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Auto blogFri, 09 Dec 2011 11:02:00 EST
Ford has announced a recall of certain Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan vehicles after an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A total of 128,616 2010 and 2011 models equipped with steel wheels may have been manufactured with wheel studs that could crack and split over time. If that happens, the vehicle may experience a wheel separation.
According to The Detroit News, the company is aware of a total of 30 wheel separation incidents, one of which occurred on the front of the vehicle. Even so, no injuries have been reported as a result of the defect.
The problem apparently stems from the fact that the mounting pads on the vehicles' steel wheels may have been faulty from the factory. In addition, the wheel mounting face on rear disc brakes may not have been installed properly. Ford will inspect the rear disc face and replace them as necessary. In addition, the company will replace all of the vehicle's wheel studs free of charge. Head to the NHTSA website for more information, and click past the jump to view the full recall notice.
Ford might be stepping away from the NHRA, but it isn't abandoning drag racing altogether. Hot Rod says that Ford confirmed a next-gen Cobra Jet factory drag racer is in the works, but the report also speculates that a new Cobra Jet could switch away from the Mustang nameplate.
Even though talk of a new Cobra Jet coincides with the all-new 2015 Mustang, the lack of confirmation for the dragster's platform leaves Hot Rod to guess that the car might switch to another platform - specifically a front-drive-based, unibody car like the Fusion or Taurus. We'd hate to think of a world with a NASCAR-ized dragster from Ford Racing, but it's also highly unlikely that the Mustang Cobra Jet would step away from its quarter-mile rivals like the Chevy COPO Camaro and Dodge Challenger Drag Pak.
Ford can't seem to build F-150 SVT Raptors fast enough. The off-road-ready trucks have been one of the Blue Oval's most reliable sellers, with record sales in eight of the last 10 months and a 14-percent jump in 2013. That's impressive enough, considering that the least expensive Raptor starts at $44,000. Factor in the modded F-150's fuel economy (it's rated at 11 miles per gallon in the city and 16 on the highway) and a national average gas price, as of this writing, of $3.55 per gallon, and its success is as unlikely as Ford's home team, the Detroit Lions, winning the Super Bowl this year (sorry, Lions fans, we're just quoting the experts in Vegas...).
Yet for some reason, Raptors spend an average of just 15 days on dealer lots before being snapped up, which is a quarter of the 60-day industry average. According to Ford's truck group marketing manager, Doug Scott, it's capability that keeps the Raptor selling strong. "What's helping drive Raptor sales is that Raptor delivers unmatched off-road performance to our customers. Raptor is also proof of our commitment to offer a truck for every customer and continuously improving them to meet our customers' evolving needs."
To address the strong demand for Raptors, Ford will bump production from three trucks per hour to five. Not much, we agree. But building an extra 48 trucks per day, at most, seems like a prudent way of addressing demand without oversaturating what is ultimately a niche market. Check out the press release below for more.