Ford Motor Company

Health
5:48 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Ford pilot program to help unhealthiest workers

Chronic illnesses take a huge toll, both on the patient suffering from them, and on the overall health care system in the form of much higher health care costs.

Ford Motor Company says 61% of its health care costs are from employees who suffer from at least one, but often multiple, chronic illnesses. Those include heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and asthma.

The company hopes to reduce those costs, while improving the quality of life for the people burdened by chronic illness.

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Auto
3:49 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Google and Ford have cars driven by robots, but will cars think for themselves someday?

Ford's new transit van being tested using robotic driving components.
Ford YouTube

Ford Motor Company recently started testing its cars with the help of robots.

The company does robotic testing on vehicles for durability at the Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, according to a recent story from MLive.

Michael Wayland reported that Ford has used robots to test drive eight of its vehicles, including several truck models as well as the Fiesta.

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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
5:03 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Ford, Chrysler to keep some plants humming this summer

Car companies closed a lot of North American factories in the past ten years as the auto industry restructured.

That has made Jim Tetreault's job even more of an art and a science.

Tetreault is Ford's head of North American manufacturing.  He's responsible for maximizing the number of vehicles that any of the Detroit automaker's remaining plants can produce, while minimizing the downtime at each facility.

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Auto
7:54 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Ford owners sue, saying EcoBoost engine defective

DETROIT (AP) - Three Ohio drivers are suing Ford Motor Co., claiming the company's six-cylinder EcoBoost engine is defective.

The lawsuit says the 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine can shudder, shake and rapidly lose power while drivers are trying to accelerate. It says more than 100 drivers have complained about the engine to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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Politics & Government
5:04 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Why are Detroit automakers losing out in Europe?

GM's headquarters in Detroit.
Carlos Lowry Flickr

  If you hear the word Europe, you might find yourself thinking of great places to travel, a rich history, or family roots.

If you're an auto executive and you hear “Europe,” you’ll likely sigh and take a couple of aspirin for your headache.

That's because the Detroit automakers stand to lose $4 billion in Europe this year. And with a collapse in auto sales across the pond, trying to muscle through the kinds of changes that saved the industry here in North America is a totally different challenge in Europe.

Michelle Krebs of Edmunds.com and Michigan Radio’s auto reporter Tracy Samilton discuss the bleak picture in Europe for Detroit automakers.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, April 25th, 2013

A state Representative says newly released documents are raising some serious flags about the state’s Education Achievement Authority. On today’s show: we talk with Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton about what she found out about the EAA through a FOIA request.

We check in withe Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes about recent Ford earnings reports. And Mayor Dave Bing has announced he'll run for reelection.

We also talk about the changes to arts education in Lansing public schools.

Later in the show, we speak with Art Prize founder Rick DeVos about another venture of his: Start Garden.
 
And finally, Ann Arbor is on the verge of a championship - a bowling championship. We hear more about tonight's game from WWII vet Mel Shannon.

Stateside
5:03 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Ford Motor Company announced record profits

Ford's Escape and Fusion are two of the company's most popular models
wikimedia commons

Ford released it's first quarter report with record pre-tax profits of $2.4 billion in North America.

"Ford has a product portfolio that's clicking on all cylinders, pun intended," said Daniel Howes.

Howes is the Detroit News business columnist and spoke with Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty about Ford's future.

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Culture
12:53 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Yankee Air Museum wants home at ex-bomber plant

B-24 bombers being assembled at the Willow Run plant. Ford Motor Company built 8,685 B-24s from 1942 until the end of World War II.
wikimedia commons

VAN BUREN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - The Yankee Air Museum is kicking off a $6 million campaign to make its home at a former facility that built B-24 bombers during World War II.

Museum officials announced this week an effort to purchase and renovate part of the former Willow Run powertrain plant. The museum is housed at Willow Run Airport, near Ypsilanti in Wayne County's Van Buren Township.

Its original headquarters was destroyed by fire in 2004.

Dennis Norton, the founder and president of the Yankee Air Museum, has presented plans to Ypsilanti Township officials. The museum says it has until Aug. 1 to secure funding, and would buy the site from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust.

Ford Motor Co. built the plant for B-24 production. It later was taken over by General Motors.

