Ford Fusion Hybrid Seeing Many First Time Ford Buyers

By dancurranjr On March 12th, 2010

In case there was any doubt about which American automaker has a real shot at longevity, Ford recently announced that 60% of those who bought the Fusion this year were buyers new to Ford.

The Fusion’s new Ford buyers, of  ”conquest sales,” have been increasing steadily, up 6 percentage points from January of this year, according to a release, and 11 points from the 2009 calendar year. The latest numbers for the Fusion Hybrid, featuring a hybrid gas/electric engine, are even better, with 82% of those who purchased them in February new to the brand. The Ford Fusion comes in seven different models ranging in fuel efficiency from 18/27 MPG City/Hwy (on the V6) to 41/36 MPG City/Hwy (on the Hybrid).

“It’s extraordinary that a car could set sales records and continue to excel in an environment where overall industry sales in the midsize segment are down 19 percent from a year ago,” said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president of Marketing and Sales and Service, in a statement. What’s perhaps more extraordinary is that no American automaker, until now, has tried to capitalize on the growing market for fuel-efficient mid-sized cars.

SOURCE: Earth Techling

Ford Expects Higher Hybrid Sales in 2009

By dancurranjr On December 31st, 2009

Ford Motor Co. said today that it is on track to sell more hybrid vehicles in 2009 than it ever has before.

Through November, Ford said has sold nearly 31,000 hybrid vehicles, or 67% more than it sold last year in the United States while total industry sales have declined 11%.

Ford’s hybrid sales increase is primarily driven by the spring introduction Ford Fusion Hybrid midsize car.

Through November, Ford sold 13,998 Fusion hybrids, according to Autodata Corp.

However, Ford still has a long way to go before it catches hybrid market leader Toyota Motor Corp. Through November, Toyota has sold 127,907 Priuses, according to Autodata Corp.

Ford also introduced the Mercury Milan hybrid midsize car earlier this year and sells hybrid versions of its Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs.


Ford Fusion Hybrid, Keep the Awards Coming

By dancurranjr On December 9th, 2009

ford fusionBack at it again, the Ford Fusion Hybrid has won yet another award.  Add this new one to the list which includes the vehicles recent selection as Car and Driver’s 10 Best.  The newest award presented to the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid is the 2010 Earth, Wind, & Power Award for green car of the year.

The Fusion was chosen for the award for numerous reasons.  Ford’s ability to offer a hybrid vehicle for sale nationwide at a base price of just $27,625 is one reason as is the Fusion’s gas mileage ratings of 41 mpg city and 36 mpg highway.  The Fusion Hybrid is also the first American hybrid able to fully move under electric power alone.  Yes, the Escape Hybrid can also move under electric power, but it losses that ability with the A/C on making it partially able to move under electric power.

As has been stated before, the Fusion Hybrid ins its share of awards not for being a hybrid, but for being an all around vehicle.  It offers sporty driving characteristics, room for five, high quality materials, good gas mileage, and does so in a familiar package that buyers like.

For Ford, few competitors exist that can challenge the Fusion Hybrid.  Competition comes from the Nissan Altima Hybrid which is only available in select states, the Toyota Camry hybrid, which lacks the fun to drive quotient of the Fusion, and possibly the Toyota Prius, which lacks mainstream appeal due to its dedicated hybrid design and lacks the performance aspect that the Fusion has.

Congrats to Ford once again for its efforts on the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

SOURCE: All Cars Electric

Ford Hybrid Shows Green Can Be Fun If You Enjoy Being Despised

By dancurranjr On June 11th, 2009

ford fusionI have become what I most hate. As the traffic light turns green on Manhattan’s Park Avenue I feather the gas pedal, softly rolling forward. Horns blare and yellow cabs swirl round my blue Ford like a river divided by a rock.

I coast the Fusion Hybrid to the next light, ignoring the invective directed at me, the maddeningly slow driver clogging up traffic.

But damn I’m getting good gas mileage.

If sports-car lovers fixate over Nurburgring lap times and power-to-weight ratios, there’s an equally obsessive eco-green set who argue over consumption-over-distance ratios and the etiquette of hypermiling — the practice of driving to maximize fuel economy.

The latter group has another midsize hybrid to obsess about, and this time it’s from a U.S. automaker. Ford’s Fusion Hybrid gets Environmental Protection Agency estimates of 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway.

But it can achieve better than that — way better — driven “correctly.” Ford advertises that the 17.5-gallon tank will last you for 700 miles in the city, yet a Ford team wrangled 1,445 miles in a test — more than 80 mpg. The problem is that the driving style needed to achieve those numbers will raise the blood pressure of your fellow road users.

