March 2014

Ford Director Emeritus William Clay Ford dies at age 88

(March 10, 2014) DEARBORN, Mich. — William Clay Ford, who helped steer Ford Motor Company into the modern era as an employee, director and influential member of the Ford family, died this morning at his home from pneumonia. Ford, 88, served as drector emeritus and was the last surviving grandchild of the company’s founder, Henry Ford.

Ford Transit and Transit Connect take double win in Arctic van test

(March 10, 2014) BRENTWOOD, UK — Ford has achieved a landmark double victory in the Arctic Van Test — one of the most grueling tests of vehicle performance on the planet. The all-new Ford Transit and the all-new Ford Transit Connect finished first in their respective classes after competing in the punishing five-day ordeal that subjects vehicles and drivers to extreme challenges in ice, cold and snow, in the frozen north of Finland — where temperatures can drop as low as -58 degrees.

Chrysler recalling 25,250 SUVs over braking issue

(March 10, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Chrysler Group is recalling 25,250 SUVs to improve pedal feel during certain aggressive braking maneuvers.
A supplier raised concerns about the performance of a component that accommodates Ready Alert Braking, a Chrysler Group safety system that primes brakes for optimal response when making a sudden stop. Brake function was neither lost nor out of compliance with regulation, but pedal feel was not consistent with customer expectations.

David Beckham named Jaguar brand ambassador for China

(March 9, 2014) David Beckham has joined Jaguar as a brand ambassador and will support significant forthcoming Jaguar product launches in China. British sporting icon Beckham will feature in above-the-line marketing campaigns for the brand in one of its most significant international markets.

Geneva autos: The Renegade, Hazumi and T-ROC

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(March 9, 2014) Unlike Michigan, which is in the midst of the coldest winter in 36 years and the snowiest in 133 years, Geneva, Switzerland had highs in the upper 40s and less snow than expected. Being the neutral country and banking center that it is, the Geneva Auto Salon was home to a number of world premiers, some of which we covered in the run-up to the show. What follows are the most interesting, strangest and most important of the introductions that took place during press days.

Lexus to expand lineup with all-new NX compact crossover

(March 7, 2014) GENEVA — When the Lexus LF-NX concept was introduced last year at the Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows, customer feedback was positive. Customers who liked the LF-NX will be happy to know the production version, NX, derived from the concept (shown below), will be revealed at the 2014 Beijing International Auto Show next month. 

Taxi Electric first to use Nissan's e-NV200 taxi in Amsterdam

(March 8, 2014) AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Taxi Electric will be the first private taxi company to add the new 100-percent electric Nissan e-NV200 taxi to its green-energy zero-emission fleet. The combination of Nissan's zero-emission technology, in the form of the 100-percent electric Nissan Leaf, and Taxi Electric's ground-breaking city transportation model have been a recipe for success since the start of operation in 2011.

New Fiat 500 1957 Edition offers taste of historic Cinquecento

(March 7, 2014) AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Italian car and design fans looking for a taste of the historic Cinquecento won’t have to wait much longer. Today the Fiat brand opened orders for the 2014 Fiat 500 1957 Edition, arriving in Fiat studios nationwide in late spring. Pricing for this well-equipped limited-production model starts at $20,400, just $1,900 more than a base Fiat 500 Lounge.

Ford moving production of all-new F-650/F-750 trucks to Ohio

(March 7, 2014) DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford today announced production of its all-new 2016 F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks will shift from Mexico to Ohio Assembly Plant starting early next year, with the trucks on sale in spring 2015.

As part of the production shift, Ford is investing $168 million to retool the Cleveland-area plant for the new medium-duty trucks. Ohio Assembly Plant, which opened in 1974, currently produces the Ford E-Series lineup of vans and other commercial vehicles.

Ford increases China sales by 67 percent in February

(March 7, 2014) SHANGHAI, China — Continued strong demand for the Ford Focus, the best-selling nameplate in China last year, helped Ford China increase sales by 67 percent in February, with 73,040 vehicles sold. Ford China’s sales are up 59 percent so far for the year, with sales of 167,506 vehicles compared to the first two months of 2013.