Ford Flex: Spy Report

ford-flex.jpgThe spy shots above and below (at right) show a number of minor changes to the prototype Flex Flex model since we first saw it at the New York auto show last month. We’ll get to all of them in a minute, but our first impression upon seeing the Flex hit the road? It looks long, long, long—much bigger than the discontinued Ford Freestar minivan it’s replacing. Flex could fit in well as an airport shuttle van, but we do still like the hinged rear doors (they could convince soccer moms that this is a perfect new ride after all those long years of service from the family minivan). Continue reading Ford Flex: Spy Report

Ford considering selling its Arizona proving ground

ford-apg.jpgFollowing on the heels of General Motors selling its Mesa, Arizona Desert Proving Ground, Ford has decided to look at doing the same with its own Arizona facility. The Arizona Proving Ground located near Lake Havasu is a 3,700 acre facility that employs 200 permanent staff in addition to Ford engineeers who come in to test vehicles. The track would be disposed of as part of the current cost cutting effort at Ford. Way Forward, ho! Most of Ford’s vehicle development testing is being consolidated at its Dearborn Proving Ground adjacent to the automaker’s engineering facilities. Nothing is finalized at this point, but it seems likely that a deal will happen sooner rather than later. Continue reading Ford considering selling its Arizona proving ground

BMW reportedly interested in buying Volvo?

bmw-volvo.jpgAutocar says BMW seriously considered taking Volvo off of Ford’s hands earlier this year, going so far as to request financial data about the company, which is surprising on several levels. First, does this mean Volvo is for sale? Bill Ford has said nothing in Ford’s Premium Auto Group is sacred, but Volvo seems to be one of the company’s shiniest jewels. Continue reading BMW reportedly interested in buying Volvo?

Next-gen Ford Fiesta will arrive in U.S. by late 2009

ford-fiesta.jpgWe’ve begged for Ford to begin selling some of its perceived-to-be excellent international wares in the U.S. and today we’ve learned our wait is over. Motor Trend is reporting that the next generation Ford Fiesta will be sold in the U.S. by late 2008, about a year after it’s introduced in Europe. The new Ford Fiesta is based on the same platform as the Mazda2 that was officially introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March. We lamented at the time neither the Mazda or its Ford counterpart would ever be sold on U.S. shores, but apparently Ford had decided before the Geneva show that the Fiesta would be bound for the U.S. Continue reading Next-gen Ford Fiesta will arrive in U.S. by late 2009

Update on Ford’s aspiration for a dual-clutch transmission

ford_trans.jpgIt looks like the dual-clutch preselector transmission is emerging as the leader in automated manuals. Volkswagen’s DSG has been around a while and offers fewer compromises than less purpose-built manuals. Ford’s champing at the bit to get their own trick DSG-like transmission into production, and it looks like we’ll see such a unit drop soon with the PowerShift moniker. Gearbox maker Getrag has several different variations on the theme, and word is they’ll start off in PAG brand like Volvo first and then trickle down to other Fords as a premium option. Volvo is a logical entry point, as the marque’s S40 T5 can be mentioned in the same breath as the A3 without the entire room snickering. Continue reading Update on Ford’s aspiration for a dual-clutch transmission

Ford Transit Connect to be sold in U.S.

06tconnect_005.jpgPerhaps taking a note from DaimlerChrysler’s playbook, Ford will reportedly be importing a version of the Ford Transit Connect commercial vehicle to be sold in the United States. DaimlerChrysler began selling the Sprinter commercial van in the U.S. around 2004, and has enjoyed success selling it to large corporations that need workhorse fleet vehicles with large, enclosed cargo spaces. The Turkish news website Sabah is reporting that the Transit Connect destined for our shores will be built in Turkey at Ford’s Kocaeli facilities until production of the commercial van begins in the U.S. around 2009. Continue reading Ford Transit Connect to be sold in U.S.

Lights out: Production ends for Ford Freestar

freestar.jpgThank God it’s over. Goodbye Freestar, you won’t be missed. Ford has turned out its last head-gasket-consuming, transmission-torturing, flaccid minivan. It was a good try twelve years ago when it debuted as the Windstar, but time has not been kind to Ford’s efforts. Moreover, Ford was not kind to the Freestar, letting it die on the vine while the competition became ever more competent. Continue reading Lights out: Production ends for Ford Freestar

Want to own a Shelby Mustang GT-H? 113 being auctioned to Ford dealers

57330994.jpgAn anonymous tipper has just informed us that Hertz will be auctioning off a large batch of its very exclusive rental car, the Shelby Mustang GT-H, to Ford dealers from Thursday, December 7th through December 21st. If we understand our source correctly, six auctions will occur around the country beginning in Manheim, PA, then moving to Hayward, CA; Denver, Colorado; Atlanta, Georgia; Fontanca, CA; and finally back to Manheim, PA. 113 models of the Shelby GT-H, all used as rental cars, will be auctioned off in total, with each auction getting 15 – 20 units to sell. Continue reading Want to own a Shelby Mustang GT-H? 113 being auctioned to Ford dealers

Ford tells bidders Aston will earn $109 million

ford-logo.jpgIn the week of the release of the most recent James Bond movie Casino Royale, there are reports that Ford sent information to potential buyers regarding the well being of Aston Martin. It stated that Aston is on track to sell 7,000 cars this year and will generate sales of £479m (US $912m) and a profit of £57m (US $109m). It also states that the Gaydon plant capacity could be expanded to 9,000 vehicles if necessary. Continue reading Ford tells bidders Aston will earn $109 million

Ford: We’ll make a little coin in 2009

ford-logo.jpgCrystal ball time. Ford CFO Don Leclair has reiterated that the North American automotive operations will be profitable in 2009, even if only slightly. In Ford’s announcement today, Leclair showed a chart that one analyst said displayed a “thin sliver of profits.” Peter Nesvold of Bear Stearns estimated the 2009 profit from the chart at around $250 million. After Ford’s North American loss of $3.3 billion, any profit is a good one. Continue reading Ford: We’ll make a little coin in 2009