DEARBORN – Gas prices in the U.S. have reached an average of U.S. $3.57 per gallon, and they may climb even higher as tension continues to escalate in the oil-rich Middle East.
The good news is that Ford is in an excellent position – both in dealer showrooms and its manufacturing facilities – to meet the needs of new car buyers who are concerned about the rising cost of fuel.
“We have more vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy than any other manufacturer, including four vehicles that achieve at least 40 miles per gallon,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Powertrain Engineering.
The Ford portfolio offers consumers the power of choice with fuel-efficient vehicles in virtually every segment – from small cars like the Fiesta and the all-new 2012 Focus to sports cars like the 2011 Mustang coupe and full-size trucks like the 2011 F-150 with EcoBoost.
According to Bakaj, advanced engine technologies – such as EcoBoost – enable Ford to deliver vehicles that offer both performance and fuel efficiency, a combination that in the past would have been considered an oxymoron.
“In the powertrain world, there always used to be tradeoff between performance and fuel economy. We now deliver both,” he said. “It’s very difficult, and it requires some innovative solutions, but I’m glad it is that way because that means it’s also very difficult for our competitors to copy what we’re doing.”
More new fuel-saving technologies are on the way. For example, Ford Auto Start-Stop – already available on some of the company’s European vehicles – will be coming to North American cars, crossovers and utilities in 2012. The Ford patented technology automatically shuts off the engine when the vehicle comes to a stop and restarts it the instant the driver’s foot leaves the brake pedal, boosting city fuel economy between 4 and 10 percent.
Ford has already introduced electric power steering, dual-clutch PowerShift six-speed transmissions and other fuel-saving features as part of the company’s commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment.
And because of the flexibility that has been built in to many of Ford’s manufacturing plants, the company can quickly change the mix of products coming off the assembly line to coincide with unexpected changes in the marketplace, such as spikes in gas prices.
A good example is the newly transformed Michigan Assembly Plant, which was re-designed and re-tooled to build a variety of different vehicles along the same assembly line.
“Flexible manufacturing gives us the ability to offer customers a variety of choices at a relatively efficient manufacturing cost,” said Bakaj. “And because we can build different vehicles on the same line, we can mix and match as consumer trends change.”