Auto
5:20 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Michigan Radio tests fuel economy of C-Max; your mileage WILL vary

Ford graphic subtly calling attention to "47"
Ford Motor Company

I recently conducted my own, informal test of the fuel economy of the Ford hybrid crossover, the C-Max.  I was curious to see what number I could achieve, in light of the ongoing controversy.

Consumer Reports and now two lawsuits claim Ford's advertised number of 47 mpg is unreachable.

So, on a 30-degree evening, not too windy, no snow in the forecast, I set out from Ann Arbor, reset the fuel economy calculator, set the cruise control at 55 miles per hour, and drove.

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Auto
2:04 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Safety investigators look into Ford engine problems

2008 Ford Escape.
wikimedia commons

U.S. safety regulators will investigate problems with stalling or surging engines, in about 725,000 Ford cars and SUVs.

The probe includes affects Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs from the 2009 through 2011 model years.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Ford have received almost 1,500 complaints about the problem.

Meanwhile, regulators are considering whether to investigate a complaint from an auto lab in Virginia, that the steering can fail on the Toyota Prius.

A probe would affect the Prius gas-electric hybrids from the 2004 through 2009 model years.

Auto
10:37 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Chocolate. Ford Motor Company. Chocolate.

An "aerated" chocolate bar. Because a photo of a piece of aerated plastic would not get you to click on this story.
Hershey's

Car companies like Ford Motor Company aren't above using gimmicks if it will get reporters to notice something they're doing.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. 

This one worked.

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Auto
10:52 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Ford wants (big) piece of Toyota's Prius hybrid pie

Ford C-Max hybrid
Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company set an all-time record for hybrid sales in December, selling nearly 8,000.  About half were C-Max sales, and about half, the hybrid version of the Fusion.

The company also beat its previous January record for hybrid sales by more than 500%.

Granted, the total number of hybrid sales for the company isn't much compared to its higher-volume sellers.  Ford sold more than 19,000 non-hybrid Fusions in January, dwarfing the hybrid Fusion sales of 3,043.

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Politics & Government
8:45 am
Tue January 29, 2013

News this morning: Right-to-work, Ford profits, and heavy rain

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

Let's skip the lawsuits and go straight to the top

That's the idea behind Gov. Snyder's call for the Michigan Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the state's new right-to-work law.Rick Pluta explains where the legal challenges could come from:

One is whether exemptions in the law for police and firefighter unions violate the equal protection clause of the U-S Constitution. Another is whether the state Civil Service Commission has the autonomy under the Michigan Constitution to ignore the right-to-work law.

Opponents of the right-to-work legislation called the governor's move cynical, saying the legislation by-passed the normal committee process when it was written and now the Gov. is asking for it to by-pass the court system. The Supreme Court has a Republican majority of 4-2. It will likely be a 5-2 majority after Snyder appoints another Justice to fill a vacancy.

Ford made $5.67 billion in net income for 2012

It was a good year for the automaker. From the Detroit News:

It was in North America where Ford posted a 10.4 percent profit margin in 2012, and because of that success, 45,800 United Auto Workers hourly members will receive profit-sharing checks worth approximately $8,300, which will be paid in March.

Snow yesterday, rain today

Good conditions for flooding. From the National Weather Service:

An area of rainfall will accompany a warm front through southeast Michigan today... with another round of heavier rainfall expected to arrive tonight. This in combination with the melting snow and rapid runoff on frozen ground will allow area rivers and streams to rise and bring the potential for localized flooding of some low lying and poor drainage areas.

Auto
10:44 am
Fri January 25, 2013

The dark side of Detroit's auto show: dreaded scrums

Reporter Sharon Carty looks in camera during a scrum with former General Motors Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre.
Jeff Kowalsky


For the average person, there's a lot of "wow" at the North American International Auto Show.

But for reporters and auto company executives, that "wow" can sometimes be more like "ow."

Especially during the impromptu, free-for-all press conferences that are known as "scrums."

Problem is, nobody tells you what a scrum is before you attend your first Detroit auto show.

They all wait until it's too late to back out. It's almost a kind of hazing.

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Auto
4:50 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

SLIDESHOW: Workers fight the dust and fingerprints at the Detroit auto show

Carlos Bryant has been keeping the Bentleys dust and fingerprint free at the Detroit auto show for more than a decade.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

When you walk onto the showroom floor at the North American International Auto Show, the bright lights and polished shine of the cars surround you.

You'd think a wash, wax, and polish for the cars would be good enough.

I mean, these things are indoors. What can muck them up?

Dust. That's what.

