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A Four-Door Ford Mustang Is Not as Crazy as It Sounds

Joseph Capparella, Car & Driver  /  November 6, 2018

The rumors are swirling about a new V-8–powered sedan pony car.

The latest and greatest rumor about the Ford Mustang speculates that the iconic pony car could soon gain a four-door-sedan variant. According to a post on the Mustang forum Mustang6G.com, Ford shared vague plans for this new model at a dealer event last month. Although it's still entirely unsubstantiated by Ford at this point, this idea might not be quite as wild as it might seem—and we've illustrated what the car could look like (above).

The thinking is that a longer-wheelbase version of the Mustang with four doors and a fastback-like shape could move upmarket to compete with the likes of the Audi A7 and the Porsche Panamera. While this sounds more like Lincoln territory, the Mustang brand might be strong enough on its own to support such premium aspirations—current versions already range well into the $50,000 to $60,000 range. The forum post states that a turbocharged V-8 engine will be offered, although we're not sure which engine that might be, given that no such configuration currently exists within the Ford lineup. A turbo version of the current Mustang's 5.0-liter Coyote V-8 is possible, but we haven't heard any rumblings about that otherwise.

If such a vehicle were to come to fruition, the forum speculates, it would be distinct from a new Ford crossover, previously referred to as the Mach 1 but now expected to carry a different name, that's said to be inspired by the Mustang. That new model will be all electric and will have a taller profile. Other future additions to the Mustang lineup include a hybrid version for sometime in the near future and the high-performance GT500, which is expected to make its debut within the next few months.

Ford spokesperson Jiyan Cadiz did not confirm or deny the rumor, but did say that "we are always on our game to keep Mustang exciting every year," which seems to stoke the fire. We'll update this story when we have more information to share.

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With their recent choices, we'll see. They haven't had a good track record of making profitable choices recently

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Ford buying scooter company Spin

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  November 8, 2018

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co. is buying an electric scooter company called Spin, the automaker said Thursday, in a bid to expand its mobility offerings and reach consumers who need short-distance transportation solutions.

Ford said the scooters will roll out in 100 cities over the next 18 months, including a Thursday launch here.

"We understand mobility is not just vehicles at this point," Sunny Madra, vice president of Ford's mobility incubator, Ford X, told Automotive News. "This is our play in addressing the micromobility business."

News of the acquisition comes a week after crosstown rival General Motors said it would launch a new brand and lineup of electrified bicycles in 2019. Ford also offers bicycles through Ford GoBike, a West Coast bike rental service.

Ford did not reveal the purchase price for Spin. Axios, which reported the deal Wednesday afternoon, described it as being "in the range of $40 million," citing a source.

Dockless electric scooters have exploded in popularity in cities across the U.S. in recent months. Customers can download an app, locate a scooter, scan a code and ride. Prices are typically $1 to unlock a scooter and 15 cents per minute of usage.

Scooter startups, including Lime and Bird, have said customers have taken 10 million rides in less than a year. By comparison, Madra said it took Uber three years to reach 3 million rides.

"That showed us there was a significant market," said Madra, who came to the company from Autonomic, a startup that Ford Smart Mobility bought in January. "It became obvious to us we wanted to accelerate in this space."

Ford partnered with Purdue University this year to offer electric scooters as part of a research project designed to determine how best to launch them in different communities. Critics of the services argue some companies dump hundreds of scooters in a city without getting permission from local governments.

Spin, which launched its scooter service in February, has operations in 13 cities and campuses across the U.S. Madra said the company has made a point to engage with every city before it launches, which was a big reason Ford chose it.

"They do not launch without permission; they share usage data with cities; and they work with local officials and university campuses to design educational tools around parking and riding rules," Madra said in a blog post expected to go up Thursday. "This approach aligns well with our values at Ford and with our ambition to be the world's most trusted company."

The amount of scooters available in each city will vary; Detroit, for example, limits companies to 400 each.

Ford plans to keep the Spin name and doesn't expect to put any of the automaker's branding on the scooters, Madra said. He declined to say whether Ford expects the business to be profitable, saying only that the company thinks "it represents a healthy business for us."

