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Auto blogWed, 24 Jul 2013 13:30:00 EST
Ford is rumored to be considering concurrent production for old and new F-150 models in a bid to minimize supply chain disruptions and inventory. Automotive News is reporting that the Blue Oval will build both the current F-150 and its replacement, which we showed you testing just last month, side by side for about half a year before switching over entirely to next-generation production.
As IHS Automotive analyst Mike Jackson told AN, "In order to ramp up, you have to retool...and that means you have to take capacity offline." Building both models alongside could allow Ford to cope with the still strong demand for the current F-150, while populating dealer supplies and working out supply chain kinks for the new model before making a full-time switch.
A loss of capacity when demand is so strong, even for a short period, could spell bad news for Ford, which nets an estimated 90 percent of its global profit on pickups and large SUVs. As AN states, Ford produces the F-150 in both Kansas City, Missouri and Dearborn, Michigan, which allows it to maintain some degree of flexibility in production. The new F-150 is expected to arrive at the 2014 North American International Auto Show as a 2015 model, with a design inspired by the Atlas Concept first shown at the Detroit Auto Show last January.
It's taken four years of study, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has finally closed the books on its investigation into rollaway accusations surrounding 1.56-million Ford SUV models.
The probe, which centered on the 2002-2005 Ford Explorer, 2002-2005 Mercury Mountaineer and 2003-2005 Lincoln Aviator, ends without the federal agency calling for a recall. According to The Detroit News, the investigation was closed due to a "low number of complaints" - NHTSA documented 180 such complaints that resulted in 14 crashes and six minor injuries, but the number of incidents have been slowing. The suspected defect rate for the trucks' automatic transmissions was found to be 4.4 per 100,000 units, and the brake-shift interlock mechanism failure rate was judged to be even lower at 3.4 per 100k.
Let's get this unfortunate though important tidbit out of the way right off the bat: The Ford S-Max isn't sold in the United States, and it's not coming here, at least not anytime soon. And so it's with our European friends in mind that we share this information about the next-gen S-Max (previewed about a year ago in concept form) that is set to debut all across Europe next year and will be shown off at the upcoming Paris Motor Show. Now, moving on...
As with the first-gen S-Max, the new model will boast seating for seven passengers, along with a decent amount of storage space, all packed into a relatively reasonably sized package. Powering the front wheels (or optionally all four) will be the buyer's choice of EcoBoost gasoline-turbocharged or turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines along with automatic and manual transmission options. Included in the mix is a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost with 160 horsepower, though the 240-horse 2.0 is likely to be seen as the headliner.
There are all kinds of new technologies on offer, ranging from Adaptive Steering to Dynamic LED Headlamps with Glare-Free Highbeams, and it's all housed inside new, more sleekly designed bodywork riding atop a chassis with new suspension architecture designed to make the S-Max a people-hauler that's still fun to drive. For all the details, we suggest you scroll down below to read through Ford's official press release.