Create a Model of Your Dream Truck With Ford’s New 3D Printer

Car enthusiasts now have a chance to have their very own model car created by Ford amongst their collection. Tweak and change features through various designs and years from Ford until they are finished. 3D digital printing shops by Ford have begun to open, changing the car model industry.

Ford announced that it is the first automaker to open a one-stop 3D digital shop – the Ford 3D Store. With the help of Turbosquid, Ford fans can use 3D printing technology to make their own models of Ford vehicles or opt to purchase a 3D digital file from a growing library of more than 1,000 Ford vehicle images.

Available 3D-printed Ford models are 1/32nd (one thirty second) scale in plastic and models included in the launch: the new Ford GT, F-150 Raptor, Shelby GT350R, Focus ST and Fiesta ST. Printed models and digital files for additional Ford vehicles will be available at a later date. The Ford 3D Store is powered by TurboSquid.com, which provides automotive digital imaging and 3D-printable files. I have to say that the F-150 Raptor pickup truck looks pretty tough as a plastic model. When you click on the model within the Ford site, you are immediately taken to the Turbosquid site which offers more views of the model and pricing. The F-150 Raptor 2017 model starts at $149.

According to a news release the company sent me: “3D printing at home is a growing trend, and it makes sense for us to offer our customers a chance to make their own 3D Ford models,” said Mark Bentley, licensing manager, Ford Global Brand Licensing. “At Ford, we’re using 3D printing every day to rapidly prototype parts, and now we want to share that fun with our fans.” Since I visited the Ford 3D printing lab, in person, last year while on the 3DRV roadtrip, I can attest to the many ways that the company is using 3D printing and 3D materials science to advance car making. I wrote about their unique metal bending machine and some of their virtual reality work to help engineers move rapidly through product changes. You can read those posts here and here.

According to Juniper research, sales of desktop 3D printers will exceed 1 million units by 2018, from an estimated 44,000 sold annually in 2014. That’s a pretty big increase in new 3D printers soon to be on consumer desks, but one that pales in comparison to the number of people who might try out 3D printing via a service bureau, particularly if you make it easy to customize and click-to-print a model.

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Least reliable small crossovers

We all expect our vehicles to be reliable, but some manufacturers always seem to do a better job when it comes to making vehicles that last. In the small crossovers category, Jeep models are the least reliable.

For 2014, Consumer Reports polled its readers to find out which small crossovers and SUVs proved the most reliable, and Autoblog compiled the top three and bottom three performers.

Here are the top 3 least reliable small crossover SUVs:

  • Jeep Patriot
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Ford Escape

Read more here.

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When Does It No Longer Make Sense To Keep Your Ride

13Many things happen to our cars day to day, most are repairable so that your car can see another day. However, some things occur whether that is an accident or just time, where it no longer makes sense to keep it.

Of all the things we buy, maintain, use, and eventually scrap at the end of its lifecycle, nothing involves emotion like our relationship with our vehicles.

 

Perhaps it’s because of the cost and the sacrifices we make to own and operate them, or because they represent independence and mobility. But regardless, all this emotion can cloud our decision-making process when it comes to parting with our beloved daily driver. Many automakers invest as much time and energy in creating and developing an emotional bond between their products and their customers as they do in designing and building the vehicles themselves. If you doubt this, consider the amount carmakers spend on advertising each year compared to what they spend on R&D. While every auto manufacturer will supply an endless list of reasons why you should buy their particular product, few will help you decide when, and if, it’s time to leave your wheels by the curb and buy or lease something new. Here, then, is some advice to help make that decision easier.

 

Time and distance

Of all the auto executives I’ve met over almost four decades, only one ever admitted to the lifespan for which they design and build their vehicles to survive. While no auto company will admit it, the useful life for the majority of mainstream, non-luxury vehicles is about 10 years and/or 250,000 kilometers. While many cars, light trucks and SUVs may exceed that mark without exceptional repair or maintenance, a good percentage are relegated to the boneyard much sooner. A vehicle’s reliability takes a decidedly marked downturn once these milestones are passed. Does this mean we need to rush to the nearest dealership when the odometer clicks past that fateful mark? No, but it means it’s time create a succession plan. No matter the many variables when it comes to our relationships with cars, there’s one constant you can rely on: when you are forced to make a rushed decision on purchasing or leasing a vehicle (because your present chariot is dead in the driveway) it will cost you more than if you planned ahead.

Major repair estimate

Everyone dreads this call. They’ve had the family car towed into their repair provider because it failed to start/move/stop, and they get the estimate to overhaul/repair/replace something big. A good rule of thumb in these circumstances is to review your options of repairing or replacing your vehicle if a single-repair estimate approaches or exceeds its wholesale value. A quick internet tour of just about any used vehicle sales website can pinpoint this value. Just take the average asking price for the same vehicle in your area (with identical equipment and mileage) and subtract around $1,500 from a retailer’s asking price to come up with a wholesale value. Vehicles, unless it’s a collector classic, are a depreciating asset. Spending its entire value in one repair won’t double its worth.

