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Ford Q3 pretax profits drop to $1.18B

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:28:00 EST

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.

Ex-PR chief Vines accuses Ford of bugging cars, phones

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST

Jason Vines, former head of communications at Ford among other automakers, is accusing the Blue Oval of bugging his company phone and his car during the Firestone tire recall for the Explorer in 2001. The allegations have come to light in Vines' upcoming book What Did Jesus Drive? Crisis PR in Cars, Computers and Christianity.
According to The Detroit News, which has an advance copy of the book, Vines (pictured above) claims that after leaving the company, someone with security within Ford advised him that he had been bugged around the time of the recall. The allegations don't stop there, though. Vines further contends that he might not have been the only one to get this treatment, noting that then-general counsel John Rintamaki also believed he was being listened to.
According to The Detroit News, even if it had been a company phone, recording Vines without his knowledge still would have been a felony under Michigan law.

Ford readying dozen+ Mustang models for SEMA

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:58:00 EST

Ford is unsurprisingly bringing a herd of its new 2015 Mustang models to next month's SEMA show in Las Vegas. Over a dozen of them are arriving from top aftermarket outfits like Galpin Auto Sports, Steeda, Roush and others. The Blue Oval isn't just shining a spotlight on the V8 model, though. The new EcoBoost 2.3-liter version with 310 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque is also getting its time in the sun.
Among the shined-up ponies will be a showcar helping Galpin celebrate the Mustang's golden anniversary, with the car is covered in the precious metal. The black paint over the body has gold flecks in it, and the wheels, side sills, brake calipers and badges all match, as well. However, it takes more than something shiny to truly impress at SEMA, and Galpin's Mustang also packs a Whipple supercharger for the 5.0-liter V8, boosting the bottom line to 725 horsepower. Take that, Hellcat. There's even a window in the hood to look through, not unlike a Chevrolet Corvette ZR1. The coupe also wears new headlights with LED turn signals that activate in sequence, just like the taillights, and the interior features black-and-gold Recaro seats.
Also set for its SEMA debut is an MRT showcar that takes the EcoBoost Mustang for a gallop with its TKO treatment. The black and orange two-tone car has been designed to incorporate select road racing elements. Mechanical upgrades include 14-inch brake rotors with new ducts, a Vortech air-to-air intercooler and an Air Lift suspension. The Mustang also shows off the company's products for added style and performance including a hood with integrated heat extractors and a unique front splitter.

NHTSA releases updated Takata airbag recalled cars list, but it still has errors

Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:31:00 EST



Unfortunately, the government's list still contains errors.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued an updated list of vehicle models that it's urging owners to repair under the mushrooming Takata airbag inflator recall. The latest version adds vehicles from new automakers like Subaru and Ford that are missing from the original announcement, and it also removes erroneous entries from General Motors, leaving only the 2005 Saab 9-2X (a reskinned Subaru WRX), and the 2003-2005 Pontiac Vibe, a joint project with Toyota.

US Ford Focus RS to be imported from Europe

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST

Rumors about the forthcoming Ford Focus RS are flourishing into what sounds like a very impressive new hot hatch. The latest scuttlebutt gives the first indication about when we might see a few of these fast Focuses on roads here in the US.
Unnamed insiders reportedly confirmed to The Truth About Cars that Ford plans to launch the Focus RS in the US in 2016. However, getting one might not be so easy - the boosted powertrain means the car would likely need to be imported from Europe. That's likely going to keep the total number available in the US rather low. The sources estimate a price tag that's a bit more expensive than the top Focus ST3, which starts around $28,500, plus $825 destination.
It seems that a pretty potent package comes for all of that cash, though. The Focus RS reportedly uses a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making between 325 and 350 horsepower, with a torque-vectoring all-wheel drive system to get that muscle to the road. The test mules also wear more aggressive front and rear fascias, dual exhaust tips, larger brakes and sticky tires. It sounds like a great formula on top of the already enjoyable Focus ST.

Jay Leno takes a Surfin' Safari in a 1937 Ford Woodie Restomod

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:44:00 EST

Woodie wagons were a major part of surfing culture in the 1960s, offering coastal style and a ton of room, and they even earned a mention in the Beach Boys' classic song Surfin' Safari. This week, Jay Leno's Garage takes a look at two modern, restomodded examples of these style icons.
Unlike a lot of restomods, builder Scott Bonowski keeps these wagons looking almost completely stock on the outside, and all of the upgrades are hidden underneath the timber. You can't tell by looking at it, but the '37 Woodie (pictured above) has independent front and rear suspension, disc brakes and a Ford 5.0-liter V8 under the hood.
Beyond the mechanical aspect, the craftsmanship into the wood is astounding. Bonowski claims there are between 30 and 50 coats of varnish on this wagon. It makes these woodies as much of a piece of fine furniture as a vehicle to drive.

