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If you Missed the Chance to Get a 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang, We've got Good News for You!

If you Missed the Chance to Get a 2017 Shelby GT350 Mustang, We’ve got Good News for You!

It’ll be available for 2018, but won’t feature the same styling update found on the rest of the lineup
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.

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Ford Says Trump Presidency Could Boost Truck Sales

Ford Says Trump Presidency Could Boost Truck Sales

The love/hate relationship continues
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 Idling F-150, Transit Assembly Plant for One Week

Maintenance and inventory reduction are lead factors
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 Conducts Last-Minute Tests on F-150’s 10-Speed Transmission

Additional tested needed before shipments begin, including Raptor
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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The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6

The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM’s 4.2-liter Atlas I-6

The story of GM’s high-tech straight-six and why it died
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6
The Forgotten Inline Engine: GM's 4.2-liter Atlas I-6

General Motors has a long history with making innovative strides in engine development. The Chevrolet small-block V-8, for example, began life in the 1950s and soon became the standard for high horsepower in a small package – a legacy that continues into today’s fifth-generation GM V-8s. Even GM’s lineup of V-6 engines is impressive, ranging from the 60-degree V-6 that powered nearly every GM car from 1980 through 2010, up to the twin-turbocharged V-6 powering the Cadillac ATS-V. However, GM has a lesser-known engine family that deserves admiration for its outside-the-box thinking and outstanding technological advancements: the Atlas inline family.

That Atlas family had three main members, the front-running 4.2-liter inline-six, the 3.5-liter five-cylinder, and the 2.8-liter four-cylinder. All three shared the same basic architecture and a wide range of parts, though it was the 4.2-liter that led the Atlas program.

The 4.2-liter called the GMT360 platform home. This included the Chevrolet Trailblazer, GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, and Saab 9-7X. Each of these mid-sized SUVs shared the same architecture, including the industry’s first fully hydroformed frame in a mid-size SUV. Introduced for the 2002 model year, the GMT360 platform sold a couple million examples worldwide before ending production after 2009.

The 4.2-liter Atlas LL8, otherwise called the Vortec 4200, was a groundbreaking engine for GM. It featured an all-aluminum construction, dual overhead cams with variable valve timing on the exhaust side, four valves per cylinder, a coil-on-plug ignition system, a high compression ratio of 10:1, and its cylinder heads featured GM’s then-prevalent “Vortec” engineering designed to maximize airflow.

This combination allowed for the production of 1.06 horsepower per cubic inch – a total of 270 horsepower at 6,000 rpm. Torque was rated at 275 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm, but 90 percent of peak torque was available between 1,600 and 5,600 rpm. These stats far exceeded every comparable V-6 on the market at the time, including GM’s own 4.3-liter Vortec V-6.

We decided to take a closer look at the Vortec 4200 and its forward-thinking design. We reached out to GM and found Tom Sutter, the Assistant Chief Engineer for the Atlas. Sutter has been involved with engine programs for the last 30 years, ranging from Oldsmobile’s Quad Four to Cadillac’s current V-Series mills. Sutter was able to give us a deeper insight into the Atlas program, so keep reading for more.

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Watch the Ram 1500 Assembly Process: Video

Watch the Ram 1500 Assembly Process: Video

Automotive manufacturing is a marvel to behold
Watch the Ram 1500 Assembly Process: Video

Just a few weeks ago we brought you a short video of the 2017 Nissan Titan and Titan XD rolling down the assembly line. Today it’s the Ram 1500. The video comes from the same fine folks over at Trucks.com and shows how the Ram goes from rolls of steel to completed pickups heading to dealerships nationwide.

It all starts in the stamping room where large machines pump out fenders, hoods, doors, floor pans, and other components. The parts are then welded together by an army of robots to form the shell of the pickup. The body then moves to paint, where it is submerged into a bath of primer that coats every nook and cranny with rust-prohibitor. Once baked on, the truck body then moves to the color booth where the final coats of blue, red, orange, white, green, silver, or black paint are applied.

At another side of the assembly plant, workers add components to the boxed frame rails, including suspension parts, hub, brakes, fuel system components, and the drivetrain. Mid-way through the assembly process, the chassis section meets up with the body and is lowered into place. Workers make the final connections between the two before heading to the trim department.

