Apple has lost the executive in charge of its below-the-radar car project to Ford, dealing a further blow to the iPhone maker’s automotive ambitions.
Doug Field, Apple’s vice-president of special projects, had also worked on Tesla’s Model 3 vehicle under Elon Musk. Field, who rejoined Apple in 2018 after a previous stint at the business, is the fourth senior member of the company’s car team to leave since February.
He will become Ford’s chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer with immediate effect, a critical post as the auto industry moves to adopt vehicles powered by electricity and guided by computers. This year Ford signed a six-year deal with Google that includes using Android software in the Michigan carmaker’s vehicles.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Ford as it embraces a transition to a new, complex and fascinating period in the auto industry,” Field said. “It will be a privilege to help Ford deliver a new generation of experiences built on the shift to electrification, software and digital experiences, and autonomy.”
Field will also oversee the integration of Ford products with other pieces of technology, such as a smartphone or watch.
Apple has been working on its own car project – known as Project Titan – since 2014 but few details have emerged of the venture, with executive appointments and departures largely used as a proxy for its progress. However, in 2015 the Guardian revealed that Apple was working on a self-driving vehicle and was scouting secure locations in the San Francisco Bay Area for testing.
Responding to Field’s departure, Apple said: “We’re grateful for the contributions Doug has made to Apple and we wish him all the best in this next chapter.”
The latest upheaval at Apple’s car project comes as the firm based in Cupertino, California, prepares to unveil its latest iPhone and Apple Watch on Tuesday 14 September at 10am Pacific time, or 6pm in the UK.
According to the website MacRumors, the iPhone 13 lineup will bear similarities to its immediate predecessor, with four phones in sizes that include 5.4in, 6.1in, and 6.7in. Two phones will be at the higher-end “pro” range, with the other two at a lower, comparatively more affordable price range. The most notable improvements in the iPhone 13 are expected to be the camera lens and battery capacity.
Those plans include a combination of new and redesigned electric, gasoline and hybrid models slated for production through the middle of the decade.
Along with the Explorer EV, Ford will offer an electric Lincoln Aviator, also in 2023. Both vehicles will be distinct from the standard versions and be built in Mexico.
The company’s large SUVs, the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator, will get hybrid variants within a few years as part of expected redesigns. Hybrid powertrains are also expected on popular models including the Ranger, Mustang and Ford’s Bronco family of utilities.
The Explorer and Aviator will sit on a new rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive EV platform, one of two new dedicated EV architectures Ford announced in May. The other is for full-size pickups.
After the middle part of the decade, Ford could add battery-powered versions of its Bronco SUV or Ranger midsize pickup — two possibilities it hinted at in May and which would align with its focus on electrifying strong-selling, established vehicles.
“The primary advantage we have right now is the strength of our product portfolio,” Farley said last month on an earnings call. “And it’s about to get a lot stronger.”
GT: The half-million-dollar supercar will take one last victory lap before production ends sometime next year. As Ford and supplier Multimatic wrap up the 1,350 GTs promised to a select group of customers, expect a few final special editions, such as the Heritage Edition introduced this month.
EcoSport: Ford’s entry-level vehicle will be upstaged this year by the Maverick compact pickup, which will have a starting price of $21,490, including shipping, making it $150 less expensive than the base EcoSport. How that will affect Ford’s subcompact crossover, which hasn’t caught on in the U.S. as in other parts of the world, remains to be seen. For now, Ford plans a next-generation EcoSport out of India that would debut in the U.S. in 2024.
Mustang Mach-E: The new electric crossover is quickly becoming a key pillar in Ford’s lineup. The company has sold 15,829 in the U.S. this year through July and says that 70 percent of buyers are from outside the Ford brand. It’s helping establish Ford as a legitimate player in the electric vehicle space while taking precious market share from Tesla. GT and GT Performance Edition variants just launched, starting at $61,000 and $66,000, with shipping. Ford said the Mach-E GT delivers 480 hp and 600 pound-feet of torque with an estimated 0-to-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds. The GT Performance Edition is even more powerful, boasting 634 pound-feet of torque and a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds. Ford plans to move the Mach-E to its Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario in 2026, when it will be redesigned on a new platform.
Escape: After a delay following battery fires in Europe, Ford finally launched the Escape plug-in hybrid this year. That could help slow the slide in overall Escape sales, which have fallen 9.5 percent in the U.S. this year through July amid the global chip shortage. The compact crossover is due for a freshening late next year and could be redesigned in late 2025.
Bronco Sport: The Bronco’s smaller sibling is performing well in showrooms. It’s helping to build the budding Bronco subbrand as well as allowing Ford to claw back some market share in the all-important small utility segment. Through July, Ford has sold nearly 63,000 Bronco Sports in the U.S. this year. A hybrid is expected to debut in 2024.
