Roesch Ford in Bensenville, Illinois was a regular client at Automotive Internet Media. Although the dealership no longer maintains its company blog, I have included some of my work for the client below.
Ford Will Be The First To Use New Aluminum
Ford is teaming up with Alcoa, a globally recognized aluminum company, to become the first automaker to use an advanced aluminum alloy called "Micromill," developed specifically for cars and trucks, that is allegedly 30% stronger than current auto standard aluminum and at least 30% lighter. If this sounds like the start to a sci-fi movie, it's because you're living in 2015.
Micromill will have 40% greater malleability — or as Alcoa defines it,"formability" — than auto industry standard aluminum, which will allow it to be molded into more complex shapes and used in places where only steel can be used now, which Ford hopes will greatly reduce the weight of its vehicles.
And according to their website, Alcoa says Micromill production reduces the time it takes to transform molten metal into aluminum coil from 20 days to 20 minutes.
Why is "formability" so important in aluminum? Current auto industry aluminum — a preferred material by automakers for its lightweight and tough durability — is not ideal for difficult and complex car parts. Ford metal-stamping expert Peter Friedman said that an inner door panel is one of the hardest parts on a vehicle to stamp. Current aluminum cannot be molded into those parts, so Ford uses steel. Micromill will change that.
Why is lighter vehicle weight so valued? Automakers everywhere are rushing to make their vehicles lighter as fuel economy, pollution, and environmental concerns increasingly become hotbed topics (and potent selling points) in the auto world. Lighter cars burn less fuel (and go faster). Less fuel burned means less pollution. And for drivers concerned with all the gas money dripping from their wallets, lighter vehicles get better fuel economy.
Ford will start using Micromill on the 2016 model F-150 pickup, which goes into production before the end of the year. More parts of the F-150 will be shifted to Micromill next year.
Alcoa is expected to release Micromill to more automakers soon, so Ford is jumping on it first. Alcoa recently announced a split: the international company will break into two. The Upstream Company will comprise five business units that today make up Global Primary Products (bauxite, alumina, aluminum, casting, and energy). The innovation and technology-driven Value-Add Company will include Global Rolled Products, Engineered Products and Solutions, and Transportation and Construction Solutions.
The Upstream Company is expected to be game-changer for the auto world by bringing a long-sought material to the market.
Excited about the new 2016 F-150? Keep checking for updates about the upcoming model's release.
Ford Hybrids and Electric Cars Rake In The Wins
Ford's hybrid and electric cars are raking up the wins, their most recent being a new set of smart watch apps for the Android Wear and Apple Watch. If you don't have a Ford electric or hybrid vehicle, now is the time, because these apps are pretty darn cool.
The apps allow users to unlock their doors, check mileage and battery stats, and find their parked cars in large parking lots. The apps were released as part of the company's update to the My Ford Mobile apps for iOS and Android, and are compatible with the Ford C-MAX Energi, Ford Focus Electric, and Ford Fusion Energi.
It does not look like Ford is planning to release similar apps for non-hybrid and non-electric vehicles, since many of the apps' features seem specifically designed for electric and hybrid usage. The apps include a last trip summary, which breaks down the stats of the last drive, calculating the miles per gallon (or miles-per-gallon equivalent), and ratings for driving and braking efficiency.
New apps aren't all that's working well for the C-MAX Energi. Autotrader recently called it "one of the most well-rounded hybrid vehicles on the market." With a class-leading 550 miles of range between fill-ups (seriously), its all-electric mode is ideal for real-world driving: plenty of power and a top speed of 85 miles per hour. If you regularly go over that speed, having an electric vehicle is probably the least of your worries. The spacious cab also has five seats, making it a good family car option.
The strongest criticism Ford is getting for the company’s electric models goes to the Ford Focus Electric. Its powerful motor and battery pack contribute to a weight of about 3600 pounds, resulting in an EPA range of only 76 miles. Luckily, the battery charger is lightning fast: on 240 volts, the Focus Electric can be recharged in about 3.5 hours.