In trim, the trucks really start taking shape. The bumpers, grille, dashboard, carpet, seats, and exterior badging are all added. With the truck complete, its engine is started for the first time and the truck rolls off the assembly line under its own power. Quality checks and tests are done before the trucks are loaded onto transport trucks and trails for shipment.

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Toyota Expanding Tacoma Production in Tijuana

Toyota Expanding Tacoma Production in Tijuana

Demand outpacing supply, but not for long
Toyota Expanding Tacoma Production in Tijuana

Toyota is investing $150 million into its Tijuana, Mexico assembly plant in an effort to increase the production capacity of the Tacoma midsize pickup. This comes in response to the high demand Toyota says it’s experienced for the Tacoma.

The investment will push production from roughly 100,000 units to around 160,000 units annually. The investment should be fully realized and production in full swing by late 2017 or early 2018.

Toyota has already added a third shift to the Tijuana plant back in April of 2015, allowing it to run 24 hours a day Monday through Friday, with two shifts on Saturday. Toyota has also added a Saturday shift at its San Antonio assembly plant, which produces the bulk of Tacomas and every Tundra pickup.

“Demand for trucks has grown exponentially,” Toyota Motor North America CEO Jim Lentz said. “By leveraging our manufacturing facilities’ availability and expertise, we can be nimbler and better adjust to market needs in a just-in-time manner.”

Automotive News reports Tacoma sales were up four percent in 2016 through August despite it losing market share to the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, and new Honda Ridgeline. The Tacoma dropped from holding 51 percent of the midsize pickup market to 43 percent. Nevertheless, Toyota’s David Crouch, the Vice president of administration and production control at the San Antonio plant, says the automaker hopes to regain market share with the increased production.

Crouch told AM that Toyota dealers don’t have enough pickup inventory on the lot to tempt shoppers to buy. “Obviously, one of the biggest challenges that we have for Tundra and Tacoma is we’re capacity-limited. We could sell a lot more trucks right now.”

Having the supply to meet consumer demand is obviously a huge part of doing business, and for Toyota, it seems business is doing exceptionally well.

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Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video

Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video

From cold steel to a rolling pickup – Nissan details construction of the new Titan pickup.
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video
Nissan Launches "Steel to Wheels" Video

Production of the Nissan Titan and Titan XD is fully under way at Nissan’s Canton, Mississippi assembly plant. To celebrate, Nissan has released a short video called “Steel to Wheels” that highlights the plant, the assembly process, and the people that built the trucks.

Just like the video title suggests, the process starts as huge rolls of steel are unwound and stamped into doors, hoods, and beds to form the basic body structure. From there, the panels move into the body shop where the pieces are assembled together. The cab and bed are built separately before coming together just before the painting process begins.

In paint, workers closely inspect the bare metal, shaving off any imperfections with a grinder wheel. The bodies are then dunked in a cleaning solution that removes any oil, fingerprints, or debris before being primed with rust prohibitor. Paint is then applied in either a solid color or two-tone scheme. Those trucks with two-tone paint jobs spend extra time in the paint department since both colors have to be added separately. Another round of close inspections are done, looking for any type of imperfection in the body or paint.

From there, the Titan and Titan XD roll to the trim line. It’s here that the interiors are installed, including the carpet, headliner, dashboard, seats, and windows. It takes many workers during this stage, as most of the parts are installed by hand using pneumatic tools. With the body and interior assembled, the trucks meat up with the chassis, which is merging from its own assembly line were suspension and drivetrain components are added.

A massive cradle lowers the truck bodies onto the complete chassis. Workers then connect all the wiring harnesses, hoses, and tubes between the two sections. From here, final pieces like the grille, headlights, wheels, and tires are added. Workers then test all the computer systems to verify each are working properly. The trucks are then started for the first time, before driving off the assembly line.

Each Titan is put though its paces on a short road course where inspectors listen for any squeaks or rattles and look for any other anomalies. From there, each truck is loaded onto a transport truck for delivery to Nissan dealerships nationwide.

