The new 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid —the first mid-size sedan to break the 40-mpg mark in city driving—could become the hit that Ford so desperately needs. Unfortunately, Ford is already claiming that it can’t get enough hybrid batteries to meet potential demand.
In an online chat with employees last week, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said, “We are constrained by the amount of components, including batteries, that the supply base can provide us.”
During the peak in gas prices in mid-2008, interested shoppers were unable to purchase Ford Escape Hybrids due to lack of inventory.
The Ford Fusion hybrid leapfrogged the Toyota Camry Hybrid to claim the fuel efficiency crown for full-size four-door sedans. The official EPA numbers for the Fusion Hybrid released last week—41 in the city and 36 on the highway—could give the Detroit automaker a much needed morale boost in the midst of the deepening economic crisis. Industry observers continue to question if Ford, and other carmakers producing hybrids in relatively low quantities, are making a profit on gas-electric vehicles. Nonetheless, these companies earn public relations points for producing vehicles with high mileage.
Key features and benefits of the Fusion Hybrid include: all-electric cruising speeds up to 47 miles per hour; a more efficient regenerative braking system; optimized electronic throttle controls; and a cutting-edge dashboard interface that coaches drivers on maximizing fuel efficiency.
“Our biggest challenge in 2009, in my opinion, will be our ability to continue to stay ahead of a very volatile market,” Fields said. The Ford Fusion Hybrid goes on sale in Spring 2009.