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First look at all-new Mercedes E-Class

Autoblog - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 00:00

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The folks at Mercedes-Benz are hard at work on a new generation of the E-Class, following big updates to the S-Class and C-Class in recent years. After seeing latest model in development wearing mostly C-Class body panels, we're getting our first real look at the styling of the sedan during European testing. Unfortunately, it's very well camouflaged from stem to stern, and the obfuscation makes picking out the new details rather difficult. There are a few tweaks to spot, though.

The most obvious change appears to be at the nose where the E-Class wears the blunter front end seen on cars in the current Mercedes range. The upcoming sedan also reportedly uses a longer and wider version of the modular platform underpinning the latest C-Class. The new chassis should help the model shed some pounds because of its extensive use of aluminum, as is the trend in the automotive world these days.

There is a bit of a wait before the latest sedan is slated to be ready. The new E-Class is rumored to launch in 2016 and possibly include Mercedes' alleged upcoming inline-six engine in the powertrain lineup. A plug-in hybrid model is also a possibility, according to our spies. The coupe, convertible and wagon variants are expected to move forward to the next gen eventually, but Mercedes isn't saying anything about them yet. Of course, an AMG version is almost certain, as well.

First look at all-new Mercedes E-Class originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Land Rover mulling Evoque diesel for US

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 23:29

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Jaguar Land Rover offers nearly all its models (save for the F-Type and outgoing XK) with diesel engines... it just doesn't offer any of them in the United States. But that's about to change, and that change is tipped to start with the Range Rover Evoque.

Speaking with JLR North America marketing veep Kim McCullough at the Paris Motor Show, AutoGuide reports that the British automaker is seriously considering the prospect of offering a diesel version of the Evoque in America. The model is offered overseas with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel four, but a different engine - like one of the Ingenium diesels developed for the Jaguar XE - would likely be employed for the North American market since that one wouldn't meet emissions regulations.

The door, it seems, is being opened by the very German rivals that JLR is going after. With Audi, BMW and Mercedes all offering diesel sedans and SUVs in the US, the market is opening up for high-end oil-burners. If the diesel Evoque proves successful, this could certainly pave the way for more like-powered JLR products in the US, as well. Here's hoping.

Land Rover mulling Evoque diesel for US originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Acura TLX's early sales results look promising

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 23:01

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Acura made a bold move earlier this year when it decided to axe two fairly popular models in the TL and TSX and replaced them with a single sedan: the TLX. After all, how often have you seen modern automakers consolidating vehicles in the lineup? But early indications have shown that the gamble might have paid off, at least so far, because the TLX has been outselling its predecessors for its first months on sale.

Acura has only released TLX sales numbers so far for August and September, but the results have been promising. In August, the company moved 2,286 of the new sedans, beating last year's figures for the same month from both the TL at 2,227 sold and the TSX at 1,755. Then in September, the newcomer did even better with 3,884 units leaving dealers to surpass the two previous vehicles combined from their 2013 monthly stats.

According to The Truth About Cars, the TLX's September numbers were even more impressive when looking even deeper into Acura sales history. It claims that you would have to go back to March 2011 when the TL sold 3,995 units to have seen it beat the new TLX. And the TSX hasn't surpassed the latest model's figure since December 2010.

When comparing to other members of the premium sedan segment, however, the news isn't so rosy. The TLX was miles away from taking on the BMW 3 and 4 Series as the undisputed market leader in September with a combined 12,814 sales. However, according to The Truth About Cars, the Acura did beat other recently updated models for the month like the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class, Lexus IS and Cadillac CTS.

Just two months of successful sales data, makes it hard to certify the TLX as a success yet, but the strong performance out of the gate might be a good sign.

Acura TLX's early sales results look promising originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jaguar XE SVR to challenge M3, C63 with supercharged V8 power

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:32


Jaguar has a healthy powertrain range lined up for its new XE, including an array of four-cylinder engines and a supercharged 3.0-liter six that will, for now, serve as the range-topping offering in the XE S. But Car and Driver claims to have it on good authority that an even more powerful eight-cylinder version is in the works, as well.