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"No your honor, I've never ridden a scooter before- I didn't know I might crash"  Yeah a foolish statement but in this day and age I hope all of the liability issues are wrapped up tighter than a crab's ass which as the saying goes is waterproof.

 Again, "Monkey see, Monkey do".   and I guess 10 million rides in a year?  Too bad Mr Madra made no comment as to "profitability"

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Ford sure is shooting a lot of darts...

 

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That four door Mustang looks pretty nice but, I don't know, the Mustang is,and always was, a two door sports car.  If Ford wants a four door sedan keep the Fusion and update it.

What's next, a Corvette mini-van?

                                               bulldogboy

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When you've got a valuable brand, you expand it. One of the auto industries better writers, Peter DeLorenzo over at his autoextremist blog has long argued that GM should make Corvette a brand and put all their high performance vehicles under it.

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1 hour ago, bulldogboy said:

That four door Mustang looks pretty nice but, I don't know, the Mustang is,and always was, a two door sports car.  If Ford wants a four door sedan keep the Fusion and update it.

What's next, a Corvette mini-van?

                                               bulldogboy

Looks like the basic Mustang platform with tooling mods to make the 4 door, same as Ford did with the Focus years ago. No massive body tool up...no massive costs.Saw a graphic over lay of the Mustang fastback and the four door, not as massive conversion as people may think. Doesn't take off no major loss.

Scooter wise GoPed has been in the N.A. market for a few decades with gas  (100 miles to a quart of pre mix)and Lipo electrics (60 mile range, plug in to any 110 outlet). Biggest advantage is the fold up electric is carry on on public transportation, no tags or insurance because of 18mph limited speed. Biggest liability is suits from injuries from rider ignorance and CARB required certification for all versions. I was a dealer for their full line and sold in 8 years close to 6500 of all models. Cheapest at $1100 up the the most expensive at $3500. The day lease will do well in city areas and universities. Probably better than the Share Bike system, depending on the unit cost and dealer back up.

Ecklers, American Corvette and even Joel Rosen of Motion Fame sold Vette Wagons, panel wagons and even four door unit in the 70's /80's rare now but a fairly good deal in the day.

Edited by 41chevy

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If they are going to make a 4 door car based on a Mustang they should not do automotive blasphemy and call it a Mustang. Give it the Falcon name or something and offer it in AWD. Ford would make a killing. Chrysler is still milking the aged Charger because a tough, fast, good sounding rear drive sedan will still sell.

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1 hour ago, Jamaican Bulldog said:

If they are going to make a 4 door car based on a Mustang they should not do automotive blasphemy and call it a Mustang. Give it the Falcon name or something and offer it in AWD. Ford would make a killing. Chrysler is still milking the aged Charger because a tough, fast, good sounding rear drive sedan will still sell.

Falcon has a lot of baggage with it's image from the past but I agree with a different name like Grand Torino or Cyclone. Corporate will do a market study, a naming committee and come up with a name that sound like a Starbucks drink or an exotic bird like the new Ford 2020 Macaw GT  ;)

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29 minutes ago, 41chevy said:

Falcon has a lot of baggage with it's image from the past but I agree with a different name like Grand Torino or Cyclone. Corporate will do a market study, a naming committee and come up with a name that sound like a Starbucks drink or an exotic bird like the new Ford 2020 Macaw GT  ;)

Agree on leaving Mustang alone....Brainstorm!  And this will sell for sure ..".The Ford Fit!"  although Hackett hasn't used the word in the last week of so-maybe he is working up a new buzzword😎

I do think it is a looker and agree-should be an easy stretch of the Mustang-or is it more like putting Mustang front clip on a Fusion-although I would imagine North/South engine makes that a bit complicated.  the good sign is perhaps Hatchett is rethinking his sedan decision

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Ford's new unit body longitudinal engine platform will probably be available in several guises- 2 and 4 door Mustangs, Explorers, a return of the AU Falcon, and maybe a Ute version too. This platform has a lot of potential- The Michigan State Patrol tested the upcoming Explorer Interceptor and it outperformed the competition's sedans as well as SUVs, and the only thing faster was the Taurus Interceptor.