Erik Fields, the director of engineering for the Canton assembly plant, makes an interesting observation near the end of the video: every Titan truck has been built in the Canton assembly plant. Since Nissan introduced the first-generation Titan in 2003, every Titan calls Mississippi home.

Be sure to watch the video for all the details.

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Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India

Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India

Part of FCA’s plans for larger global reach for Jeep brand
Jeep Launches Sales of Wrangler, Grand Cherokee in India

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has official begun selling the U.S.-built Jeep Wrangler and Grand Cherokee to the Indian market. It’s part of FCA’s push to make Jeep a stronger global brand, with a concentration in China and now India. Both products compete with high-end vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, and Audi, while wearing a price tag nearly three times larger than U.S. pricing.

The Wrangler Unlimited, for example, will cost the equivalent of roughly $107,000, while the EcoDiesel-powered Grand Cherokee Limited will cost around $140,000. The range topping Grand Cherokee SRT commands a whopping $167,000.

This comes after Jeep squared away a $280 million partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s parent company, the India-based Tata, to build an assembly plant in Ranjangaon, India for the construction of the Compass, Renegade, and upcoming compact A-segment Jeep. These smaller, lest costly Jeeps will still bring a premium when they begin selling next year.

With over 1.2 billion people in India, the market represents a huge potential selling ground. It, along with China, will go far in helping Jeep achieve its goal of 2 million annual worldwide sales by the end of 2018. Combined, China and India will account for roughly 500,000 of those sales. The remaining sales will come from Jeep’s traditional markets like the U.S. and Europe.

“The heart of that market is still very, very low-priced, dominated by local manufacturers,” Manley told Automotive News. “Even when global manufacturers break into that marketplace, it is with their lowest-cost platforms. All the signs are that, at some stage, India is going to develop and develop strongly, which is why we need to be there.”

Despite most Indian buyers purchasing low-cost vehicle options, there are the plenty of high-earners wanting luxury vehicles. And while Americans might not consider the Wrangler particularly luxurious, Land Rover Defenders were sold at a high premium on U.S. soul – showing the relationship can flow both ways.

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Watch the Nissan Titan XD's Assembly: Video

Watch the Nissan Titan XD’s Assembly: Video

Man and machine work together in building Nissan’s biggest truck
Watch the Nissan Titan XD's Assembly: Video

The assembly process for mass-production vehicles is immensely entertaining to watch. The swinging robot arms, the army of workers pieces parts together, the finished products rolling off the line under power – its all quite magical to see happen. Well, the guys at Trucks.com partnered with Nissan to produce this short video showing how the Titan XD goes from rolls of steel to a freshly polished truck.

The process takes place at Nissan’s Vehicle Assembly Plant in Canton, Mississippi. The plant employs nearly 6,400 people and covers 4.7 million square feet. In addition to the Titan XD, the plant also produces the half-ton Titan, the Murano SUV, the Frontier pickup, and the NV cargo and passenger vans.

For more on the Titan XD, be sure to check out our full review, as well as our first-drive impression review.

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Former Toledo Jeep Plant Site Now Home to Instrument Cluster Supplier

Former Toledo Jeep Plant Site Now Home to Instrument Cluster Supplier

Next-generation Jeep Wrangler to get gauges built at historic site
Former Toledo Jeep Plant Site Now Home to Instrument Cluster Supplier

Detroit Manufacturing Systems LLC broke ground August 24 on a 102,000-square foot facility dedicated to making instrument clusters for various automakers and models, including the next-generation, 2017 Jeep Wrangler.

The plant will be located atop the same spot where every Jeep made between 1940 and 2001 was produced. Originally home to the Willys-Overland Company, the land housed the factory that built the Willys MB during WWII and later housed AMC and Chrysler’s Jeep operations. Many Jeep enthusiasts consider this “hallowed ground” and the birthplace of the brand. Today, the only remnant is a smokestack left for posterity. The red brick structure still reads “OVERLAND,” spelled out in black bricks.

The DMS facility will neighbor another factory in Overland Industrial Park, Dana Inc.’s new advanced axle factory. Dana will also be providing axles and other parts to FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex some three miles down the street. The 2017 Wrangler will likely be riding on these Dana axles. Both companies are building around the smokestack, leaving it to stand for decades to come.