According to C/D, the XE's engine bay has been designed to accommodate the company's ubiquitous 5.0-liter V8 engine, which in the larger XF is offered in several states of tune, including the XF Supercharged with 470 horsepower, the XFR with 510 hp and the flagship XFR-S with 550 hp.

Just which version (or versions) would be offered in the XE remains to be seen, but even in its lowest-spec supercharged form, the 470-hp version would already be enough to challenge the 425-hp BMW M3 and the base 469-hp version of the new Mercedes-AMG C63. If Jaguar wants to take on the C63 S, however, it will need to shoehorn in one of the more powerful versions.

In the end, Coventry's new Special Vehicle Operations division may opt to offer two versions, like it does with the XFR and XFR-S. Expect the top version, however much muscle it packs, to wear the British automaker's new SVR badge. It just may take a few years before it does so.

Jaguar XE SVR to challenge M3, C63 with supercharged V8 power originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chris Harris taking his show off Drive, onto his own free channel [w/videos]

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 22:01

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If you're a fan of online videos about cars - and we suspect that if you're visiting a site like ours, you are - you must have been excited when the Drive channel launched on YouTube now nearly three years ago. Maybe you were even happy for the team behind it when they inked a deal with NBCUniversal to produce a show for the NBC Sports Network, too. Probably less so when the producers announced they could no longer afford to air the shows for free on YouTube. But we have some good news as one of its more popular segments is spinning off, and it will, once again, be free to watch online.

That segment, of course, is Chris Harris on Cars, the show starring one of Britain's most recognized automotive journalists. Known affectionately as Monkey, he's written for Autocar, Evo and Pistonheads.com, but reached most of us through Drive. And in his latest development, Harris has announced that he's taking his show onto its own dedicated YouTube channel. The first new free-to-air webisode is set to debut on November 12, so watch this space. In the meantime, we've included a playlist of Monkey's segments on Drive below for your enjoyment, so enjoy.

Continue reading Chris Harris taking his show off Drive, onto his own free channel [w/videos]

Chris Harris taking his show off Drive, onto his own free channel [w/videos] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 17:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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2015 Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon airbag problem causes recall

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:29

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The recall affects 2,432 vehicles, though only 138 had actually reached consumers.

General Motors quickly fixed an airbag-wiring problem with the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, but is still conducting a small recall to repair the midsize trucks that are launching this fall.

The recall affects 2,432 vehicles, though only 138 had actually reached consumers. The rest were still at the factory in Wentzville, MO, on lots at dealerships or en route to dealers. Customers with the trucks were called or sent FedEx letters, and the fix can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

A GM spokesman said about 19 percent of the trucks have been repaired.

The company issued a stop-delivery order earlier this month to fix this issue. GM found that the trucks' airbag connectors were wired improperly during the manufacturing process, which caused the system to deploy incorrectly. GM sent a software fix to dealers and the plant, and the stop-delivery order was lifted October 3rd, after less than two days.

At the time of the stop-delivery notice, there were no crashes or injures.

While most of the vehicles are in the United States, 149 trucks shipped to Canada are also included in the repairs, though none of those were sold to customers.

The recall comes as GM re-enters the midsize truck segment with the Colorado and Canyon. The automaker is aiming to to capture new buyers and fortify its CAFE standing with the pickups, which are smaller and narrower than then the fullsize Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

2015 Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon airbag problem causes recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Next-gen BMW 7-Series to debut with modular inline-six?

Leftlane - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:10
Platform to eventually get four-cylinder engine paired with electric motor, sources claim.






Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10 [UPDATE]

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 21:00

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The 2015 Mazda2 is quite high up on our must-drive list. Yes, the teeny, tiny successor to the 100-horsepower five-door is worth getting excited over, largely because the previous generation was one of the absolute best smiles-per-dollar values on the market.

While we eagerly await for our opportunity to take to the 2's helm, our expectations of the new car have just been heightened thanks to its win in Japan's Car of the Year competition. Called "Demio" in the land of the rising sun, Japanese journalists handed out Mazda's second COTY award since the CX-5 took the title in 2012.

