[NYT] 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid + GM Pulls Plug on 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by mkrishnan, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #1
    I just got around to reading these today, but the Times ran side-by-side articles praising the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid...

    The article talks about their experiences with real-world fuel economy...

    The article also gets into the competition between buying a Fusion Hybrid vs. the pretty-good fuel-economy Fusion, which I think is an issue that comes up with the Camry and Accord and their hybrids as well.

    ... and evaluating how it came to pass that the 2009 Chevy Malibu and Saturn Aura hybrids were canceled during their first model year of production.

    I'm still pretty firmly sold on a 2010 Jetta or Golf TDI so that I can have a clutch pedal, but having driven a Mazda6 since the end of 2004 (and having test driven a MT, gasoline Fusion or two), I think the Fusion is based on an excellent platform for a car in that size segment.

    What's probably more interesting about the Aura and Malibu is the nearly universal praise that the standard gasoline variants got, in contrast to the abysmal performance of the hybrids, although I think this most likely has to do with the failure to achieve significant fuel economy gains using the hybrid tech.
     
  2. xboxer75010 macrumors 6502

    xboxer75010

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    #2
    I wonder if they will still go through with the Chevy Volt, I was really looking forward to it coming out.
     
  3. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #3
    I think they conceptualize plug-in hybrids as a sort of do-or-die, so I think they're serious about the Volt. Also it's not quite that they pulled the plug on the Malibu in development. They finished making it, started selling it, and no one wanted it. :eek: And so the fear if anything, I guess, would be, will they be able to make the Volt good enough? :p
     
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #4
    the Ford Fusion is also one of Ford's standout models to me too. its not as bland or a bold as it could be, which really will help it move. glad to see that at least one Domestic maker is getting things done right.
     
  5. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #5
    Hopefully the heat-things-up car will be the next American Focus, which I think also will have a hybrid drivetrain available.
     
  6. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #6
    It's no surprise no one wanted it. It's fuel economy was pathetic compared to the competition. It was based on their BAS mild hybrid system which only assisted in launches.

    The Volt is still coming. They are 100% committed to it and only Chapter 7 would kill it. GM is only killing the not worth it hybrids( mostly the BAS based hybrids) and any hybrid products planned for the now sold Saturn( mostly the Two Mode Vue and Plug in Vue). The Two Mode Tahoe/Yukon/Silverado/Sierra/Escalade remains and Volt and most likely Converj are under development.

    And Place, what about the regular Malibu? The Fusion only stands out in hybrid form with its awesome fuel economy numbers. But, in regular form it just fits in with the competition. Both the Fusion and Malibu are lookers inside and out. The 4 banger Fusion in the S trim with the auto manages 1 MPG better then the Malibu with the 4 banger/6 speed auto( the other trims of the Fusion 4 banger drop to 21 MPG city and 29-31 MPG HWY).

    Ford is only getting positive rep. from the general public because they are not in bankruptcy. Call it a good business decision or not, but Ford got lucky when they mortgaged the whole company back in 2007. Without that, they would be in the same boat as the other two US automakers when the financial crisis hit and they couldn't get any more money to fund their restructuring.
     
  7. wesrk macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 4, 2007
    #7
    watch out for the fusion, it's made in Mexico, the fluuuuuuuuu
    :p
    all kiding aside, I like the fusion and a hybrid will really make me consider changing mine

    btw, before anyone says anything, I'm mexican and I had to hear for weeks and weeks a lot of really ignorant stuff that makes you question humanity, so, I'm allowed to have a little fun with it.
     
  8. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #8
    If one doesn't care at all about vehicle dynamics, sure. As a midsize sedan, the Fusion and 6 are middle-of-the-pack. A little on the small side (not the newest 6, but that's a side issue), a little on the sportier side. But in vehicle dynamics they're way near the top of this market segment, and aside from the CTS, GM's experience at providing vehicle dynamics in a midsize sedan is still pretty limited....
     
