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Auto blogMon, 19 Aug 2013 16:01:00 EST
Ford is doing well. It can't make enough examples of its new Fusion, it can barely make enough of the aging F-150, it's getting good brand rankings, people like its turnaround story, it's selling oodles of product and its quarterly profit numbers end in the word "billion." As other high-flying examples have demonstrated over the past few years, though, big numbers can come with problems that aren't exactly small.
Automotive News has published a good "nutshell" report of Ford's progress and problems. The Dearborn automaker's optimistic "general label rule" determination of gas mileage for the C-Max Hybrid has led to lawsuits, hybrid software updates, a downward revision of C-Max fuel economy and millions in rebates. AN notes the C-Max was the "worst-scoring model in this year's J.D. Power Initial Quality Study," but Ford will probably be happy that it managed not to be mentioned further in the study's results after last year's mediocre showing. Its MyTouch and SYNC systems, the bugbears sabotaging Ford's J.D. Power results, have also led to lawsuits, software updates, more software updates and a center console rethink. On top of that, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in the 2013 Ford Escape that Ford called a "hero" was soon catching fire for three different reasons. And let's not even get into the troubled launch of the Lincoln MKZ.
The Automotive News piece notes that industry observers have been surprised at Ford's stumbles because everything has been looking so good. Nevertheless, there is still the issue of those billions in profits - the company is doing plenty of things, plural, right. Ford says it is tackling its problems, hiring engineers and instituting new quality control processes as part of its effort to find solutions. The test will be to see if in a year from now we begin the discussion of these issues with "Remember when Ford...", or "Problems continue at The Blue Oval."
Ford F-450 claims best-in-class towing, company abandons practice of removing items to boost payload numberTue, 02 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST
The ongoing heavy-duty truck battle between Ford and Ram is showing no signs of slowing down. The Blue Oval is trying to remove at least one point of contention between the two brands by testing its 2015 F-450 Super Duty using the Society of Automotive Engineers J2807 towing standard, which Ram also uses. In the new evaluation, the F-450 is rated at a max towing capacity of 31,200 pounds. That's an identical amount as under Ford's own, previous test.
"We leave no doubt with customers that the F-450 pickup truck has best-in-class towing of 31,200 pounds - whether tested using our own internal towing standards or SAE J2807," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president for Global Product Development, in the company's release.
At the same time, Ford is also changing how it calculates the F-450's payload. Instead of using its minimum curb weight as before, the brand is now using the truck's base curb weight. The revision lowers the pickup's rating to 5,300 pounds, compared to 5,450 pounds previously. The company said in its announcement that the reason for this is "aligning its payload rating practices with other manufacturers to make it easier for customers to compare vehicles." General Motors made a similar switch for its pickups in August.
Aside from the way it looks and perhaps its independent rear suspension, the biggest bit of news on the 2015 Mustang may be the inclusion of its 2.3-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. That blown mill marks the first time since the Mustang SVO of the '80s that a turbo has been fitted under the engine of Ford's pony car.
The Mustang EcoBoost is the subject of the latest episode of Ignition from Motor Trend, giving us a great look at the technical, nitty-gritty side of the turbocharged coupe. Covering it from bow to stern, host Carlos Lago walks us through the boosted Ford before taking to the track for some driving impressions, with particular praise given to the low-end grunt of the 2.3-liter mill.
Check out the full video and then let us know which 2015 Mustang has your interest piqued the most - the EcoBoost four, the 5.0L V8 or the entry-level V6.