In more surprising news, the new Jeep Cherokee has made the list of 10 Best Cars in Japan. The Jeep's triumph marks the first time an American car has cracked the top ten, finishing eighth. It's not, however, the first Fiat Chrysler vehicle to snag the title, following in the footsteps of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and Fiat Panda. Still, the fact that an American brand can make such impressive inroads into the traditionally tough-to-crack Japanese market is a seriously big deal.

Take a look below for the official press releases from Mazda and Jeep.

UPDATE: The original, Google-translated Jeep press release has been replaced with an official English translation.

Continue reading Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10 [UPDATE]

Mazda2 nets Japan Car of the Year, Cherokee first US model to ever crack top 10 [UPDATE] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Acura recalling 43k MDX and RLX models over seatbelt issue

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 20:32

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If you've ever lived in a wintery climate, you may have noticed something strange: no, not the perilously enticing sparkle of cold metal in the sunlight or the way your warm breath suddenly becomes visible in the frigid air, but the way your seatbelt seems increasingly reluctant to retract as the temperature drops. Acura, however, has found the problem more serious than a minor inconvenience, and is recalling some 43,000 vehicles across the United States to address the issue.

The recall in question affects about 7,000 RLX sedans (from the 2014 model year) and another 36,000 MDX crossovers (covering the 2014 and 2015 model years) to have their front seatbelts replaced. In the affected vehicles and in very low temperatures, Acura has found that "the driver's and front passenger's seatbelts may not release from the retracted position." Needless to say, seatbelts that can't be used don't offer any protection in the event of an accident, so the Japanese automaker is notifying owners and dealers to hook up to have those seatbelts replaced.

Continue reading Acura recalling 43k MDX and RLX models over seatbelt issue

Acura recalling 43k MDX and RLX models over seatbelt issue originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche Macan fails moose test, Stuttgart responds

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 19:59

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Different countries have different safety standards, but most of them revolve around a similar set of tests: front impact, side impact, offset impact, rollover... the usual. But Sweden has its own test. It's called the Moose Test (or the Elk Test), and it's unique to Scandinavia: a car has to be able to avoid a theoretical antlered mammal on the road while traveling at 43.5 miles per hour and return to its previous course without flipping over. The Jeep Grand Cherokee ran afoul of the uniquely Nordic maneuver a couple of years ago, but even more surprising is the way the Porsche Macan has reacted.

Under testing by Sweden's Teknikens Värld, Porsche's downsized crossover - specifically the Macan S Diesel, for what it's worth - didn't flip over, but it skidded off course. In real-world conditions, it follows, the vehicle could run off the road or into oncoming traffic. The testers ran the test several times, and even removed excess weight from the vehicle, and each time it reacted the same way.

In response, Porsche has explained that the behavior is the result of its Active Rollover Protection system kicking in. When the system detects that the vehicle could drastically oversteer, flip over or lose its tire, it momentarily applies the brake on the front outside wheel, allowing the vehicle to shed the cornering forces without losing it completely.

The bottom line, though, is that the chassis clearly wouldn't be able to handle the situation without the electronic intervention, which may not be that surprising for a top-heavy crossover, but we'd have expected better of a company like Porsche.

Continue reading Porsche Macan fails moose test, Stuttgart responds

Porsche Macan fails moose test, Stuttgart responds originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Audi details autonomous RS 7

Leftlane - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 19:58
System uses corrected GPS data, 3D cameras to carve Hockenheim corners at 1.1 g without a driver.






Does Warren Buffett's dealership acquisition foreshadow Chinese car sales in US?

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 19:15

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The US auto dealer industry recently saw a huge shakeup when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway investment company bought Van Tuyl Group, the country's largest privately owned network of showrooms, for an undisclosed sum. Assuming the deal's regulatory success, it immediately made Buffet one of the nation's largest car retailers. But could the acquisition have come as part of a larger plan to launch a Chinese automaker in the US?

