Auto News for March 28 – Ford & Honda Making Big U.S. Plant Improvements

 

 

 Ford is going to spend some big bucks on three of its Michigan plants:

 A total of $850 million at the Michigan Assembly Plant to support return of Ford Ranger, Bronco

 A $150 million investment and 130 jobs at Romeo Engine plant expands capacity for engine components for several vehicles, including Ranger and Bronco

 And a $200 million investment for advanced data center in Michigan supports Ford’s expansion to an auto and mobility company.

 The work at the Michigan Assembly Plant begins next May. Ford said it will take just four weeks to remove and reinstall the tooling necessary to build the new Ford Ranger and Ford Bronco.

 It will be nice to see those two models back on the road.

 But Ford is not alone. Honda will invest $85 million in its Alabama plant to improve manufacturing flexibility as well as prepare for future models and technologies. The plant produces the Odyssey, Pilot and Ridgeline trucks, and the Acura MDX.

 Kind of a mixed bag on the auto front this morning. On the one hand, the March reading on Consumer Confidence hit its highest level in 16 years. Auto firms like this since confident consumers are more likely to go shopping for hot new wheels. On the other hand, J.D. Power reported that new vehicles are sitting on lots for about 70 days, and that is the longest amount of time since July of 2009. Analysts say it now takes about one week longer to move a car or truck than it did at this time last year. It might be that the sales bubble we have seen is slowing running out of air.

 Select customers will be able to rent a 2017 BMW X3 at National Car Rental for a limited time. It will be offered only to Executive and Executive Elite club members.

 Here is something you might want to watch. “Recoil 4,” a seven-minute thrill ride through the streets of Havana, Cuba, was released today and is available at http://www.youtube.com/toyotires. Produced by Sweatpants Media and presented by Toyo, the storyline features World Champion off-road racer, “Ballistic” B.J. Baldwin racing in his 850-horsepower trophy truck from an all-night dominos game to meet up with his race team on the opposite side of the island. Cuba had been off limits for years to American filmmakers.

 California officials say more than one million defective airbag inflators remain unrepaired in the southern part of the state. Leaders have launched an urgent, region-wide effort to encourage affected drivers to get a free repair. If you own a 2001 and 2002 Honda Civic, the 2001 and 2002 Honda Accord, the 2002 and 2003 Acura TL, the 2002 Honda Odyssey, the 2002 Honda CR-V, the 2003 Acura CL and the 2003 Honda Pilot check with your dealer today to get a much needed repair.

 Almost six in 10 operators, some 59 percent, think that self-driving cars will eliminate the problem of distracted driving. Two-thirds of men think this, compared with just over half of women (66 percent to 52 percent, respectively). The results of a Harris Poll conducted for Erie Insurance. While it might be nice some believe to completely kick back and let the car do the driving, experts say the time for that is likely a long way off.

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