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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
The 2013 Ford Fusion will be the first non-hybrid midsize sedan in America to have Auto Start-Stop technology when it goes on sale this fall. Those that want the fuel-saving technology will have to shell out $295 for it.
The start-stop will be an option, since the American automaker is well aware that not every consumer will want their engine to shut off at every traffic light or when sitting idly in traffic. Offered only on the 1.6L EcoBoost model, Ford estimates that start-stop can improve fuel efficiency by 3.5-percent overall and as much as 10-percent for city drivers.
Over a five year span, that calculates to almost $1,100 in savings at today’s fuel prices compared to other midsize competitors. Ford projects the 1.6L EcoBoost-powered Fusion can deliver a projected 36-mpg highway economy; we’re unsure if that is with or without the start-stop tech.
“Idling vehicles are consuming energy without doing any work,” said Birgit Sorgenfrei, Ford’s Auto Start-Stop program manager. “They’re also producing exhaust gases in a concentrated space that can contribute to air quality problems like smog.”
10. 2009 Ford Fusion: $2,890
Insurance isn’t kind to teenage drivers. Rates are usually double the price of experienced drivers. Luckily CarInsure.com has provided a list of the top 10 best vehicles to insure for teenagers.
The rates are calculated based on a Washington family: a married couple driving a 2011 Honda Accord and a 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, with a clean driving record and good credit. Their teenage driver is a 16-year-old male, also with a clean driving record. This list covers a five-year insurance impact. The vehicles on this list are from 2008, or 2009.
Tenth on the list is the 2009 Ford Fusion, equipped with ESC. This car gains its price thanks to a perfect NHTSA front impact score and the highest score possible for frontal-offset and side impact tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The key to this model though is the optional electronic stability control.
Involved in racing since 1972, Roger Penske has fielded many cars of different makes in his NASCAR efforts.
First entering the sport with a red, white and blue AMC Matador for Mark Donohue in 1972, Roger Penske has since fielded Chevrolets, Mercuries, and Pontiacs. From 1995 through 2002, Penske raced with Ford. Finally, from 2003 on, Penske formed an alliance with Dodge.
For 2013, Penske made the announcement that it will return to Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. According to Penske and Ford Racing’s Jamie Allison, the deal already underwent several months of negotiation. Allison called the deal a “historic day” for Ford Racing.
For Roger Penske, this new arrangement with Ford gives the team a chance to “make sure [they] can beat any team in NASCAR in the future.” What’s more, this new alliance is also meant to allow Penske Racing to take on the Ford Roush Fenway Racing Team head-to-head rather than entering as the black sheep Dodge team. Currently, Penske’s two-car effort is the only Dodge team in the series. In a year, there will only be three manufacturers in NASCAR: Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota.
Roger Penske continued, “When we weighted the plus and minus of opportunities, it was apparent to us we need to win NASCAR Sprint Cup championships. We’ve been trying to do it alone. But having the opportunity to benchmark with someone like Roush, who has been world class as we saw with the performance last week with Kenseth (winner of 2012 Daytona 500) and how good their cars are, we felt it was time to evaluate other options.”
At the moment, Penske would not commit to running his own engine department and will receive their engines from Roush Yates Engines instead, something other Ford teams are also doing. Although Roger Penske has about 70 employees in his engine department, the team believes in taking advantage of the shared engine information with Roush during practice and testing sessions.
As for Chrysler Group motorsport division CEO Ralph Gilles, he wished Penske all the success and pledged company support for Penske’s efforts to win races and championships this season. Gilles spoke in behalf of Dodge, “Our motorsports involvement isn’t limited to NASCAR. We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward. As those opportunities materialize, we’ll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports,” he said.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion NASCAR
Ford is rather proud of its new SYNC system, and will be making it standard equipment on all 2013 Ford Fusion and Ford Flex models, the American automaker announced. Their MyFordTouch system will only be seen on upper trim levels however.
Surprisingly the 2013 model year of the Fusion and Flex will be the first time ever Ford has made their SYNC standard equipment. Since its introduction in 2007, Ford has installed SYNC in over four million vehicles. Now that it has become standard fare in the Fusion and Flex, Ford expects to add another nine million vehicles on the road with SYNC over the next three years.
“ Ford SYNC technology has led the industry in transforming the way we connect to our cars,” said Dave Mondragon, Ford general marketing manager. “SYNC has enabled Ford drivers to take advantage of the latest communication and entertainment technology with an easily upgradeable architecture that is friendly to use.”
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Flex
Setting the new standard in the mid-size family sedan category, Ford will unveil its all-new 2013 Fusion today at the Detroit Auto Show. Unequivocally good looking and perhaps even downright sexy, the new Fusion will be available with five different powertrains, and Ford claims the car will get best-in-class fuel economy in the gas, hybrid and plug-in hybrid segments.
