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Ford Fusion/Mercury Milan Hybrid

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  • My SAE Automative Engineering magazine (Jan. '09) says doing some clever and tricky fuel-shutoff dynamics (called ADFSO by Ford) any time the driver lifts their foot off the pedal saves 1.5% of fuel over past engines.
    From the SAE article: "During a deceleration event, as the driver lifts off the gas pedal, torque is ramped down to zero, and the injector pulses follow. Precise calibration with the transmission allows the torque convertor to remain locked, saving fuel. When the driver resumes acceleration (presses the pedal down again), the injectors ramp up. This seamless electronic control maintains smooth, uninterrupted power delivery to the wheels. This system does not abruptly cut off gasoline flow to the Bosch fuel injectors, which would affect driveability."

    This may be one of the cumulative many little things the Fusion Hybrid does to get amazing fuel economy compared to the Camry Hybrid.

    I've always been a bit fuzzy about how engine controllers juggle emissions and driveability concerns during deceleration events, and it looks like Ford has raised the bar with how to do it.

    The article also said Ford might increase the fuel efficiency even further by adding direct injection and lowering displacement, something a couple of Ford engineer friends of mine have been trying to do at Ford for the Fusion for a couple of years now but have been vetoed by marketeers who said customers don't care about fuel economy enough. Of course, as of summer 2008, the marketing people are beginning to see the light. Get ready for a 2.0L direct-injected 4 cylinder in the Fusion Hybrid and regular Fusion as well in a year or two.
  • replying to: "They could, but why bother? "

    Huh? Aren't there people who want quieter, smoother riding cars out there, and are willing to put a Merc badge on it and pay a little extra? Thats the way its always been.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Umm...the 2010 Fusion is already quiet, perhaps more so than the 2009 MKZ. The 2010 Milan shares alll the upgrades, and provides a slightly more stylish interior, and a slightly different exterior.

    I prefer the Milan styling. Lots of people prefer the Fusion. Ford has no business putting a lot of differentiation here, when it is still doubtful whether the whole shebang will surviive. I am still hoping they save the Mercury brand. If they are able to do so, right now it will be by providing half-efforts (which are super cheap to do) like the Milan. If Ford can turn around (and that is a big if), then maybe Mercury will be something again. Meanwhile, I'd buy the Milan hybrid for the exclusivity and slightly more formal look. I don't want the suspension any more wallowy than the Fusion.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    Right. If you want a wallowy suspension go buy a Buick. Ford already offers 2 suspension packages for the Fusion and the Milan gets the softer of the 2.

    Next thing he'll be asking for a bench seat........
  • akirby, Have you never heard of brand differentiation? Get a clue.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    You don't get "brand differentiation" by cloning another brand's product and tweaking the suspension.

    Mercury needs unique vehicles to thrive as a brand, not just clones and rebadges of Ford products. Right now they only exist to allow Lincoln dealers to sell Fords, and that's ok for now. Longer term they'll either kill the brand or give it unique products. You're seeing that now with the lack of a new Sable to go along with the Taurus.

    Why does everyone think that it makes business sense for a mfr to make whatever vehicle they want?

    Toyota and Buick have that market cornered already. Ford needs to be different.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    I think a big problem for Mercury is that there isn't much room between a well-optioned Fusion and an MKZ for the Milan to differentiate itself.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    Ford is purposely moving the Ford brand upmarket (look at the Flex and new Taurus for proof). Lincoln will be the volume brand on the high end. Mercury will have niche vehicles that complement the other 2, but you won't see any rebadges. I expect some of the new Euro vehicles to be Mercurys.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Yes, I agree. Mercury with few exceptions has not been differentiated from Ford for decades. The last Cougar, based on the Contour/Mystique was unique to Mercury. But for the most part, there have been no "more sound deadening/more plush suspension" type differentiations or anything else for a long time. It has just been different front and rear styling details and some interior trim differences. Crown Vic/Grand Marquis the same. Contour/Mystique the same. Fusion/Milan the same. Escape/Mariner the same. It is no wonder that Mercury sales melted away even more than other brands.

    I do remember when Mercuries received unique rooflines and body panels and/or longer wheelbases or special options. But with the success of so many companies from other parts of the world, even the genuine Pontiac/Mercury styling/upgrades that used to be done before the 1990s to differentiate them from Chevy/Ford is not even enough. We no longer need such brands for volume and variety, as the choice out there is already phenomenal and increasing all the time. Just wait until Chinese and Indian and Malaysian vehicles get good enough to enter our market. If Mercury is to survive, unique models will be the only way to do it.
  • akirby said "You don't get "brand differentiation" by cloning another brand's product and tweaking the suspension. "

    The first 2 things are things they could easily do, the 3rd is one they are doing:

    1. Making the Merc Milan Hybrid ride smoother with more progressive spring rates.

    2. Milan Hybrid quieter due to the application of more sound-deadening materials like soft polymers inside body panels.

    3. Milan Hybrid already looks a little different.

    Then, if somebody buys a Merc Hybrid over a Fusion Hybrid, they can say the Milan rides better and is quieter, and they paid about $1,000 more for it. The Fusion Hybrid can be the one that holds a turn better. Differentiation between the Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid. Those first two changes would cost about $500 to do by Ford, so it means their profit margin is better, since it has long been known people will pay for more quiet + smoother ride (generally older, more affluent buyers). Otherwise, the Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid are really the same cars, which seems silly to me.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    There are no real world differences in selling prices between Fusion/Milan, Escape/Mariner and so on. If anything, the Mercury models tend to sell for a bit less than the Fords, and the resale tends to be worse as well. How in the world will Mercury, already in its death throes, increase sales by raising prices?