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5 hours ago, Maxidyne said:

a return of the AU Falcon

I Hope Not.. they we're a seriously Sh*tty Car..:pat:

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VW said to plan Tesla rivals for less than $23,000, may share van production with Ford

Jan Schwartz and Edward Taylor, Reuters  /  November 9, 2018

FRANKFURT -- Volkswagen Group intends to sell electric cars for less than 20,000 euros ($22,836) and protect German jobs by converting three factories to make Tesla rivals, a source familiar with the plans said.

Plans for VW's electric car, known as "MEB entry" and with a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Nov. 16.

Another vehicle, the I.D. Aero, will be built in a plant in Emden, Germany,currently making the VW Passat midsize sedan.

The automaker, which declined to comment on the plans, is also expected to discuss far-reaching alliances with battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation and rival Ford.

The November 16 strategy meeting will discuss VW's transformation plan to shift from being Europe's largest maker of combustion engine vehicles into a mass producer of electric cars.

VW's strategy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel engine vehicles, forcing automakers to think of new ways to safeguard 600,000 German industrial jobs, of which 436,000 are at car companies and their suppliers.

Ford production

An electric van, the ID Buzz, is due to be built at VW's plant in Hanover, where its T6 van is made. To free up production capacity for electric cars in Hanover, VW's T6 transporter vans could be produced at the Ford-Otosan plant in Turkey, if German labor unions, who hold half the seats on VW's board of directors, agree.

VW and other automakers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the company was found to have cheated diesel-emissions tests, with its CEO Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany's auto industry faces extinction.

VW and Ford are in "exploratory talks" about an alliance to develop self-driving and electric vehicles and to complement each other's global production and sales footprints, Reuters reported last month.

Ford has strong sales and profits in the U.S. thanks to its exposure to the lucrative pickup truck segment, while VW dominates the market for passenger cars in Europe. The companies are considering cooperation deals in the areas of commercial, electric and autonomous vehicles, although a final agreement will unlikely be announced at the November 16 strategy meeting at Volkswagen.

The details of a cooperation deal with Ford may take until the end of the year to be finalized, the second source said. VW will mainly focus on debating the merits of converting its factories in Emden, Zwickau and Hanover, which all build combustion-engine cars, to electric ones under the plans being discussed by the board of directors.

Jobs threat

EU lawmakers have agreed to seek a 35 percent cut in car emissions by 2030 after a U.N. report called for dramatic steps to slow global warming.

VW CEO Herbert Diess said to cut average fleet emissions of carbon dioxide in Europe by 30 percent by 2030, VW needs to raise its share of full-electric vehicles to 30 percent of new-car sales. The shift from combustion engines to electric cars would also cost 14,000 jobs at VW by 2020 as it takes less time to build an electric car than a conventional one and because jobs will shift overseas to battery manufacturers.

In Europe, there are about 126 plants making combustion engines, employing 112,000 people. The largest such plant in Europe is VW's in Kassel, Germany.

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For Ford, echos of 2005 as debt, outlook weigh on investors

Molly Smith, Bloomberg  /  November 9, 2018

Ford Motor Co. could be close to getting junked again.

That's what the bond market is saying. The company's debt is trading like it's speculative grade, as investors worry about how higher steel tariffs and slowing sales will weigh on its profits. Ford is rated one step above junk by Moody's Investors Service and two steps by S&P Global Ratings.

Any downgrade could be painful for bond investors, and for the company. The automaker has more than $150 billion of short- and long-term debt globally, and is one of the 15 biggest corporate bond issuers in the U.S. outside of the financial sector. In 2005, Ford was cut to junk along with General Motors Co.

Bob Shanks, Ford's CFO, said on an earnings call last month that the company is committed to maintaining its investment-grade ratings, and doesn't intend to lose that status again. The company is "moving with a sense of urgency and taking proactive steps to redesign and restructure the business," and over time 'the market will recognize our progress," Ford spokesman Brad Carroll said.

