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13 hours ago, Maxidyne said:

The new gas engine is a testimony to the incompetence of Ford's current management- They probably wasted a hundred million dollars to develop the world's last big pushrod V8!

Have to disagree.  This engine will I think be a big seller-in particular in the F-600, 650 and 750.  Think of the guys that need the power but don't run the annual mileage to capture the MPG savings the Power Stroke would offer.  It will probably sell for about 5 grand less than the Power Stroke.

At 350 HP and 468 lb ft of torque this thing has more HP than the old 401, 477 and 534 Super Duty and is topped only by the 534's torque rating of 481 pd ft.  Although I think the old SD put that torque out at like 1800.

Can someone explain to me how the torque and HP number can be max at same RPMs?  Think someone read a news release wrong.

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Bob, were those sales numbers on the BON site for June or July? Why don’t you share them.

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Why does torque drop off at the higher RPMS. Fuel burn efficiency?

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Somebody out there is going to take a F-750 with this engine, add a lift axle and make a very low cost tandem dump for seasonal use.

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4 hours ago, TS7 said:

Somebody out there is going to take a F-750 with this engine, add a lift axle and make a very low cost tandem dump for seasonal use.

 For sure the small paving contractors.  Don't need a live tandem for what is usually on highway  use.

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15 hours ago, james j neiweem said:

Why does torque drop off at the higher RPMS. Fuel burn efficiency?

Torque drops off at higher RPM  primarily from intake and exhaust flow restriction. Volumetric Efficiency declines because the engine can't breathe any faster. Efficiency also declines at higher RPMs, due to increased frictional resistance.

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Ford May Leave China

The Epoch Times  /  August 4, 2019

Chinese auto industry news sites are predicting that Ford may leave the Chinese market soon, as recently released data shows that their sales have slumped from a year ago.

The data reflects a broader downturn in China’s auto market since last year, when sales declined for the first time in almost three decades. This year, the market is predicted to be even worse.

Automakers in China produced 27.8 million cars and sold 28.1 million cars in 2018, which is 4.2 percent and 2.8 percent less than 2017, respectively.

Sales of U.S. brands dropped by about 18 percent.

In 1995, Ford founded Ford China in Shanghai. Chinese investment rules currently require that foreign car factories must be owned and operated by joint-ventures with local partners.

Ford China has established joint-venture factories in Jiangxi Province, Chongqing City, Nanjing City of Jiangsu Province, and Shanghai.

According to Ford’s 2019 second-quarter report released on July 24, Ford incurred $155 million in China losses. Ford China lost $128 million in the first quarter.

Ford also released a China market sales report on July 5. In the second quarter, it sold 154,042 vehicles, which is almost 22 percent less than the year-earlier quarter.

Last year’s numbers were disappointing. State-run media Beijing Business reported on July 30 that Ford Chang’an, a joint venture of Ford that’s based in Chongqing, has five factories that can manufacture 1.6 million cars per year. But in 2018, Ford Chang’an sold just 377,800 vehicles, which is less than 25 percent of its manufacturing capability.

The report quoted a Beijing Ford dealer, who said the company has been paring its inventory due to reduced demand, and foresees no profits from the sales.

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Making room for VW's successful China operation.

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Ford Explorer launch required major redo of aging plant

Michael Martinez, Automotive News  /  August 26, 2019

The high-profile changeover of the Ford F-150 plants in Michigan and Missouri in late 2014 to build aluminum-bodied pickups may have been the most important manufacturing endeavor in Ford Motor Co.'s recent history, given the trucks' outsize influence on the automaker's bottom line.

But the scope of that work paled in comparison to the retooling of Ford's Chicago Assembly Plant over the course of 30 days this year in preparation for the redesigned Explorer and the new Lincoln Aviator.

Beginning in March, Ford orchestrated a complex dance of human and machine that transformed most of the 95-year-old plant and its 113-acre site along the Calumet River on the city's South Side. Some 11,000 workers gutted and rebuilt the body shop, modernized the paint shop and upgraded every workstation in the final assembly area.

Every 90 seconds, a synchronized lineup of trucks dropped off loads of scrap metal next to the river. Barges took the metal, weighing more than the Eiffel Tower, to a recycling center a mile away.

Inside the plant, supervisors used stopwatches to clock thousands of GPS-tracked tractor-trailers that hauled in new tooling in a specific order. Officials rented nearby lots to hold the trailers so the tooling would be close by when the time came to install it, rather than storing it farther away and risking getting off schedule because of Chicago's notoriously heavy traffic.

