Ford may have to revamp its mpg strategy following revisions

Article by Christian A., on June 24, 2014

While Ford Motor Co. still intends to retain fuel economy as a pillar of its marketing effort, as the recent downward revision of mileage figures on six models could have the carmaker dump several of its superlative mpg claims. For instance, a 90-second Super Bowl spot claimed that the Fusion Hybrid had "nearly double" the fuel economy of the average vehicle.

But the carmaker has revised the figure to just 42 mpg combined, which is just 75 percent higher than that of the average car. In fact, it fare less than 47 mpg of the Honda Accord Hybrid.

Likewise, Ford boasted the Fiesta subcompact as the most-fuel efficient non-hybrid in the United States, but after the revision, the Fiesta SFE (31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and 36 mpg combined) is effectively less efficient than the Mitsubishi Mirage.

In 2013, Ford amended the C-Max Hybrid's combined fuel economy rating, which should place it ahead of the Toyota Prius V. But the recent revision makes the Prius V 2 mpg higher than the C-Max.

Ford also ran ads for the Lincoln MKZ, saying that it had the best fuel economy of any luxury hybrid in the US; the hybrid's revised ratings are now behind the Lexus ES 300h hybrid.

Larry Dominique, executive vice president of TrueCar and a former vice president of product planning at Nissan North America, remarked that the latest revisions in the mpg numbers of Ford’s vehicle will require the carmaker to do a major revaluation of its marketing.

He noted building a marketing strategy around fuel economy numbers has become more difficult since mpg ratings are becoming less of a differentiating factor between competing vehicles.

With governments imposing stiffer fuel economy regulations, carmakers are bound to invest heavily in transmissions with six or more speeds, continuously variable transmissions, gasoline direct injection and other fuel-saving technologies. Ford has adopted of six-speed transmissions and has been using EcoBoost engines across its lineup. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

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