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Ford Idling F-150, Transit Assembly Plant for One Week

Ford Idling F-150, Transit Assembly Plant for One Week

Maintenance and inventory reduction are lead factors

Ford Motor Company is planning to idle F-150 and Transit van production for one week during January at its Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri. The time will be used primarily to help reduce Ford’s supply of the trucks and vans as consumer demand wanes. Facility maintenance will also be performed during the down time, scheduled for January 2 through 9.

Production of the F-150 will continue uninterrupted at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant.

Ford says it has a 108-day supply of Transit vans, up from an 83-day supply at this time last year. The F-Series pickups currently have an 85-day supply, which is actually down from an 87-day supply last year.

The Kansas City Assembly Plant employs roughly 7,400 workers and runs three shifts around the clock. Employees will be retained for the week-long stint. This marks the second time in four months Ford has idled the Kansas City Plant. Back in October of 2016, the plant, along with four other Ford manufacturing facilities, halted production for a week.

Other automakers are doing the same. General Motors is having to go a step further come 2017. The automaker is planning to idle a number of its small car assembly plants in order to realign its output supply the slowing customer demand for compact and mid-size cars. Come January, GM will begin laying off nearly 3,300 workers as it cuts production shifts in three of its assembly plants in Michigan and Ohio.

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Ford Introduces EcoBlue Turbodiesel Engine For Europe

Ford Introduces EcoBlue Turbodiesel Engine For Europe

The first in a family of EcoBlue turbodiesels that replaces the DuraTorq lineup

Ford Europe has broken news of an all-new 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine set to replace the current 2.2-liter DuraTorq four-cylinder in several commercial vans, while being prepared to power future passenger cars. Piggybacking off the recognition of the EcoBoost brand, Ford is calling the turbodiesel the EcoBlue.

The engine is said to be more efficient, cleaner, and more powerful than the outgoing DuraTorq. It will meet or exceed the stringent Euro 6 emissions standards thanks to a urea injection system within the exhaust. The 2.0-liter EcoBlue will come in various states of tune, ranging from 99 horsepower up to 237 horsepower. Likewise, torque will range from 266 pound-feet to 299 pound-feet.

“Ford’s EcoBoost created a new standard for petrol engines – smaller, more efficient with surprising performance. That same obsession to innovate for the customer is behind our new Ford EcoBlue diesel engine range,” said Jim Farley, chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe. “This new engine lifts fuel efficiency and reduces CO2 by over 10 percent in Transit, part of Europe’s best-selling commercial vehicle line-up, lowering costs for our customers.”

The EcoBlue engine will debut in the Transit and Transit Custom vans, but will eventually make its way to other products. Ford says a 1.5-liter version is in the works as well.

The engine utilizes a host of high-tech innovations, such as an offset crank that reduces piston side-load; a motorized and geared wastegate actuator for quicker response; a belt-in-oil design that drive the camshaft and oil pump; and an optimized combustion chamber said to be more efficient than any diesel Ford has ever made. The engine also features Ford’s first mirror-image inlet design for the intake manifold and a low-inertia turbo that features “rocket engine materials,” more technically called Inconel alloy that is resistant to extremely high temperatures.

The turbo’s compressor wheels are milled from a single piece of metal, with tolerances down to three microns, which is the size of a single bacterium. The engine is fueled by high-pressure fuel injectors that can deliver up to six injections per combustion event while being quieter than before. The

All this is done to make the engine more efficient, quieter, and longer lasting. Ford says it racked up more than 3.4 million miles on the engine during durability testing, which also included 250,000 mile of actual use by real-world customers.

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“Dirt Every Day” Races 1967 Ford F-100 & VW Van: Video

“Dirt Every Day” Races 1967 Ford F-100 & VW Van: Video

This unlikely pairing makes for hilarious fun

Fred Williams, 4Wheel & Off Road editor and host of Dirt Every Day, pairs up two unlikely vehicles for an informal (and rather fun) race around a grassy and dirt-filled track in the middle of nowhere. The vehicles: a 1967 Ford F-100 and a 1989 Volkswagen Van. Yep, this is a race for the ages.

Williams employs the help of his friends to get the event going, and his ole buddy Frank supplied the F-100. The truck had been sitting up for seven years, set aside after Frank broke his neck in an accident. Now with hand controls, he’s able to pilot the truck once more. Well, that is after Frank and Williams get the truck running again.

