The latest figures from Autodata Inc. indicate that Ford Motor Company Hybrid vehicle sales have risen 73% this year in comparison with the same period in 2008. This contrasts with a slight decline in hybrid sales across the industry. Ford attributes much of this growth to the popularity of the newly introduced 2010 hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan, and to growing numbers of Escape hybrid taxis in New York and San Francisco (where they were first adopted).
Interestingly, more than 60% of Fusion sales are being made to people who were previously not Ford owners. According to Ford hybrid marketing manager David Finnegan, the majority of those buyers are being lured away from import brands, primarily Honda and Toyota. From an outsider's perspective, it certainly seems as though Ford has struck marketing gold here. Hybrid technology may be the thin end of the wedge that U.S. domestic auto makers have long been fruitlessly searching for, hoping to break the common perception that imports are better designed and better made.
The Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan hybrids are the most fuel-efficient mid size sedans on the road. Both vehicles deliver a certified 41 mpg rating in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, topping the Toyota Camry hybrid by 8 mpg in the city and 2 mpg on the highway.
Meanwhile the extensive fleets of Escape hybrid taxis on the east and west coasts have proven to be extremely reliable, with the earliest groups still in operation at the 300,000 mile mark.