DMS expects to be fully operational by the summer of 2017 and initially employ at least 140 people. The growth of another 100 workers is projected by 2020. And interestingly enough, DMS CEO Andra Rush says she remembers making “midnight deliveries” to the old Jeep assembly plant before its decommissioning in 2001 and demolition in 2010. Rush, a former truck driver, launched her own trucking company in 1984, Rush Trucking Corp., of which she is still CEO.

DMS currently supplies dashboards, gauge clusters, door panels, and center consoles to several Ford products, including the F-Series trucks, Expedition, Explorer, Focus, Mustang, and Taurus.

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Inferno Exotic Car to Enter Production Next Year

Inferno Exotic Car to Enter Production Next Year

Only three of the 11 first edition models are unaccounted for
Inferno Exotic Car to Enter Production Next Year

It may have the most unoriginal name among all hypercar hopefuls – Inferno Exotic Car? Really? – but everything else about this demonic beast screams lunacy. And now, the people behind this menacing machine are all set to start building the Inferno later in the year with an eye towards launching the car in 2017.

Speaking with CarBuzz, Inferno marketing director Manuel Laguna laid out some very important details about the mysterious hypercar, including plans to fit it with a yet-to-be-named twin-turbo V-8 engine that will pack a mental 1,400 horsepower and 1,125 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers would allow the Inferno to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.7 seconds to go with a top speed of 245 mph. In other words, the Inferno is being prepared to lock horns with the Bugatti Chiron, a goal that is as admirable as it is ambitious.

But the people behind the $2.1 million hypercar are undeterred about the pressure that comes with delivering on such a formidable challenge. Details on other elements of the car are still being kept under wraps, but Antonio Ferraioli, the project’s senior automotive designer, wasn’t shy about the company’s goal to create “the bad boy of the hypercar world.” Judging by how intentionally exaggerated the car’s overall design is, it would seem that the objective has been met in one aspect.

On another aspect, the Inferno is also being developed with an important eye on making it one of the safest exotics on the market. Ironic as that may be given the devilish appearance of the car, CEO Alvaro Gutierrez Ochoa noted that the exotic will use an exclusive zinc-aluminum-silver alloy body that can “absorb impacts by stretching up to 100 times its original size without losing its properties.” Gutierrez even compared it to a “level 4 armored vehicle” that weighs less than 1,200 kg, or 2,645 pounds.

Considering how eye-popping some of these details are, there’s no denying that the Inferno Exotic Car has caught the attention of a lot of people. Eight of the 11 first edition models are reportedly spoken for, and as more details about the hypercar are revealed, expect the spotlight to get bigger on the development of the Inferno Exotic Car. Hopefully, that spotlight gets big enough that the company decides to give it a more creative name than “Exotic Car.”

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Ford Adds Two More Years To Production Of GT Supercar

Ford Adds Two More Years To Production Of GT Supercar

500 more models will be built of the GT, bringing the supercar’s total production number to 1,000 units
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?

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Scheduled Factory Shutdown Has Again Delayed Deliveries Of This Popular Hot Hatch

Scheduled Factory Shutdown Has Again Delayed Deliveries Of This Popular Hot Hatch

Ford’s production facility is in the middle of a maintenance shutdown, will reopen on August 25
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.

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No Jaguar Supercar For You

No Jaguar Supercar For You

British automaker will instead focus on an all-electric luxury sedan and SUV
No Jaguar Supercar For You

Rumors of Jaguar planning to build a production version of the C-X75 supercar were exciting to talk about while they lasted, but now it appears that’s all they’ll ever be. According to Automobile Magazine, Jaguar has officially closed the door on building a C-X75-inspired supercar and bringing back the XK line as a stand-alone tourer. Neither of the two models will make it to production, largely because the British automaker is instead setting its sights on a pair of electric vehicles, specifically a replacement unit for the XJ and a premium SUV.