  9. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #9
    Eh, I like my Aura XR. Good low end power from the 3.6 V6 and good to throw around the corners. :p But, I am sure the AWD Fusion will be sportier to drive. :)
     
  10. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #10
    If you put an engine that big in a sedan and it didn't have low end power, I would be disappointed. :D As GM sedans go, I do concede that the Aura/Malibu seems to have been a very solid effort. Probably the best they've had beside the aforementioned CTS.
     
  11. duncanapple macrumors 6502

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    Jun 12, 2008
    #11
    Here is my problem with hybrids - and please someone correct me if I am wrong with some counterpoints...

    Its hard to find the real truth out there b/c there are some many powerful forces out there - between the marketing machines that are the car companies and their lobbyists, the politicians and their do-anything-to-look-good-even-if-it-doesn't-really-work attitude, etc

    I have heard both ways, but based on my research, it seems like hybrids really aren't the answer in terms of efficiency, return on the investment (not the car,itself, but the upgrade to hybrid versions), or even "green" status.

    If you are speaking from the wallet, most of these cars needed like 5 years to pay back the difference in cost upfront vs the gas savings. Some of these calculations may have been based on replacing batteries at some high mileage interval, and I understand the batteries are improving but still... 5 years? Plus when you consider the future value of the cash (even put in a savings account or bond...)... point is, i'm not sure the savings is there dollar for dollar, until gas hits some crazy high (like, much more than 4 bucks a gallon).

    So then some might argue, well even with a break even or small loss, I am saving the environment. However I have read that the both energy and resources required to manufacture these batteries, ship them back and forth across the globe, and then eventually dispose of them far outweighs the lowered emissions the car will cut back on. (again, the origins of these arguments could be with neutral people, could be the oil companies, who knows!)

    I tend to believe the above as building anything (much less toxic batteries) requires lots of energy, both in production and shipping. Plus, its not like they are saving energy by putting in batteries INSTEAD of regular engines. Its in ADDITION to...

    Anyway, I am becoming a bit cynical (paranoid?) towards the hybrid cars in general. It seems "green" is a hot term right now, and everyone is trying to cash in. Some are really good products, some are downright misleading. You basically have people paying 25K for a fricken' economy car (im looking at you prius) that looks like a potato (low blow and my opinion I know). Seems like a pretty good trick on the part of the auto makers, though basically in our worst interest from an environment and financial perspective.

    Wheew, that was long. But I thought this was a good place to vent lol. And I don't say any of the above to be inflammatory. I just think the truth is not so easy to get and I question whats being put out there...
     
  12. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

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    #12
    Think of it this way. Hybrids don't look attractive because the difference in fuel economy isn't that awesome yet. Green or not, 20mpg isn't a big difference when gas is under $3.00/gal. Look what happened when it hit $4.00, you couldn't find a hybrid on any lot in the country. Nothing has changed in the long term outlook for oil. Higher population, more cars, less sites to extract oil at a reasonable cost.

    On the green side of things, yes batteries are an ugly prospect right now. But if there is no sales of the early products, there will be no support within a manufacturer to produce the next and better generation. After all, if everybody said no to the first gen hybrids, who would make a 2nd gen?

    On an individual level, I have a Ford Escape Hybrid. It's union built, in the USA, carries me, up to 4 other people, luggage or hockey equipment and can handle midwest/Rocky Mountain winters. I get twice the mileage I would have with a non-hybrid with similar abilities. I do hate the fact that the battery is going to be useless when it dies, not recyclable, but I was in a position to be an early adopter to support the idea that within 10 years we might get a really fantastic hybrid with more environmentally friendly chassis and battery materials, etc.
     
  13. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

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    Jan 6, 2004
    #13
    the Malibu is a nice looking car. the Fusion could probably be better MPG wise overall, but i was merely talking look really. personally speaking, i don't need any car that has more than a 4 cylinder in it, so the V6 models don't even appeal to me at all, and more likely than not - if i were to buy a car today - i'd get the 3 door Yaris before anything else - small, efficient, and affordable.

    the main reason i have a lot of respect for Ford, is not because they have been able to avoid taking government funds, but because they have a plan. one that will work. Chevy is betting all on the Volt and seems rudderless after that, and Chystler is just doing whatever. Ford has a better Focus lined up and the Fiesta as well. both of which are moving in the right direction, and i see the Fusion as a step in that as well. i'd never need a car that big, but i do like it.
     
