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The 2010 Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan Gas and Hybrid Received IIHS Top Safety Pick


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DEARBORN, Mich., March 27, 2009 – The all-new 2010 Fusion and Fusion Hybrid – the most fuel efficient midsize cars in North America – recently received a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), giving Ford best combination of safety and fuel-efficient lineup of hybrids after the Escape earned the top rating in 2008.

Ford is the only automaker to offer two hybrids that have segment-leading fuel efficiency, “Top Safety Pick” awards and exclusive safety technologies. The Fusion Hybrid offers 41 mpg city while the Escape Hybrid is the most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet. Ford Motor Company also has more IIHS “Top Safety Picks” than any other automaker. “Customers no longer have to choose between fuel economy and safety – now they can have both with the Fusion and Escape hybrids,” said Susan Cischke, group vice president, Ford Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

The new Fusion Hybrid’s class-leading fuel economy bests the Toyota Camry hybrid by at 8 mpg in the city. The new car also features Ford’s innovative SmartGauge™ with EcoGuide, which coaches hybrid drivers to maximize fuel efficiency.

In addition, the new Fusion and Milan offer three fuel-sipping gas engine options, including the Duratec 2.5-liter I-4 and enhanced 3.0-liter V-6 and 3.5-liter V-6 Duratec engines. Fusions equipped with the 2.5-liter I-4 engine are expected to deliver at least 3 mpg better on the highway than the Honda Accord and 2 mpg better than the Toyota Camry. The 3.5-liter V-6 powers the all-new Fusion Sport model.

Side impact protection Fusion and Milan get some of their core strength from the use of lightweight high strength steel in the body structure. The use of high strength steel in the B-pillars is only part of their robust safety profile. Ford engineers also located the side door intrusion beams to help manage and absorb energy during side impact crashes.

“The new Fusion and Milan continue to build on Ford’s leading safety heritage and prove yet again that a high level of safety can come in a midsize package,” said Steve Kozak, chief engineer, Ford Safety Systems.

Fusion’s side-protection elements include: · Two energy absorbing foam blocks between the inner door panels and interior trim, aligned with the occupants’ chest and hip · Side-intrusion beams inside the door, anchored at the hinge and latch areas · Tailor-welded steel in the B-pillar structure with extra thickness—nearly a quarter inch of solid steel—above the beltline · Seat-deployed thorax air bags for front occupants and side-curtain air bags for head protection in both rows

The structure of the Fusion also helps it withstand intrusion in a side impact. The tailor-welded B-pillars between the front and rear doorframes are stronger at the top of the vehicle –from below the beltline upward – than at the bottom. This helps to channel energy below the level of the occupants. At the torso level and above, the structure helps to prevent intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Segment-exclusive features Among the segment-exclusive safety and driver aid technologies on the new Fusion and Milan are Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) and 911 Assist.

BLIS with CTA uses two multiple-beam radars in the rear quarter panels (one per side) for two different – but important – purposes. BLIS checks the defined blind spot zone, which is about 10 feet from the back of the bumper to the outside mirrors. When a vehicle is detected, an amber light in the outside mirror of whichever side the vehicle is on lights up. The driver is still responsible for any lane changes, but the BLIS is there to help.

Cross Traffic Alert notifies the driver of impending traffic when backing out of a parking spot and warns the driver when a vehicle is detected within three car widths of either side of the car. As with BLIS, the driver is warned with a light in the outside mirror on the side of the traffic. A warning beep also is sounded.

Also adding peace of mind is 911 Assist, a new feature integrated into the award-winning Ford SYNCTM hands-free system. 911 Assist is designed to aid occupants in placing a call directly to a local 911 emergency operator if an accident that activates an air bag or the emergency fuel cutoff occurs. Unlike competitive systems that have to be routed through an intermediate call center, 911 Assist places the call directly to the 911 operator to speed response time. Ford Escape also features SYNC with 911 Assist.

A recent Ford study shows that SYNC’s hands-free operation significantly reduces the level of distraction when drivers select a phone number or choose a song on their MP3 player compared with the same operations with hand-held cell phones and music players.

“We know people want to stay connected in their vehicles, so we’re delivering that connectivity for them responsibly and safely,” Cischke said. “Our research backs up what most of us instinctively know – that it’s better while driving to place a call using a voice interface than dialing manually, so you can keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.”

Great safety ratings and fuel efficiency are consistently two of the top 10 purchase considerations for car buyers today, market research shows. The midsize car segment is known to attract car buyers who value fuel economy, but who are also looking for a roomier ride to carry their family, friends, and their things.

“Midsize car buyers are often very pragmatic about their vehicle needs,” said Greg Scott, Ford marketing manager for Fusion, Milan and Lincoln MKZ. “Fusion and Milan will more than deliver on their expectations.”

About IIHS’s Top Safety Picks To receive IIHS’s “Top Safety Pick,” vehicles must earn the top “good” ratings in the Institute’s offset frontal and side crash tests, and a rear crash test simulation that evaluates seat and head restraints. An added requirement since 2007 is that vehicles also must offer electronic stability control.

Both Fusion and Milan offer AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control as standard equipment. The safety system uses sensors to detect and measure yaw, or side-to-side skidding conditions, by monitoring the vehicle’s speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When AdvanceTrac® senses wheel slip, engine torque is reduced and braking is applied where needed to help the driver keep the car tracking on its intended path.

Safety and Security Fusion and Milan’s standard safety features also include:

Six Standard Air Bags and Ford’s Personal Safety System®: Safety features include six air bags (dual-stage driver and front-passenger air bags, chest side air bags for front-seat occupants and side-impact air curtains), safety belt pretensioners, seat weight-sensing system for the passenger seat and crash-severity sensing.

BeltMinder®: BeltMinder is a Ford technology that takes over after the initial safety belt reminder stops chiming. If the driver remains unbuckled, the system chimes and flashes a warning lamp for six seconds every 30 seconds for five minutes or until the driver buckles up, whichever comes first.

LATCH: The Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren system provides convenient mounting points for compatible child seats.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System: This system warns a driver if one or more tires are significantly underinflated. An active pressure sensor with a radio transmitter is mounted inside each tire. A receiver in the vehicle monitors each transmitter, and if tire pressure is not within specific limits, it will activate a visual warning light.