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Ford and Volkswagen Partner for EV Platform and AI Sharing

ford and volkswagen

Various automakers have established alliances amid the narrowing profit margins to pool their resources and save on production costs. The latest major partnership to emerge is the one between Ford and Volkswagen.

The agreement of the companies covers many areas including platform sharing for electric vehicle production. The EV tie-up deal allows Ford to use VW’s MEB platform.

meb platform

The MEB platform has a modular and flexible architecture that can be used in various vehicle types. Ford plans to utilize it in the production of over 600,000 cars intended for European customers in the span of more than six years. The American automaker is currently thinking about developing two vehicle models based on the platform.

In addition, the partnership also covers VW’s investment in Argo AI, which is a Pittsburg-based autonomous vehicle startup initially backed by Ford. The backing of the two big names in the automotive industry would certainly launch Argo AI into a global company with operations in both the US and Europe. The support is estimated to increase the staff of the startup by 40% too.

It should be noted though that Argo AI still identifies itself as a private company separate from Ford and VW. The German carmaker committed an investment amounting $1 billion into the startup. They are looking into buying more Argo AI from Ford for $500 million in the next three years. Meanwhile, Ford promised an investment of $1 billion into the AI developer. The American automaker is already on its way of putting the remaining $600 million of its commitment to Argo AI.

The move of the two key players in the automotive scene effectively makes them a formidable challenger in the race to produce a fully self-driving car. Just a few days ago, bitter rivals Mercedes-Benz and BMW announced their partnership to develop technologies to be used in their future autonomous vehicles.

Pricing of 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 Revealed

2020 ford shelby gt500 (6)

The 2020 Ford Mustang GT500 is priced at $70,300, which Ford North America Product Communications Manager Mike Levine said is a “terrific value” for a car with much power.

In an auto industry where brands waged wars against one another over increasing horsepower requirements and pulling prices down, the GT500 stood out as a lone wolf. On Twitter, Levine said that a GT500 owner spends $92.50 per pony. That’s assuming you’ll get the most basic GT500 with its 760 horsepower output from the supercharged 5.2-liter V8 engine that powers it.

Levine went on to say that it’s more practical to get the GT500 over the Toyota Corolla, which costs $140 per horsepower. Of course, what the Ford executive didn’t mention is the slew of taxes and other fees that will bring the starting price of $70,300 to near $100,000.

A visit to Mustang6g.com will show how this price could balloon. There’s a $1,095 destination fee and a $2,600 gas guzzler tax for vehicles who did not meet the required Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated fuel-economy ratings.

That alone puts the starting price at $73,995. And that’s not taking into account that regular road course drivers would opt for the Carbon Fiber Track Pack that includes carbon wheels and huge race car-derived rear wing. That can set you back by $18,500.

The Handling Package, which has additional aero elements and adjustable suspension bits, costs $1,500. And if you’re particular about the seats, the leather-trimmed Recaros are priced at an additional $1,595.

If you want to customize your GT500 from the outside, you can do so with the Triple-coat Twister Orange paint for $495. You can make Ford paint the roof black for $1,000 and another $1,000 is required for over-the-top full racing stripes in vinyl. If you want the stripes in paint, that’ll cost you $10,000.

For the tech-savvy customers, you’ll want to hand over another $3,000 for an upgraded stereo, power driver seat, and super cool puddle lights which project the iconic Shelby Cobra.

Add these all up and the cost of the GT500 climbed up to $100,000, which if you divide by the 760 horsepower it makes, costs $131 per pony.

New 2020 Ford Puma To Make Official Debut

ford puma (1)

Ford has revived its Puma badge on an SUV (not on a coupe as it was previously used on). The new 2020 Ford Puma will have a price that sits lower than £20,000, but it will slide in between the EcoSport and the Kuga in the brand’s SUV range.

The Puma will make its official debut during the Frankfurt Motor Show in September so until then, the prices are purely speculative though we don’t think the brand will go far from £20,000. The new SUV is going to compete with the likes of the Nissan Juke, Renault Captur, and the Peugeot 2008.

Seventeen years ago, the Puma was a svelte coupe that was based on the design language of the Fiesta. For the 2020 Puma, Ford is again using the supermini’s platform though this model is equipped with a five-door SUV body that’s 46mm longer, 54mm higher, 71mm wider, and has a 95mm longer wheelbase than the Fiesta.