Starting with three gas powertrains, the Fusion can be had with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder with 170 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque as a low cost entry-level model. Nearly identical in power is a 1.6-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder with direct-injection and turbocharging that gets a non-hybrid class-leading 26 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. In fact, that number is actually higher than the quasi-hybrid Chevy Malibu Eco.
Finally, in the gas-only department anyway, there will be an EcoBoost 2.o-liter 4-cylinder as a performance option making 237 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque – with AWD optional.
The new Fusion Hybrid will deliver 44 mpg city and 47 mpg highway to top the Camry by a significant margin, while the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid is projected to get 100 mpge – better than even the Chevy Volt.
Along with technologies like SYNC and the latest edition of the MyFord Touch telematics system the new Fusion will also offer plenty of other safety and convenience technologies, including some that are segment exclusives like a new Lane Keeping System. A first in the mid-size sedan class, a camera that reads the road ahead will then signal an alert if the driver isn’t staying in his or her lane. If no corrective behavior is taken the system will then vibrate the steering wheel and finally, if no action is taken, the car will actually adjust the steering in order to return the car to its proper lane.
Other features include adaptive cruise control, a blind-spot monitoring system and Ford’s active park assist.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Fusion
Ford is taking a clever approach to virtually revealing the new 2013 Fusion sedan before its official debut at the upcoming 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Using an app, now available on Android and iOS systems for smartphones and tablets, is an augmented reality game app where users can virtually drive the new Fusion through a series of worlds that unlock to reveal the car.
Each track is loaded with video clips featuring insight on technology and design from key Fusion team members. A daily video clip will unlock more content to the app every day with demonstrations of key vehicle features on the new 2013 Fusion.
When the vehicle finally debuts at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, users will be able to unlock access to the full image of the car. At that point, they will also be able to drive any of the four Fusions on the virtual track in addition to creating a custom image of the car to share via Facebook or Twitter.
The all-new Ford Fusion will also be the Official Car of the 2012 CES show.
Check out an app walkthrough video after the break.
After encountering 30 incidents involving cracked wheel studs and steel wheels separating from the vehicles, Ford will be recalling 128,616 2010 and 2011 Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans to fix the issue.
An investigation by NHTSA led to the recall, though no injuries have been reported. Ford will notify owners of the affected vehicles, inspect them at dealerships and replace any components free of charge. Check out the official article below the jump for more information.
Ford is taking its engine downsizing strategy to extremes with the next-generation Fusion mid-size sedan, with plans to offer a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder version. That may sound unbelievably small, but the engine will get Ford’s EcoBoost technology with turbocharging and direct-injection and should deliver roughly 180-hp.
In addition, Ford will also offer a version of the 2.0-liter Ecoboost 4-cylinder that has just been introduced under the hood of the 2012 Explorer and 2012 Edge. In the Edge, that engine makes 247-hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, more than enough for any mid-size sedan.
In order to get the most fuel economy from this new model (which is expected to grow slightly from the current Fusion), the 2013 car is expected to get start-stop technology as well as grille shutters that close at speed to help improve aerodynamics.
Look for the 2013 Ford Fusion to bow at the Detroit Auto Show this January.
Ford has made a few changes for the 2012 Fusion. The American automaker decided based on low sales numbers that the six-speed manual transmission will only be available on the base Fusion S for 2012.
Fuel economy wasn’t much of an improvement with the manual transmission anyways. With a manual transmission, the Fusion was rated 22/32 mpg while the automatic six speed was rated at 23/33 mpg. There is a general trend currently, to eliminate manual transmission midsize sedans, with Mazda doing so with their ostensibly sporty Mazda6.
The other ‘major’ change for the 2012 Fusion are the 17-inch alloy wheels are now standard on the Fusion SE. In fact, Fusion SEs came with 17-inch steel wheels and plastic wheel covers, an odd choice given that the base Fusion S came with 16-inch alloy wheels.
Disregard the ads about the F-150 being the bestselling truck in 34 years: for only the second time in over a decade, Ford outsold crosstown rival GM overall, with 212, 295 vehicles, including some that aren’t pickups.
Ford last outsold GM in February of 2010, but only by 471 vehicles. This time, however, the margin was by 5,674 more vehicles. In 1998, GM fell to second thanks to a strike at supplier Delphi, which allowed Ford to beat them by 83,883 vehicles.
Many of those were fleet sales: a 29% increase there and a 50% increase in commercial sales. Crossovers saw the best increases by 30%, while cars like the Fusion increased 15%. The recently-released Fiesta reached 9,787 units sold, a 56% increase over the previous month. Ford is rather proud of these gains but would rather you not mention the 2% decrease in Lincoln sales, despite the manliness of spokesman John Slattery.
