Fields out Hackett in

We woke up to some surprising news this morning: Ford has booted Mark Fields. Although this isn’t official from Ford yet. Fields has always been a car guy; been with Ford for almost 30 years. You could see that a lot of the Ford news over the past year was likely due to him (Focus RS, new GT, etc.).

It is interesting to note near the end of that article:

Executive back-biting and corporate intrigue, enduring staples of an Old Ford that Bill Ford once likened to czarist Russia, re-emerged as the gulf between expectations and financial results widened. Speculation of who might be in, or out, generally failed to capture the sweeping changes Ford’s directors were determined to take from a position of relative strength, not the weakness of 2006.

And, amid expectations that the automaker is on track to book some $9 billion in profits this year, Ford announced plans to offer 1,400 buyouts to salaried employees in North America and Asia — euphemistically described in a company statement as “people efficiencies” — even as it confirmed retention bonuses for four executives.

Wow, didn’t realize it got that bad. That would explain the lack of “show” from Ford these past few years as we’ve only got announcements and nothing to show for them (Ranger and Bronco coming back, new 300 mile EV by 2020..all announcements without anything to show for them not even a hacked up rendering to show what they could look like).

Even more telling is who they put in charge: A relative outsider who was briefly in charge of autonomous cars. Clearly where the board thinks the future (and, more likely, now!) is headed.

A big news day for Ford, time will tell if its the right move. Will things move faster now? Perhaps he’ll try to pull ahead some of the electrified vehicles? (Maybe they’ll have that 300 mile SUV done by the time my lease is up?? One can only hope.)

 

 

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Fields out Hackett in

More colors!

With the 2015 model year Ford has added at least one new color for the FFE: Ruby Red. This is welcome news since prior model years only offered one “splashy” color along with the standard list of conservative colors (white, black, silver).

My own anecdotal observations show that this is much needed (e.g. non-scientific wild guess LOL). I see a lot of the current “splashy” color, Blue Candy (BC), around. At the moment I know of at least 6 FFE’s in Blue Candy on my side of town: In addition to mine and my coworkers I’ve seen on several occasions BC FFE’s driving around (granted all of the ones I’ve seen could all be the same one). These sightings are in addition to the several BC conventional Focuses I see a day (again these all could be the same cars, especially since I take the same route to/from work and thus are probably seeing the same drivers along their same route).

This is, of course, all unscientific and simply my observations since studies have shown, over and over again that the most popular car colors are the three conservative ones: black, white, silver. (For some data see here). At least its nice that Ford is giving the new FFE driver another choice in Red–I probably would have chose that Red had it been available at the time of my order.

 

More colors!

National Plug in Day

National Plugin Day

I paid a short visit to my local National Plug in Day event. I wasn’t disappointed as I really  had no expectations to what the event would entail. Considering that the event’s only exposure was the main website (and postings in all the EV forums about when where all the stuff going on was) there was about as many people as you’d expect.

I counted about 5 Volts, 1 Leaf, 2 Teslas (S85, and P60), 1 Prius plugin, 2 Rangers!, a Fusion Energi, and some misc golf carts. Of course and me and my Focus Electric–since I didn’t really sign up to be an exhibitor and I didn’t have the time to sit there all day I just parked my car in the adjoining lot and walked over.

The P60 was simply a gorgeous car!
P60P60 2
Even the jump seats in the back looked pretty fun.
P60 Jump seats

I spent a little time speaking with the owner of the Fusion Energi (The Fusion has to be the best looking car Ford makes…period).
Fusion and Volt
Not knowing me from Adam, he started discussing his reason for purchasing the Fusion and how he deals with the limited range, etc. I had to stop him and told him: “You don’t have to convince me; I pulled up in the Focus Electric”. “That was you? I thought I saw one drive by” he responded. The entire tone of the conversation changed at that point.
EV Ranger
Here we have one of two EV Ranger’s at the show. These are not conversions they are production vehicles. In the late 90s Ford produced some EV Rangers. I was surprised at how well maintained they were given their age (Most of the 90s Rangers I see on the road are pretty beat up).
Volts and a Leaf
Can’t help but think of Sesame Street here: “One of these is not like the others…” Can you tell which one is the Leaf?

All in all it wasn’t bad. I think to it would have helped if there was some signage around Washtenaw Community college pointing you to the “National Plug in Day” event though.

 

National Plug in Day