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Ford

Ford Increases Production Of New Ranger To Meet Strong Demand

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New, 2019 Ford-Ranger truck, rear

People like Ford’s new midsize truck — they really like it.

Ford has that demand for the new Ford Ranger is exceeding expectations, prompting it to start overtime shifts to increase production.

The American automaker says about 300,000 buyers have already indicated plans to buy the new Ranger and expects to sell 1,200 units in the truck’s first full month of production.

“Based on the orders coming in, and based on the hand-raisers, we think the demand’s going to be so strong, that starting in February our assembly plant will be going into massive overtime,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of North America.

It’s a good start for the new Ranger, but if Ford wants to beat the the segment-leading Toyota Tacoma , it will need to sell a lot more than 1,200 units per month.

The Tacoma sold between 16,000 and 23,000 units each month in 2018, while Chevrolet sold between 8,000 and 12,000 midsize Colorados. At its peak in the 1990s, the old Ranger sold more than 300,000 Rangers per year.

In other news, Ford has confirmed that it’s developing a new pickup truck even smaller than the Ranger to offer a more urban friendly alternative for buyers.

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Ford

GM, Ford, Toyota Team Up To Make Self-Driving Cars Safer

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Cruise Chevrolet Bolt Self-Driving Car

The three automakers have formed an autonomous safety consortium.

General Motors, Toyota, and Ford have partnered with standards group SAE International to establish the Automated Vehicle Safety Consortium (AVSC), a new organization dedicated to self-driving car safety.

The primary goal of the group is to create a safety framework for developing and testing SAE Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles.

“The work will ultimately inform and accelerate the development of industry standards for autonomous vehicles (AVs) and harmonize with efforts of other consortia and standards bodies throughout the world,” the group said in a press release.

While there has been great progress in the way of self-driving technology, there remains uncertainty about when and how the technology should be pushed to market. Determining appropriate safety rules to govern automation continues to be a hot a topic of discussion.

“Our goal with the consortium is to work with industry and government partners to expedite development of standards that can lead to rule making,” said Ford’s CTO of autonomous vehicles, Randy Visintainer.

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Crossovers

New 2020 Ford Escape Debuts With New Look, Hybrid Choices, More Tech

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New, 2020 Ford Escape SUV, red

Ford has completely “reinvented” it’s best-selling crossover.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Escape debuts with a sportier design, two new hybrid powertrain options and a long list of new tech features.

Compered to the previous model, the new Escape has a smoother, more car-like look that Ford says was inspired by high-profile sports cars. Highlights include a trapezoidal grille like the one on the Mustang, a slopping roofline and a lower front fascia that supposedly takes some styling cues from the Ford GT.

Overall, the new Ford Escape is lower, wider and longer than its predecessor, offering more interior space as a result. In fact, Ford claims significantly improved rear legroom and up to 37.5 cubic feet (1,062 liters) of cargo space when the rear seats are up, an improvement of 3.5 cubic feet (28 liters). The second-row seats can slide front to back to maximize legroom or cargo space.

Considering that the new Escape is essentially a more utilitarian Ford Focus, it has nearly the same interior design and layout as Ford’s hatchback. The optional list of tech features now includes a head-up display and new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.

Engineers worked hard to make it more aerodynamic. Thanks to the use of more high-strength, lightweight steel, it is also more than than 200 pounds lighter.

Buyers will be able to choose from two EcoBoost engines and two new hybrid powertrains. The base engine is a 1.5L EcoBoost that produces 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft. of torque, while more power can be had with a 2.0L EcoBoost four-cylinder engine rated at 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft. of torque. Both powerplants are paired with an eight-speed automatic that drives the front wheels as standard, although all-wheel drive is an option.

Those looking for efficiency above all else can opt for a hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder that runs on the Atkinson cycle and generates 198 hp (148 kW). A continuously variable transmission. drives the front-wheel drive as standard, but all-wheel drive is available.

Ford will also offers a plugin hybrid version of the new Escape. It can be recharged in 3.5 hours using a 240-volt charger and is estimated to have best-in-class range of at least 30 miles (48 kilometers) on electric power.

Active Park Assist 2.0 and Evasive Steering Assist join the list of driver-assist technologies. Active Park Assist 2.0 system allows the Escape to automatically park in a parallel or perpendicular spot with little assistance from the driver, while Evasive Steering Assist helps avoid an imminent collision by detecting a slower-moving or stationary vehicle ahead and providing steering support to assist the driver.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Escape goes on sale in fall 2019, with the plug-in hybrid arriving in spring 2020. Are you happy with how it turned out?

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Crossovers

New Ford Explorer’s ‘Mindful Mode’ Helps You Digitally Detox

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New Ford Explorer Digital Cluster Detox

Ford thinks you need a break from looking at screens.

The all-new, 2020 Ford Explorer comes with a long list of tech features that includes a digital instrument cluster and a vertical touchscreen in the center stack, both which can overwhelm the driver with information overload. To help alleviate this issue, Ford decided to add a Mindful Mode that lets drivers digitally detox.

When activated, Mindful Mode removes most of the information displayed on the instrument cluster and touchscreen, leaving only data that the driver needs, such as speed, speed limit, and fuel level. By fading everything else into a blue background, it provides some respite from processing information displayed on the screens.

Ford expects Mindful Mode will be popular among Explorer. According to its research, more than half of adults around the world want a mandatory timeout from their devices.

“People are increasingly aware of and alarmed by their device dependency. Yet if there’s one opportunity throughout the day to reduce your exposure to digital demands, it’s when you’re driving. Ford’s new Explorer can serve as a sanctuary from chaos and distraction,” stated Sheryl Connelly, Ford’s global consumer trends and futurist.

Is this a feature you would want in your car? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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