But debt investors are skeptical. The extra yield that money managers get for holding Ford's 4.346 percent bonds due 2026 rather than similar Treasuries jumped to levels typical of high-yield companies. The cost of protecting Ford's debt against default using credit derivatives rose in October to the highest levels since 2012 before settling down again. Moody's downgraded the company in August to one level above junk, and said further cuts are possible in the medium term.

"There's a better chance than not it ends up in high yield," said Henry Peabody, a portfolio manager at Eaton Vance Corp. in Boston. "It's a combination of a fairly weak strategic position, less than ideal strategic decisions over last handful of years, a smattering of overconfidence and where we're at in the credit cycle."

Ford is fighting a "multiple-front war," Peabody said, citing the company's slowing sales growth in China and higher costs in the U.S. from global trade disputes.

Ford fared better during the financial crisis than GM and the Chrysler Group, now part of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, by avoiding bankruptcy and the government-backed bailouts that its competitors received. But losing its investment-grade status forced Ford to finance itself on a secured basis, essentially putting everything from its inventory to the rights to its oval blue logo in hock.

When Ford reclaimed its investment-grade ratings in 2012, after it cut debt and profits jumped, Chairman Bill Ford announced the upgrade to employees on the public-address system normally used for fire drills at Ford's Dearborn, Mich., headquarters.

"When we pledged the blue oval it was enormously emotional for me personally and for my family, because we weren't just pledging an asset, we were pledging our heritage," Ford said in May 2012. "To get that back feels wonderful and this is one of the best days I can remember."

New trouble

Now the company is facing difficulty again. Ford told investors in July it is launching an up to five year overhaul that could cost it $11 billion, as it focuses on higher margin products such as trucks, crossovers and SUVs and exits segments that include sedans. However, it has provided scant details on the restructuring plan, and has yet to reschedule an investor meeting that was originally set for September.

Struggling operations in Asia and Europe prompted Ford to cut its 2018 profit forecast. The company posted about a 50 percent decline in earnings for the second quarter, followed by a nearly 40 percent decline in the third quarter.

Its shares last month fell to their lowest level since 2009. Ford's bonds trade at risk premiums similar to those of junk-rated companies in the auto industry, such as Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. and Dana Inc., and have since Moody's cut the company to a step above junk in late August, according to Bloomberg Intelligence research. The bonds have rallied recently, but still trade at risk premiums higher than Fiat Chrysler, which is rated junk, and GM, signaling investors believe Ford is a bigger credit risk.

One source of support as the company tries to fix itself is its cash position: Ford had around $35 billion of liquidity as of Sept. 30. That's given comfort to credit raters, who have noted it as a positive. Earnings margins and operational challenges outside the U.S. are top concerns to Moody's, which rates Ford Baa3. S&P and Fitch Ratings both rate the company one step higher at BBB.

More cuts?

Ford would need to be cut to high yield by two ratings firms before it fell out of the investment-grade index. Many money managers don't see that as likely, even if Moody's decides to cut the company to speculative-grade, said Joel Levington, a former S&P director and now head of credit research for Bloomberg Intelligence. Ford has options for avoiding downgrades, Levington said, including cutting its dividend -- a step the company has insisted it won't take -- or selling less profitable units.

"To get to the place where you're talking about two rating agencies going to high-yield, you're saying not only is the company a basket case, but that it isn't doing anything to stave off either of those actions," Levington said. "I wouldn't assign a high probability around that."

To some money managers, current trading levels represent an attractive buying opportunity. The company's bonds pay high yields and the credit quality is relatively high, said Matt Brill, senior portfolio manager at Invesco.

"Ford generates a lot of cash flow and they have so much more flexibility than they did a decade ago," with regard to costs, he said.

But bond analysts caution that the debt is by no means a slam-dunk investment. Carmakers are cyclical businesses, and as the Federal Reserve raises rates, increasing financing costs for consumers, vehicle sales aren't likely to improve much, if at all, from here.

"Autos were always the light that everyone's looked to in this post-recession era," said Jody Lurie, a corporate credit analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott. "I don't think investors are looking at them on that momentum story that they once had, or looking at them as the beacon of hope that they once were."

