Ford

Auto
9:57 am
Wed November 12, 2014

Ford celebrates reopening of Dearborn truck plant

A Ford worker examines every inch of a new F-150 under bright lights to screen it for defects
Credit Tracy Samilton/Michigan Radio

Ford Motor Company's Dearborn truck plant is back online.

The automaker stripped the plant to its bare bones to remake it for building an aluminum F-150.

The lighter truck will get significantly better fuel economy, as well as better hauling and towing capacity.

During a media tour of the new body shop, Chief Engineer Ron Ketelhut pointed out that some things are missing –sparks, for example, and a deafening wall of noise.

Instead of welding the body together, (noisy, dirty, and hot work), the robots use rivets.

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Auto
3:51 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

U of M automated car center picks up major corporate support

A glass panel display shows how vehicles equipped with the new technology will be able to communicate with one another and roadway infrastructure, like traffic signals.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A veritable "who's who" of the global automotive industry has signed on to support the University of Michigan’s new automated vehicle initiative.

The “Mobility Transformation Center” is a public-private center that will look at how to make automated vehicles commercially viable.  

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Stateside
12:02 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Ford CEO Mulally leaves behind big shoes for successor to fill

Outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mulally.
Credit Ford Motor Company

Alan Mulally will hand over his Ford CEO job to Mark Fields next Tuesday. 

Fields has been with Ford since 1989 and the chief operating officer since 2012.

Mulally came to Ford as an auto outsider and many questioned his ability to turn the struggling company around.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes was one of the doubters. Howes is now happy to say he was wrong. And Mulally has created big shoes for Fields to fill

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Stateside
4:05 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Mark Fields to take the place of Alan Mulally as Ford CEO

Alan Mulally
Credit Ford Motor Company

All signs point to a big change at Ford Motor Company.

Although the automaker has not made an official announcement, there is much speculation today that CEO Alan Mulally is reportedly ready to retire before the year is out and COO Mark Fields will ascend to the top spot.

Michigan Radio's auto reporter Tracy Samilton joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Stateside
5:09 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

While Detroit is going bust, the US auto industry is booming

Peter Martorano Flickr

There is no small touch of irony in the fact that as Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the U.S. car makers are enjoying boom times. Sales for the Big Three in July were the highest in seven years. GM, Ford and Chrysler are adding shifts and hiring workers. Good times.

But not for the city that gave birth to what we know as the U.S. auto industry.

Tom Walsh, business columnist for the Detroit Free Press, and Sonari Glinton, National Desk Reporter from NPR who has covered transportation and the auto industry, joined us today.

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Auto
11:45 am
Tue August 20, 2013

$5 campaign tries to restore original Model T plant

The Model T was made in a Highland Park facility that the Woodward Avenue Action Association wants to restore.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new campaign is underway to try and save the original Model T plant in Highland Park. The Woodward Avenue Action Association launched an online fundraising drive asking supporters to pledge five dollars to turn the old assembly line into a museum and visitor's center.

Five dollars was the daily wage Henry Ford paid his workers so they could afford to buy the car they made.

Deborah Schutt with the Woodward Avenue Action Association says the Model T factory is an important piece of Michigan history. Schutt wants to use National Archives footage of the plant in action to remind visitors of the state's automotive heritage.

"This is where Henry Ford instituted the five dollars a day wage," she said. "What that allowed them to do is actually purchase what it is that they produced, which had a profound effect and really launched the middle class in America."

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Transportation
11:21 am
Thu August 1, 2013

Ford pays gov't $17.35 million fine to settle recall spat

Ford Media

DETROIT (AP) - Ford says it has paid the government $17.35 million to settle a dispute over allegations that Ford delayed a safety recall.

The company says it paid the fine to avoid a lengthy dispute with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The agency alleged that in May of 2011, Ford knew about a safety defect in Escape SUVs from the 2001 to 2004 model years. Yet the company didn't recall the vehicles until July of 2012.

Ford recalled nearly 485,000 Escapes with V-6 engines to fix sticking gas pedals that could cause crashes.

