Let the good times roll at Ford Motor!

Let the good times roll at Ford Motor! It’s amazing how this company turned around in the four years since CEO Alan Mulally took over the top spot from Bill Ford. It won’t be easy to keep the market share gains Ford has seen in the past few years with GM and Chrysler experiencing their own comebacks. In the meantime you know the Blue Oval Crew isn’t sitting back but rather they are getting ready for another round of new product launches in 2011.

From the Detroit Free Press:

Ford is about to happily wave good-bye to 10 years of turnaround plans.

The Dearborn automaker, which plans to announce year-end financial results Friday, is poised to report a profit for 2010 of about $8 billion excluding onetime charges — the automaker’s biggest annual profit in a decade.

Ford usually announces how much annual profit-sharing checks will be that day. The checks, expected in March, could give the local economy a $240-million boost, said David Sowerby, economist and chief portfolio manager for Loomis Sayles. Bernie Ricke, president of UAW Local 600, said the checks will be “fairly significant and more than we’ve seen in several years.”

Read the full article.

  

Questions swirling around future of Lincoln!

This is a very good write up on what the future holds for Ford’s Lincoln luxury brand. We weren’t at the dinner mentioned in the piece but it appears there weren’t many answers to the reporters questions.

My advice to the Bigs at the Blue Oval is “Go Young”. Take the time to establish Lincoln as a sleek luxury brand for style-conscious young professionals. (sound familiar?) It’s not a new formula but one that takes patience and top notch product priced right. As they climb the latter they will stick with Lincoln if their offerings can move up the ladder with the customer.

From Auto News.com:

It’s a week after the Detroit auto show opened to the press, and I have no clearer idea of how Ford Motor Co.’s going to rebuild Lincoln than I did before.

While Ford division occupied a large space at Cobo Center, the Lincoln stand was small and shoved into a back corner. You couldn’t miss it as you made your way to the restrooms.

Ford executives offered a wait-and-see response when asked about specific Lincoln product plans. The underlying message? It appears to be: “Trust us. Look what we’ve done with the Ford division. Just trust us.”

And even the competition won’t jar Lincoln.

Ford’s head of Asia-Pacific and Africa, Joe Hinrichs, told me at dinner that Buick’s compact car offering — the Verano — doesn’t put pressure on Lincoln.

Read the full article.

  

Consumer Reports goes too far?

Ouch! Ford put together an incredible crossover in the 2011 Ford Edge and it loses the “recommend” tag from Consumer Reports because of some controls on the MyTouch system? That should be a side note to the company to “work on” but to yank a recommend on such a strong product for something like seems over the top! You can in someways compare that to someone not wanting to buy a Consumer Reports Magazine because they didn’t like the ad on the back cover.

From the Detroit News:

Consumer Reports has pulled its much heralded “recommend” tag for the 2011 Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX in its February issue, available on newsstands today.

The influential magazine, in fact, did not recommend any of the six 2011 SUVs tested and featured in the issue. The others are the Chevrolet Tahoe and Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as the more luxurious Porsche Cayenne and Infiniti QX56.

Pulling its recommendations for the Ford Motor Co. crossovers came down to Ford’s new telematics system, known as MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch, said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn. Testers found the system unwieldy, difficult to use and requires drivers to take their eyes off the road, he said.

Read the full article.

  

The Blue Oval keeps working on the color Green!

48704, SANTA ANA CITY, CALIFORNIA - Tuesday December 21, 2010.  MUSTANG TALLY - Bob Lucas's Car Still Going Strong After 45 Years And One Million Miles. A retired teacher who bought a car in 1965 is still behind the same wheel four decades later - after racking up more than one MILLION miles. Grandfather-of-six Bob Lucas, 79, bought the Ford GT Mustang 289 from his local dealer in 1965 for $3,000. Bob, then just 34, had no idea the hardy vehicle would last for the next 45 years - and clock up an astonishing million miles. Words by Paul Andrews, PacificCoastNews.com / Photograph: James Breeden,  PacificCoastNews.com

Ford isn’t letting up in trying to come up with all ideas possible to increase fuel efficiency. If this start and stop method can increase mpg by 10% in the city and 5% overall cars won’t need to be idle to get our attention! (just make sure the heater keeps running in Ohio winters!)

From the Truth About Cars:

Despite the fact that current EPA testing methods fail to demonstrate the advantages of “stop-start” systems, which shut down engines at idle, Ford will begin rolling out the technology on 2012 model-year vehicles. Automotive News [sub] reports that “some” four-cylinder models will go idle-free starting with next year’s rollout of 2012 models, and that

Based on the European rollout, the most likely initial vehicles include the 2012 Ford Fiesta and Focus cars, Escape crossover, C-Max minivan and Transit Connect delivery vehicle.

By 2015, Ford will have joined Mazda as one of the manufacturers offering start-stop across its lineup (on manual and automatic models). There was, however, no cooperation between the two firms on their respective stop-start systems. Ford’s newest system can reportedly improve efficiency by ten percent in the city and five percent overall.

Read the full article.

  

Ford partners with TeleNav to provide global positioning services

MyFord Touch with TeleNav.

Ford announced last week that it would be partnering with TeleNav to provide global navigation services in MyFord Touch equipped vehicles.

From the press release:

“With TeleNav’s worldwide routing and navigation experience, Ford now can offer high quality connected services to drivers in a number of countries,” said HP Jin, president, CEO and co-founder of TeleNav. “The availability of MyFord Touch outside of North America is further evidence of TeleNav’s growing presence in the auto industry.”

MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch will allow customers to interact with the navigation system through a touch screen interface or SYNC’s voice recognition capabilities to find local information and navigate to their destinations. The system includes an 8-inch touch screen in the center stack and dual 4.2-inch screens in the instrument cluster to showcase full color maps and guidance information. TeleNav’s SD card-based navigation system provides an easily updateable option compared to CD, DVD or hard-drive-based systems. TeleNav’s global navigation solution includes regional and local information such as languages, guidance and maps.

The best part of that is “easily updateable.” One of GPS’ biggest drawbacks is how quickly it can get outdated. With road construction happening every day, frustration at making a wrong turn somewhere is almost inevitable. Any GPS system that’s easy to update is a GPS system I want.

  

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