MIAMI – A national survey shows fuel economy has jumped dramatically in the last decade to become a primary reason to buy nearly every kind of vehicle, underscoring Ford’s plan for leading fuel efficiency with every new car, utility and truck it introduces.
“Drivers want fuel economy choices – not a one-size-fits-all solution – and Ford is leading the way,” said Mark Fields, Ford’s president of The Americas, at the South Florida International Auto Show, where Ford is showcasing its fuel-efficient lineup. “Customers are telling us clean and green vehicles matter because they are good for people’s wallets and good for our planet.”
A national survey by Maritz Research reveals that more than 40 percent of consumers now view fuel economy as “extremely important” when considering a new vehicle purchase today. One-third of consumers say fuel economy has the “greatest impact” on their next purchase.
The survey shows fuel economy has jumped in importance in nearly all vehicle segments since 2001:
- Fuel economy as a purchase reason for small B-sized cars like the Ford Fiesta became the top consideration in 2011, up from fourth place in 2001
- Fuel economy as a purchase reason for small C-size cars like the Ford Focus nearly tripled in importance from 2001, going from fifth to first place this year
- Fuel economy now ranks fifth for mid-size cars like the Ford Fusion, up from 12th place
- Fuel economy is now among the top five most important purchase reasons for small utility vehicles like the Ford Escape, up from 16th in 2011
- Fuel economy is now among the top 10 drivers for sports car buyers like the Ford Mustang for the first time ever
That view carries through to greater Miami. A Ford commissioned survey shows Miami residents rank fuel efficiency as the No. 1 purchase driver, surpassing safety and brand loyalty.
The survey results track with Ford’s 2011 research and sales trends.
Sales of Ford’s two all-new small cars, the Focus and Fiesta, increased 34 percent year-to-date through September versus the same period a year ago, totaling 194,540.
Fusion sales totaled 19,510 vehicles last month, up 23 percent, making it a record September for Ford’s midsize sedan. Fusion has set monthly sales records 11 of the last 12 months.
Ford also is on track to sell 100,000 EcoBoost V-6-powered F150s by year-end, less than a year after launch.
EcoBoost is Ford’s family of gasoline-powered turbocharged engines that deliver as much as 20 percent better fuel efficiency, lower emissions and better performance versus larger displacement engines. By the end of 2011, Ford will have built nearly 180,000 EcoBoost-powered vehicles in North America, and the engines will be offered in 90 percent of Ford vehicles by 2013. Ford holds more than 125 patents on the engine technology.
In addition to EcoBoost, Ford is using new, more fuel-efficient transmissions and additional technologies to help consumers save at the pump.
In fact, Ford has 12 vehicles that deliver best-in-class fuel economy and offers four cars that achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg or higher – a claim no other full-line automaker can make.
Orders Begin for New Focus Electric
Electrification also is an important piece of Ford’s commitment to top fuel efficiency. The company is introducing five electrified vehicles in North America by the end of next year.
The Ford Transit Connect Electric small commercial van is now on sale. Next Wednesday, customer orders begin for the all-new Focus Electric, with production beginning later this year.
The first fuel-free, rechargeable passenger car from Ford, the Focus Electric is capable of fully recharging in three to four hours with an at-home 240-volt charge station. The Focus Electric also offers value charging, powered by Microsoft, to help owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates, lowering the cost of ownership
Next year, the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid go on sale.
The C-MAX Hybrid is targeted to deliver better mpg than Fusion Hybrid and is the first Ford Hybrid to use lithium ion battery technology. Lithium-ion batteries are up to 50 percent lighter and 25 percent smaller than current nickel-metal-hydride batteries and increase the amount of energy available to extend the vehicle's driving distance and boost fuel economy.
The C-MAX Energi, featuring a 240-volt charging system, will be able to fully recharge faster than Chevy Volt and is being engineered to deliver more overall driving range than any other plug-in or extended range electric vehicle. It also is targeted to achieve AT-PZEV status.
In addition, another next-generation, lithium-ion hybrid vehicle will debut next year.
Fuel Economy Top of Mind in Miami
Fuel efficiency is particularly important in Miami. Results of another Ford survey show:
- 32 percent of consumers said they would consider purchasing or leasing a smaller car as their primary vehicle as a result of fuel efficiency
- 58 percent of area residents are interested in purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle; however, gas would need to reach $5 per gallon to warrant serious consideration of an electric vehicle purchase
- More than half of Miami consumers do not know the difference between a hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle – showing that more consumer education is needed