Ford's Ecoboost technology may improve the fuel efficiency of the Blue Oval's cars, but there's one problem that the company's engineer's couldn't solve: making sure people know this. As Jim Farley, the Ford's global marketing chief, recently told Bloomberg, "There are 240 million people driving vehicles in America and only 32 percent have a good opinion of Ford on fuel economy. That means 68 percent don't."

Yes, despite millions of dollars spent developing Ecoboost and on advertising things like the "Four in the forties" campaign, Ford isn't able to charge what it wants for its vehicles because of poor impressions of the brand's mileage ratings. As Farley said, "Fuel economy is ground zero in pricing power in the U.S. for Ford. ... Those that own fuel economy in the U.S. own pricing."

This is an argument we haven't heard before, but it's an interesting one. We like to think that efficient cars are good for their own sake – and the sake of the environment and national security, of course – but if Ford wants to make greener cars to charge more green, well, then, that's cool, too. Right?


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  • 76 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've always had the sense that the executive halls of Ford have been occupied by the unpopular highschool kids who couldn't understand why everybody doesn't love them - they're wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, genuflecting before Toyota and the auto media - they should be the heroes, not everybody else! They have tofu seat cushions, they use Japanese manufacturing terms to describe their American manufacturing processes! "Love me! Love me!", screams Billy Ford. It is obvious to anyone who has read Clayton Christensen's "The Innovator's Dilemma", that Ford pursued sustaining innovations, staying on the same track chasing Toyota, instead of embracing a disruptive innovation that would allow them to leap-frog the world, as other automakers are doing. The market senses it, and are turning towards the more popular kids in the class.
      Grendal
      • 3 Years Ago
      Boo-hoo. 5.9 Billion from the Feds to improve your fuel economy and, what a surprise, you have better fuel economy. Now you're crying because people don't quite know it yet. If the Model S is anything close to what Tesla claims it to be, it makes Ford look like a bunch of amateurs. GM and Nissan also got money and they created the Volt and the Leaf. Stop whining and get to work.
        ufgrat
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        Strictly speaking, GM created the Volt starting in late 2006. Nearly all of the design work was finished by the time GM went down.
          xxxZOMBIExxx
          • 3 Years Ago
          @ufgrat
          No it wasn't. I worked for them during that time period. They were still piecing the Volt together after the bailouts. The only thing that was done before the hand was the prototype work and a couple of Frankensteined test mules
        centeredtype
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Grendal
        wasn't ford the only one that did not take out BAIL money?
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @centeredtype
          All of the big three took lots of bail out money. Some of the money was more obvious than other money though. GM & Chrylser got explicit bail-out money. But Ford got billions in money to 'retool', 'develop fuel efficient vehicles', etc. Just bail-out money with better PR.
          hodad66
          • 3 Years Ago
          @centeredtype
          Yes because unlike GMAC they stayed clear of the mortgage market.
          xxxZOMBIExxx
          • 3 Years Ago
          @centeredtype
          @Spec: I agree with you most of the time but on this one you're way off. Ford took most of the Government Loans shortly after Mulally took over at Ford...this was well before the bailouts. There is a distinct difference between taking loans at a fair market rate then paying them back early and in full versus taking taxpayer money and pissing it away with no intention of EVER paying back more than a fraction of it.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe it has to do with them building giant trucks and SUVs in parallel?
      HVH20
      • 3 Years Ago
      In fords defense, the new ecoboost F150 is extremely efficient (compared to the rest of the market) for a fully capable work horse. Its mileage is pretty close to the 2-mode hybrids coming out of GM that cost $15k more.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      maybe if you stopped producing your super doodie series you'd look more fuel efficient..
      Noz
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's a reason why most people think Ford is garbage in fuel economy...because it is. For decades they've made gas guzzling trash and sold the idea to the dumb public....that's the 32% they are talking about.... Why anyone would entertain such a mark is eluding. Oh but there are the fanboys and idiots out there....I forgot.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Noz
        Happy Happy Joy Joy.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G880gxjj9dI (hippies crying in a forest due to trees)
          Noz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          Doing that might actually make you smarter...just sayin...
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          @ Noz My education continues... Disagree with Noz, and you should suck carbon monoxide, which is quite fatal. Noz...you are unbalanced...why don't you tell us something that makes you happy - and it cannot be 'the tears of my enemies.'