  14. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #14
    Cruze, Spark, Viva/Aveo, LaCrosse, Regal, Converj, Volt, RWD Impala( a personal yay from me :D), 3 series competitor from Cadillac, DT7( FWD boo) and Orlando are all products that I can think of right now that GM has in the pipeline. :)

    Cruze is being aimed to achieve 40 or more MPG HWY and main competitor against the Focus and Viva/Aveo will go against Fiesta. Don't think GM is not putting any effort into the Aveo/Viva because it has been spotted doing laps around the Nurburgring. :D
     
  15. wakka092 macrumors 6502

    wakka092

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #15
    If they were smart, they'd rebadge the Pontiac G8 as the next gen Impala. But GM makes way too many sedans. The demand isn't there for the number of models that the car makers spit out, domestic or import.

    About Ford, they seem to have level heads. They are pumping great technology into the cabin and the drivetrain (EcoBoost!). They turned Lincoln around with some stellar models (MKS and MKX.) But Mercury is more irrelevant than ever. They can't even hold a candle to Buick, which is dissapointing.
     
  16. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

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    #16
    I wonder how long that's been on the drawing board. I say that because after the direction Mulally gave Boeing, I wonder if he didn't push this as well. I would love to see a lot more light composites making it into the non-essential areas of the car. If they can maintain or improve the safety with some well placed ones as well, even better. It's unreal how much of a percentage of the engine power is used to move the passenger versus the vehicle itself. It's an awful ratio.
     
  17. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #17
    EcoBoost isn't anything new. It is just Direct Injection and turbo's which BMW and GM already does....... And plus, Insideline did a little comparo with the Taurus SHO with the G8 GT. It got the same fuel economy as the 6.0 V8 G8. Doesn't handle as well as the G8, about the same straight line performance, and for the price of the Taurus SHO you might as well step up to the GXP. :) Just too bad they are killing the G8. :(
     
  18. GSMiller macrumors 68000

    GSMiller

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    #18
    The Malibu hybrid was a freaking joke anyway. I say good riddance.
     
  19. wakka092 macrumors 6502

    wakka092

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    #19
    I'm sorry, but what is "it" and "that"? :confused:
     
  20. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

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    #20
    So what you're saying is that *I* knew what I was talking about and nobody else does? Sorry about that. At work everybody just nods and looks at their watch...

    EcoBoost. :)

    I was wondering if Mulally pushed it, or if it had been around forever and they just hadn't done anything with it yet.

    Mulally pushed composites in a big way at Boeing to improve fuel efficiency and strength. So I figured he'd be the type to support EcoBoost.
     
  21. iGaryMonnecka macrumors member

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    Jan 28, 2009
    #21
    not trying to argue or anything, just to share a fact, the escalade hybrid pays itself off in a 3 year lease.
     
  22. wakka092 macrumors 6502

    wakka092

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    #22
    That's alright! Happens to me a lot.

    It has probably been around and Mulally pushed it further.
     
  23. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #23
    VWs TSI/TFSI ...since 2004
    then Peugeot THP since 2006/2007 (and since PSA started a joint venture with BMW ... now also available in BMWs under a different name


    i suspect there are even more and earlier ones
     
  24. dextertangocci macrumors 68000

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    Apr 2, 2006
    #24
    You must be really stupid if you buy a hybrid car.

    They are complicated pieces of underpowered machinery that look like crap. They make the driver look like a complete tosser too.

    Why would you want to drive around heavy batteries that will need to be replaced after a short while to achieve worse fuel economy than what a sensible European diesel car can achieve? The new VW Polo uses much less fuel than any hybrid and it is more powerful. You also don't come across as a tosser when you drive one.
     
  25. mkrishnan thread starter Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #25
    Yes, you have successfully demonstrated that Americans are "tossers" for having bought a car that was available on the market in the US instead of one that is, to date, not available on the market in the US. :confused:
     

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