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Auto blogMon, 09 Sep 2013 18:30:00 EST
Despite the ballyhoo that accompanied Ford's lowering of the C-Max fuel economy figures, the Blue Oval is still seeing strong demand for the five-seat MPV, as Automotive News reports. Speaking to marketing boss Jim Farley, AN says that the controversy surrounding the C-Max's fuel economy figures won't force Ford to change its marketing strategy.
Ford lowered the fuel economy rating of the C-Max after public outcry and legal action by customers that were unable to reach the 47 miles per gallon promised by the window sticker. The new ratings were dropped about a month ago to 45 mpg on the freeway and 40 mpg in the city. Ford offered rebates for current C-Max owners, with $550 going to those that bought their car and $325 to lessees. The issue, says Ford, stemmed from testing standards that allowed the automaker to base the C-Max's fuel economy on the Fusion Hybrid, because they use identical powertrains. The C-Max's less aerodynamic shape wasn't taken into account, though.
Whether Ford's PR team handled the crises perfectly or people just aren't that bothered by a four-mpg drop in combined ratings, demand remains strong for the C-Max among consumers. Ford moved 3,000 units in August, which was a 12-percent jump over July sales. Meanwhile, consumer demand through third-party shopping websites remains strong as well, according to Autometrics, a data analysis company that spoke with Automotive News. While the long-term effects of the adjustments remain unknown, the C-Max appears to have fared well in the near term.
Snagging a celebrity endorsement is a big deal for automakers, as evidenced by the recent efforts of the Detroit Three to try and woo The Tonight Show's newest host, Jimmy Fallon, into one of their trucks.
After announcing during Wednesday night's show that he was in the market for a pickup truck, Fallon set off a firestorm of efforts on Twitter, with both Ford and Chevrolet petitioning the funnyman to test out a truck. According to Ad Age, Ford recommended the King Ranch edition of its next-generation F-150 while the show was still airing. Chevy, meanwhile, waited until the next morning to pitch a Silverado to Fallon.
The winner of this social media feeding frenzy, though, was Ram. Promoting a variation of its "Guts, Glory, Ram" tagline, the Auburn Hills-based manufacturer created the hashtag #GUTSGLORYFallon. It even went so far as to park a Ram 1500 outside 30 Rockefeller Center in New York, where The Tonight Show is filmed. On the back of the Ram sat a sign, reading "Big enough, Jimmy? Test it out," referencing a joke from the Wednesday show.
As we prepare for the arrival of the all-new, next-generation Ford F-150, rumors about the new truck are picking up steam. Naturally, many of said rumors aren't just related to the way the truck will look (it's expected to take design cues from the Atlas concept shown above), they're tied to what's going to motivate the Blue Oval mainstay, with Ford's EcoBoost range likely to play an increasingly key role. While we're still expecting the current 3.5-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 to retain its position as a premium alternative to Ford's naturally aspirated V6 and V8, a Canadian automotive news site is proposing that the Dearborn automaker is also preparing a new, more fuel-efficient downsized EcoBoost option.
Autos.ca is reporting that a new, 2.7-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 could find its way into the lighter, aluminum-intensive truck. The new engine supposedly makes use of asymmetrical turbos to generate 320 horsepower and 370 pound-feet of torque - substantially more impressive numbers than the current 3.7-liter base engine's 302 ponies and 278 lb-ft - while offering improved fuel economy and emissions. The new 2.7 EcoBoost (internally dubbed "Nano") isn't expected to supplant the naturally aspirated V6 as the F-150's base engine, it's expected to slot in above directly it.
Naturally, we're prescribing more than a few grains of salt to go with these rumors, at least until Ford debuts the next F-150 at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show, a reveal we'll be covering in a mere two weeks.