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GM, Ford Smacked with Harassment Lawsuits

Employees suffer racial and sexual harassment at plants.

by Michael Strong on Jan.18, 2019

Several employees have reported incidents of racial intimidation at GM's powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio.

The U.S. automotive assembly plant is the last bastion of approved racial and sexual discrimination if recent events, i.e. lawsuits, are to be believed.

In the past two days, lawsuits filed against General Motors and Ford for racial and sexual discrimination have brought to light behavior thought by many to have been banished to the history books.

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GM’s powertrain plant in Toledo, Ohio, was allegedly the scene of racial discrimination and intimidation on a daily basis, according to the contents of lawsuits and complaints filed with state agencies in Ohio. Two supervisors at the facility were taunted, disrespected and their complaints ignored by management, including the discovery of a noose in an area where one of the men worked. (more…)

Farley Says Ford Following a Different Game Plan for EVs

"Mustang-inspired" EV to make profits fast too.

by Michael Strong on Jan.16, 2019

Ford's Jim Farley said the company is comfortable trailing the pack on EV development, as it has a different plan.

Once considered one of the leaders in race to produce a viable electric vehicle, Ford Motor Co. has fallen behind rivals like General Motors and its new partner, Volkswagen AG.

However, if you listen to Jim Farley, Ford president of Global Markets, the company feels just fine about trailing the pack.

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“Our strategy is different,” Farley said last night at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. “In a way we had the advantage of watching what happened the first time around. What customers have told us is ‘Just give us the good stuff.’ We’re going to change a lot of people’s minds.” (more…)

Ford, VW Announce 1st in Promised Series of Joint Ventures

Carmakers will focus first on midsize pickups, light commercial vehicles.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.15, 2019

Ford CEO Jim Hackett, left, and VW AG CEO Herbert Diess downplayed the immediate impact their new deal.

Confirming months of rumors, Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen announced Tuesday that they will launch the first of what they suggested will be a series of joint ventures, focusing initially on midsize pickups and light commercial vehicles.

Moving forward, they anticipate adding projects that will pair their costly efforts on electrified and autonomous vehicles, while Herbert Diess, the CEO of VW, said during a joint teleconference that the new partners could work together on “other” products in the future.

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Alliances are becoming more commonplace in an industry where changing consumer tastes and emerging technologies are stretching thin the budgets of even the most well-funded manufacturers, said Diess, who added that, “In such an environment, it just makes sense to share investments, pool innovation capabilities and create scale effects that are clearly defined.” (more…)

Ford Laying Off 1,000 Workers in Great Britain

Brigend Engine Plant loses half of its workers.

by Joseph Szczesny on Jan.15, 2019

Ford is cutting 1,000 jobs at the Brigend Engine Plant in Wales.

Ford of Europe is poised to eliminate more than 1,050 jobs at the Brigend Engine Plant in Wales, according to the British union representing representing them.

The company confirmed last week that it was poised to eliminate hundreds of jobs across its operations in both Great Britain and on the European continent. The Brigend plant currently employs 2,100 meaning the impending cuts would eliminate roughly 50% of the plant’s workforce.

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Ford is in the midst of a broad restructuring of its operations worldwide with analysts estimating the total number of job cuts could top 15,000 or more. (more…)

Exclusive: Ford-VW Deal Kicking Off With Commercial Vehicle JV, VW CEO Diess Reveals

“We are looking at other things,” VW’s Diess tells TheDetroitBureau.com.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett, left, and Volkswagen AG CEO Herbert Diess talk on the floor of the Detroit Auto Show today.

Ford and Volkswagen will formally announce on Tuesday the first of what is expected to become a broad range of joint ventures and other partnerships, the head of the German automaker told TheDetroitBureau.com during an impromptu interview at the North American International Auto Show.

The tie-up will begin with a partnership involving commercial vehicles that should help VW expand its marginal presence in the pickup segment, with Ford gaining access to product in other commercial sectors. But there are other projects that have been approved by both companies’ boards that will be revealed on Tuesday, said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess.

Breaking News!