Stateside
5:00 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

New book gives behind-the-scenes look at big automakers

Bob Lutz has worked as an automotive executive for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW.
Wikipedia

While Detroit embarks on the beginning days of its bankruptcy, the city’s Big Three automakers are reemerging from their own financial crises. It was four years ago that GM and Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

And as this month marks the 150th year after Henry Ford’s birth, we take a look at what it takes to run a big auto company, and the future of Michigan’s automakers.

Bob Lutz has held top positions at GM, Ford, Chrysler, and BMW. His most recent position was that of Vice Chairman of GM from 2001 to 2010.

His newest book gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the bosses Bob Lutz has worked for, some of the most legendary names in auto history. It's called Icons and Idiots, out from Portfolio/Penguin.

Bob Lutz joined us today to talk about his book.  

Listen to the full interview above.

Auto
3:18 am
Mon July 29, 2013

July auto sales are expected to be very good

thecarconnection.com

Analysts are expecting a robust month for auto sales.

Jesse Toprak is an analyst with TrueCar.com.  He says July sales were good across all categories.

“But two extreme segments stand out, we see very high demand for small cars and small SUVS, and a very healthy demand for large pickup trucks,” says Toprak.

Toprak says the increase in pickup sales is being driven by small business owners, and an uptick in home renovations.

Auto
12:11 am
Mon July 29, 2013

Henry Ford at 150

Henry Ford with Model T in Buffalo, NY, 1921
Image from the Collections of The Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Henry Ford this week.

Bill Ford, Jr. is Henry Ford's great-grandson, and Executive Chairman of the company

Ford says the founder would have been pleased that his company is still a family business, 150 years later.

“I know Henry Ford would have been incredibly proud of the way his grandchildren led the company through the most difficult times,” says Ford

Ford Motor Company took out a $24 billion loan in 2006, using its trademark blue oval as part of the collateral.

Auto
4:46 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Ford, Toyota end collaboration on hybrid trucks

One of Ford's trucks, which has yet to be available as a hybrid model.
Ford

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Ford and Toyota are ending joint research into hybrid systems for trucks and SUVs. The companies said Tuesday that they will each develop the systems independently.

Ford and Toyota agreed to the partnership two years ago after the CEOs of both companies met by chance in an airport. Engineers talked frequently and paid visits to each other's labs.

But Ford product development chief Raj Nair said both companies need to focus on finishing development and putting the systems into vehicles. Ford wants to offer hybrid trucks and SUVs by the end of the decade.

There is currently no full gas-electric hybrid system on the market for rear-wheel-drive vehicles like trucks. The hybrid systems in Ford and Toyota cars are made for front-wheel-drive vehicles and don't have enough power for trucks. 

Auto
4:15 pm
Sun May 26, 2013

Federal agency investigating Ford pickups for engine issue

Ford F 150
denton-texas.olx.com

DETROIT (AP) - The federal government is investigating Ford F-150 pickups with EcoBoost engines after drivers reported that the engines lost power during acceleration.

The government estimates around 400,000 F-150 pickups from the 2011 through 2013 model years are involved.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received 95 reports of engines losing power during hard acceleration, such as when passing. The incidents often occurred in rainy or humid weather. NHTSA has no reports of crashes or injuries.

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Auto
4:09 pm
Thu May 23, 2013

Why automakers' claims of 'my truck pulls more than your truck' here to stay, for awhile at least

Toyota Tundra, pulling something heavy. Uh, make that super-heavy.
Toyota

U.S. automakers have finally agreed on a uniform standard to determine the towing capacity of a pickup truck, veteran auto journalist Bill Visnic tells us in his article in Edmunds.com.

Except, now that they've created it, automakers are backing away from actually using it.

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Politics & Government
7:15 am
Wed May 22, 2013

In this morning's news: Lansing debating surplus, hospital merger sacked, carmakers won't shutdown

Morning News Roundup, Wednesday, May 22, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Policymakers debate how to spend surplus

The debate continues in Lansing over how the state should spend almost half a billion dollars in unexpected revenue this year. The Michigan League for Public Policy believes that because the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit is less than a third of what it was a couple years ago, legislators should restore the credit for the working poor.

