By Chris Woodyard
Want some fightin’ words? Ford is throwing down the gauntlet when it comes to boasts about its new Fusion Hybrid, saying its technology research is leapfrogging Toyota.
Proof? Ford says Fusion Hybrid will get better gas mileage than Toyota’s well-regarded, new Camry Hybrid, Bloomberg News reports.
Ford says it has accomplished the goal through dogged research into hybrids, including 461 patents. It’s not the kind of boast that will likely go over well at Toyota, which takes its greatest pride — justifiably — in its hybrids.
Ford said last month that the hybrid version of its revamped Fusion will get 47 miles per gallon in city driving, 44 mpg on the highway. The new Camry hybrid that went on sale last year is rated at 43 mpg city and 39 mpg highway.
Though Toyota remains the biggest seller of hybrids, led by its Prius models, Ford and other competitors want a bigger share of the market for advanced-technology autos.
By 2020, Ford expects hybrids, plug-in vehicles and models powered solely by electricity to account for 10% to 25% of global sales, Wes Sherwood, a company spokesman, said in a statement. The 2013 hybrid Fusion will go on sale in the second half of this year, Ford said.
Toyota has more than 2,000 patents for its hybrids, including more than 1,000 for the current Prius alone, said Jana Hartline, a company spokeswoman. The Prius hatchback is rated by the U.S. as getting 51 mpg. city and 48 mpg highway, or 50 mpg combined, the highest such rating for any non-rechargeable auto.
Interesting, these two rivals agreed last year to cooperate on hybrid research when it comes to larger, rear-wheel-drive pickups.