Ford U.S. pickup sales lift its profit

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Ford reported a better-than-expected quarterly net profit on Thursday, driven largely by U.S. sales of its high-margin pickup trucks, and it raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast.

Ford’s positive results came despite an overall decrease in vehicle sales to U.S. dealers.

A large part of the company’s profits came from its F-Series pickup trucks, which have been the best-selling vehicle in North America for decades. Ford said the average transaction price for its trucks rose $2,800 to $45,400.

Ford said its North American margin rose to 8.1 percent from 5.8 percent a year earlier. Earlier this week, GM reported a third-quarter margin for North America of 8.3 percent.

Apart from North America, the only other region that was profitable for Ford was Asia Pacific, driven by sales increases outside China. Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks said sales volumes, market share and margins were all down in China.

He said its European operations would return to profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year.

New Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett is under pressure to please Wall Street. Following his first 100 days in office, Hackett’s overarching message to Wall Street focused on plans to slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years, and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Wall Street has been underwhelmed, particularly by Hackett’s caveat that most of the savings will not show up on Ford’s bottom line until 2019 and 2020.

By comparison, main rival GM has impressed Wall Street with promises to put the first self-driving vehicles into commercial service before 2020 and introduce 20 electric vehicles by 2023.

Year to date, GM’s stock is up nearly 30 percent, while Ford is down almost 1 percent.

When asked by reporters about the flagging stock, CFO Shanks said Ford has a “really good plan” for electric vehicles and self-driving car technology.

“I think the market will reward us,” he said.

Ford said it had lower engineering, advertising and promotion expenses than in the third quarter.

The second largest U.S. automaker posted a quarterly net profit of $1.56 billion, or 39 cents per share, up more than 60 percent from $960 million, or 24 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, Ford reported earnings per share of 43 cents, above Wall Street expectations of 32 cents.

Revenue rose to $36.45 billion from $35.94 billion a year earlier.

Ford said it now expects full-year earnings in a range of $1.75 to $1.85 per share. Previously it had looked for $1.65 to $1.85.

In premarket trading, Ford shares were up 1.7 percent at $12.24.

[Source: Autoblog]

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2018 Ford F-150 nabs IIHS Top Safety Pick, but headlights hold it back

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The updated 2018 Ford F-150 has retained its IIHS Top Safety Pick rating. The truck once again earned the organization’s highest “Good” ratings in all of the IIHS tests for both the crew cab and extended cab body styles. It was also able to keep the Top Safety Pick rating because of the newly available automatic emergency braking system option. The organization found the system was able to bring the car to a complete stop before crashing when stopping from both 10 mph and 25 mph. With the emergency collision warning system, the F-150earned top marks for automatic forward collision avoidance technology.

Keen observers will notice that the Top Safety Pick rating isn’t quite the highest safety honor the IIHS has to offer. The highest is the Top Safety Pick+. This rating requires that a vehicle have headlights that earn an “Acceptable” or “Good” rating. None of the F-150’s headlights do this. In fact, every single headlight type offered on the F-150 earned the lowest rating of “Poor.”

Despite missing out on the highest possible IIHS safety rating, the F-150 is still the highest-rated full-size pickup available. The Ram 1500, Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, Toyota Tundra and Nissan Titan all performed slightly worse in at least one crash test, and had worse forward collision prevention technology. Though the Ram 1500, GMC Sierra and Nissan Titan had better headlights. For the safest pickup on the road, regardless of size, buyers should check out the Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline did earn the Top Safety Pick+ thanks to “Good” ratings in all crash tests, the top forward collision avoidance score and headlights on higher trim versions that were also rated “Good.”

[Source: Autoblog]

Las Vegas hero and Marine vet Taylor Winston gets free F-150 pickup

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Taylor Winston, the Marine and Iraq war veteran who stole a service truck to help transport victims of the Las Vegas shooting to the hospital, now has a customized Ford F-150, courtesy of a dealership in Arizona that was touched by the story of individual bravery amid mass tragedy.

B5 Motors, a used and certified automobile dealership in Gilbert, Ariz., took to Twitter to call for help tracking Winston down on Oct. 4, according to CNN. About seven hours later, they announced they’d found the San Diego resident.

“Most of us would have ran and never came back,” B5 Motors’ owner, Shane Beus, told CNN. “His military training allowed him to think in a split second what to do.”

Winston, who served two tours in Iraq, told “CBS This Morning” that he was dancing with his girlfriend at the country music festival Oct. 1 when the shooting began. He initially ran for cover, then saw people getting shot and realized they needed help. He said he helped people climb over a fence, then found a white Chevy service truck with the keys inside. “I started looking for people to take to the hospital,” Winston said. “There was just too many, and it was overwhelming how much blood was everywhere.”

He estimates he took 20 to 30 people to Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center.

Beus said the dealership selected the used F-150 but let Winston choose between it and two other vehicles in the $20,000 price range. The dealership posted a Facebook Live video to show Winston being handed the keys and driving away.

[Source: Autoblog]

Ford goes super luxe with F-Series Super Duty Limited

 

Ford, sensing rising demand for high-end trucks, on Thursday unveiled its new Super Duty Limited trim for its F-Series trucks, marrying luxury-segment features such as heated two-tone leather seats and finished wood trim to its workingman line of heavy-duty pickups.

