It's difficult to believe that a few short years after Detroit automakers were specifically known for producing gas-guzzling SUVs that Ford (NYSE:F) has designed a hybrid that's dominating the market. It's won numerous awards, ranks atop multiple listings, and impresses more consumers every month. Ford's raving about how consumers are coming to showrooms in markets not known for hybrid sales -- sending sales through the roof. Here are some details regarding all the hype.
Ford's 2013 Fusion Hybrid has collected numerous awards, including these two from U.S. News & World Report Rankings:
- 2013 Best Hybrid Car for the Money
- 2013 Best Hybrid Car for Families
In addition to those awards, it ranks No. 1 in U.S. News' "Affordable Midsize Cars" and "Hybrid Cars."
The reasons U.S. News gave for placing the Fusion Hybrid on top? "Excellent fuel economy, strong performance, great reliability and safety scores, a roomy interior and stylish exterior."
Ford's Fusion Hybrid 2.0L four-cylinder engine puts out 188 horsepower and gets 47 mpg in the city and on the highway -- putting it ahead of almost all the competition. It received four and a half out of five stars on user reviews at Edmunds.com, with the only complaint being its buggy MyFord Touch infotainment system, which has plagued Ford over the last couple of years. On the positive side, its quiet powertrain, good power, and torque in combination with its fuel efficiency make it a popular option in its class -- and it's showing in Ford's sales.
Ford delivered its best hybrid quarter ever, with Q2 sales up 517% from last year, marking the first time sales topped 24,000 in a quarter, according to Ford.
"Customers have come to expect fuel economy and leading technology with every new vehicle Ford delivers," said Jim Farley, executive vice president, global marketing, in a Ford press release. "Our newest hybrids are contributing to Ford's growth and share gains, while bringing new customers into the showroom in nontraditional hybrid markets."
To make sure this success is sustained, Ford has hired more than 200 new electrification engineers and is spending $50 million for research and development facilities that will double Ford's battery-testing capabilities. Ford expects those investments to speed up electrified vehicle development by as much as 25%.
In 2006 when Alan Mulally was introduced as CEO and took upon the task of turning around a once proud American Icon, the company was losing billions of dollars and sinking fast. In fact, between 2006 and 2008, Ford lost more than $30 billion, and most analysts pegged it to be the first automaker to declare bankruptcy.
We know how the story ends. Ford was the only one of the Big Three U.S. automakers not to receive a government bailout and was the first domestic automaker to return to profitability. Ford's secret was simple: Cut slacking brands and start producing vehicles people wanted in segments that were trending. For proof of Ford's success, look no further than its Fusion, Focus, Escape, and F-Series -- all ranking in the top 15 in U.S. sales through June.
As the automotive industry in the U.S. continues to rebound, and Ford's vehicles top the sales charts, Ford has become an excellent investment opportunity, up 90% in the past year.
Ford has figured it out, and it's a much leaner and more financially stable company than in has been in years. Ford will continue to be a great investment going forward, even if it's hard to believe, and vehicles like the Fusion Hybrid are proof its vision is aimed toward the future. The good news is, even after its share price run-up over the last year, there's much room for growth -- especially in China.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford. 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.