They did it all at a blindingly fast pace. In one area of the body shop, crews tore out old equipment, installed new machines and began building parts within seven days.

"It's the most difficult thing I've been involved in," Gary Johnson, a 30-year-plus Ford veteran appointed head of manufacturing and labor affairs last fall, told Automotive News. "Just the scope, age of the complex and the location of it. This was the ultimate team sport."

Ford CEO Jim Hackett told investors on the company's July earnings call that the Chicago changeover was "in some ways a bigger endeavor" than what happened five years ago at its F-150 plants, even though the company publicized those projects more.

The transformations in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo., focused only on the body shop. At Chicago Assembly, Ford's oldest continuously operating plant, the project included the paint shop and final assembly areas, too.

Installing equipment in 2014 to handle aluminum body panels instead of steel ones was challenging, executives said, but shifting from front- to rear-wheel-drive vehicles in Chicago was more complex.

"The whole process is different," Johnson said. "We changed about 20 to 25 percent of the stations in Dearborn Truck. In Chicago, it was basically about 90 to 95 percent."

The Explorer is Ford's third-best-selling U.S. nameplate, behind the F series and Escape. It's also believed to be one of the most profitable vehicles in the company's lineup. The 2020 Explorer Platinum has a sticker price of more than $60,000 including shipping.

A river runs through it

One of the biggest differences between the F-150 and Explorer changeovers was location.

Although the Dearborn and Chicago sites are near major interstate highways, daily gridlock in the Chicago area made it more difficult to move trucks on a tight deadline.

So Ford decided to take advantage of the location along the river, renting a barge that ultimately carried more than 10,000 tons of scrap metal. Multiple construction cranes worked long hours during the first week to move the metal aboard.

Johnson said the project's leadership team meticulously planned the changeover years ahead of time, employing a process he used while working in Ford's Asia Pacific manufacturing operations.

"We knew we were going to have to do this," he said. "We knew the complexity of it. We could plan to the day, to the hour, to the minute."

Once the plant was stripped of old equipment, Ford could lean on its recent experiences at Dearborn Truck, Kansas City Assembly and other plants to quickly install more than 500 truckloads of new machinery.

Ron Ketelhut, who oversaw the Dearborn changeover and is now global director of manufacturing strategy and advanced planning, said Ford learned to build new tooling at off-site supplier shops, then pull it out, load it onto trucks, ship it in order and store it nearby until needed. In Kansas City, for example, the company temporarily parked the trailers at an old amusement park.

"Not only did it have to be there on time, it had to be in order," Ketelhut said of the Chicago project. "It was like putting Legos together."

To keep the trucks moving, workers prepared extensively by watching videos explaining how to load and unload the trucks most efficiently. Ketelhut likened the sessions to a sports team reviewing film before game day to correct or prevent mistakes.

By the time the changeover was finished, Ford had installed 600 robots, 500 error-proofing tools, several 3D printers and other 3D-printed tools. It also spent $40 million on employee-centered improvements including cafeteria updates and new break rooms.

While employees were waiting for new equipment, Ford trained them using augmented and virtual reality so that, when everything was finished, they could become comfortable more quickly.

‘Toughest' changeover

Hackett, on the second-quarter earnings call, said Ford has its "toughest" changeover out of the way as it prepares to introduce a wave of new and redesigned vehicles over the next year.

The Chicago project ran smoothly for the most part, aside from rainstorms that set it back about four hours. Workers made up the lost time in less than a day, Johnson said.

There were no major injuries or incidents during the construction. The biggest setback, Johnson joked, involved his pride: "I've got a little more gray hair."



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Volkswagen to invest $577 million in Brazil plant

Reuters  /  August 29, 2019

SAO PAULO -- Volkswagen will invest 2.4 billion reais ($577 million) in one of its Brazil factories, Sao Paulo state governor Joao Doria said on Thursday during a visit to the automaker's headquarters in Germany.

Sao Paulo state is the heart of Brazil's auto industry, although its relevance has been in decline in recent years as other states have offered more generous tax incentives.

But Doria's governorship has been marked by a strong push to attract and retain manufacturing plants in Sao Paulo. Earlier this year, he introduced a tax plan for automakers granting them a 25 percent reduction in value added taxes as long as they invested at least 1 billion reais and created 400 new jobs.