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VW Considers Investing in Ford-Backed Autonomous Unit Argo

Christoph Rauwald & Keith Naughton, Bloomberg  /  November 9, 2018

Volkswagen and Ford are nearing a framework agreement to join forces on electric and self-driving vehicles, capital-intensive areas that are reshaping the auto industry and straining carmakers’ finances across the globe.

As part of the pact, VW may invest in Ford’s self-driving partner Argo AI.

VW also is poised to share electric-vehicle technology, with Ford piggybacking onto the tens of billions of dollars that the German giant has committed to battery-powered autos.

The possible investment in Argo is significant, as it could accelerate VW and Ford’s self-driving efforts -- a costly but crucially important element of the auto industry’s future. Both carmakers have been dogged by the perception they’re lagging behind in developing the technology, and cooperation would allow them to share costs and potentially catch up faster.

Ford shares rallied on the news, jumping as much as 3.6 percent to $9.80 as of 10 a.m. Friday in New York.

Talks between VW and Ford have been constructive since the companies publicized them five months ago, and might firm up by the end of this year or early 2019. The two have said they don’t plan a cross-shareholding arrangement like global partners Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA.

VW refused to comment. Jennifer Flake, a Ford spokeswoman, said the company is talking with VW about potential collaboration across multiple areas and that it’s premature to share additional details now.

Broad Discussions

VW and Ford said in June that they were considering a strategic alliance focused on a range of commercial vehicles. Bloomberg News reported last month that the discussions had broadened to include potential collaborations on autonomous driving and to develop and build vehicles for one another.

“We’re having a very broad set of discussions about how we can help each other around the world,” Bob Shanks, Ford’s chief financial officer, said in an interview last month. “Collaboration isn’t being limited in any way whatsoever.”

Self-driving cars are expected to upend the transportation industry and become a business worth $7 trillion by mid-century, according to a report last year by Intel Corp. and Strategy Analytics. Automakers who get it right will be on track to more than double the industry’s meager profit margins and build a more prosperous future. But those who fail may not have a future at all.

Open to Investment

Together with its self-driving partner Argo AI, Ford has said it’s open to outside investment in its autonomous efforts by a second automaker. The talks to bring on VW are progressing well and have the potential to create a global competitor in the self-driving race, one person familiar with the discussions said.

Having two major automaker customers would put Argo on similar footing with Cruise Automation, General Motor Co.’s autonomous unit that last month took on a $2.75 billion investment from Honda Motor Co.

Ford has been struggling to reverse losses in markets including Europe and South America. It’s also in talks with Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. to broaden an alliance that began to develop models for India and other emerging markets, including sport utility vehicles and electric cars.

VW Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess confirmed in a recent interview that talks with Ford could involve licensing the company’s new electric-car technology, dubbed MEB. VW plans to roll out the first fully-electric vehicles underpinned by this technology in 2020, starting with the I.D. Neo hatchback in Europe.

The deliberations also include VW building a compact panel van about the size of its Caddy model for Ford, while the U.S. manufacturer could produce a successor to VW’s T6 van at its low-cost factory in Turkey to improve returns. In South America, the companies could bundle production of VW’s Amarok and Ford’s Ranger pickups at the German company’s site in Pacheco, Argentina, in a move to share cost.

Urban Deliveries

Joining forces would allow VW and Ford to gain critical scale in a commercial-vehicle market that’s been boosted by growth in deliveries to online shoppers. At the same time, the segment faces tightening emission rules across the globe: Some major cities are considering allowing only electric vehicles into downtown areas.

Combined annual sales of roughly 1.1 million light commercial vehicles would put Ford and VW on par with other alliances like the tie-up between Daimler, Renault and Nissan. For VW’s light commercial-vehicle unit based in Hanover, the Ford cooperation could be key to its future strategy.

The division has been struggling to expand outside Europe and South America, partly due to high manufacturing costs for some vehicles in Germany.

With the Traton AG heavy-truck unit being separated to prepare a for possible share sale, the light commercial-vehicle operations risk being folded into the much-larger VW cars division if the Ford cooperation doesn’t generate the anticipated benefits in coming years.

