Ford Builds First Truck 100 Years Ago Today
Ford is celebrating 100 years of making pickups today. It was July 27, 1917 that Ford introduced the Model TT pickup. It was based on the hugely popular Model T, but came with a stronger frame built to carry 2,000 pounds in its cargo bed. A meager 209 examples were built that year. Now, a century later, Ford’s F-Series pickups continue the legacy build by Henry Ford with trucks ranging from the half-ton F-150 to the commercial medium-duty F-750 Super Duty. Nearly a million examples sold in 2017, each costing a bit more than the Model TT’s price of $600.
Henry Ford designed the Model TT to accommodate aftermarket beds, allowing the truck to cater to an endless number of industries. Yet, the Model TT used the Model T’s cab and engine, helping cut costs while streamlining Ford’s genius of an assembly line production. Remember, it was Mr. Ford who started producing vehicles on an assembly line with the Model T just nine years prior. Amazingly, this concept hasn’t changed. Ford trucks continue to share parts, like the cab section between the F-150 and the updated-for-2017 Super Duty. Between 1917 and 2017, Ford has built dozens of generations and variations of its pickups, including more unique examples like the car-based Ranchero and the compact Ranger. A more comprehensive list is down below.
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If you Missed the Chance to Get a 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang, We’ve got Good News for You!
After a 42-year hiatus, Ford brought the GT350 nameplate back into play for the fifth-gen, 2011 Ford Mustang. There was no telling if the nameplate would carry on to the sixth-gen model, but sure enough, Ford delivered. With an updated Mustang rolling into dealers for 2018, it was uncertain whether or not the GT350 nameplate would carry on through the remaining life of this generation or not but, as it turns out, Ford knows better. The Shelby GT350 and GT350R will continue on through the 2018 model year, but there’s a catch. Despite the fact that the Mustang was facelifted for the 2018 model year, the Shelby GT350 and GT350R will carry on unchanged from the 2017 model year, so purchasers of this iconic nameplate will have to get by with pre-2018 styling cues.
As a rather small, but fair consolation price, the 2018 GT350 and GT350R will be available in three new exterior color choices that include Orange Fury, Kona Blue, and Lead Foot Gray. The latter of which has the sole purpose of paying tribute to all those guys that crash after a Cars & Coffee meet. Okay, that’s not necessarily true, but I couldn’t pass at a chance to ruffle a few feathers. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the Shelby GT350 and GT350R are the baddest Mustangs that you can get at the current time. The do come at a rather stout premium, with the GT350 starting at $56,145 and the GT350R commanding $63,645. That’s an increase over the range-toping GT Premium Convertible of $13,450 and $20,950, respectively.
Some would argue that the massive price hike for either model is well worth it, so let’s take a closer look both models real quick.
Ford Says Trump Presidency Could Boost Truck Sales
Ford Motor Company’s president of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, says Trump’s presidency could spark big growth in sales for the pickup truck segment. Hinrichs cites Trump’s pro-growth and promise of extensive infrastructure revitalization as factors, which could spark truck demand.
“If the infrastructure investment in the United States takes off as part of the conversation with the new administration, that certainly could help the industry and the business,” Hinrichs said at the Automotive News World Congress.
Ford sold an impressive 820,000 F-Series trucks in 2016. That marks the F-Series’ highest sales since 2005. Ford is currently chasing the 1 million annual sales mark for the F-Series, having almost reached the goal in 2004 with more than 930,000 units sold in the U.S. Adding the 145,409 F-Series trucks sold in Canada that year technically pushes Ford to its goal, but Ford undoubtedly wants to claim the title for sole U.S. sales.
While Hinrichs’ optimism is well founded in an a-political statement regarding economics, it just seems odd for a Ford executive to be commenting positively about a Trump administration after the flack Trump gave Ford on the campaign trail over its plan to relocate small car production from Michigan to Mexico. As we reported, Ford canceled the plans after Trump’s November victory, vowing to invest in American manufacturing.
Part of that boost will come with the upcoming 2019 Ranger pickup and 2020 Bronco SUV. Both were officially announced at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, though no concept vehicles or even renderings were shows. Ford is also divulged it will bring five new utility vehicles to the U.S. by 2020, including the Bronco. And though initial speculation pegged the iconic nameplate as being a rebadged Ford Everest, Hinrichs said the Bronco will be “true to its heritage” and “you’ll recognize it as a Bronco.”
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Ford Idling F-150, Transit Assembly Plant for One Week
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 Conducts Last-Minute Tests on F-150’s 10-Speed Transmission
Ford is conducting additional tests on some models of F-150 equipped with the new 10-speed automatic transmission. The news comes by way of Ford executive Joe Hinrichs, who is the head of Ford’s automotive operations in the Americas. Despite the testing, Hinrichs made clear these trucks would reach dealer lots by the end of 2016.
