Ford says reservations full for high-end version of electric Mustang Mach-E

Ford Motor Co. said on Monday reservations were full for the high-end Mustang Mach-E First Edition electric crossover vehicle.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker unveiled the electric Mustang on Nov. 17, and began taking reservations with a refundable deposit of $500. There will be four other versions of the Mach-E in addition to the First Edition.

Ford did not provide details on how many reservations it took for the First Edition, which will be priced at about $60,000, but has said global production in the first 12 months for all versions of the Mach-E is limited to 50,000 vehicles.

FROM OUR ARCHIVE: How Ford’s Mach-E came to be

The Mach-E has become a high-profile test for a restructuring at Ford that has been marred by profit warnings, costly quality problems and the troubled launch this year of another important vehicle, the Ford Explorer utility vehicle.

The Mach-E was unveiled in Los Angeles in November. It will be built in Mexico, the first of more than a dozen all-electric vehicles Ford plans to launch by 2022 with an investment of $11.5 billion. The Mach-E’s design was inspired by the classic 1960s Mustang sports car and is meant to challenge electric carmaker Tesla Inc.

More than 80 percent of U.S. customers are reserving Mach-E with an extended range battery, while about 55 percent opted for an all-wheel drive, Ford said in a statement released Monday. 

More than 25 percent of the reservations are from California, with nearly 30 percent of U.S. customers choosing Mach-E GT, the company said.

Here Are the 2019 Doug Car Awards!

Here are the 2019 Doug Awards, where I give awards to some of the cars I’ve reviewed this year — including the best cars, the worst cars, and more! Welcome to the 2019 Doug of the Year Awards!



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Uber, Postmates sue to block Calif. gig worker law

Ride-hailing company Uber Technologies Inc. and courier services provider Postmates Inc. asked a U.S. court to block a California labor law set to go into effect on Wednesday, arguing the bill violates the U.S. Constitution.

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court on Monday, the companies and two app-based drivers said the law, which would make it harder for gig economy companies to qualify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees, was irrational, vague and incoherent.

The office of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement on Monday it was reviewing the complaint. The bill, called AB5, faces multiple legal challenges.

The law was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom in September and has garnered national attention, largely owing to the size of California’s workforce and the state’s leadership role in establishing policies that are frequently adopted by other states.

Backers of the bill, including labor groups, have argued the law protects workers’ rights. By classifying the contractors as employees, the companies would be subject to labor laws that require higher pay and other benefits such as medical insurance.

The bill strikes at the heart of the “gig economy” business model of technology platforms like Uber, Postmates, Lyft Inc., DoorDash and others who rely heavily on the state’s 450,000 contract workers, not full-time employees, to drive passengers or deliver food via app-based services.

Uber, Postmates and other app-based companies said the legislation compromises the flexibility prized by their workforce, and that fewer workers would be hired were they considered employees.

The companies in their Monday lawsuit called AB5 a “thinly veiled attempt” to target and harm gig economy businesses. Singling out app-based workers violates equal protection guaranteed under the constitutions of the United States and California, the companies argued.

“It irreparably harms network companies and app-based independent service providers by denying their constitutional rights to be treated the same as others to whom they are similarly situated,” the lawsuit said.

The companies pointed to allegedly arbitrary exemptions of different non-gig worker groups, including salespeople, travel agents, construction truck drivers and commercial fishermen.

The full impact of the bill remains unclear in the short term, but the lawsuit cited a study saying the bill would increase ride-hailing company Lyft’s operating costs by 20 percent and lead to some 300,000 fewer drivers in California.

Uber, Lyft and food delivery company DoorDash have earmarked $90 million for a planned November 2020 ballot initiative that would exempt them from the law.

Turkey plans to produce electric vehicles with a $3.7 billion investment

Turkey plans to produce electric vehicles with a $3.7 billion investment

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week unveiled a couple of all-electric vehicle prototypes that will launch TOGG, a new state-supported automotive enterprise. The first vehicle, a compact SUV, is expected by 2022. An investment of $3.7 billion will enable output of about 175,000 EVs a year. The all-electric SUV unveiled last week was designed by Italy’s Pininfarina.

The brand is called Turkey’s Automobile Joint Venture Group (TOGG). The consortium was established by five industrial groups: Anadolu Group, BMC, Kok Group, mobile phone operator Turkcell, and Zorlu Holding, the parent of TV maker Vestel.

TOGG’s CEO is former Bosch executive Gurcan Karakas. The company’s COO is Sergio Rocha, who is the former CEO of General Motors Korea.

Specs for TOGG models reflect state-of-the-art EV technology.

The vehicles are expected to provide no less than about 186 miles in range, although details about battery size are not yet known. There will be a base option with a single 200-horsepower motor in a rear-wheel-drive configuration. A second dual-motor, all-wheel-drive 400-hp variant could provide up to 300 miles on a single charge.

TOGG Turkish EV

TOGG said the single-motor RWD model will go from zero to 62 mph in 7.6 seconds, while the dual-motor version will take 4.8 seconds to cover the same distance.

The vehicles, including a crossover SUV and sedan, will be provided with DC Quick-Charging up to 150 kilowatts. Automated driving features are also being evaluated.

TOGG Turkish EV Interior

The group wants to sell the car domestically, and also plans to turn TOGG into an international brand. The factory will be located in Bursa, a manufacturing hub. The factory, scheduled to be completed in 2021, is expected to employ 4,300 people.

The investment could be spent over 13 years. Erdoğan also plans to build EV charging infrastructure in Turkey, making it ready by 2022 in time for the first vehicle’s release.

Major international auto makers — including Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai, Renault, and Toyota — currently produce or assemble vehicles in Turkey.

TOGG plans to offer five different models over the next 15 years.

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Can The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Teach Any Luxury Lessons To The German Establishment?

Can The 2020 Lincoln Aviator Teach Any Luxury Lessons To The German Establishment?

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator is arguably one of the most impressive premium SUV models launched in the three-row midsize segment this year. Lincoln appears to have used the experience earned from the popular Navigator and applied it to its slightly smaller sibling.

The more elegant approach of the Aviator to the luxury SUV theme is obvious from the first moment you lay your eyes on it. Nothing on the exterior design is overly aggressive and overly flashy, just the right amount of bright-work to give the Aviator an expensive and imposing aura.

Related: Lincoln’s 2020 Plug-In Hybrid Aviator Grand Touring Rated At 56 MPGe Combined

Then you open the door and you’re greeted by a premium cabin, especially if you opt for one of the most expensive Black Label models, like the one KBB is testing on its latest video.

Everything is covered either in leather, wood, metal or gloss black trim while the powered seats are among the most comfortable and ergonomic chairs offered  across all segments.

The available range includes a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 unit with 400 HP and 415 lb-ft (562 Nm) of torque and a plug-in hybrid version of the same engine that offers 494 HP and 630 lb-ft (854 Nm) of torque. In both cases, a 10-speed automatic transmission is the only option, with Lincoln offering all-wheel drive as an option to the ‘base’ 400 HP model.

The 2020 Lincoln Aviator does indeed do a great job at offering a very rich and enjoyable experience to its driver, remaining impressively quiet and comfortable under most conditions. It’s not the sportiest SUV out there, but fact is, most people wouldn’t buy an Aviator for spirited drives, would they?