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First increase since 2007 a sign that Ford is on the right track
With the current state of affairs in the auto industry, smaller than expected losses have been cause to celebrate, so imagine the party the folks over at Ford must be having right now as the company announced today that it actually posted a sales gain.
Last month Ford’s 10 percent loss was seen as a sign that Ford is on the right track and that the economy might just be recovering. This month the American automaker posted a two percent increase compared to the same month a year earlier. But that number doesn’t even tell the whole story as retail sales were actually up nine percent. Less impressive fleet sales (notorious for low profit margins) curbed that number down to two percent.
As a sign that Ford is not only fighting off this recession, but that the automaker is actually producing products that consumers want to buy, this sales gain is the first since November 2007.
Ford’s sales and marketing VP Ken Czubay credited the company’s fuel-efficient vehicles, combined with the government’s Cash-for-Clunkers program for the positive results. “We had another strong month in progress before the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program started,” he said. “Our products, our dealers and our advance preparation enabled us to leverage the program and drive traffic and sales to another level. In addition, we achieved a sales increase even though we decreased incentive spending in an increasingly competitive environment.”
Particularly successful models for Ford included the Fusion, Escape, Ranger and Flex. Fusion sales were up 66 percent; Escape sales were up 94 percent; while Ranger and Flex sales were both up 65 percent over a year ago. In addition Ford saw a drastic increase in the number of customers opting for hybrids, with Ford’s hybrid lineup (including the Fusion, Milan, Escape and Mariner) posting an increase of 323 percent.
Official release after the jump:
Turbocharged four-banger could replace standard V6 engine in Mustang, F-150
Ford has just confirmed that it will bring an EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine to marker starting next year. The new engine will be a 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder and use a turbocharger to deliver at least 230hp and 240 ft-lbs of torque.
Much in the way that the 365-hp EcoBoost V6 delivers V8 power with V6 duel-economy, the EcoBoost four is designed to deliver V6 power with four-cylinder fuel-economy. Ford says it should deliver a 10 to 20 percent fuel-economy improvement over a similarly powerful V6 engine.
Ford will no doubt begin to use this new EcoBoost four as a replacement for many of its V6 engines in models like the Fusion, Edge and Escape/Mariner. There is the possibility that we could see the turbo-four replace the base V6 powerplants in models like the Mustang and F-150. Some rumors, however, have indicated that the Mustang could use the 3.7-liter V6 from the Lincoln MKS.
As with the current EcoBoost V6, Ford seems dedicated to using the new engines in higher-end trim levels of cars, such as with the SHO or the EcoBoost version of the Flex. That being said, there is potential that this new EcoBoost four could see its way in to a sporty version of the Focus.
Even smaller displacement (1.0- to 1.6-liter) EcoBoost engines are expected to follow for use in the Focus and the upcoming Fiesta, as Ford has its eye on becoming a bigger player in the high-volume sub-compact segment.
By 2010 Ford says it will have improve the fuel-economy of its vehicles by 20 percent as compared to 2005, with a goal of a 35 percent improvement by 2015.
[Source: Car & Driver]
On Saturday, April 25th at 8:15 a.m., Ford set out to show just how fuel-efficient its new Fusion Hybrid sedan really is. With drivers including NASCAR racer Carl Edwards, as well as CleanMPG.com founder Wayne Gerdes and several FoMoCo engineers, the team drove the 2010 Fusion Hybrid non-stop until it ran out of gas.
Ford called this the 1,000 Mile challenge, and when all was said and done, and the last drop of fuel consumed, the car came to a stop this morning at 5:37 a.m. on the George Washington Parkway in Washington, D.C. – after 69 straight hours of driving. The Fusion Hybrid easily surpassed the 1,000 mile mark with the final odometer reading at 1,445.7 miles. This distance is a world-record for a mid-sized gasoline powered sedan and works out to 81.5 mpg – almost double the car’s EPA rated fuel-economy.
Ford also used the stunt to help raise $8,000 towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“Not only does this demonstrate the Fusion Hybrid’s fuel efficiency, it also shows that driving technique is one of the keys to maximizing its potential,” said Nancy Gioia, director of Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Vehicle Programs. “The fact that we were able raise much needed funds for JDRF while raising the bar on fuel efficient driving performance made the effort doubly worthwhile.”
Gerdes, who pretty much wrote the book on fuel-efficient driving said the car works “brilliantly.”
“When you don’t need acceleration power while driving around town, the gas engine shuts down seamlessly. There’s not another hybrid drivetrain in the world that does that as effectively. The Fusion engineering team really knocked it out of the park.”
As for NASCAR star Edwards, he was equally impressed. “Having driven the car, I feel strongly about how great it is,” he said, “so strong that I’ve purchased one myself.”
The team used many of Gerdes’s fuel-saving driving techniques to achieve maximum fuel-efficiency. These include:
- Slowing down and maintaining even throttle pressure;
- Gradually accelerating and smoothly braking;
- Maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and anticipating traffic conditions;
- Coasting up to red lights and stop signs to avoid fuel waste and brake wear;
- Minimize use of heater and air conditioning to reduce the load on the engine;
- Close windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag;
- Applying the “Pulse and Glide” technique while maintaining the flow of traffic;
- Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills, and use downhill momentum to build speed; and
- Avoiding bumps and potholes that can reduce momentum
Official release after the jump:
The pure electric cars are expected to achieve 100 miles on a single charge. Then in 2012 Ford will deliver a plug-in hybrids of both the Fusion and Focus.
Ford also announced that the four cylinder all-new Fusion will deliver 34 mpg, making the Fusion the most fuel-efficient mid-sized sedan and mid-sized hybrid sedan.
Official release after the jump:
EPA Certified 36/41 MPG (city/highway) rating bests Camry
The EPA has just released its fuel mileage results after testing Ford’s new Fusion Hybrid and it’s official – the Fusion Hybrid is the most efficient mid-size car on the market. It beats the Toyota Camry by 2 mpg on the highway and an astounding 8 mpg in the city. According to Ford, this equates to 700 miles per tank of fuel.
The Fusion Hybrid is so incredibly efficient, says Ford, because of its newly developed hybrid powertrain. The new system uses a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (that makes 155hp and 136 ft-lbs of torque) combined with a smaller, lighter and 20 percent more powerful nickel-metal hydride battery, which is mated to a continuously variable transmission.
One key reason for the high level of fuel-efficiency in the city is that Ford’s new Hybrid system allows the Fusion to accelerate to 47 mph on just electric power.
Other reasons for the incredible fuel economy include advancements in the electronic throttle control system and an improved climate control system that uses an electric air conditioning compressor and a heater that only comes on when it has to (to reduce the time the gasoline engine comes on). The Fusion Hybrid also uses a regenerative braking system.