The VW van is in a similar state of disrepair. New progressive-rate coil springs and Fox Racing shocks bring the van’s suspension into the current century, while a slight engine tune and Super Swamper rear tires motivate the mess. It’s pretty impressive how the Van morphs from a heap of crap into something that looks fun.

I won’t spoil all the video’s fun, so enter full-screen mode, crank the volume, and enjoy the pilot episode of season five of Dirt Every Day.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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UAW May Strike at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant, Disrupting F-150 Production

UAW May Strike at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, Disrupting F-150 Production

Ford’ s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri is under threat of strike by the UAW Local 249 if the automaker and union cannot come to an agreement before Sunday, October 4, 2015. According to UAW leaders, Ford had failed to resolve issues surrounding worker safety, wages, and other employment issues.

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UAW May Strike at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant, Disrupting F-150 Production

UAW May Strike at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant, Disrupting F-150 Production

Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri is under threat of strike by the UAW Local 249 if the automaker and union cannot come to an agreement before Sunday, October 4, 2015. According to UAW leaders, Ford had failed to resolve issues surrounding worker safety, wages, and other employment issues.

Both the F-150 pickup and Transit van are produced at the facility.

The union has accused Ford of not negotiating in good faith to resolve the issues in a timely manner, and therefore has created a deadline of 1 pm local time on Sunday. If an agreement is not reached by that time, nearly 7,000 workers will stage a walk-off.

Despite the lack of an agreement, the automaker and UAW have reportedly met more than 40 times since April to discuss the issues. “We work every day to avoid a disruption of our production,” Ford said in a statement to Automotive News, “and we are confident we will be able to negotiate a fair and competitive labor agreement with our UAW partners.”

According to Jimmy Settles, the UAW vice president, the issues include “manpower provisions, the national heat stress program, and skilled trades scheduling, amongst others.” Other reports detail the issues to be a safety concern regarding excessive heat exposure, scheduling for skilled tradesmen, and provisions for manpower at the Kansas City Assembly Plant.

In the event Ford and the UAW do not come to an agreement, a strike at the KCAP could spell disaster for Ford’s supply of new F-150s and Transit vans. Ford has already been dealing with a slow supply of the F-150 thanks to parts supplier issues. Any additional delays could result in dramatically reduced inventories at the dealership level.

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2015 Ford Transit Gets Ready For School

2015 Ford Transit Gets Ready For School

Ford is ready to take you to school – or maybe just your kids next fall. Meet the Blue Bird Micro Bird T-Series bus, Blue Bird’s latest iteration of the short bus built atop the Ford Transit chassis cab with the bus prep package.

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2015 Ford Transit Gets Ready For School

2015 Ford Transit Gets Ready For School

Ford is ready to take you to school – or maybe just your kids next fall. Meet the Blue Bird Micro Bird T-Series bus, Blue Bird’s latest iteration of the short bus built atop the Ford Transit chassis cab with the bus prep package.

This marks the first time both Blue Bird and the Transit have come together. Traditionally, the Ford E-Series chassis cab has served this role, but with Ford beginning its phase-out, the Transit is getting some attention. The result nets plenty of benefits, including better fuel economy, a lower floor height, and increased outward visibility.

The T-Series bus is available in two wheelbases, with single or dual rear wheels, and with space ranging from nine to 25 passengers. The Transit offer all three of its engine options here as well, meaning school districts can choose between the 3.7-liter V-6, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6, or the 3.2-liter inline five-cylinder Power Stroke turbodiesel. All three engines come mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Ford’s SelectShift and tow/haul mode.

What’s more, school districts can opt to run CNG or propane with the 3.7-liter V-6 by choosing the gaseous prep package. For those taking the diesel route, the 3.2-liter is B20-capable, so it can run on a 20 percent mix of biodiesel. As far as capability, the Transit T-Series has a lighter curb weight, which directly translates to an improved payload capacity that maxes out at 10,360 pounds.

Like the conventional Transit, bus prep package Transits are produced at Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant but come with a heavy-duty alternator, dual batteries, an auxiliary fuse panel, an auxiliary HVAC prep package, and the right-hand door delete. That door delete allows upfitters to install a large window and the two-panel bus doors where the right passenger would normally sit.

Blue Bird is only one of several bus upfitters, including Collins Bus Corporation, Thomas Built Buses, and Starcraft Bus.

UPDATE 05/28/2015: The article previously stated the Ford E-Series went out of production. While that’s true for the E-Series Wagon, Ford says the Chassis Cab will soldier on till the end of the decade.

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