Ford (Finally!) Unveils Mystery Car At Detroit Auto Show

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During the Monday press preview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, we were looking at this all day…

Ford mystery car NAIAS

…”this” being the sedan-shaped item that Ford was hiding under a tarp with little signs on top that said everybody had to wait until 4:45 for some “performance news.”

Now that 4:45 has come and gone, we can reveal what was behind the curtain:

Ford Fusion racing edition NAIAS


If you guessed Fusion, run right out and buy yourself a cigar. This is the new Ford NASCAR Fusion racing edition, which Ford will debut in its first points race at NASCAR’s Daytona 500 next month.

In terms of cleantech, while the absence of a long-range lithium-ion battery under the hood may disappoint some EV fans, biofuel fans can take a closer look at that green spot encircling the gas cap near the rear end of the car, which says “American Ethanol” around it.

Performance News From Ford

Without specifically mentioning the Fusion, Ford had already dropped some hints about its mystery vehicle on its website, in a 2015 article titled “Ford Performance Lineup Poised for a Big Year:”

…Ford is bringing more than 12 new performance vehicles from now through 2020!

That includes the all-new Ford GT shown for the first time at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)…

Here’s our shot of the pre-production GT from the 2015 show, btw:

2017 Ford GT

Where we we? Oh, right. The article continues:

…The Ford Focus RS will be among these new models, and they will join the existing lineup of Fiesta ST, Focus ST, Shelby® GT350R Mustang and F-150 Raptor.

For those of you who enjoy matching games, you could have found some clues by comparing the draped silhouette above the Ford’s “performance” lineup, as shown on the company’s website:

Ford Performance Lineup

Until recently, the moniker “performance” has usually been associated with high horsepower, low gas mileage, but in the article, Ford’s Raj Nair makes the point that the company’s “performance team” approach enables technology crossover between different models, including energy efficiency:

EcoBoost® is a strong example of how we are migrating technology and engineering across our lineup, ensuring our vehicles are fun to drive. From our most nimble Fiesta to our hard working full-size pickups and racing vehicles, our lineup benefits from the innovations we deliver at the track and at the limit.

In a hint of things to come, at the unveiling, Ford officials noted that the full motion simulator used to design the new NASCAR Fusion will be used on all Ford passenger vehicles in the future, so look for that ripple effect to hit Ford’s EV and hybrid EV models some time soon.

Image credits: all photos by Tina Casey except Ford Performance group, via Ford.

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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3238 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey