2011 Ford Fiesta – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ford wants you to know that it has Four in the Forties. More specifically, four of its vehicles are rated at 40 miles per gallon or better. This reminder comes hot on the heels of an announcement made by Hyundai last Friday that every model of new 2012 Elantra, lineup will achieve 40 mpg on the highway.

Right now, only three of the Blue Oval's vehicles actually wear the 40-mpg badge of honor: the Fiesta SE with SFE package, Fusion Hybrid and Lincoln MKZ Hybrid. Despite what Ford's press release after the jump claims, each member of this trio is NOT rated at 41 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway – only the hybrids. The Fiesta tops out at 29 city/40 highway. The fourth member to join this family is expected to be the 2012 Focus, as soon as Ford finishes tuning its 2.0-liter, direct-injection engine and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Once the Focus is ready to go, Ford claims it will be the first, and only, full-line automaker to offer four vehicles that are capable 40 mpg. Ford also claims that its fleet fuel economy has risen faster than any other automaker, some 19.2 percent from 2004 to 2009.

It's really a matter of investment dollars, and Ford's decision to invest in new powertrains is clearly paying off with a more fuel efficient fleet. That fleet will get even more thrifty once Ford's new 2.0-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost becomes available in the Edge and Explorer, two CUVs that would traditionally offer only a large V6 or V8 option.

But Ford shouldn't get too cocky, as all of its competitors are on the same path towards fleet-wide fuel savings and gaining momentum, not the least of which to be worried about is truck-free Hyundai/Kia juggernaut out of Korea.

Photos copyright ©2010 Drew Phillips / AOL

[Source: Ford]
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  • Ford is on track to add its fourth nameplate in 2011 with 40 mpg or higher fuel economy, more than any other full-line manufacturer
  • At least 11 Ford and Lincoln nameplates available in 2011 will be leaders in their segments in fuel economy
  • Powerful, fuel-saving EcoBoost™ engines will arrive in 2011 for Ford F-150, Explorer and Edge
  • Ford has improved its fleet-wide fuel economy average faster and at a larger percentage than any other full-line automaker, up 19.2 percent from 2004 to 2009, according to the EPA
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 16, 2010 – Ford is on track to have four vehicles delivering 40 mpg or more in 2011 – more than any other full-line automaker – and will offer the most fuel-efficient lineup of cars, trucks and utilities in its 107-year history.

Three 2011 models – Fiesta SE with SFE package, Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – have certified 2011 EPA ratings of 40 mpg highway and 41 mpg city. Early next year, the all-new 2012 Focus is expected to join Ford's 40-mpg club. Ford engineers are tuning the Focus' new 2.0-liter gasoline direct-injection engine and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission to deliver a 40-mpg highway rating. No other full-line automaker offers four nameplates with 40-mpg ratings, according to the 2011 EPA Fuel Economy Guide.

At least 11 Ford and Lincoln nameplates are fuel economy leaders in their segments – a track record no other full-line automaker can match, said Barb Samardzich, Ford vice president of Powertrain Engineering. "A few years ago, Ford committed to making fuel economy a top priority company-wide," said Samardzich. "Our hybrid vehicles led the way, and this new wave of powerful, refined gasoline engines is reasserting the company's leadership position. Add in the electric vehicles Ford has coming to market now and over the next few years, and we're delivering a full portfolio of efficient, fun-to-drive cars and trucks to suit nearly any customer need."

Ford's record investment in new engines, six-speed transmissions and new fuel-saving technologies such as EcoBoost and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) has raised the company's fleet average fuel economy performance faster and at a greater percentage than any major automaker, according to a report from the EPA. Based on an analysis of data published by the EPA in November 2009, from 2004 to 2009 Ford fleet average fuel economy improved 19.2 percent, almost 70 percent better than the nearest competitor.

Ford is completing the launch of nine new engines and six new transmissions in North America this year. Many of these new powertrains have a small appetite for fuel but are big on performance. Some of Ford's newest fuel economy stars include:

Ford Fiesta: The combination of a 120-horsepower 1.6-liter four-cylinder and available six-speed dual-clutch transmission delivers best-in-class 40 mpg on the highway on the SE with SFE package, topping Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit by 4 mpg and 5 mpg respectively

Ford F-150: Its 302-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic deliver a best-in-class 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. The 3.7-liter is one of four all-new truck engines coming to the 2011 F-150 lineup. When compared with the outgoing 2010 models, the 2011 F-150 lineup is expected to be up to 20 percent more fuel efficient

Ford Super Duty: The new Ford-designed and Ford-built 6.7-liter Power Stroke® diesel engine delivers as much as 20 percent better fuel economy than the 6.4-liter it replaced. The new Power Stroke isn't just fuel efficient, it's also the most powerful diesel pickup engine money can buy, rated at 400 horsepower and 800 lb.-ft. of torque

Ford Edge: With its 3.5-liter V6 and six-speed automatic, Edge delivers 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, a rating no other midsize crossover can top. The upcoming 2.0-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine in the 2012 Edge is expected to deliver even greater economy

Ford Mustang V6: Its high-revving 305-horsepower 3.7-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic deliver best-in-class highway fuel economy of 31 mpg; Mustang V6 is the first car in history to deliver the combination of 300-plus horsepower and more than 30 mpg

Among the fuel-saving technologies that are being deployed are Ford's award-winning EcoBoost system, Ti-VCT and electric power-assisted steering (EPAS). "EcoBoost remains a cornerstone of our commitment to lead or be among the leaders in fuel economy in every segment in which we compete," said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development. "EcoBoost can make a difference because it's affordable, scalable – it can be applied to everything from small cars to large trucks – and the technology is available right now. Most importantly, it doesn't ask owners to sacrifice the joy of driving in exchange for fuel economy benefits."

While Ford has a growing number of nameplates that lead or are among the leaders in their segments in fuel economy, the push to deliver even more miles per gallon isn't slowing. In 2011, Edge and Explorer, two Ford nameplates that have never been offered with four-cylinder engines, will be available with a fuel-saving 2.0-liter I-4 EcoBoost engine.

EcoBoost is fundamental to Ford's strategy to deliver technologically advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver uncompromised performance and fuel economy. EcoBoost engines deliver fuel economy gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger, less efficient engines.

In addition to turbocharging with direct injection, Ford engineers have enhanced EcoBoost's technology capabilities by adding variable valve timing and precisely controlling all aspects of the engine. Ford has at least 125 patents on its EcoBoost technology. "Fuel economy and technology are consumers' biggest priorities – and we have made them Ford's as well," said Mark Fields, Ford president, The Americas, during a recent announcement of Ford's $850 million investment in Michigan assembly plants. A portion of the investment will be used to increase production of six-speed transmissions.

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