And maybe don’t disregard those F-150 ads just yet—despite crushing gas prices, most of Ford’s sales gains came from trucks, which increased by 21%. The more fuel-efficient V6 model made a bulk of these sales, in case you thought Americans had a propensity to act irrationally in the face of gas price fluctuations.
[Source: Automotive News]
NHTSA is beggining an investigation into the 2010 Ford Fusion, after recieving complaints of cracking wheel studs on the popular family sedan.
Over 280,000 vehicles may be affected by the problem. Wheel studs hold the wheel in place on the vehicle, and a failure could be catastrophic. Interestingly, NHTSA claimed that “Three complaint vehicles belong to the same 22-vehicle fleet but were assigned to different drivers who experienced the alleged defect on three separate occasions”, meaning the defect could be localized to a specific batch of cars.
NHTSA says that the vehicles in question all have fewer than 10,000 miles on them, and have never had the wheel studs or lug nuts serviced.
[Source: Automotive News]
There was a time when Ford cars regularly sold in excess of 200,000, units, heck the original Ford Taurus sold well over 300,000 per annum in the late ’80s. But times change.
Today, the best selling car in America struggles to sell 300,000 copies annually, but if anything, the T0yota Camry is consistent. It’s been the most popular car in the U.S. for years and with 296,581 delivered so far for 2010, it appears things aren’t likely to change soon. The Honda Accord is on track for the runner up spot with 253,073, while the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic follow, with 244,024 and 231,955 units sold during the same period.
And what have you noticed from these stats? That’s right, all these cars are Japanese brand vehicles, what about the homegrown stuff that used to top the sales charts for years? Well, in recent years the big three have lost market share, particularly in the mid-size and compact car segments, however, that might be set to change. The Ford Fusion, revamped for 2010, posted a 21.5 percent gain in sales for November, versus a year earlier, making it the first car from Dearborn to top the ‘magic’ 200,000 sales mark since 2004.
Ford, on average, has been selling around 10,000 Fusions per month during 2010 which isn’t too shabby these days. Winning Motor Trend‘s 2010 ‘Car of the Year’ honor certainly hasn’t hurt either.
[Source: Ward's Auto]
Green Car Journal has announced its candidates for its Green Car Of The Year award, with the five car field being composed of some pretty serious competition,
Naturally, the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf are the leading contenders, with the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid rounding out the field, and the Ford Fiesta being the sole nominee that runs solely on a gasoline engine and no electric components. Regardless, the Fiesta can still get 40 mpg on the highway, making it a worthy candidate.
The winner will be announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November
Hit the jump to see the official press release
[Source: Green Car Journal]
The Hyundai Sonata has officially bumped off the Nissan Altima to take 3rd place in the mid-size sedan sales race. The Sonata sold 21,399 units in August, closing in on the Honda Accord, which sold 22,506 units. The Toyota Camry enjoys a comfortable lead, selling just over 30,000 units in August. The figures exclude fleet and rental sales.
The Sonata has bested tough rivals like the Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu. Buyers are apparently enticed by a strong warranty, low MSRP and generous equipment levels. About 75% of Sonata customers are “conquest buyers” who have traded in other brands for a Hyundai.
[Source: Detroit News]
As part of Ford’s latest Fiesta promotion, Ford is enlisting the help of NASCAR stars Richard Petty and A.J. Allmendinger as well as newly minted rally legend Ken Block.
The contest, called “43 Fiestas“, has Ford giving away 43 flat screen TVs, 43 ticket-and-hotel packages to the Ford NASCAR 400 Sprint Cup race and one specially prepared Ford Fiesta to a lucky winner. However, if Allmendinger wins the race, 43 Fiestas will be given away to all of the grand-prize contestants.
Ford has filmed two videos to promote the contest, and the “competition” video contains a predictable ending, and some poorly delivered lines by Petty. Remember to keep your prejudices in check when watching the video; Allmendinger, despite driving a NASCAR Fusion, has substantial open wheel experience in everything from a Formula Ford to a Champ Car. Block, on the other hand, is a glorified pay driver/marketing figurehead.
Hit the jump to see the official videos
The biggest changes are fuel economy related, with four-cylinder automatic transmission models now returning 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, bumps of 2 and 3 mpg respectively. V6 coupes with the automatic transmission get paddle shifters, and EX models get USB audio inputs and backup cameras on models equipped with navigation.
While recent Honda products have come under fire for having “lost their way”, the Accord has managed to weather the storm and deliver a quality product. However the Sonata threatens to unseat it by delivering an equally good package at a much lower price. The new upgrades should help the Accord withstand the product onslaught from the Koreans and Americans as well.
