The VanDyke Ford Transmission Plant will be welcoming a strange visitor this August. A 70lbs robot, dog like in appearance, nicknamed Fluffy will spend two days at the Macomb County plant.
Fluffy’s job in those two workdays will be to conduct a laser scan on a section of the plant floor. Scans like these are performed before retooling. If the experiment is successful, Ford will consider more frequent scans. This would allow Ford to prepare rolling out new vehicles sooner which in the modern competitive market could be a real advantage.
Ford is leasing Fluffy and his buddy Spot (a similar robot) from Boston Dynamics for one year. No one would say what the cost was but Ford did state it would cost less than a typical scan which runs the automaker $300,000 apiece. Boston Dynamics list the purchase price of such a robot at &74,500
While Spot won’t be joining Fluffy, a third round robot named Scouter will be. Scouter’s job is to give Fluffy a ride to save its energy.
Fluffy and his five cameras have proven skillful in many situations. For example, it has no problem navigating steps and can pick it self up if it falls. Fluffy is pretty maneuverable, which is why it is so versatile. It is controlled by a gaming-like set of joy sticks.
It seems that as Ford Motor Company reworks of its best money maker, the F-150, the reworkings are mostly changes to the interior. The changes are luxury oriented including recliner sleeper seats and hands-free technology.
Believe it or not, sleep was a demand of many truck buyers. These buyers purchased almost 900k F-Series trucks last year. This was worth about $42 billion to Ford Motor Company. Perhaps in opposition to many people’s assumptions Ford F-Series customers want something more like a first-class experience in a truck cabin. They don’t want a no-frills work vehicle.
With many competitors from General Motors Company or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles offering modern creature comfort in trucks Ford felt the pressure and decided to upgrade the F-150.
The new F-150, available later this year, will provide a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment center matching what its Dodge Ram competitor offers. Additionally, the new F-150 will be available as a hybrid or an EV in about two years according to Ford. The hybrid will include a generator feature that Ford says could power a worksite or home. The F-150 will also become the first Ford to offer over-air software updates just like Tesla has offered for years. The hands-free driving feature is coming from the electric Mustang Mach-E (available later this year).
After 17 long years Ford Motor Company will be offering a new Mustang Mach 1. The new Mustang Mach 1 will include suspension upgrades and new aerodynamics. The 480 horsepower 2021 Mach 1, according to Ford Motor Company, will be “the pinnacle of 5.0L Mustang performance and handling,” when it becomes available for sale next spring.
The Mach 1 is very much a party of Mustang history. The first version came about in 1969 winning two in a row Sports Car Club of America Manufacturer’s rally championships. It set 295 speed and endurance records at the Bonneville Salt Flats in its first model year. Since that very first generation Ford has built only two Mach2s. One based on the unpopular Mustang II that kept the brand alive through the oil shock of the 70s. The second was based on the ’04, fourth-generation Mustang.
The 3rd iteration of the Ford Mustang Mach 1 will include an upgraded version of Ford’s fast-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission; which isn’t even available on the Bullitt or Shelby Mustangs. It will also feature 150% more downforce than the Mustang GT + Ford’s performance pack 1 upgrades.
If some drivers want a more vintage feel they can choose the Tremec six-speed manual that the Shelby GT350.
The 3rd generation Mach 1 will be available next spring.
A new ST version of the Puma crossover will arrive later in 2020 according to its maker, Ford Motor Company.
Leaked imagery of the Puma ST suggests it will be borrowing its body look from they Hyundai Kona N. This imagery does not reveal how the Puma ST will differentiate itself from the standard Puma. The wheels suggest a design like the Fiesta ST and it is thought by some the Puma ST will borrow its powertrain.
The 1.5 liter, 3 cylinder engine of the Fiesta ST gives 197bhp and 214lb ft. Enough to give the so-called “supermini” a take of speed of 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds and its speed tops out around 114mph. The larger, higher ride Puma will have to make performance sacrifices if it uses this unmodified powertrain.
From what has been seen of prototypes, it will have a standout lower body kit that rounds the whole vehicle with a splitter-style front bumper and a new rear bumper that will house the twin tailpipes.
Other upgrades could include a stiffer suspension and larger brake discs. Options could include a limited slip differential, selectable driving modes and perhaps launch control function.
The Puma will be Ford’s third Euro-model to get an ST version and will be Ford’s first “hot” SUV to launch overseas. Its rivals will include the aforementioned Hyundai Kona N as well as their HR-V.
As General Motors was picked for a government contract to make ventilators, Ford is getting on the medical supply train all on its own. Ford revealed recently that they will be making breathing machines along with other medical supplies like face masks and reusable gowns that will be made out of a silicone-coated nylon the company typically uses in a very different way.
The material is usually used to create Ford Motor Company’s air bags. The material has many qualities Ford was looking for to make these gowns. Liquid permeability and that it can be washed and reused up to 50 times. Ford worked with a local Detroit hospital to design these “isolation gowns.” They are set to manufacture 1.3 million of these gowns by early July.
