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Auto blogFri, 25 Jul 2014 13:44:00 EST
Agents of the FBI are investigating a potential case of industrial espionage involving a recently fired Ford employee. The Dearborn, MI-based manufacturer had its world headquarters searched by FBI agents on July 11, and according to The Detroit News, had warrants to seize recording devices handed over to Ford by Sharon Leach, a now-former Ford engineer.
Leach, who had spent 17 years with the Blue Oval, was fired last month, after Ford Security relieved her of eight Sansa listening devices. The FBI got involved shortly after her dismissal, searching her home on June 20 and seizing some two dozen items, including computers, jump drives and financial records, according to warrants obtained by The News.
Ford has remained quiet on the matter, with spokeswoman Susan Krusel confirming that the automaker was working with the FBI as part of a "joint investigation," while declining to provide any additional details.
It's happened. General Motors' biggest vehicle market - at least in terms of new model sales - is China. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, GM and its various Chinese joint venture operations enjoyed a 10.6-percent sales increase in the first half of 2013, selling almost 1.6 million units in the market. That puts GM China about 200,000 units ahead of its US sales totals over the same period - this, despite indicators that the communist nation's economy is losing momentum.
TDB notes that like GM, rival Ford has also enjoyed a robust 2013 in China thus far, with its sales up a whopping 47 percent to 407,721 units sold - 75,254 of them in June alone. Between the two US automakers, passenger car sales for the first half of 2013 are up around 14 percent, well ahead of the rest of the industry's 10-percent growth estimates for the market. Some of the sales growth may come as a result of an overall anti-Japan sentiment in China, though the American brands have long outsold their Japanese counterparts in the country.
By The General's own predictions, China will only continue to grow in sales importance. The company has designs on selling over five million cars a year in the market before the end of the decade, a total that figures to dramatically widen the gap versus its US totals - even if America's auto market makes a full recovery to the the salad days of over 17-million units a year.
Originally developed with the sole purpose of being a Ferrari rival to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Ford GT40 became a prominent racing machine in the 1960s in both Europe and the US. Not wanting to leave such an important car out of the fun, the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance also took time out from its other celebrations to recognize the 50-year anniversary of the GT40.
Over its short lifespan, the GT40 was offered in a handful of configurations, but the classic short-tailed (Mk I and Mk II) bodystyles were well represented... especially in Gulf livery. James Glickenhaus (of Ferrari P4/5 fame) had his bright yellow Mk IV in the field, and there were several others in this bodystyle, including one that has seen plenty of time on the track judging by its chipped-up nose.
As a fitting statement for the car's lengthy racing history, GT40 Chassis Number 1075 won this year's Concours de Sport award. This car took home the checkered flag at Le Mans in 1968 and 1969, and racked up a total of six wins in just 11 races.