AF's Bob Brown (center), Great Lakes sales manager, presented the Fleet Car & Truck of the Year trophies to John Ruppert (left), general manager of Ford Commercial Sales, and Kevin Koswick, director of Ford North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing Operations.

AF's Bob Brown (center), Great Lakes sales manager, presented the Fleet Car & Truck of the Year trophies to John Ruppert (left), general manager of Ford Commercial Sales, and Kevin Koswick, director of Ford North American Fleet, Lease and Remarketing Operations.

Ford has once again nabbed Automotive Fleet’s Fleet Car & Truck of the Year titles with its 2012 Fusion/Fusion Hybrid and F-150. It’s the second straight win for both vehicles, and it’s clear they’ve proven their worth among fleet professionals.

Sponsored by Automotive Fleet and Business Fleet magazines, the purpose of the awards are to promote excellence in the fleet industry, particularly the tools and vehicles that allow fleet managers to fulfill their missions. Voters are allowed to select only one vehicle for each award.

The Fusion models gained the most votes among a group of 45 cars selected for this year’s award. “The Fusion/Fusion Hybrid have been so popular with our customers because they combine size, fuel efficiency, safety and technology to deliver outstanding residual value,” said John Ruppert, general manager, Ford Commercial Sales.

For the 2012-MY Truck of the Year, qualified fleet professionals had 21 trucks to choose from. The F-150 was the overwhelming choice, capturing the coveted title for the second year in a row. This year’s model follows up on the 2011 redesign with extended capabilities, new technology and more fuel-efficient powertrains, as well as a new “FX” appearance package.

“We continue to listen to our fleet customers and modify our content and offerings to meet their needs,” Ruppert said. “An example is the addition of ‘flat towing’ on all 4x4 offerings and the removal of the HD payload package requirement from the SuperCab 8-foot box configurations. Our customers can still opt to purchase the HD payload package, but it is no longer forced on this configuration.”

Slight Changes to Fusion
Going into the 2012-MY, the Fusion all 6-speed transmission lineup is available with three engine choices (2.5L I-4, 3.0L V-6, and 3.5L V-6), four distinct models (S, SE, SEL, and Sport) and a Hybrid version. Ford has made the 6-speed automatic transmission standard on the Fusion SE, as well as 17-inch aluminum wheels. In addition, the Fusion Sport offers all-wheel drive.

2012-My Ford Fusion Hybrid

2012-My Ford Fusion Hybrid

Boasting even more fuel economy than its gasoline counterpart with 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway, the Fusion Hybrid — first introduced in the 2010-MY — operates up to 47 mph in electric vehicle mode and can drive a range of more than 700 miles through the city on a single tank of gasoline, according to Ford.

Providing 20% more battery power than the first-generation system, the Fusion Hybrid’s PowerSplit technology system uses two motors and a continuously variable transmission to optimize drive and fuel efficiency for all operating modes. The 2.5L Atkinson-Cycle hybrid four-cylinder powertrain combines with the electric motor to generate 191 net hp.[PAGEBREAK]

Both Fusion and Fusion Hybrid continue to provide a number of standard safety features: AdvanceTrac electronic stability control, dual front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bag, side air curtains, a Personal Safety System, a tire pressure monitoring system, and SOS Post-Crash Alert System that flashes lights and sounds a horn in the event of an accident.

The 2012 Fusion offers a wide suite of customer-focused technology, such as MyKey, an option that allows users to program a “key limit” to certain vehicle functions, including limiting top speed and a persistent Belt-Minder alert.

SYNC is available on Fusion SE and above models, providing hands-free access with simple voice commands, including traffic, directions and business search. Also available is “Vehicle Health Report,” which provides an online report of vehicle diagnostics, and 911 Assist, which can connect directly to a 911 operator through the paired mobile phone after an accident in which an airbag deploys.

Remote keyless-entry system with trunk release, SecuriLock Passive Anti-Theft System, SecuriCode keyless entry pad and an auto-dimming rearview mirror are other features.

F-150 pickup Offers Economical Operation
In these lean economic times efficiency is of paramount importance, and the F-150 delivers on both these counts: Its standard 4x2 engine options feature best-in-class capabilities, including, but not limited to, range, power and trailering.

2012-MY Ford F-150

2012-MY Ford F-150

Engine options for the 4x2 models include the 3.7-liter V-6, the 5.0-liter V-8, the 6.2-liter V-8, and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Each engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission.

  • The 3.7-liter offers 302 hp and 278 lb.-ft. of torque for 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, and a maximum trailering capacity of 6,100 lbs.
  • The 5.0-liter offers 360 hp and 380 lb.-ft. of torque, delivering 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway; it has a maximum trailering capacity of 10,000 lbs.
  • The 6.2-liter delivers 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque for 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway, and has a maximum towing capacity of 11,300 lbs.
  • The 3.5-liter EcoBoost delivers 365 hp and 420 lb.-ft. of torque for 22 mpg hwy. Like the 6.2L, it has a maximum trailering capacity of 11,300 lbs. The 3.5L also has a payload capacity of 3,060 lbs.
  • The 4x4 EcoBoost delivers additional fuel efficiency and range. The 365 hp, 420 lb.-ft. of torque EcoBoost engine delivers 21 mpg hwy.

The 36-gallon fuel tank gives the EcoBoost a 756-mile range, meaning that it could travel halfway across the country from Silverado, Calif., to Tundra, Texas — a distance of 1,496 miles — with only a single stop at the halfway point, according to Ford data.

The Ford F-150’s drivetrain has gotten an additional makeover from last year. On the 4x4 models, the electronic shift-on-the-fly has been replaced with a two-speed automatic on the LARIAT, King Ranch and Platinum trim levels. The two-speed automatic gives added control to the F-150. If the truck’s automated system senses a loss of traction, it immediately transfers torque to the front wheels, making the system more seamless for the customer.

Another driveline update is the addition of Hill Start Assist, an automatic system for Lariat trim level and above. While braking, if sensors detect the vehicle is on a slope, pressure is held in the braking system for up to two seconds after the driver releases the pedal.

Among the standard safety features are AdvanceTrac with roll stability control, Safety Canopy System, dual-stage front airbags, SecuriLock passive anti-theft engine immobilizer system, SOS Post-Crash Alert, four-wheel ABS and manual lap/shoulder safety belts with height adjusters, pretensioners and energy management retractors on outside front positions.

Visit the Ford fleet website at for details pertaining to incentives on these vehicles.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet