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Auto blogTue, 08 Jul 2014
Back in May, there was speculation that the Detroit Three automakers would maintain or perhaps even extend their traditional summer shutdowns, mostly due to a bitingly cold winter that saw below-freezing temperatures infiltrate the southernmost reaches of the US, putting a chill on auto sales. Now, though, the numbers are in, and thanks to some promising sales figures, it looks like some domestic line workers are going to be working clear through July, in some cases.
According to Automotive News, Ford has slashed its traditional two-week hiatus for factory workers in half at four of its plants, while both Chrysler and General Motors will keep factories running nonstop (two plants in Chrysler's case and a third of GM's factories).
This is, as we said, thanks to some positive numbers. Chief among those is the Seasonal Adjusted Annual Rate, which was at an eight-year high of 17 million units. Individual figures were less promising. GM, embroiled in its recall scandal, still saw a one-percent increase while Ford dropped six percent in year-over-year sales. Chrysler was the big winner, though, with a nine-percent jump in June.
The 2014 model year brings a whole host of changes to Ford's Fiesta B-Segment fighter, the most important of which (to our enthusiast eyes, anyway) is the addition of a potent new ST model. The US-spec hot hatch was first shown at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show last November, and thanks to Ford's build-and-price site, we've now learned that the Fiesta ST will slide in at $21,400 when it goes on sale later this year (*not including $795 for destination).
Under the hood of the ST is a turbocharged 1.6-liter EcoBoost inline-four good for 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, mated solely to a six-speed manual transmission. Ford hasn't released performance data on its pint-sized puncher just yet, but know that these numbers make the Fiesta ST ever-so-slightly more powerful than the larger Volkswagen GTI while returning an estimated 34 miles per gallon on the highway.
Elsewhere in the lineup, the standard Fiesta also gets a smattering of improvements for the 2014 model year, including a new 1.0-liter three-cylinder turbocharged engine and revised exterior styling. Pricing for the 2014 Fiesta sedan starts at $14,000, with the five-door model adding $600 to that number (again excluding the $795 destination fee).
Among the many useful pieces of driving advice we've taken to heart over the years, "Safely secure all cargo" is etched pretty high on our personal stone tablets. We've had a couple of frustrating moments over the years (numerous wonky cupholders and too-tall lidded cups; a radar detector that released its suction cups and dashed itself below the dashboard, etc.), but never anything like the scene above.
These photos above come courtesy of the Washington State Patrol, and they show the unfortunate aftermath of a driver, his dog, and his Ford Explorer after it crashed near the town of Belfair last week. According to reports, the man was schlepping five-gallon containers of paint inside his vehicle when he was involved in an unexplained accident. It's not clear what triggered the crash, but the impromptu abstract painting covered the whole of the interior, including the driver and his faithful companion.
The man was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries, and his dog was cleaned and later taken to a humane society.