And the average car on the road is already over 10 years old.
The point is… it only makes sense the next car consumers look to buy will likely be one that can get much further using less gasoline.
At the Detroit auto show yesterday, Ford revealed its 2013 plug-in hybrid Fusion, which will trump every other liquid-powered vehicle in terms of gas efficiency.
The current Fusion is already the most popular car built by an American automaker, with sales totaling 248,067 in 2011. Incentives like 100 miles per gallon and new gadgets will only likely push sales higher.
3. CEO Alan Mulally is a true American businessman: When the financial crisis struck in 2008, Ford lost $14.8 billion, the most in its 108-year history. It also burned through 61% of its cash reserves, $21.2 billion.
Yet somehow, Mulally led Ford through the financial crisis without needing a single bailout from the U.S. government. And by 2011, The New York Times reported the company announced it would pay bonuses of $5,000 and more to its hourly workers.
Even more, over the past year, Mulally helped boost the company's return on equity up 317%. And generally, the higher the return on equity, the more efficient a company is at generating profits with the money it gets from investors. That's a very positive sign for the months ahead.
4. Auto sales are picking up steam: It's no secret the financial crisis hit the auto manufacturing industry very hard. In fact, the entire global economy is still feeling its effects. Yet the auto industry is starting to rebound. December sales rose 10% signifying a stronger year ahead.
And while they wouldn't give specifics, both Ford and GM's CEO have hinted that sales have continued surging so far this month.
5. Ford's shares appear to be at a discount: Despite all the good news just mentioned, Ford's shares were clobbered last year… down 39% in 2011.
Yet while that news is likely enough to scare away most investors, company executives say Ford's shares are way oversold. They're even putting their money where their mouth is to prove it.
Over the past six months, insiders at Ford have purchased 118,000 shares worth just under $1.4 million at the current share price.
There's no telling how the markets will treat the auto industry or Ford in 2012, but these five factors seem to point to success in the near future.