Archive for December, 2011

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Early Look at Some of the 2013 Ford Fusion Technology

December 30, 2011

(from social.ford.com)

The 2013 Ford Fusion will officially debut in January, but we’ve got the scoop on some new technology making its first appearance on a mainstream midsize sedan in North America.

Lane Keeping System (or LKS) is, simply put, designed to help you stay inside the lines, and we know that’s of much importance not only when coloring, but while driving! LKS is set up to alert and assist if your vehicle drifts out of the lane. It recognizes the problem via a windshield-mounted digital camera that detects lane markers and the vehicle’s position on the road. Three levels of assistance help in real time: Lane Keeping Alert, Lane Keeping Aid and Driver Alert.

(read the entire article HERE)

 

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Top picks 2012: Ford Motor Company

December 29, 2011

(from money.msn.com)

As more confident U.S. consumers hit the showrooms, dividend-paying automaker is once again a bargain.

Our top pick is all-American stalwart and success story Ford Motor (F +1.52%) — a bet on the American consumer and the burgeoning U.S. economic recovery.

Even as Europe struggles with its sovereign debt crisis, the news from the U.S. economy has been steadily improving.

The Institute for Supply Management reported that the U.S. manufacturing index rose to 52.7 in November, and that new orders and production both rose to seven-month highs.

The unemployment rate recently dropped to 8.6%. Consumer confidence has ticked up and U.S. consumers went on an auto-spending spree in November — a normally weak month for auto sales.

With the average age of vehicles on U.S. roads hitting almost 11 years, pent-up demand resulted in an impressive 10.6% rise in seasonally adjusted annual sales (SAAS) to 13.6 million units as of last month.

That’s up from a SAAS total of 12.28 million in the same month of 2010 and the highest SAAS rate since August 2009, when the U.S. government launched the “Cash for Clunkers” program. November was also the third-straight month when annualized vehicle sales topped the 13-million mark.

Ford itself posted a gain of 13.3% in November to 166,865 vehicles, driven by strong sales of trucks and SUVs. Its 16.6% share of U.S. vehicle sales in November was its highest in five years.

Ford’s retail sales actually soared by an even more impressive 20%. Retail sales, as opposed to sales to fleets like rental-car companies and government agencies, rank as the industry’s most profitable segment.

Ford itself expects industry-wide sales of around 13.5 million units next year.

Ford also announced that it would restore a regular dividend. Ford halted its dividend payment back in 2006 when markets were in turmoil. Restoration of a dividend payment is a good sign of financial strength.

Much of Ford’s success has been thanks to its CEO Alan Mulally, who has prioritized profits over market share.

Coming from Boeing just five years ago, Mulally eliminated Ford’s dividend and sold its non-core brands. He also shut down Mercury, focusing Ford on the mass market and Lincoln on the high-end car buyers.

He also raised $20 billion as a cushion against bad times that has served Ford well, while delivering nine straight quarters of pre-tax profits.

Ford was a darling of investors after the market bottomed in March 2009 but has actually underperformed the broader market since hitting a high of $18.71 in January of this year.

But with a price-to-earnings ratio of 6.56, and a turnaround in the U.S. car market underway, Ford is once again a bargain. So, bet on a U.S. economic turnaround and buy Ford.

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Ford Fusion Racks Up Record Sales

December 29, 2011

(from Anita Lienert, insideline.com)

Just the Facts:
  • The Ford Fusion is on its way to its best sales year, the Dearborn automaker says, as it prepares to take the wraps off the 2013 Fusion sedan at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.
  • Ford said Fusion sales are expected to reach 240,000 by year’s end, making the Fusion the automaker’s best-selling car.
  • Fusion sales were helped along by the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which put the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in short supply.

DEARBORN, Michigan — The Ford Fusion is on its way to its best sales year, the Dearborn automaker says, as it prepares to take the wraps off the 2013 Fusion sedan at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show.

Ford said Fusion sales are expected to reach 240,000 by year’s end, making the Fusion the automaker’s best-selling car.

“Fusion is a key contributor to Ford’s car renaissance,” said Samantha Hoyt, Fusion marketing manager in a statement.

Sales of the Fusion have risen by 54 percent from 2006-’10. The automaker noted that consumers are opting for “highly equipped models” of the Fusion. It said that 84 percent of Fusion models are sold with the Sync communications system, while 44 percent are sold with a reverse sensing system.

Fusion sales were helped along by the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which put the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry in short supply.

On December 1, American Honda reported that year-to-date sales of the Honda Accord stood at 217,958 versus 253,073 during the same period in 2010, representing a 14.2 percent decline. Toyota reported that year-to-date sales of the Toyota Camry stood at 275,004 versus 296,581 during the same period in 2010, representing a 7.3 percent decline.

Inside Line says: Ford is in an enviable position with the Fusion as the new model prepares to come out of the gate.

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Feature: Drinking and driving alternatives

December 23, 2011

Some good tips for avoiding drinking and driving over the holidays (and any other time).

Feature: Drinking and driving alternatives – Autos.ca.

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Motoring Memories: Ford Taurus SHO, 1989-1999

December 23, 2011

(from autos.ca)

The 1986 Ford Taurus – there was also a Mercury Sable sibling – was a bold move by the Ford Motor Company which took the courageous step of offering an innovative, aerodynamic shape in the mid-priced, family car market.

Previously, Audi had introduced its daringly aero 1984 5000 model, but it was in the upscale, lower volume segment. And Citroen had long been an advocate of sleek cars. But the mom-and-pop Taurus was a $3 billion, bet-the-farm, mass market gamble that Ford hoped would not meet the same fate as the 1930s streamlined Chrysler and DeSoto Airflows.

As it turned out, buyers were ready for something more exciting than a squared-up LTD or Grand Marquis. The smooth front-wheel drive Taurus with an aerodynamic drag coefficient of just 0.32 became a runaway sales success, one that would set a trend toward slipperier popular priced family sedans and wagons.

(read the entire article HERE)

 

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Ford’s Focus PowerShift Transmission is Much Improved

December 23, 2011

(from Frank Markus, motortrend.com)

When Ford’s new Euro-shared Focus made its debut, we loved much about the carbut hated its mainstream PowerShift automatic transmission — a dry-plate twin-clutch unit. We’ve gushed praise on most other such (wet-clutch) trannies, like VW/Audi’s DSG, but in a July, 2011 comparison, we called the Ford unit “half-baked,” complaining of clunky behavior at low speeds, rough launches from a stop, and slow shifting. This transmission (and some complaints about the MyFordTouch system) kept the Focus from advancing to the finals in our Car of the Year program. Happily, we are living in an age when many such problems can be “fully baked” after the fact, simply by reprogramming the computers that control such systems.

(read the entire article HERE)

 

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Ford Ranger production ends after 28 long years

December 19, 2011

(from Alexandra Koken, egmcartech.com)

This past week, Ford produced its very last Ford Ranger Sport compact pick up model, 28 years after the its first rolled off the line.

Ford’s Twin Cities Assembly plant in St. Paul, Minnesota was responsible for building the pick up, and nothing else, along with its 880 employees.

(read the entire article HERE)