Interested in going electric? Maybe the smart watch apps will sway your mind. But if you're still not convinced, come down to Roesch Ford and test-drive one today!
Why You Should Invest In the Ford Motor Company
Forbes thinks you should invest in Ford. Why? Ford is the second largest automaker in the United States and the sixth largest in the world. The company has timeworn experience under its belt — it's been around for 113 years. Since the company's humble beginnings in Dearborn, Michigan, it has become a trusted and sought-after name globally.
In the United States, Ford has revitalized its brands under Lincoln, and continues to market its F-series trucks, which have been among some of the best-selling vehicles in the United States for almost four decades. Ford Motor Co. reported second quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, with earnings of $37.3 billion — 47 cents a share — compared to $35.37 billion, or 40 cents a share, which was one year ago.
Ford’s automotive structure in North America is very profitable. It's up 44% from 2014, marking its highest-ever profit revenue at $23.3 Billion vs. $21.2 Billion with an operating margin of 11.1% vs 11.6%, its best quarterly profit since 2000, while its pre-tax profits of $2.9 Billion is up 10% from 2014. Additionally, its pretax $506 million profit from its credit division indicates strong fundamentals.
Ford traditionally struggles in South America, but this regional slump is alleviated by its Asian/Pacific expansion and its wholesale increase in the European market — the Mustang was recently released to European shores. Ford’s second quarter global market share increased to 7.6% from 7.5% with its revenue of $35.1 billion vs $35.3 billion. Its operating margin of 7.2% vs 6.6% YTD point toward a continuation of growth.
Ford’s F-150 series has been a big factor the company’s climbing profits. The company's increased production of the F-150 series toward the end of the quarter should translate into higher sales and profits in the upcoming quarters. Its operating cash gross ended the second quarter of 2015 at $20.7 billion with net cash of $6.1 billion, adjusted for a total debt of $13.4 billion. This cash supports a generous dividend for a 4.2% yield.
If all these numbers don't impress you, then remember that after all the data, Ford is a company with a history of excellence. Considering investing? Come in to Roesch Ford and see if we can't answer all your questions.
Ford Solves the Spider Problem
You know the classic concerns drivers have — road safety, security from burglary, engine troubles, etc. But one problem you might not be aware of is a bit unexpected: spiders. But automakers like Mazda and Toyota have recently become acutely aware of these little buggers, whose webs under the hoods of vehicles have caused massive recalls.
The common yellow sac spider, which according to Michigan State University researchers is more responsible for bites to humans than any other spider, is building nests and laying eggs in vehicle fuel vapor lines, which can lead to fuel tank cracks and fires.
When the yellow sac spider spins a web in small, closed-off spaces like the vapor lines, the webs create blockages that disrupt fuel vapor and generate engine damage. "Their presence in the car is surprising, but not unexpected as the car engine area attracts many organisms, such as mice," Darrel Ubick, spider specialist at the California Academy of Sciences, said in an email. "I’ve heard of spiders causing similar problems in farm equipment by making their retreats in tubular cavities."
In March of last year, Mazda recalled 42,000 Mazda 6 vehicles from the 2010-12 model years after discovering that spiders were weaving webs in canister vent hoses, causing an "excessive amount of negative pressure" in fuel tanks, according to a document filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And in 2013, Toyota recalled 802,769 vehicles when webs were discovered clogging air conditioning parts and creating pooled water, which can damage airbag modules and cause inadvertent deployment.
Fortunately for drivers and sufferers of arachnophobia everywhere, Ford has found a solution to the menace: a patented cylindrical "spider screen," which is being installed on all Ford vehicles starting with the 2016 Focus RS. The screen prevents spiders from entering the fuel lines but still allows steady air and vapor flow.
If you have any questions on how to get the new spider screen — or if you think your car might be infested with the eight-legged menace — stop by Roesch Ford and we'll exterminate the problem.
The Mustang Goes To Europe
Heralding a long-sought profit increase in the European sector, Ford is releasing their classic American muscle car to our friends across the pond.
