.
Ford has announced that it will shorten its annual summer shutdown for most North American plants from two weeks to one. The shorter shutdown will increase the carmaker's annual North American production by 40,000 units on top of the 200,000 extra units that it was already planning to produce this year versus last. Automotive News reports that Ford produced 2.8 million vehicles on this continent in 2012, and that output this year has already increased 13 percent through April.
Chrysler, meanwhile, is also operating at full tilt and plans to run some plants through the summer with no shutdown at all. Those not getting a break include Jefferson North where the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are assembled, Toledo North that will assemble the new Cherokee, and Conner Avenue, home of SRT Viper production. Other assembly plants will be down for a single week, while all of Chrysler's engine and transmission plants except one in Indiana will continue operating with no shutdown this summer.
While its crosstown competitors at General Motors are smarting over a drastic drop in net income to $200 million in the second quarter, Ford has reason to celebrate. The Blue Oval has announced its own Q2 financial results, including a growing net income of $1.3 billion, a $78 million increase over last year. Pretax profits for the company reached $2.6 billion, up $44 million from 2013, but total revenue dropped slightly to $37.4 billion, down from $37.9 billion. Profits per share before one-time charges totaled 40 cents per share, beating Wall Street analysts' expectations of 36 cents a share.
Regionally, the Blue Oval performed strongly, as well. North America posted a record quarterly pre-tax profit of $2.4 billion, a $119 million increase. Europe also showed signs of turn around with its first profit in three years of $14 million after a loss of $306 million in Q2 2013. Ford is actually predicting profitability in the troubled region in 2015. Asia Pacific operations also performed well with $159 million in profits, up $29 million from last year. The only region where the business posted a loss was South America.
According to Automotive News, Ford also announced more precise plans about the changeover to build the aluminum-intensive 2015 F-150. In August, the Dearborn plant will shutdown for eight weeks to retool and its Kansas City plant will do the same next year.
Just a few months ago, fan safety at racetracks was a hot topic following the last-lap NASCAR Nationwide Series crash at Daytona that sent large pieces of racecars into the grandstands injuring 33 fans. Now, a freak incident at a National Hot Rod Association event resulted in a drag racer's bodywork flying into the crowd at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte over the weekend. The carbon-fiber body of Robert Hight's Ford Mustang funny car blew off toward the end of a run when his engine exploded, but fortunately, the two fans evaluated after the incident were later released without serious injury.
As you can see in the image above, the body flew high into the air before landing on a walkway in front of the grandstands, a bit of happenstance that likely gave most fans enough time and space to move out of the way. Scroll down to watch a couple of videos showing what happened, including one from a fan's perspective that also reveals what appears to be part of the body's metal bracing landing dangerously close to the crowd.