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Ford donates leftover leather to Detroit companies that employ veterans, abuse survivors

Two local businesses with charitable aims received deliveries of the hides.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford's campus of the future will eliminate the need for Ford to continue to be spread out in 90 separate buildings in the Detroit area. Before building can begin, the company's product development center has to ready for demolition. That means removing machinery (new and old), finding new homes for old prototypes, and cleaning out the basement.

Some of the products are going to new homes where they'll see new life. Recently, workers stumbled upon $100,000 worth of leather hides. The assortment, according to Ford, was allocated for use by the color and materials design and fabrication teams to create interior prototypes for vehicles including the Ford Escape and Ford Explorer. Some of the materials are more premium than others and belong to Ford F-150 King Ranch and Lincoln Black Label Navigator models. They are colored in Ebony, Cashmere, and King Ranch Red, among other colors.

Ford leather donationThe basement of Ford's design facility housed a number of leftover hides.Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford leather donation

Traditionally, when color and materials designers order leather hides to build seat and interior prototypes, they order extra for trim, seat patterning and creative exploration. Extra hides are needed in case mistakes occur or new ideas are explored, so often there is a small surplus left over.

Instead of chucking them, Ford has decided to donate the hides to two Detroit businesses.

"This is a unique situation where we are able to donate bundles of real, automotive-grade premium leather to small businesses in Detroit," said Jim Conner, 3D process director. "We're excited to see these leather hides that were collecting dust in the basement be put to good use by impactful businesses in the community."

Ford Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford, identified two small businesses that would benefit from the hide donation - Pingree Detroit and Mend on the Move. Pingree Detroit is a worker-owned, social impact company founded in 2015 that uses high-quality leather reclaimed from the Detroit auto industry to make boots, wallets and drink coasters. The company employs veterans and Detroiters to help them earn a living wage and learn skilled trades. Mend on the Move is a nonprofit social enterprise that employs women survivors of abuse in Metro Detroit. The women earn an income creating jewelry and leather goods to help promote independence and healing.

"As an emerging worker-owned design and manufacturing cooperative born and raised in Detroit, relationships continue to be our strongest currency," said Jarret Schlaff, co-founder and CEO of Pingree Detroit. "This donation and the ongoing support by Ford make all the difference for our team of veterans and Detroiters as we work to create products and solutions that make our neighborhoods stronger."

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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