Ford readying 2015 F-150 drift truck for SEMA

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:02:00 EST

Between the Mustangs you'd find in Formula D and the Fiestas in the Global and World rallycross championships, there's no shortage of Ford drift cars on the scene. But at the upcoming SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Blue Oval automaker intends to show off a different kind of drift machine.
Created in collaboration with driftmeister Vaughn Gittin, Jr., this custom F-150 has been designed for "on- and off-road capabilities, as well as drifting and jumping." It's got a suspension with components from Kibbetech King and Air Lift Performance to give it 12 inches of travel and comes packed with 5 Recaro seats. Other details remain limited, but if the rendering above is anything to go by, it ought to be pretty awesome.
Alongside the Gittin truck, Ford will also be showcasing another F-150 designed together with freestyle motorcross rider Brian Deegan, packing the 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine and a long list of enhancements. Between these two trucks, Ford hopes to extend its winning streak for the Hottest Truck award that it's taken four years running now. Feel free to read more in the press release below.

2015 Ford Mustang already under recall, but just 53 units

Sun, 19 Oct 2014 12:03:00 EST

Ford has issued a small - but significant - recall for one of its spotlight cars: the 2015 Mustang.
The recall affects just 53 cars, with 50 in the United States and three in Canada. Ford said the passenger side safety belt buckle tension sensor may not have been calibrated properly by the supplier. This could lead to "misclassification" of the passenger seat occupant, and could cause the airbag to deploy improperly.
A Ford spokesperson didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the automaker said it is not aware of any accidents or injuries, and dealers will replace the buckle assembly at no cost to customers. The cars affected were built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan from Aug. 18 to Oct. 2.

Ford Focus RS ready to make our hot hatch dreams real

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 11:28:00 EST

Ford's current hot hatch siblings the Fiesta ST and Focus ST are already two pretty great entries into the segment, but there's always a desire for a little more. Thankfully, it looks like the Blue Oval is ready to satiate that need because it's continuing to test the even more powerful Focus RS around Europe. According to our spy shooters, these shots come from near the Nürburgring.
As with previous photos, Ford engineers continue to heavily camouflage the front end of the RS prototypes, but there's a big difference here. Unlike earlier ones, this example appears to have a closer-to-production-ready front bumper rather than just a horizontal strip for the license plate. That may point to development getting somewhat closer to wrapping up. Although, this one lacks the larger rear wing from prior testers, and the exhaust also appears to be a work in progress with the rear diffuser covered in mesh in these latest shots.
The RS is rumored to be using the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder from the 2015 Mustang, but power is reportedly turned up from 310 horsepower in the 'Stang to somewhere between 325 hp and 350 hp for the Focus. Routing all that just through the front wheels could be a recipe for serious torque steer, and all-wheel drive is potentially being used for better traction.

Chevy Silverado frame twist test a marketing victory versus Ford

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:01:00 EST

The pickup market is so competitive that all three major American makers are constantly trying to find a way to prove their product is the best. The new 2015 Ford F-150 is grabbing headlines at the moment by winning awards and posting segment best numbers. But in a new video, Chevrolet is taking aim squarely at the 2015 F-250 Super Duty in a battle of heavy-duty truck supremacy against the 2015 Chevy Silverado 2500HD... well, in a single metric anyway.
The big numbers from pickups often come down to payload, towing rating and fuel economy, but for this test, Chevy and Howie Long are challenging the torsional rigidity of the trucks' frames, specifically which one flexes less. Long plays the everyman here having the Chevy engineer explain what's going on in the tests. Unsurprisingly for a video on Chevy's official YouTube page, the 2500HD wins out by a good margin. The company also reports that similar results as shown here have been certified in third-party testing.
Check out the video to see the full test. While this might seem like a marketing win for Chevy, Ford isn't immune to it, either. In 2009, the Blue Oval uploaded a similar video comparing the flex under 225 pounds of weight from the bare frames of the F-150, Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram (as it was still called at the time) and the Toyota Tundra. The results fell in the Blue Oval's favor, as you can see here.