Gallery: 2011 Honda Accord
Hit the jump to see the official press release
Ford announced today that five of their vehicles have been selected as Top Safety Picks By The IIHS, boosting their total to 11 vehicles. The 2010 Ford Flex and Fusion, Lincoln MKZ and MKT and the Mercury Milan all scored the highest possible ratings in the IIHS’s front, side and rear impact tests as well as their roof strength test. The ratings mean that Ford now leads the industry in Top Safety Picks as well as government five-star crash ratings.
Hit the jump to read the official press release
The investigation involves 249,301 Fusion and Milan models from the 2010 model year where an accessory floor mat may entrap the accelerator pedal – in essence causing a sticking throttle. The problem occurs when the floor mat is placed on top of the existing carpet floor mat – something all automakers warn against. “We do not recommend stacking floor mats in any vehicle from any automaker,” said Ford spokesman Said Deep.
NHTSA commented in a statement that, “Any Ford ‘all weather’ optional floor mat should be placed in the driver’s side foot well only after first unfastening and removing the standard, carpeted floor mat.”
No accidents or injuries have been reported but NHTSA has said it received three complains – one of which came from Edmunds.com boss Dan Edmunds, who experienced the problem on a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid.
Toyota recently recalled 5.4 million vehicles for what is essentially the very same issue – a hint that Ford could be facing a recall similar in scope. NHTSA has been on the war path recently, issuing a spate of new recalls and investigations based on fewer and fewer complains.
[Source: Detroit News]
Ford posted a $2.1 billion profit for this quarter, beating market expectations by a full year despite a lull in the new vehicle market. Ford has undergone a series of cost-cutting measures, including plant closures and layoffs, but has also introduced a torrent of new product in nearly every segment.
Ford hasn’t earned $2 billion profit since 2004, when the company sold 17 million vehicles. Expectations for this year include sales of fewer than 12 million cars and trucks. Ford’s strong performance has been attributed to a number of factors. New products like the Fiesta, Mustang, Edge and Fusion have been extremely well received by the automotive press and well as consumers. Sales of the full-size Taurus are up 96 percent from the previous generation. Ford’s image has also remained strong, as it avoided taking government loans (unlike rivals GM and Chrysler), and avoided the quality problems that have plagued Toyota.
However, Ford’s executive chairman told the New York Times that the success of the company was attributable to its own strengths, not the weaknesses of its competitors.
“I don’t know how much it really helped because it’s all about the product,” Mr. Ford told reporters after a speech in Detroit this month. “People will come into our showrooms but if they don’t see anything they like, they’ll go elsewhere.”
Ford ended 2009 with its highest sales month since May 2008 while gaining its first year-end market share gain since 1995.
Sales were up in every product category in December 2009 as Ford recorded a 33 percent sales increase compared to the same month in 2008.
Ford, Lincoln and Mercury sales totaled 179,017 in December. Full-year sales totaled 1.62 million, down 15 percent, but Ford estimates it still managed to increase its U.S. market share by a percentage point to 15 percent, representing Ford’s first full-year market share gain since 1995.
“Ford’s plan is working,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing Sales and Service. “Customer consideration continues to grow for our high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles. In 2010, we will introduce an even higher number of new products, giving customers more reasons to Drive One.”
The Ford Fusion, recently named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year, set a new full-year sales record at 180,671 units. Sales for the Ford Escape reached 173,044 units in 2009 for the crossover’s second-best year, including a 75 percent increase in December compared to 2008.
Ford’s F-Series truck had its best sales month since March 2008 with 48,209 units moving in December. The year-end tally of 413,625 units made the F-Series America’s best selling truck for the 33rd straight year, and top-selling vehicle, car or truck, for a 28th consecutive year.
Official release after the jump:
We still have more than half of 2009 to go and already the list of 2010 North American Car & Truck of the Year nominees have been picked. That’s because the list is essentially a list of every new model for 2010.
Nominated for car of the year are: the Audi S4, BMW Z4, BMW 335d, BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, Buick LaCrosse, Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fusion, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang, For Mustang GT500, Ford Taurus, Ford Taurus SHO, Honda Insight, Hyundai Genesis Coupe, Kia Forte, Kia Soul, Lexus HS250h, Lotus Evora, Mazda3, MazdaSpeed3, Mercedes E-Class, Nissan Cube, Nissan 370Z, Porsche Panamera, Subaru Legacy, Suzuki Kizashi, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf, Volkswagen Golf TDI.
The 2010 North American Truck of the Year list is only slightly shorter and includes: the Acura ZDX, BMw X5 xDrive 35d, Cadillac SRX, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Transit Connect, GMC Terrain, Honda Crosstour, Land Rover LR4, Lincoln MKT, Subaru Outback, Toyota 4Runner and Volvo XC60.
Many off these vehicles have yet to be officially released and some (like the Honda Crosstour) haven’t even been officially named yet.
Jurors will now begin the lengthy process of making a short list, with the final winners chosen at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Last year’s winners were the Hyundai Genesis and the Ford F-150.