According to Ward's Auto, Berkshire Hathaway could be opening the way to sell vehicles from Chinese automaker BYD in the US, which the investor already owns a stake in. Such an arrangement might conceivably give BYD a leg up in the market because it would have a ready made dealer network to use. Although, according to Ward's Auto, such an arrangement could violate state franchise laws. However, Tesla is showing that they might not be the biggest obstacles if there's a will to fight in court.

This is hardly the first rumor of a Chinese automaker possibly coming to the US. Despite the steady drip of speculation about Geely or Great Wall launching here, so far, none of them are making it happen. BYD might be different, though. In addition to Berkshire Hathaway's backing, it's rumored to want to break into the American passenger car business, possibly in 2015. The automaker already operates a factory building electric buses in California, which gives it a small toehold in the market.

Van Tuyl is already ranked as the fifth largest dealer network in the country, according to Berkshire Hathaway, and Buffet is fairly clear that its 78 stores in 10 states is likely just the beginning of his expansion into the car selling business. It might be a good platform to get BYD onto the US market.

Does Warren Buffett's dealership acquisition foreshadow Chinese car sales in US? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FIA World Endurance Championship headed for Nürburgring

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 18:28

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Endurance sports car racing always always centered around the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but that's not the only event on the calendar. For the past few years, the FIA and the ACO (the French racing body behind the race at Le Mans) have come together for the World Endurance Championship, the only series that features the top-tier LMP1 prototypes from Audi, Porsche and Toyota. Now the ACO has revealed the full calendar for next season, and it includes a rather enticing new addition.

For the first time since its founding in 2012, the FIA World Endurance Championship will race at the Nürburgring. The new event, called the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, is scheduled to take place on August 30, 2015, taking the slot on the calendar usually reserved for the 6 Hours of São Paulo in Brazil, whose track is being refurbished and won't be ready in time for next year's race.

Although details of the race remain scarce, the competition is more likely to take place on the three-mile grand prix circuit (which alternates with Hockenheim to host the German Grand Prix) and not on the famous 13-mile Nordschleife (where the World Touring Car Championship will compete next season). The event is unlikely to replace the Nürburgring 24 Hours race, it could end up replacing the 1,000-km Nürburgring race that's currently part of the GT-focused Blancpain Endurance Series. We reached out to both the series organizers and track officials for more information, but no additional details have yet been released.

The 2015 calendar will start with a prologue event at Paul Ricard in France before heading to Silverstone, Spa, Le Mans and the Nürburgring. The 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas will be the only event in the western hemisphere, to be held once again in conjunction with the United SportsCar Championship, before the series heads to Asia for the races at Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain. Organizers confirm that another event is under consideration for Montreal starting in 2017. The addition of the Nürburgring round, however, is big news for both Audi and Porsche, which have been keen to race on home turf.

FIA World Endurance Championship headed for Nürburgring originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 13:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Porsche confirms diesel-powered Macan for US market

Leftlane - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 18:25
V6 oil burner promises approximately 245 horsepower.






Take our tightly cropped car pic challenge

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 17:45

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Need something stimulating to help you get through your Tuesday? Try out our Tightly Cropped Car Pic Challenge.

It's simple: we'll show you ten close-up pictures of vehicles (they're all recent, but can come from a variety of segments and markets) and you try to guess the make and model based on the small visual hint provided. Don't get cocky, though. Since we're well aware that the Autoblog readership is the best and most knowledgeable around, we've made sure this quiz is no cakewalk. The crops on the first seven cars are pretty generous, but they get tighter and more puzzling (we think) for the final three.

Head on through to tackle the challenge. Each image is linked to the full 'answer' pic, so you can click through after you've finished, or if you're just stumped. Feel free to share your results in Comments below, but just remember: even if we don't know if you cheated and peeked, you'll always know.

Continue reading Take our tightly cropped car pic challenge

Take our tightly cropped car pic challenge originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BMW M2 to debut in Detroit?

Leftlane - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 17:14
Exec hints at manual-only to prevent cannibalization of M3/M4 sales.






