Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ford Brings the “Power of Choice” tour to GR; Unveils Local Driving Behaviors

(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich) -- Ford Motor Company showcased its Power of Choice Tour and clean vehicle lineup in Michigan today, where Ford’s all-electric vehicles hit Grand Rapids streets, along with hybrids and additional class-leading, fuel-efficient driving options. Ford is differentiating itself from competitors by offering a family of electrified vehicles and advanced engine options, all designed to meet today’s diverse range of driving needs.

“Fuel efficiency in my hometown of Grand Rapids and across the nation is a high priority for new car buyers right now, and consumers want options when it comes to green driving,” said Erich Merkle, U.S. Sales Analyst for Ford Motor Company. “Ford is meeting these consumer needs by offering a suite of fuel-efficient vehicles – from hybrids to electrics to ultra-efficient gas-powered cars. Even more, Ford is packing these vehicles with class-leading technology, giving consumers both exciting and cleaner driving choices.”

As part of the Power of Choice Tour, Ford recently conducted in-market, quantitative research to uncover key driving statistics and insights among Grand Rapids drivers. Results included:

• Lack of education for Grand Rapids residents, with regard to alternative fuel technologies

o 48% of residents surveyed did not know the difference between a hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a full battery electric vehicle

o Even though hybrid technology has been on the road for 15 years, one in five residents surveyed were unclear on what hybrid vehicle technology entails

o 39% of Grand Rapids residents surveyed do not know what flex fuel vehicles are or how they differ from petrol or compressed natural gas engine technologies

• 75% of those surveyed said an electric vehicle would fit their family’s needs, but 60% were not comfortable with a limited-range vehicle being their primary mode of transportation

• By far, Grand Rapids residents felt fuel efficiency was the most important factor when making a car purchase (41%), followed by brand loyalty (16%) and style (15%); Additionally, more than 25% of Grand Rapids residents surveyed were dissatisfied with their current fuel economy rating

• Saving money on gas was the most appealing aspect of a hybrid or electric vehicle, for area residents

• Grand Rapids residents’ driving habits included: 74% drive to work; 54% have a daily commute of less than 30 minutes; 86% drive more on weekends than weekdays; 45% cite traffic as biggest concern

Today, Ford shared this data and an overall industry analysis with Grand Rapids’ thought leaders and media, as part of a larger push to educate drivers on the range of fuel-efficient vehicles and technologies available. Attendees were offered test drives in the Transit Connect Electric – a small, fully-electric utility van which debuted in 2010, as well as numerous other clean driving vehicles. Additionally, the Focus Electric – Ford’s first zero-emission, all-electric passenger car coming in late 2011 – was on display.

Power of Choice
Electrification is an important piece of Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy, which includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and in Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and will launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year. In 2012, these models will be joined in North America by the new C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and the new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. This diverse range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

Beyond electrification, Ford continues to lead the industry in fuel efficient technology development, with a firm commitment from President and CEO Alan Mulally to bring each new Ford and Lincoln vehicle to market as a class or near-class leader in fuel efficiency and quality.

Ford is achieving this leadership in a variety of ways, including through advancements in the internal combustion engine with technology like EcoBoost, which combines direct injection into smaller engines and turbo-charging to give customers the power they want and the fuel efficiency they need. EcoBoost is a global Ford engine that provides affordable fuel efficiency for millions of drivers, increasing fuel economy up to 20 percent while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent. 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 its engine technology.

In addition to the EcoBoost engine offering, Ford’s recent line up of smaller, more fuel efficient vehicle sales have gained significant market share in key regions of the country. Vehicles like the all-new Ford Focus and the Fiesta both achieve 40 mpg or higher, boasting fuel economy that most hybrids don’t even achieve.

“Small car sales now account for 25% of vehicles sold in the U.S., compared to 19% in December 2010,” said Merkle. “We’ve seen this shift take place at Ford, with the Focus and Fiesta becoming the two fastest turning vehicles in our showrooms. In fact, Fiesta sales in August were up 76% and the Focus continues to perform beyond expectations.”

Green Driving Leadership
Ford has 14 vehicles with best-in-class fuel economy, more than any other full line auto maker. Additionally, Ford has four cars that achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg or higher, including Fiesta, Focus, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Thirteen Ford vehicles achieve an EPA-rated 30 mpg or higher.

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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit

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