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CAFE Rollback Wouldn’t Bring Much Change to Product Plans, Says Ford President

The big impact is likely to be on Ford’s sales mix.

by on Apr.11, 2017

Ford President Joe Hinrichs reveals the new Police Responder Hybrid at a New York preview.

President Donald Trump’s executive order reopening the “mid-term review” of federal fuel economy mandates will likely have a much smaller impact than critics have feared, according to a top Ford Motor Co. executive and other industry leaders.

Even if that review did lead to a rollback of the 54.5 mpg Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards set to phase in between now and 2025, said Ford’s President of the America Joe Hinrichs, the maker’s long-term product plans are largely already in motion. If there’s any change, it will be in Ford’s sales mix.

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“With the typical industry product cycle, which is five to six years, what’s we’re going to launch is already in the pipeline,” said Hinrichs, during the unveiling of a new hybrid police cruiser ahead of the annual New York International Auto Show.


Ford Trims C-Max Mileage by 10%, Offers “Goodwill” Cash to Owners

EPA expected to tweak its fuel economy rating process.

by on Aug.15, 2013

Ford cut the mpg rating of the C-Max Hybrid while also giving up to $550 to owners as a "goodwill" gesture.

Ford Motor Co. will reduce the fuel economy rating of its popular C-Max Hybrid by about 10% to better reflect what often-frustrated buyers have been experiencing in the real world, and it will offer owners as much as $550 as a “goodwill payment” to cover higher-than-expected fuel costs.

The hybrid version of the C-Max has been the center of controversy since Ford started advertising a 47 mpg rating for the “people mover.” That has triggered significant criticism – and several lawsuits from those who claim the numbers don’t reflect real-world experience. But the C-Max Hybrid is by no means alone.

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The Environmental Protection Agency, which is charged with overseeing federal fuel economy regulations, is expected to announce revisions to its testing and labeling procedures to acknowledge the mileage gap many of the latest vehicles – especially those using hybrid and other advance powertrain technologies – suffer from.


Ford Faces Lawsuit Alleging “False” Mileage Claims

Concerns growing about the gap between advertised and real-world mileage.

by on Dec.27, 2012

Ford's mileage claims for the C-Max Hybrid have come under question.

Ford Motor Co. is facing a class action lawsuit alleging the maker’s mileage claims for two new hybrid models are “false and misleading.”

The maker has made fuel economy a major part of its advertising pitch for new products, notably including the 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid models. But its official ratings have come in for criticism, notably from such influential sources as Consumer Reports magazine.

But Ford is by no means alone. Korean siblings Kia and Hyundai recently had to roll back their own mileage numbers by as much as 6 mpg after conceding they fudged the official government testing process.

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“In its advertising and marketing campaign for the vehicles, Ford claimed that the C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid achieved a class leading 47 Miles Per Gallon,” reads part of the lawsuit filed by California-based law firm McCuneWright. “These materials helped Ford achieve record sales for the first two months of C-MAX Hybrid sales, outselling its rival, hybrid sales leader Toyota, but there was a problem. These ads were false.”


Ford Mileage Claims Face EPA Review

New hybrid models under microscope.

by on Dec.10, 2012

The Hybrid version of the 2013 Ford Fusion is facing an EPA review because of concerns about its 47/47/47 mpg claims.

The Environmental Protection Agency is stepping in to review mileage claims for two of Ford Motor Co.’s two newest hybrid models.

The move was triggered by a report from Consumer Reports magazine that the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-Max Hybrid delivered substantially lower fuel economy than the maker has widely promoted in its advertising. The federal agency has become particularly sensitive to the issue following the discovery that South Korean carmakers Kia and Hyundai fudged the fuel economy figures for 13 of their own products.

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According to Consumer Reports, after 2,000 miles of driving the two Ford hybrids got as little as 35 miles per gallon in city driving, 12 mpg lower than Ford claims, while the two models fell short on the highway and combined driving cycle tests, as well. The C-Max and Fusion gas-electric models are rated at 47/47/47 mpg.


Did Ford Fudge Mileage Numbers?

New report says two Ford hybrids fall far short of ratings.

by on Dec.07, 2012

Consumer Reports claims the Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid fall well short of mileage claims.

Did Ford fudge the mileage numbers on two of its new hybrid vehicles? That’s been a topic of discussion in recent weeks as the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid have been put through their paces by automotive reviewers.

According to influential Consumer Reports magazine, the maker’s two new models fall well short of their heavily promoted 47 mpg sticker ratings.  The C-Max “people-mover,” for example, delivered an average 10 mpg lower than promised during the non-profit publication’s testing.

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“Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that ‘your results may differ,” CR said in a blog posting. “But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent. Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA’s combined-mpg estimate.”


Move Over Prius, Step Aside Leaf?

Ford wants fuel economy leadership and new Focus Electric is key part of its arsenal.

by on Mar.05, 2012

Ford's new Focus Electric will have the highest MPGe rating of any 5-passenger vehicle in the U.S.

With gas nudging $4 a gallon — and some pundits predicting it will nip the $5 mark by summer — it’s not a bad time to be adding some new high-mileage models to your fleet.  Actually, most manufacturers are doing that these days, but Ford wants to go a step further, not only promising a big jump in mileage for its entire line-up but declaring that it now sells “America’s most fuel-efficient five-passenger car.”

