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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally isn’t on his way out, though succession plans are being considered according to a top Ford executive.
Mark Fields, Ford‘s president of the Americas, emphasized the importance of developing a succession plan, despite there being no plans for Mulally’s retirement. Fields, who is one of the candidates to move into the position said ”It’s something we’re all very committed to, and there will be great opportunities within Ford,” in an interview with the Detroit News.
Mulally is nothing less than an icon at Ford, and in the automotive world overall. He is credited with piloting Ford through the economic storms of the last decade and successfully leading the company to being the only member of the big three to decline a bailout.
That success came with heavy debt, but the company seems to be have effectively avoided disaster and found their way back into growth. That success got final affirmation last Friday when the company officially announced plans to reinstate cash dividends for their stock, effective in January 2012.
Restoring dividends “gives a lot of encouragement to our employees, our stockholders and our communities that we’re going to stay focused and move the business forward,” Fields said.
The company originally planned to wait until their credit rating was restored to investment grade. In light of strong sales and consistant growth Ford executives decided to move forward despite Moody’s and S&P upgrading them to one notch below investment grade.
[Source: Detroit News]
The replacement for Ford‘s current CEO Alan Mulally will likely come from within, and four contenders have come out on top despite no realistic timeline for someone to replace Mulally.
Those four contenders include Mark Fields, the president of the Americas and current frontrunner (age 50), current CFO Lewis Booth (age 63), Jim Farley, group vice president of global marketing, sales and service (age 49), and Joe Hinrichs, group vice president of Ford Asia Pacific and Africa (age 45).
The talk of a CEO successor for Alan Mulally is probably premature, as his success in Ford will allow him to leave on his own terms, when he wants. But at age 66, Ford’s board of directors has to realistically begin to consider successors. One thing is for sure, Ford will be promoting from within rather than hiring from the outside – as they did with Mulally – in order to send a message of stability. Another option that Ford is considering is that Mulally could act as a mentor for Ford’s future leader.
[Source: Automotive News]
Ford appears set to bring back the BOSS 302 as the next special edition Mustang. According to Mustang Heaven, Mark Field’s, president of the Americas for FoMoCo, told dealers at a recent meeting that, “We did the Bullitt, we did a Mach 1, we did the C/S. I can’t tell you what the next special edition Mustang will be, but I can give you a hint.”
Then, behind Fields, drove an original 1970 BOSS 302.
Last year, with the debut of the new 5.0-liter Mustang GT, Ford also announced the BOSS 302R, a racing version of the car destined for competition in the Grand Am Series. We expect some of the racing goodies, the suspension components in particular, to make their way to the hard-core street car.
[Source: Mustang Heaven]
The simultaneous introduction of the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 at the LA Auto Show last week marks the end of a long history of platform sharing between Ford and Mazda. After two decades of collaboration, Ford has decided to develop vehicles separately from now on, according to Ford president Mark Fields.
In the past year Ford has continually reduced its involvement in Mazda, selling off much of its stake in the Japanese automaker (from 33 to just 11 percent), in order to avoid bankruptcy.
The news comes as a blow to Mazda as almost its entire product lineup is based on Ford products, the the Mazda3/CX-7 based on the Focus platform, the Tribute based on the Escape platform and the CX-9 based on the Ford Edge platform. Interestingly, however, Ford’s popular Fusion sedan is based on the Mazda6 platform and the new Fiesta is based on the Mazda2.
Still, Mazda will now have to develop new platforms on its own, which some analysts have suggested it just isn’t large enough to do. Mazda recently announced it would raise $1.1 billion for research into hybrid powertrains as it became obvious that Ford wasn’t willing to share its new hybrid technology.
Ford does continue to hold a majority stake in Mazda and has said it will still work together with the Japanese automaker in certain areas – which may include both transmission and engine sharing. Ford did, after all, begin its business relationship with Mazda back in 1969 with a transmission sharing program.
The news does, however, leave Mazda with a very serious and very real problem.