The front has Ford’s distinctive grille, which is the only thing that it shares with the other SUVs in the range. The headlights on the bonnet are based on the original Puma while the daytime running lights on the ST-Line models are similar to the GT supercar.

Inside, imagine Fiesta’s dashboard—simple design, SYNC3 infotainment system, and pretty decent materials all around. The digital display for the dials peaks out, as well as the massaging front seats that other trim models have. The front and rear seats have removable covers that will allow owners to mix and match patterns and colors.

The boot size stands at 456 liters, which is on par with the best in the segment. The load bay floor can be raised to create a flat cargo area. It can also be lowered to give more space. When folded against the back of the seats, it expands the Puma’s cargo capacity further.

Initially, the Puma will be offered in Zetec, Titanium and ST-Line trims. Ford’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox will be the main unit.

2020 Ford Escape SUV Starts At $25,980

ford escape (5)

The 2020 Ford Escape compact SUV will start at $25,980 but could top off at $40,000 when fully loaded. Ford released the price details for its Escape range, which is due to arrive in dealerships in a few months.

The compact SUV did not divert from its affordable pricing, only increasing slightly from its predecessor. Considering the added features and the hybrid option, the price increase isn’t significant at all.

The base S model is the one priced at $25,980 while the SE can be bought for $28,190. The SE Sport (hybrid) will cost $29,530 and the SEL $30,350. The top-of-the-line Titanium (hybrid) loaded with all the options will sell for $34,495 while the Titanium regular comes with a price tag of $37,780.

The base model is $780 more than the predecessor’s entry-level model. That gets you the standard features of a suite of driver-assist systems such as blind-spot monitoring and forward collision warning.

The SE model adds an 8.0-inch touchscreen that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The SEL model gets more features. These three models will have a turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive configuration. The engine can generate 180 horsepower.

If you want the all-wheel-drive setup, you need to add $1,500. For the SEL trim, an AWD configuration will get the more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower. That’s an additional $2,285.

The top-of-the-line Escape Titanium regular (not the hybrid) has the 2.0-liter engine and AWD. At $37,780, any additional option will put it on the $40,000 mark.

The hybrid model comes in two trim levels: the SE Sport and the Titanium. Standard to these two trims is a front-wheel-drive, although you can get the AWD for $1,320 or $1,500, respectively.

There’s no official EPA rating yet for the Escape hybrid but it should have around 38 mpg combined. There’s talk of a plug-in hybrid model with 30 miles of range, but that would probably arrive next year.

Ford Reveals Ranger Raptor’s Price And Specs

ford raptor (7)

The new Ford Ranger Raptor, the flagship model of the revised Ranger line-up, has been revealed at the 2019 Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham this week. Developed by Ford with the aim to deliver better off-road capability than the standard Ranger, the performance-focused Raptor will start deliveries in summer for £40,696 ($53,017.73).

Ford aims to improve the pickup truck’s on-road and off-road capabilities, fitting the Ranger Raptor with 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engine that can make 210 horsepower and 500Nm of torque. This engine is paired with the same 10-speed automatic transmission that can be found in the US version of the F-150 Raptor. There are six different driving modes available: two for on-road use and four for off-road driving.

The F-150 Raptor enjoyed massive success in Britain’s store and if that’s not enough, the Ford offices in Britain lobbied to bring the smaller Ranger Raptor to its shores.

For that price, British buyers will get the Raptor’s aggressive visual transformation, as well as many standard equipment and driver and safety assistance tech that comes with this pickup truck—lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, rearview camera, and a collision mitigation system. The seats are all wrapped in leather and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment can be controlled through the eight-inch touchscreen on the dash.

Outside, the Ranger Raptor has a new grille, extra ground clearance, and LED fog lamps. The wheels are larger, which pushed the bumper to flare out to accommodate them. The long-travel suspension is made for durability, stability, and better handling. Since the truck is made for the great outdoors, the front bumper uses composite materials to better withstand the expected dings and dents. Even the side steps are intended to drain mud, snow, and dirt since they are made of tough aluminum alloy with holes for proper cleanup.

The chassis has been upgraded to further handle the demands of off-road driving. The frame is tougher and stiffer. The brakes have been upgraded. And the race-bred suspension was set up to handle high speed in rough terrains.

