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Auto blogFri, 11 Jul 2014 18:29:00 EST
There may be more steering woes for the Ford Crown Victoria. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation into the Crown Vic and Mercury Grand Marquis from the 2004 to 2007 model years and the Mercury Marauder for the 2004 and 2005 model years because the steering shaft can jam. The issue could potentially affect an estimated 500,000 vehicles.
According to the regulator, there is a possibility that the driver's side heat shield for the exhaust manifold can rust, dislodge, and then wedge into the steering shaft. If this occurs, it leads to a situation where the driver can no longer control the car.
NHTSA has received five complaints of this happening, including one alleged case with an injury. In that situation, the car was driving onto the highway, lost control and rolled over. One occupant was hurt in the accident.
Just ahead of January's Detroit Auto Show, surprising rumors pegged Ford as revealing some sort of F-150 concept, perhaps as a hurried effort to deflate some of the buzz building around General Motors' new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins, which were also making their auto show debut. Those rumblings turned out to be true, as Ford rolled into the Motor City with its Atlas concept (inset, right), touting the truck's bold styling as a precursor to the next-generation F-Series.
The show truck featured all kinds of clever details, including active wheel shutters and a front air dam that raised and lowered to improve aerodynamics while preserving off-road ability. It also had a genuinely snarly face. And it's that pugnacious snout that may well be on its way to production. The good folks at TopSpeed have worked up the plausible-looking artist's rendering above by cross-referencing the Atlas concept with what little has been revealed from recent spy shots. The look is toned-down pretty dramatically from the concept truck, but its Atlas roots are clear, with a massive three-bar grille and bracket-shaped headlamps hiding a next-generation EcoBoost engine. In the rendering, the show truck's deeply contoured hood and roofline have been ditched and larger, more traditional side mirrors have been fitted - all likely concessions in the move to production sheetmetal.
While Ford has yet to officially announce when it will unveil the 2015 F-150, all signs point to next year's Detroit Auto Show - one year after the Atlas shrugged off GM's new pickups.
Ford says that 10-15 percent of its customers in Europe want their cars to be set apart from regular Fords - even those wearing the top Titanium X trim - and the Blue Oval will answer them with the Vignale sub-brand. The new brand proposes a more upscale look and a much-improved dealership experience, Autocar reports. The Vignale Mondeo will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show to kick off the new endeavor.
The first Ford to receive the Vignale treatment will be the 2015 Mondeo, a Euro-only model, followed by the new S-Max and Edge. The Vignale Mondeo is set apart visually from other Mondeos by a chrome grille and chrome door handles and mirror caps. Mondeo badging will be deleted - only Vignale badging will make an appearance.
The interior will get a more upscale flavor, as well, with quilted leather seats and door trim and leather covering the instrument panel, center console and steering wheel. A Vignale-badged storage drawer will be installed in the trunk, and in-car Wi-Fi is available.