Sao Paulo state said in a statement that Volkswagen would create 1,000 jobs and invest in its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant, in a city that is the historic center of Brazil's auto industry.

The incentive plan was created when General Motors, Brazil's market leader, hinted late last year that it might close or severely reduce its operations in the state as it warned of heavy losses.

Other automakers have also made moves in their Sao Paulo operations.

Ford Motor Co. announced this year that it would close its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant, its oldest in the country, which would cost almost 3,000 jobs.

Doria responded by offering to find a buyer for the plant, and while domestic automaker CAOA entered negotiations with Ford regarding a possible purchase, no formal announcement has been made.

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Brazilian automaker CAOA signs preliminary agreement to buy Ford Cargo truck plant

Reuters  /  September 3, 2019

SAO PAULO -- Brazilian automaker CAOA reached an initial agreement to buy Ford Motor Co.'s plant in Sao Bernardo do Campo, the companies said on Tuesday, but CAOA could slash 1,300 jobs, according to the union representing the plant's workers.

Ford announced in February that it would shut down the plant, its oldest in Brazil, which employs some 3,000 workers, as part of a global restructuring.

CAOA and Ford have been negotiating the purchase since late February, Reuters reported at the time, when Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria rushed to find a buyer for the plant in a push to keep jobs in the city.

Wagner Santana, president of the union that represents Ford's workers, told reporters that in conversations with CAOA, the Brazilian automaker said it would initially retain only some 800 workers and that 1,300 would be let go, with the remainder being kept by Ford.

Doria has defended Sao Paulo as a manufacturing hub at a time when the auto industry turned to other Brazilian states that were offering aggressive tax incentives. He has introduced a tax incentive of his own.

At the news conference, Doria said a decision on how many jobs will be kept can only be made once Ford and CAOA close the sale, which is set to go through a 45-day due diligence process.

"Preserve all jobs, that's the fundamental condition for a contribution from the state," Doria said, in reference to potential tax benefits.

Santana said CAOA plans to pay those it hires up to 80 percent of their current Ford salaries, noting that is still much more than salaries paid in other states.

A CAOA spokesperson declined to comment.

"The objective is to make the factory profitable and productive, so it generates employment and riches," said Carlos Alberto Oliveira Andrade, CAOA's president and founder, whose initials make up the company name.

Brazil's large domestic market and protectionist economy has long attracted the world's biggest automakers to set up shop here, and CAOA is the rare domestically owned automaker. It has struck deals to make cars for Korea's Hyundai and co-owns China's Chery operation in Brazil, whose cars are branded as CAOA Chery.

Ford opened the plant in 1967 and it is the company's oldest in the country. It was primarily used to make heavy trucks as well as the compact Ford Fiesta. Ford is undergoing a global restructuring and has said it would focus on a newer plant in the northeastern state of Bahia.

Earlier this year Ford said it reached an agreement with the plant's union that would allow for workers to transition to a potential buyer, if a deal closes. The deal also included an exit package for workers.

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Ford Recalling F-150 and Other Models for Potentially Dangerous Seat Defect

Car & Driver  /  September 3, 2019

Nearly half a million vehicles are involved, including new and recent F-150, Super Duty, Explorer, and Expedition models.

  • Ford is recalling 483,325 U.S. vehicles, including F-150 and Super Duty pickups plus Explorer, Expedition, and Lincoln Aviator models from the 2018 through 2020 model years, over a problem with their seatbacks.

  • The issue is a missing pawl in the seatback, which keeps the seat from reclining. In case of a crash, the seatbacks may not adequately restrain an occupant, Ford said.

  • Dealers will replace the seat structure at no charge in the event the problem is found.

This past weekend was not exactly a holiday for Ford’s safety team but was definitely a long weekend as they issued another recall in the month of August. The first recall we covered this month was because of missing plastic and no warning lights on some 2020 Lincoln Aviators and 2020 Ford Explorers. This new recall covers a far wider spread both in terms of vehicles and models affected and is for vehicles with a lack of seat restraint in the event of a crash.