Justice Department Starts Criminal Investigation Into Ford’s Fuel Efficiency Testing

ford explorer st

The US Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into Ford Motor Company’s emissions-certification processes. The investigation focuses on Ford’s road-load estimations and it does not involve the use of defeat devices, similar to what Volkswagen admitted to using to fool government emissions testing.

The road-load estimations are used to determine the fuel efficiency figures as published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Consumer Reports, it is up to the automakers to set the parameters of the road load, which simulates aerodynamic drag, friction, and tire-related losses on a dynamometer—a device that allows a car to stimulate driving by placing its wheels on rollers.

EPA said that the car manufacturer must set the standards of the road load and they are not necessarily monitored for the correctness of their parameters. However, it is the responsibility of every automaker to ensure that the methods used for measurement conform to EPA standards.

Shannon Baker-Branstetter of Consumer Reports explained that emissions testing is often a “self-certification process” and a lot of small factors, including software settings and modeling assumptions, can make a huge difference in the actual EPA rating of the car.

She explained that automakers sometimes build parameters that are set too close to the tests that during the self-certification process, they make the most favorable and positive assumptions about the results.

The Justice department’s investigation is looking into Ford’s overstatement of fuel mileage on a “large number” of models. Ford said it willingly opened an internal investigation back in February into its emissions testing procedure after employees called the management’s attention on the anomalies in the processes. The company, who voluntarily informed the Justice Department and state and federal agencies about the investigation, said it is cooperating and working closely with government agencies.

“Because this matter is still in the preliminary stages, we cannot predict the outcome, and we cannot provide assurance that it will not have a material adverse effect on us,” a Ford statement said.

The investigation into the emissions testing anomalies is centered on the 2019 Ford Ranger, which went on sale at the beginning of this year.

 

 

2019 Ford Kuga SUV Sets Reveal Date Next Week

ford escape (1)

Ford has set the date for the newest addition to their crossover lineup, the third-generation 2019 Ford Kuga SUV. Officially, the crossover will be revealed with much fanfare imaginable on April 2, Tuesday. The crossover is based on the same platform used in the Ford Focus.

Dealers and even potential buyers shouldn’t be on their feet right now, though, as the Mk3 Kuga will only arrive in dealerships towards the end of 2019. The Kuga is set to compete with the likes of the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Renault Kadjar. It also aims to boost the brand’s reputation and image in Europe.

In a short teaser clip released by Ford, the Kuga was seen with a strong resemblance and connection to the Focus. There’s the sporty ST-Line-like touches, Focus-like headlights, and Focus-like new tailgate that has a flat edge, too. You can make out the Kuga badge across the middle of that tailgate.

So far, the Kuga is Ford’s strongest-selling crossover SUV in Europe. Ford sold 153,800 units in Europe last year despite the car falling behind its rivals in the same segment because of comfortability, refinement, and availability of plug-in hybrid powertrains. These issues have been addressed with the arrival of the Mk3 model as it now uses a platform that has electrification at its heart.

Ford’s new C1 architecture first appeared on the latest Focus hatchback. One of C1’s most endearing qualities is that engineers can stretch its wheelbase to create a more spacious cabin than the current model.

Known as the Escape in the US, spy shots of the newest Kuga showed just how closely it resembles the latest Focus. Under the hood, there are a lot of changes, too. The newest Kuga will come with a 1.5-liter three-cylinder EcoBoost motor with either 148 horsepower or 180 horsepower. To further reduce CO2 emissions, both engines could have mild-hybrid technology.

2020 Ford Explorer Starts At $33,860

ford explorer st

The 2020 Ford Explorer will have a $400 increase from the 2019 model and that’s largely because of a new rear-wheel-drive configuration, the addition of a hybrid version, and the replacement of the Sport trim level by the ST. Still, for these changes, the additional $400 is competitive and practical.

ford explorer st 1

Revealed during the Detroit Auto Show this year, the new Ford Explorer will have a starting price of $33,860, according to an email of Ford to Motor Trend. That price includes the destination fee. The base model will come with a new engine that can produce 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque instead of the old V6’s 290 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. This engine is mated with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which means better accelerations and fuel economy.

ford explorer st 2

The next trim level is the Explorer XLT. Priced at $37,750, it is $2,275 more expensive than the 2019 model. The price includes features not found in the previous XLT such as power-adjustable front seats, captain’s chairs in the second row, and a total of four USB ports (two more ports than the base Explorer).