Given the current climate of the auto industry and the growing importance being placed on electric vehicles, it seems that Jaguar is looking to capitalize on that fact by leveraging two of its models to fit in that specific market. The all-electric XJ, codenamed the X590, will be developed to complement the existing model and will make use of a new electronic architecture with a software in place for autonomous driving capabilities. Physically, the X590 is being described as a four-door coupe with its own rear hatch in what Automobile Magazine is saying as something of a compromise between Jaguar’s design boss Ian Callum and Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth.

Jaguar’s new plan also calls for another model, an all-electric SUV, to be built before 2019. This particular model will likely be configured in one of two ways: a rear-wheel drive model with just one motor or an all-wheel drive version with two motors. It was also initially thought of to be a Range Rover, but it will instead take on the mantle as another Jaguar EV to further bolster the automaker’s all-electric lineup.

With these models now being the focus of Jaguar, the rumored C-X75 supercar and the returning XK model have both been relegated to the sidelines. It’s not uncommon for a company like Jaguar to make these kinds of decisions. Apparently, the X590 is being pegged to be the company’s answer to the Tesla Model S and expectations are that once it hits dealerships, it’s going to sell 20,000 to 30,000 units a year for the British automaker.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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Don't Expect This Variant Of The Porsche 911 Anytime Soon

Don’t Expect This Variant Of The Porsche 911 Anytime Soon

An all-electric 911 is not in Porsche’s immediate agenda
Don't Expect This Variant Of The Porsche 911 Anytime Soon

Electrification has been one of the auto industry’s biggest buzz words in recent years and, as more automakers continue venturing into the path towards electrification, expect to see a growing number of EV models hit in the market. But, there is one model that isn’t ready to go electric just yet. That model is the Porsche 911 and, if this new report is to be believed, it’s going to be a long time before an electric 911 finds its way into a dealership.

Speaking with August Achleitner, the brains behind the development of the 911 and the Porsche 718, Drive is reporting that contrary to the long-held belief that Stuttgart is pushing to develop a battery-powered 911, there aren’t any plans to dive into those waters, at least not yet. According to Achleitner, the current layout of the 911 isn’t suited for an EV version because the result would be an incredibly heavy car that would impede its power and performance capabilities. That, in turn, would be harmful to the model if Porsche forced the situation.

That said, Porsche isn’t ruling out an all-electric 911 altogether. It could still happen, but sometime farther down the road. Holding off on such an action gives Porsche enough time to layout its plan on how it wants to tackle the situation and, if there’s a model that needs to be planned out thoroughly, it’s the 911. Rushing it just doesn’t make sense.

In the meantime, Porsche is focusing its EV attention on the Mission E sports sedan, which it’s already developing as a model that will launch the company into the world of all-electric vehicles without having to compromise the performance integrity of the rest of its lineup. If the technology developed for the Mission E proves to be successful, it could eventually translate into the rest of the lineup, including the 911 and the 718 sports car.

Just don’t expect it to happen overnight.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept

2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept

This one-off Jeep rolled off the assembly 75 years after the U.S. ordered the first Willys MB
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept
2016 Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute Concept

July 15 is an important date in Jeep history. In fact, it was on this date in 1941 that the U.S. government awarded Willys-Overland Motor Company the contract to build the Willy MB. Now, 75 years later, Jeep is celebrating by building a one-off Wrangler configured to look like its grandfather. This modern take on the original will roll off the same assembly line as the MB (minus the modernization and robots, of course), making the occasion even more sentimental.

“We are creating this unique Jeep Wrangler 75th Salute concept vehicle in celebration of the brand’s legendary history, and to demonstrate that 75 years later, today’s iconic Jeep Wrangler is instantly recognizable and clearly connected to the original Willys MB,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “Since they were first produced in 1941, Jeep vehicles have been the authentic benchmark for off-road capability, having mastered more terrain, led more adventures and provided drivers more freedom than any other vehicle before or since.”

Manley is certainly right about the Jeep (and more specifically, the Wrangler) being the benchmark for off-road capability. Think about it – what over vehicle has remained so true to its original roots for more than 70 years? Not many. If fact, there are very little modifications needed to make this 2016 Wrangler look like a 1941 Willys MB. Let’s dive into the details below.