Historically, the American motor company has had a hard go of it in Europe, Ford’s biggest division outside the United States. In 2012, Ford Europe lost $1.75 billion in losses and $1.6 billion in 2013. Sales continued to dwindle through 2014 and into 2015.
Former CEO Alan Mulally charted a course to change all that back in 2012. His plan wasn't to make a profit in Europe, but just to break even — a much hoped-for result after Ford's consecutive annual losses.
Why is the Europe market so tough? "Carmakers across the globe have been fighting for sales in a region where new vehicle registrations hit a near two-decade low of $11.9 million in 2013 after six consecutive years of decline,” Andy Sharman, Motor Industry Correspondent, wrote in his article for Financial Times. "Registrations are not expected to return to their pre-recession peak of $15.5 million until after 2020." Everyone is having a hard time in Europe as more European drivers turn to typically cheaper Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia. But Mulally's plan now seems to be producing results.
Early 2015 reports show that the new Ford Mondeo sedan sales are up 55%. The old Mondeo was a slow-selling Europe-only model. The new model, launched a few months ago, mimics the Ford Fusion, a good seller in the United States. Ford plans to capitalize on the Mondeo's success by releasing a luxury version later this summer called the Mondeo Vignale.
Commercial vehicles are also pulling Ford up. Commercial vehicle sales rose 33% in the first half of 2015, giving Ford its highest commercial sales in two decades.
Mulally's 2012 plan was an aggressive one, involving major cutbacks — two U.K. factories and a big plant in Belgium were closed — and releasing all-new vehicles to the European market, like the classic Mustang. Later this summer, the Mustang will hit European shores for the first time, and almost 7,000 pre-orders are already in. Ford's current CEO, Mark Fields, says that the loss years will finally end in 2016 and Ford will at last make a profit in the region.
Exciting things are happening with the Mustang at home as well as abroad. Later this year, the long-awaited 2015 Shelby GT350 will continue the legacy with 500 horsepower and 400 lb.-ft of torque. Be sure to check in regularly with your friends at Roesch Ford to see when to come test drive one!
Update: The 2017 Ford Super Duty Will Have Awesome Tech
New details have arrived: the next-generation 2017 Super Duty will offer an upscale high-tech package that will use seven — yes, seven — cameras for increased safety and towing visibility. This news is not surprising, since rear-view camera technology has become a renewed focus for competing truck manufacturers.
Two years ago, Dodge Ram was the first to offer a rear-cab-mounted camera, which gave drivers a view of the bed and trailer. The images from the tailgate camera appeared on an 8-inch navigation screen on the control panel, while images from the cab camera appeared in the rearview mirror.
With new Uconnect technology, which Ford is likely planning to implement in its new Super Duty, there will be two separate touch points on the screen that give the drivers the option of switching between the views from the tailgate camera and the rear cab camera. The touchscreen control center will feel similar to an iPhone, allowing users to drag and drop their favorite apps — cameras included — to the bottom of the screen as a shortcut, similar to how iPhone users often keep their "Messages" app on the bottom of the screen for quick access.
The Uconnect technology doesn't stop with cameras. As part of its entertainment feature, Uconnect features Sirius Satellite Radio, built-in HD radio, and extensive rear-seat entertainment — including single and dual screen options for backseat riders to watch DVDs.
The built-in phone options are also extensive. Uconnect syncs with your phone's contacts seamlessly, offers hands-free calling and texting, features a dock for wireless charging, and allows Bluetooth pairing for up to ten phones.
Aside from a heavy focus on tech, the new Super Duty is rumored to have an all-aluminum body like the 2015F-150, which will make it both lighter and stronger. According to Left Lane News, the next generation Super Duty's front end will get an extreme remodel, with a wide radiator grille and two large slats that stretch into a pair of vertical headlights. The grille will not be surrounded by a chrome frame — a style feature that has characterized Ford's large pickups since the 1999 model year.
We will post updates about the next generation Super Duty as we get them. Stay tuned for exciting details!