Drive Type: -
Model: Model A
Sun City, California, United States
'Tis the season... for road salt. And with that, comes rust. And what does rust bring? Well, for Ford and General Motors, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigation. According to The Detroit News, NHTSA is looking into potential recalls issues with Chevrolet Express vans and Ford Freestar minivans.
The feds have received five complaints that rust has caused leaking fuel filler pipes on 2003 Express vans. Separately, seven complaints have been filed over excessive rust in the rear wheel wells of 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans. The Freestar and Monterey went out of production in 2007. Neither issue has resulted in any crashes or injuries, according to the report.
There is a showdown brewing in the medium-duty truck segment next year as Ford prepares to launch its all-new, in-house engineered 2016 F-650 and F-750. It finally marks the end of the Blue Diamond joint venture between Ford and Navistar and, making the two entities direct competitors instead of partners.
Ford announced the end of the joint venture in an investor report in 2011, but it didn't reveal the new F-650 and F-750 until the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, IN, in March. Unlike the current, Mexican-built models, the new generation will be built in Avon Lake, OH, starting in mid-2015.
The challenge from Ford comes during a rough patch for Navistar. The company had a $248 million loss in the first quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal, and its medium-duty truck market share is currently down to 26 percent, from 36 percent in 2011. Building the previous-generation Fords brought in about $400 million a year to Navistar, according to the WSJ. To take on its former partner, Navistar plans to offer its International brand of medium-duty vehicles with more engine and transmission options to customers. It even struck a deal with Cummins to put its diesels in some of the models.
The current Ford Explorer is sold in more than 64 countries, and this three-row vehicle continues to grow in popularity worldwide. To keep up with demand, Ford began producing the Explorer at Ford Sollers Elabuga Assembly Plant in Tatarstan, Russia, a joint venture facility. This partnership will build Russian-market Explorers only, and production of export vehicles not destined for Russian buyers will continue to be built at Ford's assembly plant in Chicago.
Before this plant went online, Ford would ship Explorers to Russia (and other regions around the world) as partially assembled knock-down units where final assembly would eventually take place. While there is no indication as to how many Explorers Ford Sollers will build for Russia, Ford did add that exports of the SUV were up 65 percent last year (from 2011) accounting for more than 24,000 units.
Scroll down for a press release about the Russian Explorer as well as a video (bad music and all) showing the SUV being produced in Tatarstan.