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Manufacturers

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Primary Protection

Primary Protection

The catch-22 for most vehicle enthusiasts is, they want to show off the pristine finish on the open road but the open road is not a hospitable place for maintaining that look. Every time any vehicle hits...

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Turtle Wax

Turtle Wax

Turtle Wax founder Ben Hirsch initially marketed the auto polish he invented in the family bathtub by polishing car bumpers outside Wrigley Field and selling bottles of the product to baseball fans after...

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Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc.

Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc.

Murakami Manufacturing U.S.A. Inc. has been hard at work to incorporate both Japanese and American cultures into one business. Over the past two-and-a-half years, its Campbellsville, Ky.-based plant...

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DRÄXLMAIER Group

DRÄXLMAIER Group

For nearly 60 years, the DRÄXLMAIER Group has been developing high-quality interior solutions that have gone unmatched in the automotive industry. “We want to deliver a full package to the customer...

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Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC

Ram Truck Brand, Chrysler Group LLC

Since its establishment in 2009, Chrysler Group LLC’s Ram Truck Brand has grown its marketshare year-over-year and increased its annual sales through one simple tactic. “The biggest reason for our...

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Featured Content

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Dahl Automotive

Founded in 1911, Wisconsin-based Dahl Automotive has been in the automotive business for more than a century. The company began its days in the car business selling Ford Model T’s from a family general...

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Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet Inc.

As one of the preeminent car dealerships in southern Louisiana, Trapp Cadillac Chevrolet Inc. is locally owned and has been in business for more than 45 years. The dealership has the passion, experience...

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Riverside Auto Group

Customers expect courteous service when shopping for cars, but at Riverside Auto Group’s dealerships, they are called “guests” and are given the kind of care they would receive at a four-star hotel....

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McMahon Truck Centers

Operating heavy- and medium-duty commercial truck businesses at eight locations in five states, McMahon Truck Centers has become known for its support solutions and selection of premium vehicles. A family...

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Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive is trying to change the way its industry conducts business. A Fortune 500 company and member of the Russell 2000 Index, Sonic is among the largest automotive retailers in the United...

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Dealers/Retail

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Thompson Automotive Group has been passed down through four generations. What began for the Thompson family as a small-service gas station in 1929 grew to the full-service car dealership it is today with...

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For many years, Planet Honda customers would come to buy a car, but it was the spaceship in the middle of the dealership that wowed them. The motion simulator ride through space started as a fun way to...

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On the surface, Magic City Ford Lincoln may appear to be just your average auto dealer. But the company has been serving the Roanoke Valley since 1938, and today President Cameron Johnson is leading the...

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On any given day, prospective car buyers browsing Hillside Honda’s show floor might overhear some Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Russian or even Bengali. The linguistic variety is a reflection of the surrounding...

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Visit Dick Genthe Chevrolet for an oil change, tire rotation and multi-point inspection, and you won’t even get out of the car. The service is performed in 15 minutes and is one of the keys to the dealership’s...

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Service Providers

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Custom Trends

Custom Trends

Automotive designs have changed dramatically over the past 30 years. From the boxy cars of the ’80s to the new 2016 releases over the past few months, the appearance and performance of our cars is something...

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Piedmont Peterbilt

Piedmont Peterbilt

Piedmont Peterbilt has become a trusted name over the past 24 years in the Greensboro, N.C., area for its quality service and maintenance of heavy-duty trucks. “Everyone knows us in the area because...

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Palmer Trucks

Palmer Trucks

Specializing in providing top quality Kenworth trucks, parts and service to clients throughout the Midwest, Palmer Trucks is a privately owned company focused on offerings service and solutions to the...

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Motown Automotive Distributing Co.

Motown Automotive Distributing Co.

The leading full-line undercar and underhood auto parts warehouse in southern Michigan, Motown Automotive Distributing Co. has more than 50 years of experience in the automotive marketplace. The company...

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Lamb’s Tire and Automotive

Lamb’s Tire and Automotive

Jim Ramsey knew something was amiss with Lamb’s Tire and Automotive’s business model after his first three months on the job as the company’s president and CEO. “When I came in, the company was...

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Suppliers

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When the rubber meets the road, drivers want tires that they can rely on. They often turn to Pirelli Tire, which has earned a reputation for quality, high performance products, John Godfrey says. “It’s...

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Aluminum Strength

It would have been easy to stand pat with the Ford F-150. The truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America for more than 30 years thanks to its reputation for reliability and durability. But the...

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After more than three decades, Explorer Van Inc. has become completely self-reliant at its headquarters in Warsaw, Ind. “We do almost everything in-house,” owner Steve Kesler says. “We build our...

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Wheeler Bros. Inc.

For the past 50 years, Wheeler Bros. Inc. has specialized in the design and distribution of fleet vehicle maintenance and defense components. The company’s dedication to continue innovating vehicle...

