The first road-going version of the 2017 Ford GT has rolled off the line – heralding the beginning of production of the long-awaited halo car. Executives drove the first examples off the line at the low-volume assembly plant in Markham, Ontario. “When we kicked off 2016, we had two primary objectives for our Ford GT supercar – to excel at Le Mans, and to start deliveries before year-end,” said Raj Nair, Ford executive vice president. “We’ve achieved both.” Production will be limited to 250 per year. Prices are expected to start around $400,000 for the mid-engine twin-turbo V6 making more than 600 horsepower. Ford has yet to release specifications or exact pricing as near as I can determine. Stay tuned.
Everything was going great as drivers from the Detroit Free Press were testing a Chevy Bolt to verify its 200-mile plus all-electric range. Then the car was rear ended during testing in the Motor City. No one was injured in the fender bender and presumably the Bolt is being re-bolted in a body shop somewhere. Even with close to zero cold in Michigan, the writer said the Bolt was on track to deliver the 200-mile range claim.
General Motors will trim production at three plants due to an abundant supply of unsold cars and trucks, according to the Detroit News. It will halt production at its Detroit Hamtramck plant for three weeks next month and trim shifts at two other sites. The newspaper said the excess inventory was mainly in automobiles, as customers turn their attention to trucks, crossovers and SUV’s.
Fiat Chrysler has completed production of 100 Pacifica vans equipped with Waymo, formerly the Google self-driving car project. The vans are currently being outfitted with Waymo’s fully self-driving technology, including a purpose-built computer and a suite of sensors, telematics, and other systems. They will join Waymo’s self-driving test fleet early next year. Engineering modifications to the minivan’s electrical, powertrain, chassis and structural systems were implemented to optimize the Pacifica Hybrid for Waymo’s fully self-driving technology. Driver to Waymo, “To school.” Waymo to driver, “Don’t forget to buy milk.”
Ford claims demand is strong for its new Super Duty pickups. Three months into its launch, the Super Duty’s technology features drove total sales up 24 percent and retail sales up 33 percent for November. Demand is especially strong for Crew Cab, 4×4 and 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel equipped Lariat, King Ranch, and Platinum trucks, which accounted for 71 percent of Super Duty retail sales. So many buyers are going upscale. Texas – home to Ford’s two largest truck regions – saw Super Duty sales rise 45 percent in Dallas and 38 percent in Houston. More than 81 percent of these sales include Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum series trucks, with demand for 4×4 and Crew Cab configurations outpacing the rest of the country by 97 percent.
Wholesale prices of vehicles up to eight years in age fell by 3.3 percent on a monthly basis in November. In addition to taking a bigger drop than expected, the decline is more than double the 1.4 percent average recorded during November the past three years. The month-end result was the market’s third worst performance in 2016, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. The main reason for the decline is that consumers are buying new vehicles thanks to increased incentives from auto makers.