    It ain't gonna work, or it would have been tried by now. And Ford is already giving all those upgrades to Ford (the Fusion Hybrid will be one of the quietest cars on the road), so how is the Milan going to be enough noticably quieter than that so that Joe Blow will pay more dollars for it? Mercury needs unique vehicles, not Fords with some lipstick. Ford is already up market past where Mercury used to be.
  • "On the E Coast Fitzmall and Laurel CarMax are the two that everyone 'shops' first online. The internet prices are almost always at invoice or below. Just call them and tell them which stock number you want and they'll pick you up in that car at one of the DC/Balt airports. You can sign the papers in the car and drive it away. "

    that sounds amazing. I haven't been in the market for a car for ~ 10 years. What is a comparable company on the West Coast? (I'm in N Cal)

    thanks!
  • At least the Milan Hybrid will look different, and there is a benefit of having the thing offered through even more dealerships (Linc-Merc ones) in addition to the all-Ford dealerships. Some benefit there.

    When you say the Fusion Hybrid will be one of the quietest on the road, what are you basing this on? I haven't seen any dB sound level data to show this.

    In the past, car makers have not always wanted to put enough sound deadener on because it adds weight and adds a few hundred dollars in cost. Kind of like what Lexus does to Toyota platforms, they increase noise deadening and get to charge some more to cover the buying group that tends to be a bit older and have more money to pay the $1,000 or so above the noisier base platform. That demographic that values ride smootheness and quietness over anything else has a lot of $$$$ in the marketplace and can't be ignored.
  • To illustrate how driving style can create huge variations in a hybrid's MPG, see the video at Motor Trend's real world MPG test showing huge variability in numbers based on driving style

    Watching that test should show you how important it is to always use the EPA MPG standard tests to compare car A to car B. Same test, comparable results.

    Another great video more targeted at the Fusion Hybrid is at Ford Fusion Hybrid Fuel Economy demo
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    If you don't want a Fusion, get a MKZ. It has the extra sound deadening that you're craving and possibly a softer ride, but it won't be Buick soft. There is NO sound financial reason for Ford to make 3 versions of a vehicle. The only reason they do it now is to keep the Lincoln Mercury dealers in business until they get new products.

    Maybe you should look into a nice used Grand Marquis.
  • akirby, You keep trying to say I'm looking for or "craving" something. Cut the crap. I was discussing why the Milan vs. the Fusion Hybrid should differ to appeal to all market segments. Quibble elsewhere.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,007
    As I've said before, I'm not sure Ford knows what to do with Mercury. They did this Ford clone stuff in the early 60's after Edsel's demise and had to make more changes to the 63 to differentiate it after the market spurned the earlier clones. I think I read somewhere that Ford is currently trying to pursue female buyers with Mercury, but I don't think that will be a winning strategy - who says woman want something different than guys? That has been tried before and not really proven successful. I'm not sure how Mercury can exist a whole lot longer. They have moved Lincoln downmarket to more of a Buick. It might compete with Acura and lower level Lexus, but its not really a true luxury brand today so there isn't much market between Lincoln and higher level Ford's. People talk about making Mercury a line of unique vehicles from overseas Ford. However that requires federalization to US specs and possible US plant manufacturing due to currency which makes that a potentially difficult move due to the high initial fixed costs having to be amortized over relatively low production volumes. I expect that if Ford has to go after government money like its competitors down the road (and that's probably more possible than the Ford famliy hopes), that will be the end of poor old Mercury. GM is probably cutting model lines and either Chrysler or Dodge may also end up gone in the restructuring (whether internal or chapter 11). I guess I see it like you do, Fusion versus MKZ.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Clearly, no one can tell you anything about EPA MPG, considering how important it is to you. Cheers.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,419
    Not that I think your "cut the crap" and "quibble elsewhere" toward Allen sound unfriendly or anything...

    I guess the Fusion's amazing fuel economy compared to the Camry or anything else out there (even though real world tests have shown that the Fusion mpg is about the same as the Camry's) makes it difficult for you to consider that other people may look at a car purchase from a number of angles. I am a Ford guy and have been since 1957, but I recognize that every car is a compromise. As much as I want to love Fords more than Chevys or Toyotas, I do understand when people buy something else. I'd love for it to be cut and dried, but for me it just isn't. Glad it is for you. It does make life easier that way.
  • akirbyakirby Posts: 7,622
    Berri - Ford has already announced plans to bring over several Euro models including the Focus and Transit Connect. Focus will be built here, TC will be imported at first. Not sure about the others. It's a done deal. Not sure if they will all be Fords or Mercurys though.

    Mercury is simply on the back burner while Ford gets the main brand squared away and back on solid ground. Lincoln is secondary. If they can find vehicles that make sense for Mercury but don't take away from Ford or Lincoln, it will survive. If not it won't. It's that simple. But Mercury will not be a rebadged Ford any longer.
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