"A spokesperson for state House Democrats says they support the idea of using some of the money to restore the Earned Income Tax Credit. However, Governor Rick Snyder says a similar tax credit from the federal government does enough to help working poor families in Michigan. He wants to use the extra cash to fix roads," Michigan Radio's Jake Neher reports.

Merger between Beaumont and Henry Ford sacked

The planned merger between Beaumont and Henry Ford health systems, two of southeast Michigan’s largest health care providers, has been scrapped. The leaders of each hospital signed a letter of intent to merge last fall, but negotiations didn’t work out so well. On Tuesday, Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting sent a letter to employees, indicating they’ll end talks and let the agreement expire.

“It became apparent that two very different perspectives have emerged for the new organization between Henry Ford and Beaumont,” Schlichting wrote. Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek has more.

Rising car sales cut plant shutdowns

Summer vacation will be cut short for auto factory workers in Michigan this year, as carmakers try to keep up with heightened demand. Detroit automakers plan to reduce their annual shutdowns at dozens of North American plants that produce popular Ford and Chrysler models.

“This sends a strong signal that the industry is in a healthy place,” Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at market researcher LMC Automotive, told The Detroit News.

Auto
11:27 am
Fri March 8, 2013

Feds close probe into Ford SUVs rolling away

NHTSA: No recall on SUVs that might roll away in park.
By IFCAR (Own work) Wikimedia Commons

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. safety officials have closed an investigation into allegations that three Ford SUVs can roll away when the transmissions are in park.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the probe involved about 1.5 million Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator SUVS from the 2002 to 2005 model years.

The agency determined that failure rates weren't high enough to order a recall. The probe began in April 2009 and was closed last month. The safety agency found 36 complaints including 14 crashes and six injuries.

Investigators found that the park gear in the transmission failed only 4.4 times per 100,000 vehicles. A system that prevents the car from being shifted into gear unless the driver's foot is on the brake failed only 3.4 times per 100,000 SUVs.

Auto
5:23 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Ford, GM and Chrysler posted gains in February sales

February was a good month for the Big 3.

The increase is a sign that U.S. auto sales remain strong even in an uneven economy.

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Auto
12:02 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Group questions MPG claims for turbo engines

Ford CEO Alan Mulally with 3 cyl turbo engine
Ford Motor Company

Many of the claims for better fuel economy from new turbo-charged engines are more hype than reality, according to tests by Consumer Reports, the independent consumer advocacy group.

The agency tested a number of vehicles that offer regular four or eight cylinder engines, and compared them to the turbo-charged version.  Turbo-charging is a technology that gets more power from a smaller engine with direct injection of extra spurts of air and fuel.

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Auto
4:58 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Automakers report double-digit gains

DETROIT (AP) -Last year's momentum in U.S. auto sales is continuing into this year.

Ford, Chrysler and GM are all reporting double-digit gains for January.

Sales at Ford rose 22 percent compared with a year earlier. GM and Chrysler each reported 16 percent gains.

Ford's sales rose on strong sales of pickup trucks and new vehicles.

Auto
10:37 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Commentary: Forgetting our heritage

The North American International Auto Show will be starting at Detroit’s Cobo Center in a couple weeks, and anyone who cares about cars can go see virtually every new model in existence.

This has been an annual tradition for more than a century. But I’ve thought for a long time that we don’t do nearly enough to celebrate the amazing heritage of our signature industry.

Think about it. Motor vehicles, primarily cars, are what transformed Michigan from a farm state not all that different from Iowa into the industrial powerhouse that put the world on wheels.

That’s fascinating, and there are few of us whose lives are not connected to the auto industry in some way.  But where do you go to learn about and celebrate that heritage? Sadly, fewer and fewer places.

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Politics & Government
7:04 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Ford promises $10 million investment in southwest Detroit

Ford is investing $10 million to boost community programs in southwest Detroit.

The centerpiece of what the company calls “Operation Brighter Future” is the planned Ford Resource and Engagement Center, at the Mexicantown Mercado.

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