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Market Research: Americans Go Slower, Choose Green Options Like Ford Fusion EcoBoost with $295 Auto Start-Stop Technology

  • Recent survey shows 82 percent of Americans are paying more upfront for green products that save money longer term, as many drive slower and take other steps to conserve fuel
  • New 2013 Ford Fusion offers hybrid-based Auto Start-Stop technology that shuts off the engine at stops to reduce fuel consumption in stop-and-go driving conditions
  • If just 50,000 customers add the $295 Auto Start-Stop Fusion option, it could save more than 14 million pounds of CO2 emissions and nearly 1 million gallons of gasoline annually
  • New Fusion is the first vehicle ever to offer the power of choice with fuel-efficient EcoBoost®, EcoBoost with Auto Start-Stop, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains
 

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 12, 2012 – Energy-efficient washers and dryers, solar panels, and the fuel-efficient 2013 Ford Fusion look to be hot green products this fall as a majority of Americans say they’re paying more upfront to save money over time.
 
The all-new Fusion provides the power of choice – an automotive-first lineup of fuel-efficient EcoBoost®, EcoBoost with Auto Start-Stop technology, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrain offerings.
 
The Fusion with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is Ford’s first gasoline-powered vehicle in North America to offer the Auto Start-Stop fuel-saving technology – derived directly from advanced Ford hybrids, and a $295 option – with the convenience of a six-speed automatic transmission.
 

Click graphic to download PDF.
“As American consumers continue to get greener, Ford is rapidly introducing more fuel-saving technologies to expand the power of choice for leading fuel economy across our lineup,” said Ford group vice president for Global Product Development Raj Nair. “The new Fusion with Auto Start-Stop technology is an affordable way for consumers to enjoy some hybrid benefits including improved urban fuel economy and cleaner air.”
 
A Ford-commissioned survey by leading market research firm Penn Schoen Berlandalso found many American drivers are slowing down, coasting more to stops, and in some cases even slipstreaming behind larger vehicles to save gasoline.
 
Based on $1,000 of discretionary income to spend on energy savings, 25 percent of the survey respondents would buy a vehicle with hybrid technology, with almost equal numbers choosing energy-efficient appliances or solar panels.
 
Survey says…
The study shows the significance of this greener attitude shift, as seven out of 10 drivers have changed their driving habits to become more fuel-efficient.
 
This recently released research of American driver attitudes indicates the following trends:
  • Saving money and helping the environment are top drivers of energy-efficient purchases
  • Almost all respondents agree on the importance of fuel-efficient vehicles (95 percent), followed by energy-efficient appliances (93 percent) and light bulbs (85 percent)
  • Seven of 10 respondents have changed their driving habits to save fuel
  • Sixty-four percent drive less frequently, 41 percent have slowed down, and 10 percent say they draft behind larger vehicles to save fuel
  • Thirty-two percent have done research to find cheaper fuel
  • Twenty-one percent have purchased a new vehicle with improved fuel economy
 
How it works
Ford's Fusion represents the first North American non-hybrid Ford application of the Auto Start-Stop feature and the first to combine this technology with a gasoline engine and the convenience of an automatic transmission, making this accessible to the widest possible range of drivers.
 
Auto Start-Stop switches off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped in congested traffic, at stop signs and traffic signals. Seamlessly restarting when the driver releases the brake pedal, the system helps to save fuel and conserve the environment.
 
Ford Auto Start-Stop can provide up to a 10 percent improvement in overall fuel efficiency, with a corresponding drop in tailpipe emissions.
 
“This affordable system can provide real-world benefits such as saving money and helping preserve air quality,” Nair said. “For urban drivers, the more they stop, the more they save.”
 
Start, stop, repeat, save
Auto Start-Stop saves the fuel typically wasted when a car is standing and running at idle. Savings vary depending on driving patterns, but owners who spend most of the time in urban areas and city traffic will benefit the most – up to 10 percent.
 

Click graphic to download PDF.
On average, Auto Start-Stop improves fuel efficiency by about 3.5 percent. If 50,000 Fusions were equipped with Auto Start-Stop, the improved efficiency would reduce annual CO2 emissions by more than 14 million pounds and 1 million gallons of gasoline.
 
More broadly, a study by the United States Department of the Treasury estimates that congestion consumed an extra 1.9 billion gallons of fuel in 2011, approximately 5 percent of all the gasoline used. Studies show drivers encounter an average of 10 to 15 red lights and stop signs on a typical 20-mile commute, which can add from five to 15 minutes of idle time and wasted fuel.
 
“We expect the average Fusion driver with the 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and Auto Start-Stop can recover the $295 cost of this technology through real-world fuel savings in less than 18 months,” said Samantha Hoyt, Fusion Marketing manager. “That’s more cash in their pocket and more time saved with fewer trips to the pump.”
 
The Auto Start-Stop engineering team has filed more than 25 patent applications for innovations developed in the e... to ensure smooth and robust restarts.
 
The system also monitors climate control settings and cabin temperature and humidity to ensure a comfortable environment for the driver and passengers.
 
Power of choice
On sale this fall, Fusion offers customers the power of choice with the broadest selection of fuel-efficient powertrains in the midsize car segment – two EcoBoost-powered gasoline engines, a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. Fuel economy includes:
  • 2013 Fusion 1.6-liter EcoBoost with Auto Start-Stop: Delivering a projected 37 mpg highway
  • 2013 Fusion Hybrid: Delivering at minimum a projected 47 mpg – 4 mpg better than the Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • 2013 Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid: Delivering at minimum a projected 100 MPGe-plus rating – making it the world’s most fuel-efficient midsize sedan when it becomes available early in 2013
 
The story behind the new Fusion
For more on the new Ford Fusion, check out http://FordFusionStory.com, a special mobile site featuring articles, videos and graphics that are easily shareable directly from a smartphone, tablet or computer browser to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and blogs.
 
# # #
 
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 168,000 employees and about 65 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 and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.
 

Tags: EcoBoost, Ford, Fuel Economy, Fusion, Green, Market Research, Product, Start-Stop, Technology

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Ian Merritt Cars.com

Survey: Car buyers willing to pay more to save gas

More Americans are willing to pay more for a vehicle that will save on fuel over time and are adjusting how they drive to make each drop of fuel go farther, according to a new survey by market research firm Penn Schoen Berland.

Drivers are slowing down, coasting more to stops, and even drafting behind larger vehicles to save gasoline, the study released Wednesday shows.

Of survey respondents, 25% said they would buy a vehicle with hybrid technology if they had $1,000 more to spend. The same percentage of respondents would choose an energy-efficient appliance or solar panels. Most gasoline-electric vehicles that don't require recharging cost $2,000 to $5,000 more than gas-engine versions of the same model.

Ford commissioned the study.

U.S. sales of gas-electric hybrids that don't need recharging increased 65% over a year ago for the first eight months of this year. That compares with a 15% increase in sales of all light vehicles in the same period.

Sales of plug-in hybrids have more than tripled to 25,290 for the first eight months of this year, but the shortage of convenient recharging stations and the cars' significantly higher sticker prices have discouraged many consumers from buying them.

But if they can't afford the newest fuel-efficient technology, the survey found that some drivers have changed their driving habits to either drive less (64%); slow down (41%) or draft behind larger vehicles to save fuel (10%). And 32% have done research to find cheaper fuel, and 21% have purchased a new vehicle with improved fuel economy.

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