Edge: Ford will kill the Edge at the end of its current life cycle, in 2023, when it will convert the Oakville plant, where the midsize crossover is built, into an EV facility. Ford has stressed that it wants to focus on iconic products that evoke customers’ passion. With the popularity of the Bronco Sport and Escape, which is still one of Ford’s highest-volume products despite its sales drop, keeping a third two-row utility in the lineup made less and less sense.
Explorer: It’s safe to say the Explorer has recovered from its bungled launch. U.S. sales are up 10 percent this year through July, despite the chip crisis pinching production.
The Puma went on sale in 2019, giving Ford a more premium entrant in the fast-growing small SUV segment alongside the budget EcoSport. Last year, the Puma was Ford of Europe’s third best-seller after the Focus and Fiesta.
Strong sales of the Puma this year pushed it ahead of the Dacia Duster and Hyundai Kona to give it fourth place in Europe’s small SUV segment behind the Peugeot 2008, Renault Captur and Volkswagen T-Cross.
Sales of the Ford Focus fell 40 percent in the first six months, while Fiesta sales were down 9.4 percent according to data from JATO Dynamics market researchers.
The drop in sales for the two cars is even more dramatic because most models saw volume rebound in the first half compared with the same period in 2020 when many dealerships were forced to close across Europe as governments introduced measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like other automakers, Ford’s production has been hit by the global shortage of automotive semiconductors, which has affected all its European plants, including Craiova in Romania, where the Puma is built. From April 26 to May, the Craiova factory operated with two shifts instead of three, and had six days of no production on April 28 and between May 10-14, according to the company.
Ford said the Puma has not been given priority for semiconductors for any other reason other than higher demand.
“Prioritization is given to customer orders and CO2 compliance vehicles across the range,” a company spokesman said.
Automakers in Europe prioritize low-emissions vehicles to avoid being fined by the European Union for missing mandated CO2 reduction targets.
The Puma does not qualify as a compliance vehicle due to the lack of a plug-in hybrid variant. The car is offered with mild-hybrid technology.
The SUV allows Ford to sell a small model with a much higher sticker price than the Fiesta. The Puma starts at 22,045 pounds ($30,600) in the UK, Ford’s biggest European market, while the Fiesta starts at 16,645 pounds.
Apparently that new car smell just isn’t the same for some electric car customers.
Ford has developed a gasoline-scented fragrance for EV owners to help them make the transition to battery-power.
The Mach-Eau GT was unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, where Ford is showing off its electric Mustang Mach-E. Company CEO Jim Farley even took a racing version of the car for a run up the venue’s hill climb course.
Ford conducted a survey asking people what they’d miss about internal combustion engine vehicles and 70% said gasoline, Autoevolution reported.
“Judging by our survey findings, the sensory appeal of petrol cars is still something drivers are reluctant to give up. The Mach Eau fragrance is designed to give them a hint of that fuel-fragrance they still crave. It should linger long enough for the GT’s performance to make any other doubts vaporize too,” Ford spokesman Jay Ward said.
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The concoction doesn’t actually contain any petroleum, but “is designed to please the nose of any wearer; a high-end fragrance that fuses smoky accords, aspects of rubber and even an ‘animal’ element to give a nod to the Mustang heritage,” according to Ward.
Unfortunately for gas guzzlers, it’s also not for sale, but was created purely as a promotion. (Well, that … stinks.)
The Mach-E does have a feature that tries to help with the transition from muscle cars to silent electric power, however. The car is equipped with a system that plays a digitally-created audio track inspired by the rumble and exhaust of an internal combustion engine powertrain that has a loud setting labeled “Unbridled,” but can also be turned off.
The Mustang has held the top spot since it took it from the Camaro in 2015, but the Challenger has momentum going into the second half of the year as its sales are up 37% in 2021 while the Mustang’s are down 5.4%.
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That is if you don’t count the electric Mustang Mach-E (note: you shouldn’t), which racked up 12,975 deliveries through June. In fact, it outsold the Mustang for the first time last month 2,465 to 2,240.
CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — Stuckey Automotive has acquired Joel Confer Ford of Bellefonte, according to an announcement by President Matt Stuckey Wednesday.
Joel Confer Ford of Bellefonte will be known as Stuckey Ford of Bellefonte as of July 1 and will open July 8. The business was owned and operated by the Confer family since 2004. This will mark the fifth dealership under Stuckey Automotive, including two locations in Hollidaysburg, one in Altoona and one in State College.
According to Stuckey Automotive, the agreement came to be after the businessmen were introduced by a mutual colleague and friend.
“This introduction is one for which I’ll always be grateful,” Matt Stuckey said. “We were gifted an opportunity to grow our brand in Centre County. It’s humbling when a man like Joel trusts that you’ll care for his business and customers as you would your own. We should all be so lucky to meet a Joel Confer in life.”
The Confer family will still operate their Toyota and BMW locations in State College. All employees at Joel Confer of Bellefonte have been recruited to join the Stuckey organization, according to the announcement.
“I have to applaud Matt and his team,” Joel Confer said. “As exciting as it is to watch their company grow, it appeases me even more to know they’ll do right by our employees and our community. I just can’t wait to see what they’ll do next – and where!”