2015 Ford Focus

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 16:57

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Sitting down at the pre-drive briefing with Ford engineers ahead of sampling the refreshed 2015 Focus, water bottles clinked as we wet our whistles before Q&A. While pouring a glass, we noticed something stamped on the bottle label: "1L." One liter. We were palming the exact displacement of the EcoBoost engine our group was about to drive. This was undoubtedly coincidence (such bottles litter every conference and dinner table in Europe) but it served to drive home just how small the total swept volume of Ford's wunderkind powerplant really is. It's tiny.

Of course, this isn't our first run-in with the little triple - we've sampled its turbocharged charms before in Ford's smaller Fiesta. At that time, we found it had plenty of poke for the subcompact, but the larger C-segment Focus carries around another 450 pounds or so and pushes a wider profile through the air. Would the three-cylinder have the stuffing to make the most of the Focus' athletic chassis, or would it be a letdown? Would it be the same as it was when we tested it in a Euro-spec Focus a couple of years ago? There was nothing left for it but to head out on the bucolic roads surrounding Versailles the day after the Paris Motor Show and find out for ourselves.

Continue reading 2015 Ford Focus

2015 Ford Focus originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mercedes S-Coupe configurator running, $119,900* base price

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 16:31

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If you feel like spending the price of a house (most places) on a very fast and comfortable German luxury sedan, then you're in luck. The configurator for the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupe is ready and waiting, and it's not cheap to buy this much opulence.

The standard S550 4Matic Coupe rings up for $119,900 (* plus an additional $925 destination fee on all of them) and gets buyers a 4.7-liter twin-turbo V8 rated at 449 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. If that's not deemed to be enough, then the S63 AMG 4Matic is $160,900 with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 pumping out 577 hp and 664 lb-ft of twist. While not currently listed on the configurator, Autoblog editor Jeremy Korzeniewski is on hand at the model's official launch, and tells us that the S65 AMG Coupe with its 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12, good for 621 hp and 738 lb-ft, starts at $230,900 for customers who think that other two are a bit underwhelming.

As with many Mercedes, the options list for these coupes is huge, including pricey add-ons like carbon ceramic brakes for the S63 AMG for $8,950. The S550 goes get a few bundles, as well: the Sport Package for $5,900 adds a body kit and different wheels; the $3,500 Premium Package includes a HUD and massaging seats, and there's the Warmth and Comfort Package for $1,990 that adds heaters to the rear seats, armrests, door panels and steering wheel. Both models are offered with a Driver Assistance Package with safety systems like cross-traffic assist, blind spot assist and lane keeping assist for $2,800.

We expect to have more info about these new Mercs soon. Until then, head over to the configurator, and see how expensive you can make one of these Autobahn cruisers.

Mercedes S-Coupe configurator running, $119,900* base price originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VW Touareg sets record time from Norway to tip of South Africa

Leftlane - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 16:18
Trip takes 21 days, including 13 days spent repairing crash damage.






Ford adds 850 jobs to build 2015 F-150

Autoblog - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 16:01

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Pickup trucks tend not to advance at quite the same pace as the rest of the industry. That's what makes the new Ford F-150 so remarkable, jettisoning its old steel construction in favor of aluminum. It's a game changer that Ford is betting big on, and in anticipation of surging demand, the Blue Oval automaker is adding 850 new jobs to put the thing together.

Those 850 new employees will be centered at Ford's Rouge complex in Michigan - with 300 at Dearborn Stamping, 50 more at Dearborn Diversified and 500 at the Dearborn Truck facility, the latter of which has already kicked off what Ford describes as "the largest manufacturing transformation in decades." Old manufacturing equipment is being replaced with the latest technologies, and even the Ford Rouge Factory Tour is undergoing a complete overhaul.

The new jobs come as part of the commitments Ford made to the UAW in 2011 to create 12,000 hourly jobs in the United States by 2015 - a number which Ford has already exceeded at 14,000. Over 4,000 of those are centered in southeastern Michigan.

Continue reading Ford adds 850 jobs to build 2015 F-150

Ford adds 850 jobs to build 2015 F-150 originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 14 Oct 2014 11:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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