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If Ford wants to cut a lot of cost they need to look at better quality control via warranty claims. Too often Ford will have a faulty part and go years without redesign while racking up millions in warranty claims and pissing off and losing customers. The troublesome double clutch transmission in the focus and Fiesta went on for years. So did the PTU units in Edges, MKX, and others.

We sell Ford and other brands including Mazda. A part fails prematurely on a Ford and it goes through the warranty claim process and they send back the same one. If it is a common part same shit. They went for a while sending the same throttle bodies that would fail on early Transits.

Compare to Mazda and other brands with good quality control. We had a relatively new Cx5 have a problem with engine valves. Mazda gave strict instructions, don't go any further, send the entire engine back so they can evaluate why it failed and they sent a replacement engine . If it was a Ford they would just send a replacement valves or if you lucky a head but they do not have the same propensity to for quality control.

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4 minutes ago, Red Horse said:

Well you are on the front line and deal with this BS.  The way I look at it, Ford spends too much money employing customer service people who are taught to politely tell the customer to go to hell!   Remember the Tacoma frame issue.  One of my neighbors had one with 80,000 miles on it-This guy is a PHD and has no interest in vehicles-I don't think he ever washed this thing.  He had it in to dealer for some reason and gets a call-he can't have his truck back!  Frame gone and they gave him 13,000 for this plain jane beat to shit truck.  Can you imagine Ford doing that?

Subaru is also good with customer service. When I worked at a dealer that carried them even if a customer is out of warranty and have a major repair, if they have records that they have serviced the car well AND a loyal customer Subaru would often cover the total or a part of the cost.

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22 hours ago, Red Horse said:

Agree on leaving Mustang alone....Brainstorm!  And this will sell for sure ..".The Ford Fit!"  although Hackett hasn't used the word in the last week of so-maybe he is working up a new buzzword😎

I do think it is a looker and agree-should be an easy stretch of the Mustang-or is it more like putting Mustang front clip on a Fusion-although I would imagine North/South engine makes that a bit complicated.  the good sign is perhaps Hatchett is rethinking his sedan decision

Not as much as one would think with the Mustang platform the shaft tunnel is already there along with the IRS. Fusion platform would require a redesign of the floor, firewall and rear to take the Mustang IRS, easier to start with the Stang platform IMO.

Ford warrenty issues go back years. We had a new 20th anniversary Couger in 1987 that had a recall on the injection rail fitting, said it is a no appointment 20 minute fix. Wife took the car to Syosset Ford / Mercury for the fix service writer told her she can come back in two weeks for the repair. Gail asked for his full name and stated to him when the car burns up YOU will be the person being sued not the dealer. Fixed it in 15 minutes.

Edited by 41chevy

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Ford's 2020 baby Bronco off-roader emerges in photos from dealer meeting

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  November 13, 2018

Photos leaked from Ford Motor Co.'s annual dealer meeting last month in Las Vegas provide the first public look at the so-called baby Bronco, an upcoming off-road compact crossover.

The vehicle, expected to slot between the EcoSport and Escape in Ford's crossover-heavy lineup, will debut in 2020 as a smaller companion to the Bronco SUV also due out that year. A name has not been announced, but one possibility is the Maverick, reviving a name that Ford used in the 1970s and trademarked this year.

The images were first reported Tuesday morning by Off-Road.com, which believed them to be of the Bronco. They show front, side and three-quarter views. The vehicle has round LED headlights and "FORD" stamped on the grille without the company's blue oval logo, consistent with a teaser image of the Bronco companion that Ford showed this year.

In the side view, the vehicle sits in front of a more boxy silhouette that is consistent with teasers of the Bronco that Ford has shown.

Ford, in a statement Tuesday, said it doesn't comment on speculation.

Jim Farley, Ford's president of global markets, told reporters last month that dealers were not shown any images of the Bronco at the Las Vegas meeting, although he did tease them with a shot of his own 1973 classic.

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Using the name Maverick is probably better than bringing back the Pinto name.

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Here in Australia, Ford sold a rebadged Nissan Patrol as a Maverick..

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