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Can Technology Really Correct Bad Driving in Teenagers

It’s easy to become distracted while driving due to loud music, phones and other passengers. While distracted, it is easy to forget to wear a seatbelt and watch speed, especially when safety features are deactivated. It has come to a point where teenage driving habits need to be documented or restricted.

Chevrolet has announced that it will offer parents a creepy level of oversight when it comes to letting the kids borrow the family ride, and the NSA-style spying begins with the 2016 Malibu. A system dubbed Teen Driver will debut on the bow-tie brand’s newest mid-size sedan (which itself bows at the 2015 New York auto show). It allows parents to set speed alerts, limit audio volume, and even receive vehicle reports “so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids—they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits.” Um, who’s ever heard of a productive, teachable conversation with a teenager?

Anyway, like Ford’s MyKey system (both current and future), Teen Driver lets parents with a Jason Bourne complex program speed warnings that flash when their child exceeds a preset velocity (from 40 to 75 mph) and set sound-system volume limits. Parents can also pull customizable reports full of juicy stuff, such as distance driven, top speed achieved, preset-speed warnings exceeded, stability-control events, anti-lock brake events, and forward-collision alerts and auto-braking events—on vehicles equipped with those systems.

Wily teens might just shut off stability control, traction control, and the like, but a PIN-protected menu enables parents to dictate just what features can or cannot be deactivated. In that way, control over the activation status of stability control, parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, forward-collision warning, automatic braking, daytime running lights, and traction control can all be wrested from your little speed junkie.

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Millennials like cars after all

Who would have thought it, kids like cars. MTV recently did a study which findings conclude that three in four youngsters would rather give up their social media, and instagrams than their car. 72 percent would much rather give up TEXTING for a week than their car. Who would have thought that the death of the automobile wasn’t actually going to happen.

MTV found 8 in 10 Millennials use cars as their most frequent form of transportation.”They are driving and they prefer driving as their No. 1 method of transportation,” said Berj Kazanjian, MTV’s senior vice president of research.

The study created a stir last weekend after it was released at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in San Francisco. But after the dust settled, Kazanjian  explained several reasons Millennials didn’t appear to embrace driving as readily as previous generations

To read more about this study, click here.

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Fuel Economy Targets Remain High, Despite Falling Gas Prices.

As of right now, in Detroit, there are few gas stations that have fallen to the wonderful number of $2-per-gallon mark, with the most expensive 87 octane coming in at around $2.20 – $2.30. The average cost of gas in motor city is just a measly $2.02 per gallon.

This is causing consumers, a group famous for their utter lack of foresight, to flock towards thirstier vehicles and shun fuel sippers, hybrids and EVs. While that is making lots of money for the manufacturers with a solid lineup of SUVs, crossovers and pickups, Ward’s Auto reports, it also means that more efficient offerings aren’t selling, and therefore, they aren’t going to have a major impact on CAFE targets. That fact is fueling concerns over the future fuel economy standards.

“We think [the midterm review] is a great opportunity to talk about the feasibility and the timeframe to meet those requirements,” Ford’s Mark Fields told Ward’s, which reports the company is on pace to hit 2025’s 54.5-mile-per-gallon target. “What I expect is we’ll have a very robust midterm review and be very data-driven around it.”

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Shelby Mustang gives inspiration to an RTR Galpin-Fisker Rocket

When you think of a mustang, the Shelby isn’t one that comes to mind. With it’s intricate designs and need for speed, you can tell that the inspiration came from somewhere. Beau Boeckmann said parts of his inspiration for the design of the Galpin- Fisker Rocket Shelby RTR was from an old classic, the 1968 Shelby GT 500.

A joint project for Galpin Auto Sports owner Boeckmann and automotive designer Henrik Fisker (previously of Aston Martin DB9 and BMW Z8 fame before his ill-fated Fisker Karma venture), the Galpin-Fisker Rocket’s superfluous panels apparently hide a Ford V-8 that’s been souped-up to the tune of 725 hp

Based on the 2015 Ford Mustang, Boeckmann and Fisker have re-interpreted the pony car, mostly in ways that affect air flow and dissipate heat. The front splitter is claimed to aid in engine cooling, while the dual air intakes on the hood draw cool air in for the engine to gulp down. Every body panel on the Mustang is carbon fiber, minus the doors and roof, and the rear bodywork is slightly wider than stock.

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Modest Growth Projected for 2015 Auto Sales in US

While automobile sales are still expected to continue to rise over the next few years, Auto analysts predict that the pace of growth will slow down further in 2015.

U.S. auto sales are on pace to rise 5 percent in 2014 to 16.4 million — the best performance since 2006 — after rising by nearly 8 percent in 2013. The consensus is “cautious optimism” as production and sales will grow far faster in Asia, while Europe and South America face significant economic concerns.

