Model: Other Pickups
Ford and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have issued a recall for some 83,250 vehicles in the US, for an issue with halfshafts. More specifically a "halfshaft retention circlip" might not have been properly installed on affected vehicles, with the result being halfshafts that may move improperly or disengage completely from the linkshaft while driving. The NHTSA release also notes that the issue may occur "without prior warning" which obviously factors in to the timeliness of getting this checked.
Should the halfshaft disengage, a few troubling things could happen. If it occurs while driving, power from the engine will no longer be transmitted to the wheels. And, if the vehicle is parked without the parking brake applied after disengagement of the circlip, vehicles may roll away even if they're transmissions have been placed in "Park."
Affected vehicles are as follows: Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX crossovers from model years 2012 to 2014; Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS sedans from model years 2013 to 2014; Ford Flex and Lincoln MKT vehicles from model years 2013 to 2014.
If you want further proof that the auto industry is bouncing back, look no further than the empty lots and forecourts of your local dealership. According to a story by The Wall Street Journal, continued high demand for mainstream cars is overtaxing automakers' ability to produce enough models. Several dealers interviewed for the story are reporting two-week supplies as opposed to the typical two-month allocations.
With sales expected to hit 1.4 million units when August numbers arrive shortly and incentive spending down to its lowest amount since January, these limited supplies are pushing prices even higher. For example, according to the WSJ, the average price of a Ford Fusion is up past $26,000. Unfortunately, it's difficult for manufacturers to increase production quickly. If it invests in its facilities, as many manufacturers have done, it risks wasting cash if growth suddenly slows. At the same time, the momentum gained over the past several years could be short lived if vehicle supplies continue to dwindle. "Manufacturers are in a precarious situation," notes Karl Brauer, a senior director at Kelley Blue Book.
Low interest rates and a wealth of desirable features are also allowing customers to purchase more expensive vehicles while justifying their higher overall price tags, a situation that is compounding supply shortages. Even now, during the annual end-of-summer clearance season, deals on new vehicles are remarkably difficult to come by. According to the report, the Toyota Corolla is in a self-inflicted state of shortage, as Toyota clears out inventory in anticipation of the new 2014 generation arriving in dealers. Ford's supplies should rebound as Fusion production comes on line at its Flat Rock, Michigan factory. The Chevrolet Impala, Honda Odyssey, Civic, and Accord and Subaru Forester are also facing shortages.
A great many buyers fled from full-size body-on-frame SUVs to car-based crossovers in large measure to save fuel. But that doesn't mean there's still not a buying audience for more traditional truck-based utility vehicles, and those consumers doubtlessly wouldn't mind saving some dollars at the pump, too. According to Motor Trend, those shoppers might be in luck.
That's because the magazine has confirmed that Ford isn't walking away from the full-size SUV segment, and it's poised to do something about its offerings' economy ratings, too. According to MT, global Lincoln director Matt VanDyke has hinted that the next Navigator may drop two cylinders and go with a V6 model - the current model gets just 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway from its 5.4-liter V8. The obvious fitment would be Ford's 3.5-liter twin-turbo EcoBoost V6, an engine that has spread like kudzu throughout the rest of the Blue Oval's large vehicle lineup.
Downsized turbocharged engines like Ford's EcoBoost franchise have come under fire as of late for not delivering their EPA fuel economy ratings, but their benefits extend beyond consumption - the 3.5L offers superior power and a better torque curve than the naturally aspirated V8. MT also suggests that Ford's 3.7-liter V6 could form the base engine for the next Navi - it has similar horsepower but a lot less torque than the current 5.4L. That may be less of a problem with the next generation tipped to go on a diet, which could level the playing field somewhat.