Ford (NYSE:F) is in between a rock and a hard place with the new era of car buyers who are demanding ever more fuel0efficient engines. Ford has historically been a manufacturer of big, heavy trucks and SUVs with fuel-hungry engines. That's been great for shareholders, as trucks and SUVs are higher-profit-margin vehicles, but now Ford has to adapt or die. 

Meanwhile, Japanese automakers have done very well in the new age of demand for miserly fuel economy. According to, six of the top 10 vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2012 were by Japanese automakers, and the three vehicles that grew sales the fastest on the list were all high-mpg sedans. 

Fortunately for investors, Ford is inventing quickly, and its new EcoBoost engine already comprises a large percentage of F-150 sales.

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Austin Smith owns shares of Ford. Jeremy Phillips has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.