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let me add a bit of rational thought to the suddently angry posts (hi Noz!) In the past, one of the problems was that while a car company could make $5000 profit - $10,000 profit per large SUV, they would only make in the $100's per small car. GM and Ford lost money on each small car they sold due to never being able to recoup development costs. If car companies can make profit on the small cars (and dare I say, ones made in the USA as well), then they might actually build more of them. No one is thrilled with higher prices on anything (except gasoline, but then, only if those higher prices are due to taxes going to the government, and not due to supply and demand because in that case, it is evil speculators and evil oil companies stealing money haliburton Chimpy McHitler blah blah ivory towers blah), but companies do not produce goods and services to be nice to people, they do it to make a profit. So although what he is saying is a bit direct, take two happy thoughts from the story: 1) There is incentive for the company to not only build fuel efficient cars, but to also advertise, and be known as building and selling fuel efficient cars. 2) Since corporations (evil or otherwise) do actually want to make money, if they CAN make money on small, fuel efficient cars (ones that are aero and light weight as well), then they will BUILD fuel efficient cars (that are aero and light weight). Meanwhile, I will take my 'garbage' Ford Fusion, which today the 'average' fuel economy was at 30.4 mpg for the past two months (last time I reset it) for a drive. Then maybe later, I will take my 'garbage' ULEV Ford Ranger, and maybe even fill it up with E85, since my ULEV Ford Ranger is also a flex fuel vehicle as well. And, the EcoBoost engines allow them to put 4 cylinder engines in large trucks and SUV's.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Save us the fanboy bullsh^t...decades of "proof in the pudding" garbage products say it all... I'll let you continue your bulls&t though.....go back to your desk somewhere in Ford's HQ and keep typing away!
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Ford has very good reliability ratings in Consumer Reports. So, you must be referring to something else? How they drive, handle?
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Noz
          Happy Happy Joy Joy Happy Happy Joy Joy But, in all seriousness, my education continues... Anything Ford does or says, is garbage. If they invent a light weight, aero car, that runs for 5,000 miles on a tank of faerie dust, and the exhaust in polar bears, then that is garbage! Nothing they can ever do or say is worth anything, so why should they even try? Noz, you are now being given the award for the angriest person on ABG. Dan - a ray of sunshine. PR (when provoked) - kittens in a field of grass. Ford? Bouquet of Daisies.
        Noz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        So glad I've made an impact on your life EZEE...seems like you just can't help but mention me in your posts....lol...good for me.
      skierpage
      • 3 Years Ago
      As PR said, go to http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byEPAclass.htm for the facts. Ford doesn't lead in any class except Sport Utility Vehicle. The Ford Fiesta SFE has the best Subcompact mpg besides the electric i-MiEV, but that'll be history as soon as the Prius C arrives. The Fusion Hybrid was the best mpg for "midsize car with a trunk" for people who hate the Prius look, but the Camry Hybrid just beat it. And the 2013 Ford Escape may not be available as a hybrid. It sucks to be second-best when you're "almost as good", but the answer is to win outright instead of misleading everyone with the same "over 40mpg (**HIGHWAY**) crap" as GM. What irritates me is companies cry about how they aren't #1 in fuel economy and boo-hoo Toyota gets all the PR, but they willingly throw money at making 500 hp monster-engined sports cars for bragging rights.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skierpage
        The new Camry beat the Fusion? Well good for them...
        Aaron
        • 3 Years Ago
        @skierpage
        I never look at HIGHWAY ratings. It's usually a bogus number. Plus, I drive mostly suburban only. I think most of America is the same.
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Maybe if Ford didn't spend 7 Million on their own lobbyists to block laws improving MPG, and if the car lobby group they belong to (Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers) didn't spend another 6 Million to block laws to improve MPG, maybe Ford's MPG image would be better.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @PR
        As you pointed out though, Ford (Garbage!) is slightly better on their cars than average (slightly), and with the C-Max hybrid coming out, and the application of Eco-Boost (Garbage!), it should improve further. But, to back up your point though - I never really did understand why everyone (the public as guilty as anyone) stopped being concerned with fuel efficiency. I am a very cheap person, so just out of naked greed, I always looked at the mileage on the cars. So when I got the Escape Hybrid (Garbage!), or the Fusion (see above), mileage was one of the reasons (along with reliability ratings from CR). I literally know people that bought F-150's (Garbage!) and then were shocked to find out about the gas mileage. Not as if it wasn't posted on the window...oh wait...
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          I am in Florida - so I try to be nice and be like, "wow dude, that sucks" but I wonder. But, whoa - 5mpg in the winter on the V8's. Thanks for the info....
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          In their defense, in the Winter these big V8's lose 5 mpg to cold weather. That is a bit of a shock, when you start at 12 mpg in city driving.
      lne937s
      • 3 Years Ago
      If Ford wants Americans to know they are fuel efficient, then they actually need to be truly fuel efficient. They may be offering a handful of efficient models and may be touting inflated highway numbers that are not representative of typical driving conditions, but their typical vehicle is not as efficient as other automakers. Look at this chart from a few days ago: http://green.autoblog.com/2011/11/13/average-fuel-economy-up-four-months-in-a-row/ Ford has average fuel economy of 21.3 mpg, Hyundai is 26.8 mpg. If Ford wants people to perceive them as being fuel efficient, the best way to start is to actually be more fuel efficient than competitors. If Ford creates the perception of fuel efficiency and doesn't live up to that perception, it can lead to backlash.