Certain 2018 through 2020 Ford F-150, 2019 and 2020 Ford F-series Super Duty, 2018 and 2019 Ford Explorer, and 2019 and 2020 Ford Expedition vehicles with a manual driver's-side and/or front passenger's-side seatback recliner mechanism, and certain 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator vehicles with rear outboard seats with manual seatback recliner mechanisms, are affected by this recall. These vehicles could be missing its third pawl (a bar in the seatback that prevents movement) required for seatback strength. Ford states that "a seatback with an improperly assembled recliner mechanism may not adequately restrain an occupant in a crash, increasing the risk of injury."

A pawl is a bar that is a type of latch mechanism. It engages with the gear in the seatback to prevent movement or dictate the direction of movement of the seatback. It's what allows the seatback to move back and forth when the lever on the side of the seat bottom is pulled up. In the event of a crash, these pawls are supposed to hold the seatback in place; in the case of a frontal or rear collision, without the pawl engaged, the seat could unexpectedly recline or raise depending on the direction of impact. If this happens, the passengers are not restrained in their seats properly, and the seatbelts (and airbags if deployed) would not perform in the way they were intended to, which could then cause unnecessary injury to the passengers in the vehicle.

This recall affects 483,325 vehicles in the United States. Dealers will be replacing the seat structure at no charge to customers in the event that the issue is found to exist in their vehicle. Ford reports that there are no accidents or injuries associated with the recall. Owners can learn whether their vehicle is involved in by visiting the recall page of Ford's owner website.

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Ford's New 7.3L Engine & Standard PTO

Lauren Fletcher, Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  September 5, 2019

Ford has released some of the vital performance numbers for its all-new 7.3L gas engine that it introduced earlier this year as the latest powertrain option for its 2020 Super Duty lineup. 

The big-block engine cranks out best-in-class gas V-8 output of 430 hp at 5,500 rpm and best-in-class torque of 475 lb.ft. at 4,000 rpm in Super Duty pickups, according to the company.

A dyno-certified version of the 7.3L V-8, producing 350 hp at 3,900 rpm and 468 lb.-ft. of torque at 3,900 rpm, is standard on the F-450 chassis cab; the F-550; the new F-600, F-650, and F-750 Medium Duty trucks; and F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis models. 

Also new on the 2020 Super Duty Chassis Cab, a power take-off (PTO) provision will be included as standard with the third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke turbo diesel engine for auxiliary power needs on commercial vehicles.

“Adding PTO as standard on Super Duty Chassis cab vehicles with the diesel engine protects both the customer and dealer as it is often an overlooked option,” said Kevin Koester, Ford Commercial Truck Brand Manager. “It’s a critical component to deliver power on the move and operate equipment while the engine is running.” 

The New 7.3L Engine 

The 7.3L V-8 features an overhead valve architecture that helps get heavier loads moving sooner due to power low in rev range, according to Ford. It also features a variable-displacement oil pump, extra-large main bearings, forged steel crankshaft, and piston cooling jets to help manage temperatures under heavy load. 

It will be available first in Super Duty F-250 and F-350 pickup models. It joins the 6.2L V-8 gas engine in Super Duty’s lineup and the upgraded third-generation 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8. 

The 7.3L engine is paired with the all-new Ford-designed and Ford-built 10-speed heavy-duty TorqShift automatic transmission on all models except F-650 and F-750, which retain the heavy-duty 6-speed.

“The 7.3L is designed for maximum durability in the harshest environments given that our customers live and work in these conditions every day,” said Joel Beltramo, Ford manager for gas V-8 engines. “This engine has the largest displacement in its class and is designed to provide benefits in key areas like power, durability, ease of maintenance, and total operating costs.”

Updated PTO Offerings

Fleets that depend on work trucks often need to power additional equipment, either stationary or while moving. Ford’s Live-Drive PTO allows commercial customers to power industrial equipment and accessories, including generators, snowplows, and hydraulic units while the truck is in motion. 

Combined, the 6.7L Power Stroke and all-new TorqShift 10-speed heavy-duty automatic transmission with the PTO provision delivers best-in-class stationary torque of up to 300 lb.-ft. for commercial vehicle bodies that require direct-to-component or hydraulic body motor power, according to the company.

“For a lot of our commercial and heavy-duty retail customers, PTO power is the only way they can get a job done,” Koester said. “More standard PTO torque gives upfitters and customers the knowledge and comfort that they’ve got a chassis capable of the heaviest workloads.” 

A PTO allows fleets to mount accessory equipment to the transmission for auxiliary power from the engine to increase application functionality when direct or hydraulic power is required, such as generators, cranes, wreckers, pumper trucks, and boom lifts. 