Update 07/18/2016: Jeep released a short video showing the Wrangler Salute Concept rolling off the assembly line. There are also interviews with Jeep executives and assembly line workers on the deep meaning this one-off Jeep carries.

Continue reading for the full review.

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Jeep Plants Getting $1 Billion Investment From FCA

Jeep Plants Getting $1 Billion Investment From FCA

FCA playing musical chairs with its assembly plants, then paying for updates
Jeep Plants Getting $1 Billion Investment From FCA

The entire Jeep Brand’s assembly lines are scheduled for updates according to news from The Detroit Bureau. FCA is planning an extensive overhaul of its North American assembly plants with a total investment of a billion dollars split between each location. The updates are estimated to create 1,000 new jobs in the company, as well.

The Jeep Wrangler’s Toledo Assembly Complex is slated to receive the largest portion of investments and attention. It will receive a complete re-tooling in preparation for the next-generation Wrangler scheduled for 2018. A total of $700 million is allotted for the project. Toledo will also be designed to build the Wrangler-based pickup truck that’s been all but official confirmed by Jeep brass.

The Belvidere Assembly Plant in Belvidere, Illinois near Chicago will receive $350 million of the investment. The plant will re-tool and become the new home of the Jeep Cherokee, which is currently built with the Wrangler in Toledo. This will help boost Wrangler production and make room for the Wrangler pickup. It’s estimated 300 new jobs will be created here.

Moving from the Belvidere plant is the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. Both these models will be soon be replaced by a single, all-new Jeep model slotted just below the Renegade in size.

In yet another shakeup, previous reports not FCA’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, says the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Detroit, while its current product, the Ram 1500, is moved to the Sterling Heights Assembly plant in 2018. Currently the Sterling Heights plant is slowly producing the slow-selling Chrysler 200.

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Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?

Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?

OBD III could lead to invasion of privacy, unwarranted tracking, and even vehicle immobilization
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?
Will The Government Track Citizens When The Next OBD Protocol Finds Its Way Into New Cars?

Contrary to popular belief, the OBD II diagnostic system that has been built into every car since 1996 isn’t there to help diagnose serious problems with your car. It does have a nice side effect of assisting in the diagnosis of a less-than-happy engine, but the primary purpose is to detect emissions faults and scare you with that check engine light so you can spend the better part of your monthly salary to repair a system that – a majority of the time – doesn’t affect the way your engine runs or how the car drives. Think about it, we all have at least one friend who’s check engine light has been on for years, right?

Now that new cars have all of this connectivity through 4G internet connections and direct satellite communication, a new OBD system is in the works, and it’s something you might want to be worried about. Of course, it may help diagnose certain problems quick and more conclusively than the current onboard diagnostics that most of our cars have now, but there’s even more to it than that. The standards for the new OBD III system are apparently being written by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), but that should come as no surprise as they have the most stringent emissions laws in the U.S. More importantly, however, is how it will tie in with the new connectivity features that are becoming increasingly standard equipment from just about every manufacturer out there.

Think Tesla for a minute. The Model S, Model X, and upcoming Model 3 all have the ability to take over-the-air software updates and track just about everything the user does – the latter has never been more evident with the fraudulent claims that have been made against Tesla over its automatic parking feature in the recent months. Eventually, all cars will be tracked like this, and with OBD III an inevitable reality in the future, the risk of privacy invasion in cars has never been higher.

Continue reading for the full story.

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GM Rumored to Bring Truck Production Back To U.S.

GM Rumored to Bring Truck Production Back To U.S.

Flint, Mich. plant to increase output while Salio, Mexico plant slows
GM Rumored to Bring Truck Production Back To U.S.

General Motors is rumored to be reallocating a majority of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup truck manufacturing from its Salio, Mexico plant to the Flint, Michigan assembly plant, where a large percentage of Silverados and Sierras are built.

The rumor comes from United Auto Workers Union members who say they received a letter from GM advising them of the likelihood of increased hiring of both full-time and temporary assembly line workers at the Flint plant, along with the ability for current workers to log significant overtime hours. The Detroit Bureau, which broke the story, reports union workers quoting the letter as saying, “The increase in light-duty pickup volume for Flint Assembly is (for vehicles) currently being built in Silao.” Workers say the letter continued in saying union members can work as many Saturdays as they want, earning an extra $12,000 to $15,000 next year.