LMC Automotive senior vice president Jeff Schuster said at a Standard & Poors auto industry conference that it predicts sales will rise just 2 percent next year to 16.7 million — fueled by 100 new, refreshed and redesigned vehicles being introduced in 2015, including Ford’s new aluminum F-150.

LMC sees U.S. sales rising to 17 million by 2018. LMC predicts the market will rise to 17.5 million in 2020 — which would represent the highest ever U.S. auto sales. Auto sales were above 16 million between 1999 and 2007 — hitting a high of 17.4 million in 2000.

JD Power notes that U.S. consumer spending on new cars and trucks will break a record in 2014 — estimated at $407 billion — up from $376 billion in 2013 — as average transaction prices have risen dramatically to $30,000 this year — up from $26,560 in 2007. U.S. retail sales in 2014 expected to be 13.8 million vehicles is near an all-time record, with incentive spending up slightly in 2014 at $2,975 over 2013 when it was $2,834.

This year’s spending is more than the gross domestic product of Austria, said Joe Derkos, director of consulting and analytics at J.D. Power.

Automakers keep introducing new models. LMC says automakers will hike the number of U.S. models offered from 295 this year to 331 in 2018 — with 75 new nameplates expected through 2018 — along with 200 redesigns and 210 facelifts. As a result, the average number of vehicles sold per model will fall from 55,463 this year to 51,728 in 2018, LMC said. Biggest growth through 2018 will be in small luxury cars and small luxury SUVs.

But 2018 sales of 17 million will be more profitable than sales in 2006, since there will be fewer rental car and other fleet sales in 2018 than 2006, LMC says.

Read the full article here.

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California Drivers Fuel Rechargeable Car Sales in U.S

Over the last four years, more than 100,000 rechargeable cars have been sold to California drivers. This puts the state at the top of the chart for domestic plug-in car sales, representing 40 percent of the market.

Sales of hybrid and battery-only cars in the Golden State totaled 102,440 in the period from December 2010 through last month, the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative said today, citing figures from the California Air Resources Board, Hybridcars.com and Baum & Associates. Over the same time frame, about 250,000 rechargeable autos were sold in the U.S., according to industry researcher Baum.

California since the 1970s has pressured automakers to offer vehicles with lower tailpipe emissions to curb smog and poor air quality. From 2009, the state has set tougher new standards requiring cars that emit less carbon pollution under its Zero-Emission Vehicle program, leading to a new generation of plug-in models from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co. and Tesla Motors Inc.

“Automakers are proving on a daily basis that they can rise to the challenge to meet California’s clean vehicle standards, advance the technology, and provide a wide range of affordable cars,” Mary Nichols, who chairs the California Air Resources Board, said in the statement.

Read the full story here.

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1962 Ferrari Sold for 40 Million

40 million is a lot of money for anything,  but recently this large sum of money was used to by a red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta. It once involved in a fatal accident, has set the world record for a car sold at auction, going for $38.1 million at a sale in California, auction house Bonhams said.

The price offered on Thursday by a bidder whose identity was not disclosed surpassed the $30 million (all figures U.S.) paid last year for a 1954 Mercedes Benz W196 race car, also sold by Bonhams, the auctioneers said in a press release.

“We’ve always maintained that we would exceed the current world record and that the car would bring between $30-$40-million and today the GTO did just that,” Robert Brooks, chairman of Bonhams, said in a statement.

Some reports prior to the auction had said the car might fetch as much as $70 million, but a Bonhams spokeswoman said these were based purely on speculation.

The Ferrari was the jewel in the crown for Bonhams’ annual Quail Lodge event on the Monterey Peninsula in California.

The auction house said that it was the world’s longest single-ownership for a Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, effectively held by one family for 49 years from 1965 to 2014.

The car sold from the Maranello Rosso Collection and stamped with chassis number ‘3851 GT’ was the 19th 250 GTO Berlinetta made by Ferrari and completed on Sept. 11, 1962, Bonhams said.

It was delivered to the leading French racing driver Jo Schlesser, to be co-driven by himself and French ski Champion Henri Oreiller in the 1962 Tour de France Automobile.

Oreiller later crashed the car during a race at Montlhery Autodrome, south of Paris, and died of his injuries in hospital. A newspaper report at the time said the Ferrari careered off the track and flipped twice after a tyre burst.

The car was repaired by Ferrari in Italy and was sold to Italian gentleman driver Paolo Colombo in time for the start of the 1963 competition season.

In 1965 young Fabrizio Violati, the scion of a wealthy Italian family, bought the car. “I saved the car from scrap and hid it from my parents. I only drove it at night so nobody would see me”, Bonhams quoted him as saying.  Never did he expect to one to sell the car for 40 million dollars.

 

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