The PTO provision will remain optional on 2020 Super Duty Pickup models and 7.3L gas V-8 Chassis Cab models.  

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Ford cut to junk by Moody's on doubts over plan to boost profit

Bloomberg  /  September 9, 2019

Ford Motor Co.’s CEO Jim Hackett has been dealt a major blow by Moody’s Investors Service, which cut the automaker’s credit rating to junk over doubt his plans to fix the company will soon generate earnings and cash.

Moody’s downgraded Ford to the highest non-investment grade rating, Ba1, saying the automaker’s cash flow and profit margins are below expectations and likely to remain weak over the next two years. The descent to junk status affects one of the 15 biggest corporate bond issuers in the U.S. outside the financial sector.

The lower rating reflects “the considerable operating and market challenges facing Ford, and the weak earnings and cash generation likely as the company pursues a lengthy and costly restructuring plan,” Moody’s analyst Bruce Clark said in a statement Monday.

Ford’s most actively-traded bonds, Ford Motor Credit Co.’s 5.113 percent bonds due 2029, weakened relative to Treasuries. The extra yield, or spread, the notes pay widened 0.13 percentage point to 3.27 percentage points, according to Trace. The automaker’s shares plunged as much as 4.2 percent to $9.14 in late trading.

Hackett’s Plans

Investors have been contemplating whether Ford would be able to maintain its investment-grade status for the past year, as slowing sales have weighed on profits. Hackett has struggled to win over Wall Street with an overhaul that calls for cutting thousands of jobs, reviving an aging line of SUVs and pickups and ditching slow-selling sedans.

“Ford remains very confident in our plan and progress,” the automaker said in an emailed statement. “Our underlying business is strong, our balance sheet is solid and we have plenty of liquidity to invest in our compelling strategy for the future.”

S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings have a BBB grade on Ford, which is two steps above junk. Both have a negative outlook.

“We think there’s a high probability that if they were to downgrade Ford to BBB-, it would come along with a stable outlook,” said Joel Levington, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “And if that happened, then you would still be an investment-grade issuer for bond index purposes.”

In July, Ford issued an annual profit forecast that disappointed investors as the automaker struggles to compete in China’s slumping car market. New versions of Ford’s Explorer and Escape utility vehicles debut this year, and it’s bringing back the Bronco off-roader in 2020.

The cost of insuring Ford’s bonds against default jumped in the derivatives market. Guaranteeing Ford Motor Co. debt now costs 1.83 percent a year, up 0.15 percentage point from Friday’s levels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That’s the biggest one-day jump since May.

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No surprise, Ford has no clear plans for the future while hundreds of millions are thrown at Rivian, the train depot, electrification, "mobility", etc.. Ford has too many SUVs while commercial truck buyers are being driven away by limited options. Meanwhile, the couple hundred thousand customers who buy Fusions and Fiestas are being told to settle for an SUV or go away. And while Ford brags of having $20B in cash reserves, they've also typically got a million or so unsold vehicles in inventory and who knows how many billions more Ford is financing... So Ford has earned junk bond status.

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Ford Electrifies Icons for U.S. Buyers Unfazed by Pump Prices

Keith Naughton, Bloomberg  /  September 11, 2019

Ford Motor Co. says fear of high gas prices no longer motivates buyers to seek out low-emission vehicles, so it’s leveraging the reputations of its two most renowned models to spark interest in upcoming electric vehicles across its lineup.

“People are now used to $4- or $5-a-gallon gasoline. They might gulp at $5 gas, but they wouldn’t have the same reaction today as was occurring 10 or 20 years ago,” said Bob Taenaka, senior technical leader of Ford’s electrified vehicles. It would take pump prices rising to double those record levels to change consumer behavior, he said.

So Ford is hoping the sex appeal of an electric model invoking the performance of the Mustang muscle car and a battery-powered F-150 pickup will trickle down to other models, much as large-displacement engines once were the source of bragging rights. “These are two of the most iconic vehicles that we produce,” Taenaka told reporters following a speech at an electric vehicle forum in suburban Detroit.

The strategy is to show EVs can be fast and tough and are not just science projects, Taenaka said. In July, the company released a video of an electric F-150 prototype pulling 1 million pounds of rail cars.

Ford plans to start selling what it’s described as a “Mustang-inspired” electric crossover next year, to be followed shortly thereafter by a battery-powered version of its top-selling F-150.

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