The facemasks Ford creates will be distributed to its own plant workers but Ford intends to get them certified for medical use. They will also step up manufacture of battery powered, air purification respirators they have worked to develop with 3M.
It has been fifty-five years since the first Ford Bronco hit the road and it has been 24 years since the last one left the factory. However, now, Ford Motor Company is buffing up and reviving this treasured namesake—some say in a bid to heat back up a long-standing rivalry with the Jeep brand.
Leading the way will be a mid-size offering, an SUV based on the popular Ranger pickup. Insiders are hinting that after this initial, new Bronco SUV others will follow. Even something that is being described as a car-based Bronco Sport that might be revealed later this year and even a performance Bronco Raptor might be under consideration.
Ford has made it abundantly clear that the Bronco reincarnation is aimed at the Jeep Wrangler, one of the most iconic sports utility vehicles of all time. The rivalry between the two dates back to 1965 when the original Bronco was released as a compact two-door vehicle that had the Jeep CJ in its sights (the Wrangler’s ancestor).
Ford sees this as an opportunity to build a franchise around the beloved Bronco name—something that took Jeep eighty years and about six company owners to make happen.
When Ford, for the first time in seventy years, went outside its own organization to hire a CFO besides an impressive resume Tim Stone came with something unusual. He brought his furry pal Finely, a 7 year old Australian shepherd that comes to work with Stone nearly every day.
Finely isn’t just a well-behaved office mate whose job description focuses on stress-reduction. He is kind of a mascot for a new program at Ford offering 1,300 office employees the chance to bring their dog to work.
This comes as part of a larger program to grab from the pool of hard to attract tech talent to the Motor City. Other initiatives include a campus redesign that does away with hierarchy and turning an old train station into a modern office space.
In a search for hundreds more tech experts. Places like Seattle and Silicon Valley have long offered similar campus layouts and bring your pet to work programs. Studies show that having access to a dog can not only reduce stress but increase productivity. One Amazon campus has about 7,000 registered dogs.
In the UK, police will trail the new Ford Ranger Raptor and Ford Focus ST estate as law enforcement considers these new Ford vehicles for full-time, UK police service.
The new Ranger Raptor, well a modified version, will be trailed by South wales Police.
While some question the Ranger Raptor’s 105mph top speed—which at a glance would be unlikely to concern a criminal—Ford believes the vehicle has plenty of power to keep up with criminals making an escape across gravel, mud and sand. New features like Fox-brand shock absorbers and their so-called Baja desert race mode are intended to improve law enforcement’s ability to chase bad guys across rugged or rural terrain.
At the moment, South Wales police force is the only one putting the Ranger Raptor through trials. Though Ford claims that several other special police units of made inquiries about the new rugged terrain vehicle. And Ford experts think that law enforcement interest will only increase as the Ranger Raptor is put through paces.
Cumbria police force will test the Ford Focus ST estate. The ST has a top speed of 155mph and Ford thinks these specialized vehicles will help police catch the bad guys on regular roads and highways. The ST is are made by the Special Vehicle Prep team at Ford and come with a full assortment of police style add-ons, both hardware and software.
Information about Ford’s new Mustang Mach-E electric SUV has been “leaked” through their online configurator just a few days before its official release at the LA Motor Show.
The Mustang Mach-E, which Ford conceived as a high-end, performance oriented rival to Tesla’s Model Y. Until now the vehicle had only been described as “Mustang inspired” but no name, specs or other information was available.
The available information indicates the Mach-E will be made available with several options of power output. 0-60mph times, it seems, will vary from mid 3 seconds to mid six seconds. The EPA rating system for range puts the models between 230 and 300 miles. Additionally, the models will feature either rear wheel or all wheel drive.
Some are speculating that this move means that Ford intends to use the Mustang legacy to grow a fuller line of car models. This would allow them to take advantage of their heritage among US consumers and could lend credibility to new Ford models in foreign markets.
After its official reveal, according to Ford, they will begin taking deposits for the Mach-E in the US and Europe. The first wave of buyers will be offered a supped up performance First Edition model. However no additional pricing or spec information was made available.
Ford has announced that the 2020 Shelby Mustang GT500 will come equipped with 625 foot-pounds of torque and 760 horsepower.
The new Ford offering was revealed in January. At the time Ford announced it would be the most powerful street legal car they had made and that it would be capable of 0-60mph in a 3 second time frame. The GT500 will have 5.2 liter V-8 and will reportedly complete a quarter mile in under 11 seconds. This new model will also offer a carbon fiber track with no rear seating for weight reduction.
This new Mustang will be available this fall.
The Dodge Challenger Hellcat, with over 700 hp, is going to be a competitor for the new Shelby. The 2019 Mustang GT350 only comes in at 526 hp (for comparison).
While Ford has announced it’s North American lineup would be reduced, their classic Mustang will remain in the stable.