For Sale By:Dealer
Exterior Color: White
Interior Color: Gray
Model: Transit Connect
Trim: AdvanceTrac RSC
Drive Type: No Transmission
Aurora, Illinois, United States
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."
Domestic manufacturers enjoyed a good year for heavy-duty pickup sales in 2012. PickupTrucks.com has taken a close look at exactly how those sales broke down between each manufacturer and between three-quarter and one-ton pickups. Ford sold some 67,786 F-250 Super Duty models last year with the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD falling just behind at 56,359 units. The Ram 2500 HD came in third at 41,918, while the GMC Sierra 2500 HD earned itself fourth place with 27,616 deliveries. While Ford held onto the top spot in the one-ton market, Ram easily nailed down second place by selling more 3500 HD models last year than General Motors sold Silverado 3500 HD and Sierra 3500 HD trucks combined.
So, did GM manage to sell more trucks than Ford with its two brands? Very nearly. Ford sold a total of 119,338 heavy-duty pickups to GM's 111,555. Ram, meanwhile, moved a distant 77,583. But perhaps more interesting is the diesel take rate in this segment. PickupTrucks.com says 80 percent of all domestic one-ton trucks roll from the dealer lot with a turbo-diesel under the hood. Head over to the site for a closer look at the breakdown.
Evo and host Henry Catchpole were thinking of excuses reasons to borrow the bonkers Ford Fiesta R5 rally car for a day or two, when it struck them: the car is street legal. With access to the R5, some of the world's most beautiful driving roads in the English Lake Country nearby, and a handy video crewing hanging around, the plan seemed to write itself.
Based on the resulting video, it was a good plan. Without spoiling the video for you - something we can't really do in text as the best part is listening to the rally car run - Catchpole finds the Fiesta to be sublimely quick and massively satisfying. Even taking the car for a spin on a pseudo rally stage, after leaving the English countryside, does nothing but add to his assessment of the beastly little Ford. Scroll on below to see for yourself, and enjoy the ride.