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Ford Focus Production
By 2019, Ford will shift production of the North American-market Focus from Michigan to China, a move estimated to save the automaker up to $1 billion. But the transition will also result in a large chunk of downtime where no new Focuses will be produced for North America.
Ford will go an entire year without making a Focus for the North American market, as Automotive News points out. That’s because Ford will end production of the small car in Michigan in mid-2018 before finally picking it back up in China from mid- to late 2019.
“We’d prefer not to have that large of a gap, admittedly,” Ford global operations chief Joe Hinrichs told AN. “We think we’ll be able to bridge that gap with a combination of stockpiling, and the EcoSport [subcompact crossover] coming in, which will help us have another product in that price band.”
Fortunately, the large gap may not hurt the automaker too much given the model’s slow sales. During the first five months of the year, U.S. sales of the Focus dropped 20 percent to just 67,146 units. Ford had a 54-day supply of Focuses with 37,400 in stock as of June 1, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
As you may recall, Ford originally planned to shift Focus production to a new $1.6 billion plant in Mexico before ultimately deciding to build the car in China. Thanks to the shift, Ford expects to save $500 million in addition to the $500 million it saved by canceling the new plant in Mexico. Ford already builds Focuses for the Chinese market in China.
The 2015 Ferrari 458 Italia is a rear-drive mid-engine supercar powered by a high-revving 4.5-liter V-8 rated at 562 hp and 398 lb-ft of torque that’s paired to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Since this is a purpose-built performance car, gas mileage isn’t a strong suit at 13/17 mpg city/highway. The 458 Italia will be replaced by the 488 GTB for the 2016 model year.
Handling is a strong point thanks to an impeccably-tuned chassis setup with magnetic shocks that have multiple adjustments and an electronic differential mounted in the rear axle. Ride quality is firm due to the car’s emphasis on performance but drivers can adjust the suspension for more compliance. The 458 Italia accelerates with authority thanks to its powerful V-8 engine, which revs willingly and quickly up to 9,000 rpm, and a quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission. Its steering feel is another strong point since it had plenty of feel and didn’t disconnect the driver from the front wheels.
Buyers are also able to personalize their cars, since the Ferrari 458 Italia offers plenty of customization options including two-tone leather and Alcantara upholsteries, carbon fiber exterior accents, different wheel designs, safety belts in multiple colors, and performance upgrades such as a sport exhaust system and suspension lifter. There are also multiple seat choices ranging from standard to carbon fiber racing buckets.
What We Think
The Ferrari 458 Italia is an excellent supercar thanks to its impeccable chassis, responsive steering and high-revving V-8, which make it rewarding to drive especially on a track or a twisty road. During our 2011 Best Driver’s Car evaluations, we said that the car is “extremely well-balanced” with “super-accurate” steering and had plenty of grip even under power. Additionally, its quick-shifting dual-clutch transmission pairs well with the high-revving V-8, enabling it to put power down efficiently.