According to the official EPA endorsement, that title goes to the new Ford Focus Electric, the battery-powered version of the maker’s latest-generation compact 5-seater.  The government rates the Focus Electric at 105 MPGe – or miles per gallon-equivalent – in the combined City/Highway column, or a full six ahead of the Nissan Leaf.

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The pure battery-electric vehicle is one of five “BEVs” and plug-in hybrids the maker is planning to bring to market.  It follows the limited-edition launch of a battery-electric Transit Connect van and will be followed by plug-in hybrid versions of the Focus and  the new Ford C-Max microvan, both of those to be labeled “Energi,” a term Ford apparently is reserving for plug-ins. The Detroit maker has yet to identify what the fifth battery car will be.


First Look: 2013 Ford Taurus

A higher-mileage "rolling showcase" of technology.

by on Apr.20, 2011

Ford updates the Taurus for 2013, adding new features and a second EcoBoost engine rated at 31 mpg highway.

Just three years into its latest run, the Ford Taurus is getting  an update designed to enhance its appeal through a mix of design changes, technological updates and, perhaps most significantly, more fuel-efficient powertrains.

The 2013 Taurus will become the first Ford product to offer two versions of Ford’s new high-mileage EcoBoost engine technology, one capable of delivering up to 31 miles per gallon, a significant figure for such a large sedan.

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The new Taurus is “a rolling showcase of our best technologies and features,” proclaimed Ford’s global product czar, Derrick Kuzak, during a New York Auto Show preview.

The Taurus is one of the best-known nameplates in the American market, industry studies have shown.  First introduced in 1986, the sedan became an instant best-seller before Ford began to shift focus to its more profitable light truck models.  The nameplate was briefly allowed to lag, but when he joined the company four years ago, then-new CEO Alan Mulally pressed for its return.


Ford Planning to Slash Vehicle Weight Up to 700 lbs

Trimming mass a key to meeting future fuel economy goals.

by on Apr.19, 2011

Ford products - big and small - will be going on a diet, with a goal of cutting weight by as much as 700 pounds.

Ford Motor Co. plans to put its product line on a diet.  The maker expects to trim 100s of pounds off the weight of its cars, trucks and crossovers over the next half-decade in a bid to dramatically improve fuel economy.

The move won’t be easy, Ford officials warn.  The cuts will come even as consumers demand more content and features – and regulators pack on more safety devices.  And the lighter substitutes for conventional  materials, like steel, could add to vehicle cost.

“In the mid-term, from now to 2017 or 2018, we’ll remove anywhere from 250 to 700 pounds depending on the vehicle,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s global product chief.

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The move attempts to reverse course for Ford, which has faced the same dilemma as its competitors.  The typical automobile is today hundreds of pounds heavier than a similar model of a decade ago.  That reflects the addition of such creature comforts as onboard navigation systems, 15-speak audio packages and heated leather seats – as well as airbags, advanced braking systems and the complex safety structures required of modern cars.


Ford Hits Nearly 70 MPG with Focus ECOnetic

1000 miles on a single tank.

by on Apr.07, 2011

1,000 miles on a tank of diesel.

Imagine driving from Boston to Atlanta without tanking up.  Besides needing to find a restroom fast, you might be amazed by the money you’ve saved.

For the moment, unfortunately, you’ll have to head to Europe to enjoy that sort of fuel economy, as there are no immediate plans to bring the new Ford Focus ECOnetic to the U.S.  But, who knows, with the current run-up in fuel prices and the fact that the upcoming American version of Ford’s new compact sedan could readily borrow the new diesel drivetrain debuting on the Continent.

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With the launch of the Ford ECOnetic, the maker lays claim to having the most fuel-efficient model in its class – in fact, the five-door matches and exceeds the mileage of most smaller models, as well.

How does the ECOnetic work its magic?  It delivers nearly 70 mpg — about 10 mpg over its already efficient predecessor — with the use of an updated 105-horsepower 1.6-liter Duratorq diesel that integrates a new injection system, a redesigned turbo, enhanced charge cooling and a variety of features to reduce internal friction.


Ford Will Add Stop/Start Capability To 20% of Its Global Products By 2014

Technology should boost mileage by 10%, maker claims.

by on Dec.27, 2010

Ford wants to offer fuel-saving Stop/Start technology on products like the new Focus - if it can get federal regulators to acknowledge the technology's benefits.

Ford Motor Co. will begin offering so-called Stop/Start systems in a variety of its vehicles, technology the maker claims will be able to reduce fuel consumption by as much as 10%.

Globally, Stop/Start systems will be offered in about 20% of the maker’s product mix by 2014, noted J Mays, global design director, during a presentation at Ford’s Wayne Assembly Plant, on Tuesday.

Longer term, Ford officials added, Stop/Start could become fairly ubiquitous in the company’s line-up.

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But while Mays hinted that Ford hopes to launch the technology in the U.S. market “quite soon,” he cautioned that federal regulators have yet to give Stop/Start their thumbs-up.  With the nation’s fuel economy standard set to reach 35 mpg by 2016 – and possibly push to 62 mpg by 2025 – makers like Ford are reluctant to introduce anything that doesn’t gain them credits with regulators – as well as kudos from consumers.

(Ford plans to produce three battery cars at its newly-updated Wayne Assembly Plant, starting in 2012. Click Here for more.)

“We won’t bring it to market” in the U.S. without some acknowledgement from regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency that Stop/Start boosts mileage, stressed Mays.