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WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. & DEARBORN, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Origin Materials (“Origin Materials” or “Origin”), the world’s leading carbon negative materials company, today announced the launch of its Net Zero Automotive Program with Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F).
Origin’s Net Zero Automotive Program is a sustainable automotive supply chain initiative focused on industrializing new materials to drive decarbonization in the automotive industry. Origin believes the newly developed and industrialized materials, derived from sustainable wood residues, will be in high demand from the automotive industry as it undertakes a massive global effort to decarbonize its supply chains in search of the “zero carbon” car.1 The program will aim to provide the automotive industry with drop-in ready materials solutions to enable this transition.
To launch the program, Origin Materials and Ford will pursue drop-in applications for carbon negative PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) produced from sustainable wood residues with Origin technology. PET plastic helps make cars lighter, more fuel efficient, and often comprise a large percentage of a vehicle’s mass. The use of carbon-negative PET is expected to further reduce emissions and the need for fossil resources. In addition, the companies will collaborate to develop sustainable pigments and fillers for automotive applications for SUVs, trucks, electric vehicles, and more. The products will be developed using carbon negative materials produced with the Origin Materials technology platform, with applications throughout the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including bumpers, paint pigment, door panels, tire filler, underbonnet foam sheet, black plastic, head rests, seat cushions, and arm rests.
“Origin’s Net Zero Automotive Program is an exciting initiative that we expect to drive innovation, sustainability and decarbonization throughout the automotive supply chain,” said Rich Riley, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Origin Materials. “Ford is the perfect partner to launch the program with and we look forward to working with their teams to bring new sustainable products to market that will play a key role in helping them achieve their decarbonization and sustainability goals.”
“Ford’s path to carbon neutrality evaluates every part of our operations, including the emissions associated with synthesizing the vast amount of materials we use within our vehicles,” said Debbie Mielewski, Technical Fellow at the Ford Motor Company. “The ability to utilize carbon negative materials will be a monumental driver in helping achieve our sustainability goals and supports a more proactive vision for the entire industry.”
Origin Materials’ patented technology platform, which turns inexpensive, plentiful, and sustainable wood residues into carbon-negative materials, can help to revolutionize the production of a wide range of end products, including clothing, textiles, plastics, packaging, car parts, tires, carpeting, toys, and more with a ~$1 trillion addressable market.
In addition, Origin Materials’ technology platform is expected to provide stable pricing largely decoupled from the petroleum supply chain, which is exposed to more volatility than supply chains based on sustainable wood residues.
About Origin Materials
Headquartered in West Sacramento, Origin Materials is the world’s leading carbon negative materials company. Origin Materials’ mission is to enable the world’s transition to sustainable materials.
Ford and its luxury brand Lincoln have canceled an all-electric SUV that was going to be powered by technology provided by EV startup Rivian, the companies told Automotive News on Tuesday. The Verge reports: Lincoln says it is still working closely with Rivian, including an “alternative vehicle” that will also be based on Rivian’s electric vehicle skateboard platform. “Given the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform. Our strategic commitment to Lincoln, Rivian and electrification remains unchanged and Lincoln’s future plans will include an all-electric vehicle,” a spokesperson from Lincoln told The Verge in a statement.
Lincoln declined to say what specifically about the pandemic led to the cancellation. “This was a decision that was mutually made by Lincoln and Rivian given the rapidly changing environment and after a review of product plans,” the spokesperson said. “As we moved through the development cycle, we determined that it would be better to pivot from the Rivian’s skateboard platform and focus our development efforts on Lincoln’s own fully-electric vehicle.” This is a pretty big blow, considering Ford invested $500 million in Rivian last year, just two months after Amazon led a $700 million investment in the Michigan-based startup.
CNBC reports that Ford “lost $632 million during the first quarter and warned investors that it expects an adjusted pretax loss of $5 billion during the second quarter as the company grapples with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic that’s shuttered factories and devastated sales.”
Ford Motor (F) – Get Report reported a sales decline of 12.5% for the first quarter.
The company sold 516,330 vehicles in the quarter, led by 263,757 trucks and 189,720 SUVs. Truck sales dropped 5.4% and SUVs declined 11%.
Sedans, of which Ford has been gradually ceasing production for two years, fell 36% to 62,853 vehicles.
The coronavirus pandemic hit the company’s sales in March, the company said.
“Our dealers and employees have jumped into action to support healthcare workers, their communities and millions of our customers,” Vice President of U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service Mark LaNeve said in a statement.
The company “is working around the clock on everything from building health-care equipment, assisting our dealership network and providing our customers peace of mind through deferred vehicle payments.”
.Ford’s F-Series line of trucks began the year as the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. with 186,562 vehicles sold. That figure is down 13% from a year earlier, but Ford said the drop reflects the “timing of our fleet sales and weaker retail sales in March due to coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, the company’s Explorer SUV was the country’s bestselling midsize SUV with sales of 56,310 vehicles.
At last check Ford shares were trading 1% higher at $4.44.