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Ford's 2014 Plan: New Engines, New Hires, New Technology

Ford's 2014 Plan: New Engines, New Hires, New Technology
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Ford (NYSE: F) has big plans for 2014. Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing, John Fleming, said, “This is the fastest and most aggressive manufacturing expansion the company has undergone in 50 years.”

Fleming then added, “The last time Ford was growing like this, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the U.S. president.”

Discounting the fact that 50 years ago was 1963 and John F. Kennedy, not Dwight Eisenhower, was President, the company’s planned addition of two manufacturing plants in Asia and one in South America, plus 5,000 new U.S. jobs is a big deal.

Of the new jobs, 3,300 will be salaried positions.

On its website, Ford added, “more than 80 percent of the new salaried jobs would be technical professionals who work in product development, manufacturing, quality, and IT.”

Related: Ford's Board Waiting to Hear About Mulally's Future Plans

The company also said it would launch 23 new vehicles worldwide in 2014 – the most in more than a century. In North America alone, Ford said it would premiere 16 new vehicles, including the new Ford Mustang.

From a technical and development perspective, Ford said it planned to continue working in two major areas – fuel efficiency and driver assist technology.

There will be two new EcoBoost engines, a 2.3-liter, and a 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine that will be offered in the Ford Fiesta and sold in North America for the first time. Ford said that at 45 mpg highway, the newly equipped Fiesta would be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid vehicle available in America.

Another fuel saver, Auto Start-Stop, a system that turns off the engine when it stops and starts it back up when the driver’s foot comes off the brake, will be offered on 70 percent of Ford’s North American vehicles by 2017, the company said.

Four driver assist features will also be expanded.

One is Active Park Assist, which uses sensors to aid drivers when parallel parking. Another called Lane-Keeping System, employs a forward-facing camera to scan the road for lane markers, which it uses to alert the driver of drift or provide steering torque to help guide the car back into the center of the lane.

Also part of the technology expansion, a collision warning system, and a blind spot sensor system. Currently collision warning is available on 10 Ford models and the blind spot feature is available on 13.

Ford, which refused a government bailout in 2008, has struggled, laying off or buying out thousands of workers, according to CNNMoney.

Recently, thanks to lower gas prices, increased access to credit, and a slowly improving economy, the automotive industry – including Ford – has been on the upswing.

Meanwhile the company said Friday that it would conduct an end-of-year briefing with analysts and media Wednesday, December 18.

At the time of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in any mentioned securities.

Posted-In: Active Park Assist Asia Auto Start-Stop Dwight D. Eisenhower EcoBoostNews Events Media Best of Benzinga

 

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