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 3 Years Ago
        @lne937s
        Ludicrous comparison - Ford is a full line manufacturer, Hyundai is not. Hyundai has nothing for farmers, construction workers, distributors, small businesses, etc. who need and use trucks. Ford also has some very high MPG hybrids. Again people, think before you post!
          paulwesterberg
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          So Hyundai has vehicles that are more fuel efficient and they cost less!? Ok, Got it.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          "Look at PR's post below showing that Ford's passenger vehicle only numbers are pretty much right on the average." According to those numbers, Hyundai average is 0.6 mpg better than Ford's passenger cars (A whopping 2.2%). And how many full size cars does Hyundai sell compared to Ford? And that is not what lne937s is talking about - he is comparing the entire Ford product line average to the Hyundai average. Do you get it now Spec?
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Alfonso, I can't follow your logic. You are unhappy that Ford has a reputation for building big fat gas guzzling full size cars, and your excuse for why Ford's actual MPG numbers is barely average, is because Ford sells too many big fat gas guzzling full size cars. You are nailing the source of Ford's image problem right on the head, all while you think you are defending Ford's image. The reason why Ford has the image of selling big fat full-size gas guzzlers is because Ford sells big fat full-size gas guzzlers. The same full size cars that you yourself just brought up. Do you get it now, Alfonso? PS -- you got your math wrong. Here are the correct numbers: 26.2 -- Ford 28.3 -- Hyundai That is 2.1 mpg better than Ford, not the 0.6 you said, or ~9% better mpg Oh, and Hyundai's EPA "Large Car" category vehicles are the Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Azera, Hyundai Equus, and Hyundai Genesis. So you can't even say they don't make cars in the EPA "Large Car" class. It's just that Hyundai's cars in the same EPA class actually get better MPG than the Ford/Lincoln EPA "Large Car" class vehicles. In fact, Hyundai has the EPA "Large Car" class leading best MPG Sonata at 35 MPG highway, compared to the best Ford has to offer of just 28 MPG highway. So Ford can't even use the excuse that it is because of the size of their boats. It's that their boats are gas guzzlers compared to Hyundai's boats. http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byEPAclass.htm
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Look at PR's post below showing that Ford's passenger vehicle only numbers are pretty much right on the average.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Keep working at it. It took Hyundai about 10 years to fix their image... Just keep working at it Ford...
        Ray Blackburn
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        As Ezee would say, every one just calm the freak down. Ford, GM and the other of the small three, all made two thirds of their profit pedaling F-150's, Silverados and Ram PU's.
          EVSUPERHERO
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ray Blackburn
          I think what this rather intelligent person above meant was, last quarter is when they made these profits off PU's. Yes the guy above is super intelligent and handsome, I know him well. Further more the stupendous person above believes it is the consumers fault for not demanding better. Lets face it Toyota and Nissan took a bunch of market share with their small PU's over the years, forcing Ford and GM to come out with the Ranger and S10. Still, US consumers contiunued buying the full sized PU to comute to the office so Toyota and Nissan started building full size PU's. Now with gas averaging $3.70 per gallon for approx a year now Americans still insist on spending a good portion of their income for fuel so they can drive a large PU. I admit they are nice. Also I would say I am everything the guy above is.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ray Blackburn
          @EV Good point on the small pickups...Ford (Garbage!) still pisses me off for let the Ranger die. Best selling truck on the market (compact), and....and....nothing. Personally - if they like the mid sized trucks, fine. But Ford (Garbage!) or any other car company, should look to come out with a true compact truck, then a mid sized, then a full sized truck. I have no desire for a large pickup, so my Ranger will be kept in pristine condition and hopefully I can put another hundred thousand on it.
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ray Blackburn
          Actually EV - I will take one other correction - I stand by the fact that the auto makers DO build cars due to consumer wants, HOWEVER, yes - sometimes an automaker can go out on a limb with something different, and be successful. The Prius, for example, the Chrysler Mini-Vans, for another, and yes, the small pickup trucks. Great point - although the auto makers (or say, Microsoft) can stick with the same ol' same ol' - and make money - every now and then someone makes a Prius, or an iPad (of which I own an iPad 2, with updated iOS 5.01), and all the sudden...success, and $$. So thank you for correcting me.
        Ray Blackburn
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        As Ezee would say, every one just calm the freak down. Ford, GM and the other of the small three, all made two thirds of their profit pedaling F-150's, Silverados and Ram PU's.
          skierpage
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ray Blackburn
          Please learn the difference between "peddle" (sell) and "pedal" (a bicycle). http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ is your friend.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh shut up. Your Ford Focus Electric is an over-priced out-sourced half-effort. So I don't want to hear about your bragging on fuel efficiency.
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