Model: Other Pickups
Following positive third quarter financial results recently from General Motors, rival Ford took a tumble in Q3. The automaker posted pre-tax profits of $1.18 billion, compared to about $2.59 billion in Q3 2013, a drop of around 54 percent. Net income also suffered with $835 million made in the quarter, versus $1.272 billion last year, a decline of about 34 percent. The Blue Oval blamed the gloomy figures on three reasons in its release: "lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects."
There were problems of one kind or another in practically every region. North America experienced higher warranty costs than expected, partially due to recalls. The sales volume for the quarter was 665,000 units, versus 725,000 in Q3 2013, and pre-tax results amounted to $1.41 billion versus $2.296 billion last year.
South America and Europe both posted worse pre-tax results than last year. On the bright side, European volume was up slightly to 321,000 vehicles, from 303,000 in Q3 2013. The Middle East and Africa also lost $15 million, but that was an improvement compared to the $25 million loss previously experienced in this region.
As automakers continue to find uses for autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology, Ford of Europe has announced that it is developing a self-parking system for future use. More advanced than the Active Park Assist already offered in many Ford products, the new Fully Assisted Parking Aid can take full control of the vehicle and can navigate angled and perpendicular parking spots.
While today's Active Park Assist can only parallel park with the driver controlling the gas, brake and gear selection, Fully Assisted Parking Aid can operate steering, gas, brake and gear selection all while making sure the car is properly parked in the intended space. As with APA, the driver pushes a button to make the car look for a proper spot (at speeds of up to 18 miles per hour), and when an adequate space is located, the operator pushes another button (either inside the car or outside via remote control) for the car to park itself - the button must be pressed throughout the whole parking maneuver. Even though Ford says that the car can effect gear selections on its own, the system must still start from Neutral, and the automaker isn't saying whether the car can put itself into Park when done or put itself in Drive when the operator is ready to go.
Ford is also taking the opportunity to announce its new Obstacle Avoidance technology. This automated system is able to detect objects - including pedestrians - in the road, warn drivers of said objects and, if needed, stop and steer automatically to avoid hitting the obstacle. Both systems are still in the prototype phase, so there is no word as to when we could see either on a production vehicle.
Horsepower may steal a lot of headlines, but the always-more-complex torque figure is often a critical one for both the workingman and the motoring playboy. The measure of rotational force represents the twist that can liquefy one's tires or haul one's horse trailer. Good stuff.
It follows then, that as with the horsepower-to-weight list that we assembled for you a few months ago, a list of cars that offer the most pound-feet with the fewest pounds to carry, is an interesting one to break down. Sure, there's a big difference in how the torque is applied from a turbocharged six-cylinder in a Swedish luxury sedan and a massive heavy-duty truck's turbo-diesel. But being the car/stat geeks that we are, we think it's kinda neat that those two vehicles rank near each other where torque and weight intersect.
As with the horsepower list, we've given you figures as pounds per every one pound-foot. Again broken down into broad price categories, we've got a mixed bag of 2014 and 2015 models here, too. Every effort has been made to select the most up-to-date prices and specs, and we've also to omitted some '14 cars that won't be re-upped after the ongoing yearly changeover.