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Auto blogMon, 20 May 2013 19:57:00 EST
The Silver Lake sand dunes see their fair share of well-built trophy trucks executing impressive jumps. Drivers build insane pieces of machinery for the express purpose of sailing through the air like mad men and women.
Mike Higgins is no stranger to the area. His heavily modified Ford trophy truck has gone flying through the sky on more than one occasion, but he recently bit off more than he could chew. After hitting a particularly lofty dune, Higgins went airborne for a ridiculous 180 feet before becoming intimately familiar with the finer points of gravity.
While Higgins nailed the jump, his landing fell short of wowing the judges. The impact very nearly broke his truck in two. Despite the mechanical mayhem, the driver walked away without a scratch, proving that occasionally miracles really do happen. You can check out the jump and the subsequent destruction below for yourself. Be warned: there's a fair bit of foul language.
Does the car above, posing fancifully in white, look familiar? Well, it should. Although it wears Mondeo badges in the form you see above for the Chinese market - as it does in Europe - the car is basically the same thing sold in the US as the Ford Fusion. Of course, it's what's under that shapely skin that counts.
Ford has chosen the Shanghai Motor Show as the venue with which to unveil its 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine. We'd heard about the engine before, but now we have a few performance estimates to share: 133 kW of power (about 178 horsepower) and 240 Nm of torque (about 177 pound-feet).
Those numbers pretty much confirm previous rumors indicating about 177 in each category, and it's right on par with what Ford's own 1.6-liter EcoBoost produces. Ford is claiming best-in-class fuel economy as well, but no specific figures have yet been provided. In any case, we'll surely have all the data soon enough, as the 1.5-liter mill is destined for the US Fusion in 2014.
Ford Motor Company has a dual-class stock structure of Class A and Class B shares. The roughly three billion Class A shares are for the general public like you and me, while the roughly 71 million Class B shares are all owned by the Ford family. Each Class A share gets the shareholder one vote, each Class B share is worth 16 votes, the result being that Common Stock holders control about 60 percent of the company while the Ford family controls 40 percent even though it holds far fewer shares. The only way that could ever change would be if the Fords sell their Class B shares, but even so, Class B shares revert to Class A when sold outside the family, so they'd have to sell a whole bunch of them.
A contingent of Class A shareholders think the dual-class system is unfair, and for the past few years a vote's been held during the annual shareholders meeting to end it. It has failed every time, as it just did again during the meeting held this week. A smidge over 33 percent voted to end the dual system, outvoted by the 67 percent who are happy with the way Ford is going - unsurprising in view of a corporate turnaround that will be part of business-class curricula for years to come.
On the sidelines, Ford elected Ellen R. Marram to the post of independent director, the first woman to hold the job. The former Tropicana CEO and 20-year Ford board member replaces retiring board member Irvine Hockaday who helped bring Alan Mulally to the CEO position.