While Ford is working on plenty of hybrid and electric vehicles, its big bet for meeting the new corporate average fuel economy standards is EcoBoost, and so far customers appear to like it. Since launching the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 last summer as an alternative to larger V8s, Ford has sold about 10,000 units of the Lincoln MKS and MKT along with the Ford Flex and Taurus SHO. A quality study by RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, MI, indicates that early adopters are almost universally satisfied with the performance and operation of these engines.

The gasoline turbocharged direct injected EcoBoost engines are designed to replace larger displacement powerplants with smaller, lighter units that provide similar output with greater efficiency. We can't comment on the methodology of this particular study, but so far we have loved the EcoBoost engines that we've tried. Over the remainder of 2010, Ford will be rapidly expanding EcoBoost availability with the 3.5 going into the F150 and a 2.0-liter inline four going into the 2011 Edge and Explorer.

[Source: Ford]
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SURVEY: FORD ECOBOOST SATISFIES CUSTOMERS

* Lincoln buyers give the 3.5-liter EcoBoost™ V-6 engine some of the highest customer satisfaction scores ever for Lincoln
* Sales of EcoBoost engine-equipped vehicles continue to meet or exceed company expectations
* EcoBoost is attracting younger, more affluent buyers to Ford and Lincoln Mercury showrooms

DEARBORN, Mich., May 4, 2010 – Ford Motor Company's 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is not only bringing new, more affluent customers into Ford and Lincoln Mercury showrooms, it also is delivering some of the highest customer satisfaction scores for overall engine performance the company has ever seen.

"We are winning import buyers with EcoBoost," says Amy Marentic, Ford's North American group marketing manager for cars and crossovers. "Even better, this new customer is younger and more affluent."

Drivers of EcoBoost vehicles say they are more than satisfied with the overall performance of their engines, according to the Global Quality Research System (GQRS) study conducted by the RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

In rating their EcoBoost engines, 100 percent of Lincoln MKT buyers surveyed said they were satisfied with their engine's performance, including power and pickup.
Meanwhile, 99 percent said they were satisfied with their engine's overall operation. Ninety-one percent of Lincoln MKS buyers were satisfied with their engine's performance, while 94 percent were satisfied with their engine's overall operation.

The GQRS study is conducted on a quarterly basis with scores assessed from survey responses collected from owners of vehicles purchased within specific time frames. New vehicle owners are asked to report any defects or issues, as well as rate their satisfaction with vehicle quality on a scale of 1 to 10 across an array of vehicle systems and features – including EcoBoost engines.

A growing fan base
Since August, Ford has sold more than 10,000 EcoBoost-equipped vehicles in North America. EcoBoost is available on the 3.5-liter V-6 offered in the Ford Taurus SHO and Ford Flex and on Lincoln MKS and Lincoln MKT.

The EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 combines direct injection, variable valve timing and twin turbochargers to deliver the power of a V-8 with the fuel consumption of a V-6. That combination – of which Ford holds more than 125 patents – is expanding the appeal of Ford and Lincoln products, Marentic said.

The 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine is built at Ford's Cleveland Engine Plant No. 1. On Monday, Christina Romer, economic advisor to President Barack Obama, toured the plant with Ford officials.

Not only do consumers give EcoBoost high marks for performance, towing and overall operation, but demand for vehicles available with an EcoBoost engine continues to meet or exceed Ford's internal sales expectations, said Marentic.

For example, calendar year sales of the Lincoln MKT with EcoBoost are running at 50 percent – 25 percent higher than projected. Flex sales this year also are running higher than projected, too. Approximately 11 percent of Flex sales are with the EcoBoost engine, 3 percent higher than anticipated.

Last month at the Beijing Auto Show, Ford debuted the newest member of the EcoBoost family in the small Start concept. The Start's engine is a 1.0-liter three-cylinder that delivers the performance of a 1.6-liter four.

In Europe, the first four-cylinder EcoBoost engines are just now being launched.
The four-cylinder EcoBoost engine makes its North American debut late this year in the next-generation Explorer SUV and Edge crossover. Those vehicles will be available with an optional 2.0-liter EcoBoost engine that is expected to deliver the performance of a V-6 but with best-in-class fuel economy.

By 2013, Ford plans to offer an EcoBoost engine in as much as 90 percent of its North American nameplates, which would deliver global sales of 1.5 million EcoBoost vehicles per year.

"Customers have embraced EcoBoost technology because of its ability to deliver power and performance with uncompromised fuel economy," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president of Global Product Development. "We're committed to delivering this technology to multiple vehicles so that more and more customers can take advantage of EcoBoost's unique, no-compromise combination of power, performance and fuel economy."