Though GM and the UAW have not made official announcements regarding the move, the news does line up with GM’s sizeable, $877 million investment at the Flint plant, which was announced in August of 2015 with an estimated completion date of 2018. As we reported, the investment will bring a new body shop facility that stamps body parts like doors, hoods, fenders, and bed panels. Upgrades to the paint facility, added shipping docks, and upgraded assembly line equipment are also included in the investment.

The realignment in production is likely scheduled to commence with the introduction of the next-generation Silverado and Sierra pickups, due out for the 2018 model year. Production would need to begin in early to mid 2017 for the updated pickups.

There is no word on GM’s plans for its Silao, Mexico plant, or if this will affect Silverado and Sierra production in GM’s other assembly plants, located in Indiana and Canada.

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FCA's Jefferson North Plant Rolls Out Six-Millionth Vehicle

FCA’s Jefferson North Plant Rolls Out Six-Millionth Vehicle

A 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th Anniversary Edition marks the occasion
FCA's Jefferson North Plant Rolls Out Six-Millionth Vehicle

The Jefferson North Plant in Detroit has been pumping out Chrysler vehicles since 1992 and has just reached the milestone of six million vehicles made. The now iconic first-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee was the first to roll off the assembly line. Fiat Chrysler is celebrating by showcasing the six-millionth vehicle – a 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee 75th anniversary edition.

“Reaching this milestone is a reflection of this plant’s commitment to supporting the continued growth of the Jeep brand around the world and playing a role in the comeback of Detroit,” said Curt Towne, Jefferson North Plant Manager. “Our employees are proud to be part of this unique time in the history of both the Company and the City. They understand that not only are they contributing to the success of FCA U.S., but they are proving that Detroit will always be the Motor City.”

The Grand Cherokee’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 was cranked over around 8:30 p.m. local time as employees of the Jefferson plant watched the completion of the final checks before heading to a customer in Michigan.

The Jefferson plant employs nearly 4,500 people in three million square feet. The plant runs three crews who work two 10-hour shifts that run six days a week. FCA says it takes a vehicle a day and a half to travel the length of the assembly line – from the body shop where panels are welded together to the final checkpoint process. In 2015 alone, the plant produced more than 365,000 vehicles. The Jefferson plant also builds vehicles for export to 135 markets worldwide. These exports comprise roughly 25 percent of its entire volume.

Through its 24-year history, the Jefferson plant has produced mostly Jeep vehicles, including the Jeep Commander from 2005-2010, but also began building the Dodge Durango in December of 2010. The plant also celebrated its five-millionth vehicle back in 2013 when another Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled off the line.

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Steering Wheel Shortage Disrupts Jeep Cherokee & Grand Cherokee Production

Steering Wheel Shortage Disrupts Jeep Cherokee & Grand Cherokee Production

The short-lived halt shouldn’t affect dealers or customers
Steering Wheel Shortage Disrupts Jeep Cherokee & Grand Cherokee Production

Production of the 2016 Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee were halted this week due to a shortage of steering wheels. The short-lived ordeal is over, FCA reports, and dealerships should not feel any negative consequences thanks to a 90-day supply average.

Specifically, Cherokee production was halted when afternoon shifts were shortened Tuesday. Thursday morning shifts were canceled altogether at Jeep’s Toledo North Assembly Plant. Similarly, the Grand Cherokee’s production stopped at Jeep’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit on Wednesday morning, with production resuming 24 hours later. Production of the Wrangler was unaffected.

The steering wheels are produced in Mexico by Key Safety Systems, which is headquartered in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Despite the delays, Key Safety System is ranked 91 in Automotive News’ top 100 suppliers to North America, giving it some credit for past work.

Thankfully Jeep has 59,951 unsold Cherokees and 58,277 unsold Grand Cherokees in its national inventory, giving the automaker a 92-day and 87-day supply, respectively of the popular SUVs. It’s worth noting a 60-day supply is considered optimal, allowing for a good-sized dealer inventory without an overcrowding issue.

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