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Greenest Manufacturer of the Year Award

It’s that time of year again, and for 2008 our Greenest Manufacturer of the Year Award goes to a car maker that in the last year has made a real difference in bringing low emission cars to the mainstream market.

It was just a couple of years ago when there was only a handful of green cars for motorists to choose from. The green cars available at that time were seen as quirky, impractical, dreadful to drive, expensive, or all of the above.

Over the last year one manufacturer has stood above the rest by giving us cars that look good, drive well, and can stretch out one gallon of fuel to travel for many, many miles. Perhaps most importantly in the current economic meltdown, this manufacturer’s cars are affordable.

If you’ve not guessed it yet, the Green-Car-Guide Greenest Manufacturer of the Year Award for 2008 goes to Ford. The company had many low emission models to choose from anyway, but during a year that included record oil prices and continuing concern about CO2 emissions, Ford has made a special effort to give us energy-efficient models.

Take the Ford Focus ECOnetic. One of the UK’s favourite cars, the Focus consistently enjoys rave reviews about how well it drives, it can accommodate five people and all their stuff, yet the ECOnetic version averages 65.7mpg.

If you want to go even lower, then the new Fiesta ECOnetic falls below the magic 100g/km CO2 emissions barrier, at just 98g/km, and it can manage an amazing 76mpg. This is in a package that looks great, with modern cutting-edge design. And once again, the dynamics of the new Fiesta means that this is an efficient car that you can actually enjoy driving.

The new Ford Ka is also now here. The fact that the old model stayed around for so many years showed what a success it was, probably due in large part to how great it was to drive. The new version continues this theme, and as well as being an inherently cheap-to-run car anyway, it will soon be made even more appropriate for our financially-challenged times, with the appearance of an ECOnetic version.

This year we also got a Mondeo ECOnetic, meaning that the Mondeo, which always receives great praise for its driving dynamics and quality, was available in a form that made motorway journeys efficient as well as comfortable.

Even the C-MAX MPV 1.6 TDCi is now available with emissions of just 119g/km CO2, and economy of 62.8mpg. Think back a few years and you’d be struggling to find a car with this much space for the kids that could manage even half of this fuel economy figure. And even the S-Max and Galaxy 7 seaters have been leaders in our Green-Car-Guide 7 seater category for most of the last 2 years.

Although sales of large, inefficient 4x4s are suffering, the fact is that people like the looks, practicality and the feeling of security that the Kuga offers, and although it was class-leading at launch with 44.1mpg and 169g/km in 4WD form, the new two-wheel-drive version improves the economy to 46.3mpg, and lowers the emissions to 159g/km CO2.

All this demonstrates the point that Ford has a great range of practical, well designed and enjoyable low emission cars for the average family. The ECOnetic range means that low-cost solutions have been found to make cars that are family favourites even more efficient, cheaper to run, and more environmentally responsible. There are no drawbacks such as limited range, low speed, no space for the kids, or huge price premiums.

May this be a sign to America about the turnaround they need to make with their product offerings – Mr Obama, these are the sort of cars that the US motor industry needs to be producing.

In response to our Greenest Manufacturer of the Year Award 2008, the company said: “Ford has felt the full sales effect of green, fuel efficient motoring and responded with a stylish, frugal range. By November, Ford had delivered 50 per cent more sub-120g cars in 2008 than the same 11-month period the previous year. Today we have just over 50 different models emitting under 120g CO2/km. These green cars include components and materials produced in a sustainable way. The 1.4/1.6 TDCi diesel engine in Ford’s 51 sub-120g Fiesta, Fusion and Focus models is assembled in the company’s wind-powered Dagenham engine plant.”

“This helps us feel a worthy winner of Green-Car-Guide’s green manufacturer of the year award. Green-Car-Guide has consistently recognised the new Ford range’s credentials, from the seven-seater S-MAX to its latest entrant – the 98g CO2 Ford Fiesta ECOnetic capable of returning over 76mpg. In 2009 a new Ford Ka ECOnetic will join the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo ECOnetic low CO2 range.”

So hooray to Ford – and Season’s Greetings to all our visitors. Despite oil prices coming down, the issue of CO2 will not go away in 2009. So to keep on top of the latest low emission cars next year, keep visiting www.Green-Car-Guide.com