Tag Archive | "Ford"

Ford Names Former FCC Chair Kennard to Board as Neal Retires

Ford Motor Co. named former U.S. Federal Communications Commission chairman William Kennard to its board, adding someone with Washington experience as the auto industry faces increased regulatory scrutiny amid mounting recalls, reported Bloomberg.

Kennard, 57, will succeed director Homer Neal, who has reached mandatory retirement age, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford said in a statement today. Kennard, who is also a former U.S. ambassador to the European Union, is currently chairman and co-founder of Velocitas Partners LLC, an asset management firm. His appointment to the automaker’s board is effective Jan. 1, one day after Neal steps down.

As chair of the FCC from 1997 to 2001, Kennard presided over the agency’s approval of AOL Inc.’s $124 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., a marriage that later foundered.

Kennard will serve on Ford’s Nominating and Governance Committee, the company said.

Neal, who served on the board for 18 years, is leaving before his term ends in May to focus his role as president-elect of the American Physical Society and his work with the University of Michigan, where he has served in a variety of roles, including chair of the Department of Physics, according to the statement.

Ford’s shares fell 1.9 percent to $14.99 at the close in New York, as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index dropped 1.6 percent.

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U.S. Auto Regulator Seeks Nationwide Recall of Takata Air Bags

The U.S. auto safety regulator has told Japanese supplier Takata Corp and five automakers to expand nationwide a regional recall of potentially lethal air bags, increasing pressure on the industry to move faster in a growing scandal, reported Reuters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also scolded Takata for what it called “an unwillingness to move forward” on a nationwide recall, and said the company needs to be open with the U.S. public about the risks of its air bags.

Takata and automakers have so far taken a targeted approach in recalling U.S. vehicles with air bags that can rupture upon deployment, shooting shrapnel into the car. Five fatalities, including four in the United States, have been linked to the air bags.

The U.S. regional recall has involved 4.1 million cars in hot and humid areas where the air bags may be prone to fail, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana and parts of Texas along the Gulf of Mexico. Most of those cars are made by Honda Motor, Takata’s biggest client.

In a call with reporters on Tuesday, NHTSA Deputy Administrator David Friedman declined to estimate how many more cars would be included in a nationwide recall.

Shares in Takata dropped by as much as 7.8 percent in Tokyo on Wednesday, and have now slid 64 percent this year to 5-1/2-year lows.

Takata has already set aside more than $750 million for recall-related costs, but Takayuki Atake, manager of credit research at SMBC Nikko Securities, warned a national recall would need more provisioning and raised the risk of a deeper credit rating downgrade than initially expected.

Japan Credit Rating Agency has put Takata’s single-A rating on negative watch. “However, risk of a (three-notch) downgrade to BBB would increase if the expanded recall leads to further erosion of shareholder equity and/or a negative impact on Takata’s capacity for generating profits and cash flow,” Atake wrote in a report.

Takata, NHTSA, Honda and Chrysler have been called to testify at a U.S. Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday, where Takata will be represented by Hiroshi Shimizu, a 36-year company veteran and senior vice president of global quality assurance.


Around 16 million cars with Takata air bags have been recalled worldwide over the past six years, with more than 10 million of those in the United States.

NHTSA’s Friedman said the recall expansion was prompted by an August incident involving a 2007 Ford Mustang in North Carolina, outside the area of the regional recalls.

The agency ordered Ford, Mazda Motor, Honda, Chrysler and BMW to send notifications for replacement driver-side air bags to consumers quickly. “We will begin a process both with Takata and the automakers to force them to recall all affected” vehicles, Friedman said.

Ford, Honda, Mazda and Chrysler said they would continue to cooperate with NHTSA and plan to evaluate their call for a national recall. But each stopped short of saying they would expand beyond the current set of cars they are fixing. BMW is already recalling air bags nationally.

Spokesman Alby Berman said Takata would cooperate with regulators and automakers if an expanded recall is required, but noted that “of almost 1,000 passenger and driver inflators from outside the high humidity areas that have been evaluated to date, none have ruptured.”

“Takata is concerned that a national recall could potentially divert replacement air bags from where they’re needed, putting lives at risk,” he said in a statement.

It’s unclear just how long it could take to replace so many air bags. NHTSA said it is pressuring Takata to ramp up production of replacement parts and has said it will explore using other suppliers to help with production if needed.

Takata has said it would add two production lines at its Monclova, Mexico plant in January to make replacement air bag inflators. Workers there have told Reuters that a single line has a typical quota of around 200 inflators an hour, meaning it could take five months to make 1 million inflators working around the clock on two lines, five days a week.


Auto safety advocates and lawmakers said NHTSA’s latest move may still not capture the scope of the problem, is too late, and may not be enforceable.

Democratic Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal said they were pleased NHTSA recognized the “national scope” of the problem,” but said the call to replace driver-side air bags should be expanded to also include passenger air bags.

NHTSA agreed in June to allow automakers to do a regional recall and use their discretion in deciding how and when to notify customers and replace faulty parts, resulting in confusion for car owners receiving mixed messages.

Friedman criticized Takata for resisting when NHTSA this week called on it to issue a defect notification nationwide for air bags of a certain design. “Takata’s initial response was an unwillingness to move forward, and frankly, that is one of the reasons we are talking to you today, because I believe everyone needs to understand that Takata needs to act,” he said.

