Posts filed under ‘Ford’

Many new models signify a turnaround for the auto industry — and good news for families

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way…” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Just as Dickens described, the global automotive industry, which has suffered through the economic apocalypse of recent years, is entering 2012 with a positive outlook and a plan for a much brighter future.

The compact crossover Buick Encore is just one of 47 new or redesigned models due out in 2012.

Over the past three months, automakers have filled two major auto shows — in Los Angeles and Detroit — with many more new and improved models than in previous years. An excellent wrap-up story about last week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit by New York Times Auto Writer Lawrence Ulrich, points out that the dog days of the auto industry are now in the rear view mirror.

The number of new-models introduced at the 2012 Detroit auto show suggest a growing recovery from a downturn that felled some brands entirely and caused other automakers to scale back new-model development or delay production plans. As consumers return to showrooms in coming years — many by necessity, with the median age of the American car near record highs — they’ll be tempted by an explosion of new models.

Subtracting models lost when brands like Pontiac were shuttered, the industry’s net gain in new models was just four in 2010 and 13 in 2011, according to LMC Automotive, a research firm. Looking ahead, LMC projects a turnaround in which consumers will see net gains of 47 new or redesigned models in 2012, 66 in 2013 and 47 more in 2014.

Ulrich also provides a round-up of all the new models at the Detroit show.

The Family Car attended both the LA and Detroit shows. Click below to view quick video overviews from each show:

2011 Los Angeles International Auto Show

2012 North American International Auto Show

January 17, 2012 at 6:41 am Leave a comment

Hybrids are happening: Plenty of family-friendly fuel-sippers are rolling into garages

Today’s economic environment makes it mandatory for families to keep a close eye on expenses. Parents are finding all sorts of ways to cut costs and keep the budget under control. But one of the largest, big-ticket expense items on your budget is hardly ever seen and never appreciated, yet it gobbles up a good one-sixth (1/6) of a families’ monthly expenses.

The budget busting culprit: transportation — more specifically, fuel. We need fuel to get from here to there, every day of our active lives. That’s why many families are taking a close look at vehicles that consume the least amount of fuel without sacrificing the other needs of a family, such as safety, space and functionality.

Auto manufacturers are heeding the call for more fuel-efficient vehicles by rolling out a host of hybrid models that use a combination of gas and electric motors to cut down on fuel intake and increase gas mileage.

Here’s a look at some of the top family-friendly hybrids on the market today.

The Toyota Prius (50 mpg) is still the leader of the pack when it comes to hybrid technology. In addition to its upgraded third-generation design, which offers a solar roof to power the climate control system, Toyota is also rolling a plug-in Prius that supplements the electrical power with household electricity, allowing the vehicle to run in electric-only mode for the first few miles. And look for a Prius V wagon in the near future, giving families an additional 60 percent more cargo space than the current Prius.

Honda’s Insight (41 mpg) is designed with a similar egg-shape look of the Prius and is the most affordable hybrid on sale in the U.S., starting at $18,000. Honda’s undercover hybrid, the Civic hybrid (42 mpg) remains a premium family-friendly hybrid, adding even better fuel economy in 2011. Honda also offers the Civic GX, a natural gas compression vehicle that requires not a drop of gasoline and has zero emissions.

A newcomer to the hybrid market this year is the Hyundai Sonata hybrid, a sleek four-door that rates an average of 35-40 mpg. Ford offers a trio of new hybrids to supplement its small SUV Escape hybrid model (32 mpg): the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ hybrids all achieve mileage of 41 mpg in city driving, 36 mpg on the highway.

Speaking of SUVs, the Toyota Highlander (28 mpg) is the only hybrid offering third row seats, and the Lexus RX450h provides luxury living while topping 32 mpg it city driving.

Read the full story here.

For an updated list of hybrid vehicles on the market, click here.

December 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm Leave a comment

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