Each year the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) gives out accolades to vehicles in different classes, but none carry the quite the prestigious honor as the “Truck of Texas” title. For 2010 TAWA has awarded the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor as the “Truck of Texas,” making this the seventh year in a row that a Ford has won the top truck award.
“Winning the Truck of Texas is a distinct honor,” said Mark Fields, president, The Americas, Ford Motor Company. “Texans know their trucks, and this award is further proof of why the F-150 remains America’s number-one selling pickup. We built F-150 SVT Raptor for truck enthusiasts. And we’re gratified it’s gaining recognition for both its unequaled off-road performance and confidence-inspiring on-road demeanor.”
The F-150 SVT Raptor gets big fender flares, FOX Racing Shox with 11.2-inches of front suspension travel and 12.1-inches of rear suspension travel, as well as 35-inch BFGoodrich tires. A 5.4-liter V8 engine with 320-hp and 390 ft-lbs of torque is currently offered and Ford plans to make a 6.2-liter V8 with 400-hp and 400 ft-lbs of torque available.
But what really makes the Raptor so amazing is that as off-road capable as it is, you can actually use it for normal daily driving.
See our review of the F-150 SVT Raptor here:
GALLERY: Ford F-150 SVT Raptor
Official release after the jump:
Ford will spend $550 million to transform it’s Michigan truck plant into a facility that bill be used to built the new Ford Focus, including an electric version of that vehicle.
By transforming the Michigan Trunk Plant into a compact car facility as many as 3,200 jobs will be saved as demand for large SUVs declines. The Truck Plant was the location where behemoths such as the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator were manufactured.
The all new Focus will begin production next year with an electric version of the compact car due out in 2011. This zero-emissions Focus is being built in partnership with Magna International and will be powered by an electric motor mated to a Lithium-Ion battery pack and can be charged though a conventional household outlet.
Ford has made a commitment to bring three more EVs to market by 2012.
“The transformation of Michigan Assembly Plant embodies the larger transformation under way at Ford,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “This is about investing in modern, efficient and flexible American manufacturing. It is about fuel economy and the electrification of vehicles. It is about leveraging our expertise and vehicle platforms around the world and partnering with the UAW to deliver best-in-class global small cars. It is about skilled and motivated teams working together in new ways to create the future of automobile manufacturing in the United States.”
Along with the Michigan plant, Ford will transform its Louisville, KY plant to also produce the new Focus, as well as modify the company’s Cuautitlan Assembly in Mexico, where the new Fiesta is to be produced.
“We’re changing from a company focused mainly on trucks and SUVs to a company with a balanced product lineup that includes even more high-quality, fuel-efficient small cars, hybrids and all-electric vehicles,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “As customers move to more fuel-efficient vehicles, we’ll be there with more of the products they really want.”
Official release after the jump:
The SHO gets its power from Ford’s new Ecoboost twin-turbo, direct-injection 3.5-liter V6 engine, that delivers V8 power with V6 fuel economy.
Total output is rated at 365 horsepower at 5500 rpm and 350 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3500 rpm.
“The new Taurus SHO delivers on the authentic sleeper sedan formula but adds all-new luxury-appointments, convenience features and technologies to an unsurpassed balance of power and fuel economy,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas. “This new sport derivative answers enthusiasts’ calls for a premium Ford flagship sedan with even more attitude.”
Along with the added performance of AWD, the SHO will get tighter and more direct steering as well as a sport-tuned suspension.
The exterior will feature mild visual differences including a decklid spoiler, 19-inch wheels and twin exhaust pipes, and the interior will receive a list of upgrades.
“Taurus SHO was always a stealth high-performance car,” said Earl Lucas, exterior design manager. “The new SHO builds on the expressive design of the 2010 Taurus, adding subtle cues that set it apart.”
Ford will also offer a Performance Package for the SHO, which will include upgraded brake pads, 20-inch wheels, an even tighter and more responsive electronic steering system, a shorter 3.16 final drive for faster acceleration and a “Sport Mode” setting for the AdvanceTrac stability control system.
The 2010 Taurus SHO will go on sale this summer with an MSRP of $37,995.
Official release after the jump: