Car of the Future? It’s a Ford

“Has somebody invented the car of the future and didn’t tell us?” That’s the question posed by Pulitzer Prize-winning automobile columnist Dan Neil of the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-neil19-2008dec19,0,1742816.story). He had just taken the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid (available in showrooms during the first quarter of 2009) on a test drive and “managed, without trouble, to get 52 miles per gallon in mixed city-highway driving.” Neil, whose fender bashing commentary often makes auto manufacturers cringe, praises the Ford on its comfort, acceleration and affordability, as well as its fuel economy, many of the things American manufacturers have been unanimously vilified for neglecting in recent months. Had Ford made this car available last June, “we’d be erecting 50-foot statues of William Clay Ford and Alan Mulally…and the streets of Dearborn would be repaved with diamond cobblestones.” Then again, predicting the whims of the American car buyers is very tricky business, especially when you consider the list of the best- and worst-selling cars of 2008, just announced by Forbes (http://autos.yahoo.com/articles/autos_content_landing_pages/782/the-years-bestand-worst-selling-cars;_ylt=AiOaZXVlDdNzMlSv2Pw0YxAazJV4). Top seller this year was no hybrid, but it was the gas hungry Ford F-150 truck, the winner for the 27th year in a row.

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