The midsize sedan seats five and starts at $27,270, a sizable premium over the base $19,270 Fusion. A $1,700 Federal hybrid tax credit is good until Sept. 30.

Braking Energy

Ford’s other available hybrid is the $29,645 Escape Hybrid SUV, which also seats five and gets 34 city, 31 highway. There are also Mercury versions of the Fusion and Escape, the Milan Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid. In all, Ford has upped its hybrid production to 50,000 units for 2009.

The Fusion Hybrid has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor for combined power of 191 horses. Ford says the car can operate up to 47 mph in electric mode. Like the Toyota Prius, it uses nickel-metal-hydride batteries and a regenerative brake system to recapture energy.

As for looks and design, except for the shiny three-tiered grill and the honeycombed taillights, it has about as much style as knit sweaters. From the lackluster rims, which look like they’re made of plastic, to the generic sedan shape, the Fusion has no flash whatsoever. Both the rear seats and the trunk are cramped as the battery pack is stored back there.

The economical aesthetic extends to the interior. You like your plastic garnished with cheap-looking cloth? You’re in luck. Fortunately, heated and leather-trimmed seats are available, as is Ford’s fine SYNC infotainment system.

Digital Display

Engineers spent lots of time on the instrument cluster, coined SmartGauge. The digital display flashes fancifully when you turn the car on, showing a speedometer flanked by data on the operation of the hybrid systems and real-time mileage.

How much information you get is up to you. There are four modes, from basic “inform,” giving only fuel and battery charge levels, to “empower,” which even tells you how much energy the air conditioning is sucking.

The goal is to use the readings to maximize your driving efficiency. It definitely works, though it can be as distracting as a video game.

As with other hybrid and electric cars, there’s no start-up noise when you switch the Fusion on, and the continuous variable transmission means there’s no shifting. The transitions between gas and electric power are mostly seamless.

Slow Start

The Fusion has a tight turning radius and though you won’t mistake the steering or suspension for a German-made car, they are acceptable. Power is adequate. It’s no less fun to drive than a Toyota Camry.

Which brings us to those driving techniques that make you public enemy number one. The best mileage is achieved when the electric motor is on, and the best way to do that is to avoid stopping or, when you must, to start off again very slowly.

This is, of course, the opposite of New York City driving etiquette — mashing on the gas to surge through gaps and slamming on brakes at stoplights. Mincing through traffic instead put me in real-time mpg of 60.

The art of hypermiling is controversial as it can include illegal maneuvers such as rolling through stop signs and drafting, or following another vehicle closely to reduce wind resistance. Ford says the team who got 80 mpg did not do that.

Either way, you have to keep the speed down, often to far slower than the flow of traffic. Hitting a parkway, I drive a steady 55 miles per hour and get 50 mpg. Nice. Eyes on the SmartGauge, I slow down. At 49 mph an octogenarian in an Oldsmobile blows by, honking her horn. Embarrassing, but I’m in the 60-mpg range.

I kick the air conditioning up to full blast and the SmartGauge scolds me for sucking lots of extra energy. I quickly stab it off, feeling sheepish.

In fact, I feel a bit giddy. Green can be fun. I wonder how long it takes for this feeling to fade. I’m guessing the first time you’re late for work.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

Ford Says Online Fusion Hybrid Offer is a Hoax

By dancurranjr On June 9th, 2009

ford fusionAn e-mail making the rounds on the Internet this morning that says Ford’s offering 500 copies of its new Fusion hybrid for $15,000 each — almost 50% below list — is a hoax, the automaker said.

Employing the sort of fractured English that has become a familiar feature of certain types of Internet scams, the e-mail says:

“Due to the World Economy Recession, Ford Motor Company, Inc undergo a statistic fall in Sales and result in a drastic financial crisis this last season. The United States Government has given us the opportunity to bounce back on our feet, but unfortunately we have not achieved the fund necessary.

10FusionHybrid_22 “Therefore, we offer you the opportunity to purchase a very good Auto at half of the price. We decided to pull the sales of 500 cars at a very low price for us to aquire the capital needed to bounce back in business and to use this medium to increase the scale of our valued customers.”

The e-mail is signed “Ford Sales Manager Gary Settles” in Dearborn, Mich., where Ford has its headquarters.

“Unfortunately, the offer is not legitimate and the e-mail is a hoax,” Ford said in a statement. “Also, the sales manager listed in the e-mail is not a company employee.

“Ford recommends that people delete the e-mail and any attachments.”

A spokesman for Ford said the company’s IT department is looking into the matter and added that “we’re getting the word out to dealers as soon as we can that this is not a real offer.”

And for the record, the base MSRP for the 2010 Fusion hybrid is $27,270.