And not just dust... fingerprints too! (for heaven's sake)

So at the North American International Auto Show, you see a small army of people hovering over the cars with feather dusters, a little towel, and a spray bottle.

Carlos Bryant has been keeping the Bentleys looking sharp at the Detroit auto show for more than a decade.

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Auto
9:57 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Ford talks trucks at the Detroit Auto Show

Ford's new concept truck, the "Atlas."
Ford

Ford is known for putting on a glitzy press conference at the Detroit Auto Show.

The media and auto industry officials filed into Joe Louis Arena to see what the company would unveil.

Company officials spent a good portion of the 25 minute press conference showing off their new line of Transit vans.

But the sparks flew when they lowered their concept truck, the "Atlas," from the ceiling of the arena.

Take a look:

Why trucks? Well, a good portion of the company's profits come from their truck line, with the Ford F-150 leading the way.

Auto
10:25 am
Mon January 14, 2013

VIDEO: The "reinvention of Lincoln" at the Detroit Auto Show

The Lincoln MKC concept.
Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln is hip again!

Well... at least in the movie theaters. Ford executives are hoping enthusiasm for its re-tweaked Lincoln brand grows as well (the company is using the former president in advertising campaigns for the newly named "Lincoln Motor Company").

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford Jr., President and CEO Allan Mulally, and Executive Vice President of Global Marketing, Sales and Service Lincoln James Farley were all up on stage to unveil the new concept car at the Detroit Auto Show this morning - the Lincoln MKC.

Take a look at the unveiling:

Bill Vlasic wrote about the challenges faced by the struggling Lincoln brand in the New York Times:

As recently as the 1990s, Lincoln was the top-selling luxury automotive brand in the United States. Its large Town Car sedan and hulking Navigator S.U.V. defined the brand, and sales topped more than 230,000 vehicles a year.

But since then, Lincoln has been left in the dust by the German category leaders BMW and Mercedes-Benz, and Toyota’s Lexus division. This year, Lincoln ranks eighth in the American luxury segment, with sales down 2 percent, to 69,000, vehicles in the first 10 months of the year.

Its crosstown rival G.M. has had much better success reviving its Cadillac brand.

Auto
11:27 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Ford plans to hire 2,200 salaried workers this year

Ford headquarters in Dearborn.
Ford

Ford Motor Company says it will hire 2,200 salaried workers this year.

It's the company's largest single-year increase of salaried workers in more than a decade.

Joe Hinrichs, Ford's President of the Americas, says the company doesn't anticipate trouble finding the right kind of people.

That's in contrast to before the recession when car companies sometimes couldn't find enough people interested in a career in the auto industry.

"Look at the types of technology you get to work on now, the vehicle is becoming so advanced, with computers, with software, with voice recognition, with sensors, that we are attracting a level of interest in people because of what's happening with the product itself becoming far more advanced," said Hinrichs.

Ford has about 28,500 salaried workers in North America.

Auto
11:56 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Ford "futurist" pays attention to everything but cars

Sheryl Connelly, Ford's Futurist
Ford Motor Company

Interview with Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company's futurist

I recently interviewed Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company's manager of Global Trends and Future.  Call her "futurist" for short.   Sheryl spoke with me about how she goes about "predicting" the future, and how it helps Ford develop and market its vehicles, and about Ford's latest report, "Looking Further With Ford: 13 Trends For 2013."

Q:  I want to talk with you first about your job.  What has Ford tasked you with doing?

A:  What most people don't realize is that it takes three years to bring a vehicle to market, so even if we come up with some sort of breakthrough or innovation today, it may not resonate or be relevant by the time the rubber hits the road.  And since we can't predict the future, what we do is track trends, in social, technological, economic, environmental and political arenas, because we think this will give us some insight into the forces that will shape consumers attitudes and behaviors.  It's never looking at automotive; in fact we try to stay away from that for the work that I do, so we come up with the insights, and then I pass it off to the designers, engineers and the marketing teams, that take their subject matter expertise and turn it into something meaningful in terms of product offerings.

Q:  So how do you track trends?  Are you constantly on Twitter or how do you do it?

A: Well, I've been doing it for nine years, so it's gotten a little easier over time, but it's really about pattern recognition -- looking for recurring themes, and seeing things that re-emerge and starting to have an eye for something, what are the drivers behind this, why does this seem like it's going to be important, and will it have staying power?

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