High-Tech Problem Solvers

Ford added 3,000 new high-tech team members to create mobility solutions for the future

Ford's new tech team hires include a large number of women, something the company takes pride in.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

With specialties ranging from advanced computing to analytical and technical skills, Ford's 3,000 new employees are showing just how far Ford has come from the days of the relative simplicity of the Model T. The mobility solutions the team is working on include everything from the new 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E to e-scooters, app development, city planning tools, and the forthcoming Bronco.

The modernization of the company's workforce is paired with the automaker's redesign of its office space. That starts at home, in Dearborn, Michigan. Ford's 66-year-old Product Development Center is the future home of the product development side of the business. Employees stationed there will work closely with the team located at the Michigan Central Station on mobility solutions. Ford predicts that Product Development Center development will be complete by 2025 and co-locate more than 6,000 employees.

Ford Motor Company - Product Development Center Redesign

Ford Motor Company Product Development Center Redesign 2019 Dearborn Michigan

Renderings courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford's Dearborn campus is undergoing a long-awaited upgrade.

The company's master plan calls for the Research & Engineering campus in Dearborn to house more than 20,000 employees in the future.

Currently, Ford has launched a dogs-at-work pilot program and is giving employees free coffee. Ford's employee retention rate is already better than the tech industry's average. According to Information Week, the tech industry has the highest employee turnover of any business sector at 13.2 percent.

Ford is making worker diversity a focus as the company makes hiring moves, especially focusing on women. Tracie Conn has worked for Ford's advanced engineering group that deals with vehicle sensors and algorithms for the last two years. Before that she was an engineer with NASA for five years. "This team has the highest percentage of women of any team I've worked on," said Conn. "For me, seeing other women in senior roles helps us envision ourselves in those spots one day. I hope we can serve as role models for even more young women."

The 3,000 isn't where they're stopping. Ford is currently looking to fill hundreds more openings for software developers, data scientists, digital media specialists, app developers and more.

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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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