Ford says its new F-450 Limited can tow more than 30,000 pounds, near the weight of an Air Force F-35 fighter plane or a motor home RV, yet it “delivers technology and comfort previously reserved only in premium flagship sedans.” The company said more than half of retail sales of its Super Duty lineup so far in 2017 have been high-end model like the Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum series.

“There are heavy-duty truck customers who need Super Duty-level capability and want true luxury,” said Todd Eckert, Ford Truck group marketing manager. “We created this new truck to answer the call for even more premium choices in the Super Duty range as we see more and more truck customers trending to more premium models.”

Inside the cab, Super Duty Limited gets you custom Camelback two-tone leather seats, stitched leather-wrapped steering wheel, armrests and instrument panel, a suede headliner and hand-finished dark ash trim. The exterior brings a twin-bar satin grille with chrome accents, quad-beam LED lights and satin-finished tailgate appliqué. A further perk is the VIN number laser-etched on the center console armrest. Standard features include high-definition 360-degree camera, SYNC 3 entertainment system and adaptive cruise control and steering.

Prices for the Super Duty Limited start at around $80,000 for the F-250 4×4 and top out around $94,455 for full options. Ford says a crew cab version fitted with a 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V8 will arrive this winter. You can read our first-drive review of the 2017 Super Duty pickup here.

[Source: Autoblog]

2018 Ford F-150 Police Responder is Ford’s first pursuit-rated pickup

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Ford introduced its latest police vehicle, the Ford F-150 Police Responder, today. It isn’t the first F-150 police vehicle ever, but it is the first one to achieve the same pursuit rating of other Ford police vehicles – including its Taurus- and Explorer-based Interceptors, and the new Fusion hybrid-based Police Responder Hybrid Sedan. What this means is that it’s fast enough for pursuits, and it can handle extended high-speed driving without risking overheating, reduced braking performance, or other mechanical issues. It also distinguishes it from the Expedition and F-150 SSV models that are already available, which are not pursuit-rated.

Under the hood is the familiar twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V6 used in other F-150s and the Expedition. It makes 375 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of torque, and will propel the truck to a limited top speed of 100 mph, which is 5 less than a civilian F-150. That engine is coupled to a 10-speed automatic transmission and a part-time four-wheel-drive system with a low-range transfer case.

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All Police Responder F-150s also come standard with the FX4 off-road package, which adds a locking rear differential, skid plates, and off-road tuned shocks. The shocks are also supplemented by a stiffer front anti-roll bar specific to the Police Responder. Upgraded brake calipers are fitted that can better handle heat, with reformulated pads.

The aluminum wheel and all-terrain tire package is also exclusive to the Responder. According to a Ford representative, aluminum wheels were acceptable because of the thicker tires. To complete the Police Responder package, a 240-amp alternator is fitted, along with redesigned cloth seats to allow for utility belts, steel-plates in the seat backs, and a column-mounted shifter. The shifter frees up space in the center console for equipment, and allows for quicker shifting.

Watch an exclusive sneak peak of Top Gear America’s Ford F-150 Raptor review

With its premiere on July 30, we’re just a couple of days away from finally seeing the new Top Gear America. But you won’t have to wait that long to get a quick taste of the show on BBC America. We have a clip to share with you, and it’s of actor and now Top Gear America host William Fichtner driving a Ford F-150 Raptor in the desert. This is an exclusive clip you’ll only see on Autoblog.

He seems to like the truck, saying it’s “the American dream incarnate,” and “a fighter jet on four wheels.” It does look about as majestic as a bald eagle out in its natural habitat. While plenty of that is because of the inherent coolness of the truck, part of it is probably due to the way the truck is filmed. It appears that Top Gear America will have a high level of production value, with beautifully framed shots and lighting.

When the full episode airs on Sunday, Fichtner, the man behind Finding Steve McQueen, will be joined by two other hosts, Antron Brown and Tom “Wookie” Ford. Brown is a drag racer who first raced motorcycles before taking on Top Fuel drag cars in 2008. He took home his first Top Fuel championship in 2012. Ford has been in the automotive journalism biz for quite a while. He’s presently an associate editor for Top Gearmagazine and was previously at CAR magazine. He also has worked on a number of automotive-related TV shows, including gone, but not forgotten, Fifth Gear.

[Source: Autoblog]

Ford adds pedestrian detection system for F-150 and Mustang this fall

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Ford is introducing some interesting future technology for the 2018 F-150 and Mustang. A bumper-mounted radar and a windshield-mounted camera will scan the road ahead and convey information to a new Pedestrian Detection system. It will be able to alert the driver of pedestrians in the path of the vehicle both day and night, automatically applying brakes if the driver doesn’t heed the system warnings.

To separate between tree-shaped objects and people-shaped people, the system relies on a database of “pedestrian shapes”, against which it compares the shapes it detects ahead. Every second, the windshield camera takes more than 30 snapshots, so the system is continuously up-to-date. Ford says the viewing angle is wide enough to detect pedestrians even in low-light conditions where there are no streetlights, just the car’s own headlights. However, there’s no thermal camera involved for true night vision.

The system was tested first with dummies on test tracks, and later in busy cities such as Paris and Amsterdam. The first European implementation of the system will be on the new 2018 Ford Fiesta. In the United States, the detection system will become available on the F-150 in August and on the Mustang in November.