Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford's Fuel Efficiency Run



Alan Mulally

CEO Alan Mulally has been saying it ever since he took over the blue oval.

Ford Chairman Bill Ford Jr. has been backing the idea for just as long.

Now we'll see if the company that got a lot of Americans hooked on SUVs (and made billions of dollars in the process) can be successful with fuel efficient cars and crossovers.

My gut says Ford will win with fuel efficiency for a couple reasons.

First, Ford's new Eco-Boost Engine is an option more and more car and crossover buyers will elect to pay for. Eco-Boost will deliver the performance of an 8 cylinder engine while only using the amount of gas needed for a 6 cylinder engine. I've said it for some time: most Americans do NOT want to putz around in modest powered small cars. We are a country raised on cheap gas and horsepower. Gas may not be cheap anymore, but if we can still get the feeling of driving and 8 cylinder car or crossover, we'll take it.

Second, Fords car pipeline is coming into the sweet spot with a much improved Taurus hitting showrooms this summer and the new Fiesta coming next year . Those two models, along with the Fusion and Focus will give Ford a solid line-up ready to win-over buyers looking for fuel efficiency.

Finally, Ford is getting religion under Mulally. The company is focused on becoming a more complete auto maker. In the past, Ford was driven by the F-Series and Explorer. No longer. Mulally knows those models will always be crucial to Ford. But he also knows Ford will only achieve long-term profitability and success if his company has a well rounded line-up. And in this era, that means having fuel efficiency, and cars people want.

Watch on Now - Bill Ford: Small Cars Will Be 'Profitable'

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Questions?  Comments?