The news comes from Automotive News who interviewed Hinrichs Monday, December 5th. "We are launching the new Raptor and F-150 with the new 10-speed transmission," Hinrichs told AN. "We continued building but we’re holding (trucks) longer so we could do more testing and make sure everything is right before we release them."
Undoubtedly this is a smart move in today’s climate of near-daily announcement of recalls and publishing of Technical Service Bulletins. Ford has to get the F-150 right as so much of its business rides on the pickup’s success. As for the F-150 Raptor, this off-road beast serves as the company’s halo truck and ambassador to the wealthy. Having issues with the transmission while in customer hands won’t bode well.
Despite their rivalry, Ford co-developed this 10-speed transmission with General Motors. GM’s first application with the gearbox will be the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Six-speed manual-equipped ZL1s are already in showrooms, but GM has not shipped Camaros with the 10-speed as of early December. The transmissions share physical components, but Ford and GM have ownership of the proprietary software they use for programming. And of course, the Camaro ZL1 will have much different software than the F-150 – even the sport-tuned, 450-horsepower Raptor.
Neither Hinrichs nor Ford has disclosed the number of F-150s being held for testing, though it’s possible every example could. Ford will have plenty of other 2017 F-150 iterations at its dealerships, thankfully. Only the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and its high-output Raptor version are currently offered with the 10-speed. While we expect the 10-speed’s prevalence to grow, Ford is still using a six-speed automatic in most versions of its F-150.
This story will be updated once Ford begins shipment of 10-speed automatic-equipped F-150s.
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Ford Adds Two More Years To Production Of GT Supercar
Ford has some good news to those who were left out on the cold by the selection process of the GT supercar. The company is extending the car’s production for another two years. Unfortunately, it’s going to keep production at its current of 250 cars per year, which means that only 500 new GTs will be build after the first two years. Do the math based on the 6,000 applications who didn’t get the first wave of GT models and the hopefuls will only have an 8.3-percent chance of getting picked, provided that the selection process operates on a level playing field, which it doesn’t.
So while it is incredible news to hear that Ford is doubling the production of the new Ford GT, only a select few will be able to have a chance to buy one. The company didn’t explicitly say how the next selection process will go, but don’t expect Ford to deviate from the methods it used in picking the first 500 owners of the supercar. Just like the last time, Ford will likely favor loyal customers who currently own Ford models. Of particular importance would be the 2005 Ford GT, the predecessor of the current model that played a big part in the first selection process for the new GT. Ford Chief Technical Officer Raj Nair even admitted that 70 percent of the accepted applications for the new GT came from people who own the first GT model.
So there you have it. If you missed out on the initial two-year production run of the new GT supercar, Ford has opened the door for another crack at scoring one. Granted, not everyone’s going to be an owner of the previous GT supercar this time around, so if the desire is still there to score one of the 500 new golden tickets that the Blue Oval is now set to dangle soon, it might be a good idea to stock up on some new Fords. Perhaps a few Mustangs? Maybe 10 Focus RS models?
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Scheduled Factory Shutdown Has Again Delayed Deliveries Of This Popular Hot Hatch
At this point, everyone seems to be on board with the belief that Ford struck gold with the Focus RS. The hot hatch is so in demand that Ford has had to delay deliveries or cancel orders altogether just so the hot hatch’s production can keep up with the demand for the car. The most recent development apparently involves Ford having to delay a number of orders for the 2016 Focus RS because the firm’s production facility in German couldn’t keep up with the demand before its scheduled summer factory maintenance shutdown.
According to The Truth About Cars, roughly 220 orders of the 2016 Focus RS have been cancelled and would be moved into the 2017MY with priorities being placed on those who would have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the hot hatch. It’s also interesting to note that a Los Angeles-based dealership that had three of its pending Focus RS orders cancelled were told that the delay in production was tied into issues in Europe that included the company’s plant in Germany, which isn’t scheduled to reopen until August 25, 2016.
A lot of people, specifically those who had their orders cancelled or delayed, are understandably peeved at having to wait longer to take delivery of their cars. That’s the downside of this delay. The silver lining is the hot hatch’s incredible popularity and the staggering public demand for the car is a sign that Ford did something right with the Focus RS. If for nothing else, the Blue Oval can take comfort knowing that the delay is happening largely because there are too many people who want to buy the Focus RS and there’s just not enough space and resources to accommodate them in time for a summer release.
Only time will tell if this delay stretches out longer than anticipated.