The company announced that its hybrid version of the popular Fusion midsize sedan received fuel economy ratings of 47 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving from the Environmental Protection Agency, giving it rights to the most-fuel-efficient-sedan title.
Perhaps as importantly, the 47/47 betters a key rival, the Camry hybrid, which has been rated at 43 city/39 highway by the EPA. The rating also might help the Fusion woo buyers of the smaller Toyota Prius, which earns 51 mpgs in the city and 48 on the highway, per EPA figures.
Ford CEO Alan Mulally announced the 47 combined mpgs news in New York City. On sale this fall, the Ford Fusion also offers customers a lane-keeping system, adaptive cruise control and active park-assist.
Ford is banking on the Fusion to be a stalwart in its lineup as the entire midsize sedan market carries the auto industry. They are the best-selling segment of the sales, capturing 27.4 percent of the market, according to a recent study by Experian Automotive.
In recent months, the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Chevy Malibu, Volkswagen Passat, Camry and Fusion have all undergone significant revisions as automakers chase that market.
Here's a look at sales figures through the first eight months of 2012 among some of the major competitors in the midsize sedan category: Toyota Camry: 280,536; Honda Accord: 218,665; Nissan Altima: 209,592; Ford Fusion: 181,865; Chevy Malibu: 168,277; Kia Optima: 100,424; VW Passat: 74,162.
And here's a look at the auto industry's overall sales leaders halfway through 2012.