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International Fleet Sales

Not many people can say they enjoy the daily challenges in their business, but International Fleet Sales (IFS) President and owner Mike Libasci can. “That’s why I like it,” he asserts. “It is...

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For Ford Motor Company, producing and marketing these vehicles means more than just financial growth. “This is not just something we’re doing to make a little money; it’s part of a core strategy of the company to find a better way to do things,” says Jon Coleman, the company’s chief strategist of alternative fuels.

This strategy is exemplified in corporate practices such as Ford’s monitoring of water use in its manufacturing processes as well as the extensive code of ethics followed by each employee. Ford’s ethical approach to car manufacturing has earned it recognition on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the world’s most ethical companies for the past four years.

“I’m interested in pursuing natural gas as a mass market fuel, but not if it affects the water someone else has to drink, and I’m interested in hybrid and electric strategies, but not if it means using substandard labor conditions to produce battery components,” Coleman adds. “I want to make people’s lives better with these alternative fuel solutions, but not at someone else’s expense. I’m proud that we’re not only interested in alternative fuel solutions, but are going about doing them in a way that is second to none.”

‘A One-Stop Shop’

Ford offers six hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles: the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the full-battery Focus Electric and the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid.

Most of Ford’s commercial fleet vehicles such as its all-new Transit and Transit Connect vans and wagons, E-Series vans and wagons and F-Series trucks can be modified to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), propane autogas (LPG), biodiesel (B20) or ethanol (E85) fuel. The company’s newest alternative fuel offering is a CNG and propane fuel option available on the Lincoln MKT Town Car.

“Although many manufacturers offer alternative fuel capabilities on a couple of vehicles, we’re the only ones who offer that capability across our entire line,” Coleman says. “We’re a one-stop shop for customers with a large fleet ranging from small cars to heavy-duty trucks.”

Electric and hybrid vehicles are sold and serviced through a certified dealer network. These dealerships include mechanics skilled in the repair of the vehicles as well as charging equipment. Commercial businesses are served through a business-preferred network of 630 dealers, some of which operate on a 24-hour basis for parts and service to minimize vehicle downtime, Coleman notes.

Alternative fuel vehicles are produced at Ford plants in the United States and around the world using the same assembly lines as conventional vehicles. “Our competitors use unique platforms and dedicated plants to produce these vehicles; our strategy is to use a plug-and-play system when it comes to power trains,” Coleman says. “When we look at C-class vehicles specifically, we sell millions of those across the world to places where the fuel of choice is different, so we wanted a system where we can place different power trains for different needs.”

Producing alternative fuel and conventional fuel vehicles in the same facilities also allows Ford to build its alternative fuel vehicle inventory based on customer demand, he adds.

The company works with seven qualified vehicle modifier (QVM) companies that install alternative gaseous fuel systems after a vehicle or fleet is purchased. This strategy provides three critical advantages to the company as opposed to an in-house approach.

First, it enables Ford to expand its breadth of vehicle offerings more swiftly; second, it encourages rapid, innovative solutions to customer requests; and lastly, it ensures the company is responsive to pricing pressures in the market, the company says.

QVMs undergo a rigorous assessment by Ford that includes an evaluation of their engineering, manufacturing, quality control and adherence to Ford’s guidelines. “These guidelines are intended to provide guidance, modification recommendations and engine operating specifications required to ensure customer satisfaction and reliability in line with Ford Motor Company standards,” the company says.

A Range of Solutions

The demand for Ford’s alternative fuel vehicles is particularly growing in the commercial sector. Each of the company’s fleet customers has varying reasons for moving toward the vehicles. “For many of our customers, this includes reducing expenses, having less of a dependence on foreign oil, reducing their carbon footprint or some combination of those,” Coleman says. “We want to offer a solution for whatever they need regardless of their motivation.”

Ford’s newest fleet customers for the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid models include Con-Way, Esurance and Quest Diagnostics. Con-way, a transportation and logistics provider with roughly 500 North American locations, added more than 1,000 Fusion hybrids for use by operations and sales personnel in 2013. Con-way anticipates saving roughly 45 percent in operational costs and more than 1 million gallons of gasoline annually using the cars, according to Ford.

Quest Diagnostics added 150 C-Max Hybrids to its fleet to save on fuel costs and prevent excessive emissions. The company anticipates converting the majority of its 3,000-vehicle fleet to hybrids by 2015. Esurance expects to save more than 69,000 gallons of gasoline over the next few years.

Other notable fleet customers include Yellow Cab of Orange County, Calif., which has long used CNG and propane autogas vehicles as taxicabs. The cab company recently replaced many of its Crown Victoria taxicabs with Transit Connect cargo vans.

“We’re seeing demand for all of the alternative fuel solutions we provide to customers,” Coleman says.

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