Next up is the Explorer Limited, which will sell for $49,225. That’s $5,365 more than the 2019 model. You’ll enjoy a number of features made for luxury and comfort such as wireless charging, a surround-view camera system, and rain-sensing wipers. The hybrid powertrain will require an additional $3,555 for a 3.3-liter hybrid engine and 20-inch aluminum wheels.

ford explorer st 3

The top-of-the-line Explorer is called the Platinum and has a price tag of $59,345. That comes with a 3.0-liter turbocharged engine that makes 365 horsepower.

The sportiest of the Explorers is now called the ST instead of Sport. It will be sold for $55,835, $8,115 more expensive than the 2019 Explorer Sport. The Platinum’s engine is configured to make 400 horsepower and 415 pound-feet of torque. There’s also a quad exhaust, 21-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and more.

Ford GT Of John Cena Is Back On The Auction Block

ford gt of john cena (1)

John Cena’s infamous Ford GT, which made headlines when it was sold by the WWE superstar a month after buying it even with the no-resell clause in the contract, is back on the auction block for the third time in the last two years. The Liquid Blue Metallic supercar will once again be auctioned off by Mecum Auctions, which handled it the last time it was auctioned off in Dallas four months ago. That wasn’t too long ago, huh?

Let’s back up a little. Back in 2017, Ford sold the $500,000 car to Cena who was chosen based on his ownership of other high-end cars and his social reach. The contract disallows the wrestling superstar to resell the GT for 24 months after its initial delivery. But Cena decided he didn’t want the GT a month after receiving it and he sold it to a 78-year-old Californian farmer for $1.54 million.

Ford sued Cena because of the no-resell clause in the contract but both parties eventually reached a settlement. Back to the farmer, he decided he didn’t want the GT eight months after owning it and sold it to a Russo & Steele auction in August 2018. The GT had 625 miles on it by then. The next owner purchased the car for $1.7 million but sold it to Mecum auction in Dallas after just a month. He put one mile on the supercar.

With 626 miles on the GT, owner No. 4 purchased it for $1.32 million but after only five months of receiving the keys to Cena’s former wheels, it’s now on Mecum’s listing again for its May 2019 auction. It now has a total of 635 miles, meaning owner No. 4 just drove it for nine miles! With 647 horsepower and 550-pound feet of torque, it’s hard to imagine why no one wants to put the miles on this thing. It also has the ability to hit 216 mph by just batting your eyelash, by the way.

We’ll see this coming May who the next owner of this Ford GT is as it’s fast becoming the hot potato of supercars.

2020 Ford Explorer Will Be Officially Revealed On January 9

ford explorer (5)

Ford is scheduled to reveal its 2020 Ford Explorer on January 9 at the Ford Field in Detroit. But before that, there will be an offsite unveiling on Thursday, about a week before the 2019 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The new SUV will have an evolutionary look and will ride on a new rear-wheel-drive platform called the CD6 architecture. This platform is being shared with the 2020 Lincoln Aviator, which was shown last month at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show.

There were no confirmations from Ford regarding the Explorer’s powertrains but a leak in August showed the ordering guide that detailed the SUV’s powertrains. The guide said the engine choices would be a 2.3-liter turbo-4, a 3.3-liter V-6, and a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6. The 3.3-liter V-6 will be available with or without a hybrid system as Ford shifts to more economical setups. The engines are most likely going to be paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission. An all-wheel-drive system will also be available.

The 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine has already been tested. This is the same engine being used by the Michigan State Police for testing. This powertrain will make the Explorer the quickest police vehicle in America. For fuel efficiency, Ford plans to offer the hybrid version of the 2020 Explorer to those in patrol duty.

It is the standard Explorer that will make its debut in January but Ford is also planning to release another trim level of the car called the Explorer ST. This variant is the performance-oriented version of the SUV and it will follow in the footsteps of the Edge ST, which was launched this year. The Explorer ST will be edging out the Explorer Sport model in Ford’s bid to revamp its lineup to introduce sportier crossover SUVs.

Source: Autoblog

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