Asked about Friedman’s comment, Takata said: “We have been dealing sincerely with U.S. authorities and … will continue to do so, prioritizing customers’ safety.”

NHTSA also addressed lingering confusion over what exactly makes some air bags explode. It said it ordered Takata to provide under oath documents and information on the propellant used in newly designed air bag inflators, after Takata recently said it had changed the chemical mix of its inflators.

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Ford Recalls 65,000 Fusion Cars for Roll-Away Issue

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it will recall 65,000 new Ford Fusion cars in North America because they could roll away, reported The Detroit News.

The Dearborn automaker said the recall covers 56,500 2014-15 Fusion cars in the United States and about 8,500 in Canada and Mexico because the key can be removed 30 minutes after the ignition is turned off, even if the transmission is not in park. The vehicles are not currently in compliance with a U.S. regulation involving theft protection and roll-away prevention.

Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this condition.

Dealers will reprogram the instrument cluster.

Like many automakers, Ford has seen its recalls soar this year, with 36 U.S. recalls for a total of 4.3 million vehicles. By contrast, Ford recalled 1.2 million vehicles in 2013 in the United States in 16 campaigns.

The auto industry as a whole has recalled nearly 60 million vehicles this year, led by General Motors Co.’s 26.5 million vehicles, nearly double the previous record of 30.8 million set in 2004. Earlier this month, Ford issued five separate recall campaigns covering 200,000 vehicles. And Friday it expanded a recall of 85,000 vehicles for Takata airbags to include both the passenger and driver airbags in 25,000 Ford Ranger pickups.

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Ford’s Profits Drop in Q3

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co. reported net income of $835 million in the third quarter, a drop of about 34 percent from earnings of $1.27 billion in the year-ago period, reported MLive.

Pre-tax profit fell to $1.2 billion in the third quarter of 2014 from $2.6 billion in the comparable quarter last year. Ford said in an earnings release Friday the pre-tax profit decline is due to lower volume, higher warranty costs and adverse balance sheet exchange effects.

Wholesale volumes were 3 down percent year-over-year in the quarter. Ford’s revenue slid 2 percent to $34.9 billion in the period.

The overall declines were expected, as Ford rolls out a slew of new global product launches, not the least of which includes the 2015 Ford F-150.

“During the third quarter, we continued to introduce an unprecedented number of new vehicles and invest heavily in the new products and technologies that will deliver strong profitable growth beginning next year,” Mark Fields, president and CEO, says in the earnings release. “We also addressed business challenges head-on using our proven One Ford plan. Everyone at Ford remains focused on accelerating our pace of progress, while delivering product excellence and innovation in every part of our business.”

Ford’s pre-tax profit outlook of $6 billion for the year remains unchanged.

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Ford, Carfax Expand Partnership in Certified Pre-Owned Sales

DETROIT — Ford Motor Company and Carfax have expanded their partnership in the Ford and Lincoln Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programs. Ford is continuing its commitment to provide Carfax Vehicle History Reports for free to buyers and sellers of certified Ford and Lincoln vehicles. In addition, all Ford and Lincoln CPO cars will now be listed on Carfax Used Car Listings.

Sales of certified Fords and Lincolns have surged more than 50% since the start of the relationship between Ford and Carfax, officials noted.

“We work hard to exceed the needs of our partners who make Carfax such an integral part of their programs and operations,” said Joe Koenig, vice president of Carfax. “Our relationship with Ford goes well beyond providing vehicle history. It’s about giving dealers the tools they need to help manage inventory risk, build consumer confidence, drive more customer traffic and increase revenue. Seeing the Ford and Lincoln CPO programs thrive also is further proof that Carfax helps dealers sell more cars faster. This partnership is clearly successful and we’re excited to continue building on that success.”

At the all-new Carfax.com, car shoppers will find Ford and Lincoln certified cars for sale that all come with a free Carfax report. Every certified Ford and Lincoln vehicle must have a Carfax report run by the dealer that qualifies for the Carfax Buyback Guarantee.

Including Ford and Lincoln, 38 manufacturer brand CPO programs currently use Carfax Reports to build more consumer confidence in their certified used cars.Thousands of Ford and Lincoln dealers have joined the Carfax Service Network. Participating dealers get free advertising on Carfax Reports and in the myCarfax app to help ensure more Ford and Lincoln cars are serviced by expert technicians, officials added.

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U.S. Regulators Probe Steering in Estimated 938,000 Ford Vehicles

U.S. safety regulators have opened a probe of an estimated 938,000 Ford Motor Co mid-sized sedans due to complaints about steering issues, reported Reuters.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated what is called a preliminary evaluation into certain models of the Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ and MKZ Hybrid and Mercury Milan from model years 2010 to 2012, according to a document on the safety agency’s website.

A Ford spokeswoman said on Monday that the No. 2 U.S. automaker is cooperating in the probe.

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a manufacturer needs to address a safety issue.

The NHTSA said it has identified 508 complaints alleging loss of steering power and increased steering effort in the models equipped with rack mounted electric power assisted steering. Four of the complaints allege the steering-assist failure resulted in increased steering effort that contributed to a loss of vehicle control and a crash, but no injuries were listed.

In addition, the NHTSA said it has identified related information in Early Warning Reporting field report data submitted by Ford.

Many of the complaints indicated observing a power steering warning message as the failure occurred and in some cases the condition was corrected by restarting the vehicle, according to the NHTSA. However, many reports said the condition returned again after restart.

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