Not everything will be announced this week, Diess said, confirming that the relationship is a work in progress. He noted that beyond what either has already been set in motion, “We are looking at other things.” (more…)

Ford Adding Hybrid, High-Performance ST Models to Explorer Line-Up

“An Explorer for every adventure.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Ford is expanding the Explorer line-up to include a new high-performance ST model and a fuel-efficient hybrid.

Considering the growing importance of SUVs and for Ford, in particular, the role that the Explorer plays, it’s no surprise that the automaker will be offering more versions of the big utility vehicle than ever for 2020, including a first-ever hybrid and an all-new performance variant, the Explorer ST.

Ford gave the world a first look at the fourth-generation Explorer at a splashy event in downtown Detroit last week. It saved the two new versions for a Monday debut during the North American International Auto Show. The entire Explorer line-up is set to roll out of Ford’s big Chicago Assembly Plant a few months from now.

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“This new generation of Explorer recognizes that every family – and every driver – is unique,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing. “With an all-new ST and an all-new hybrid, there truly is an Explorer for every adventure.” (more…)

Ford Shelby GT500 Cracks the 700 HP Barrier

“Slippery, fast, agile.”

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.14, 2019

Jim Farley, Ford president, Global Markets, says the 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 will put out north of 700 horsepower when it hits the streets this fall.

Ford has traditionally offered the Mustang in fast, faster and fastest versions. The new Shelby GT500 making its debut at the North American International Auto Show this week takes things to a new level, cracking the 700-horsepower barrier for the first time.

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Now, from a raw number count, it won’t be the top dog in the muscle car category, that crown going to the Dodge Challenger Redeye. But Ford claims it will give that competitor a good run for the money by holding down weight and adding an array of performance-enhancing aerodynamic features. (more…)

Newest Lincoln Continental Gets Some Coach-ing for 2019

Luxury brand offers just 80 of the limited edition models.

by Michael Strong on Jan.14, 2019

Lincoln is marking the 80th anniversary of its Continental luxury sedan with a glamorous, limited-run Coach Edition.

Although much of this year’s North American International Auto Show is going to be focused on the new truck, the new SUV or the EV, at least one company – Lincoln – remembered to bring some glam to the show.

Ford’s luxury division is commemorating the 80th anniversary of its iconic Continental luxury sedan with a limited-run of Coach Door Edition models, harkening back to when men wore suits and cars were big and had suicide doors.

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Lincoln plans to build 80 of the Continental Coach Door Edition, with center-opening doors – commonly known as suicide doors – Lincoln used back in the 1960s. The limited run specials also get six inches of additional leg room as well as a plush “Black Label” interior. (more…)

Ford Expected to Cut “Thousands” of European Jobs

European unit wants 6% profit margin by 2020.

by Michael Strong on Jan.10, 2019

Steven Armstrong, Ford of Europe's chief, confirmed the unit is taking measures and examining other options to become profitable.

With speculation swirling about the details of an almost certain link up between Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG, the company announced it plans to cut “thousands” of jobs in Europe in the near term.

“We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” Steven Armstrong, group vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement on Thursday.

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Ford Europe has been a money loser for several years and now needs to restructure its operations to turn that trend around. The unit employs about 53,000 people. (more…)

Ford, VW Could Roll Out a Series of Deals Over Coming “Weeks and Months,” Says Farley

Automaker also looking to expand ties to Indian ally Mahindra & Mahindra.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Jan.10, 2019

Ford's Jim Farley said the company is deep in talks with Volkswagen AG, but said there are plenty of small details that need to be worked out.

Ford Motor Co. is moving towards signing a series of new projects pairing it with Volkswagen AG, the first of those deals possibly being announced as early as next week. But a senior source tells TheDetroitBureau.com that final details haven’t yet been approved by the two automakers, something that could hold back a formal announcement.

And, with a variety of different projects now being negotiated, the new partners could spread out any news over a period of “weeks and months,” according to Jim Farley, Ford’s president of Global Markets.

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The tie-up with Volkswagen is not expected to involve any equity swapping, sources close to the talks emphasize, but the eventual relationship is likely to be significant. If the key projects now under discussion prove fruitful they could range from joint development of commercial vehicles, electrified vehicles and other products to global marketing alliances that would take advantage of the strengths of each company. (more…)