After losing a naming rights battle with auto parts chain Pep Boys, the seller of Futura brand tyres, Ford has renamed its upcoming midsized sedan - due in US showrooms next year - the "Fusion," company sources told The Detroit News.

Ford already uses the Fusion nameplate for a high-riding, mini-minivan version of its European Fiesta range. Ironically it also uses the Futura badge on some models in its Australian Falcon model line.

According to the Detroit daily, Ford has been quietly telling dealers of the change and is expected to reintroduce the car as early as this week.

The paper noted that Ford announced the Futura name at the 2003 New York motor show, explaining the five-seat sedan is aimed squarely at midsize sedans such as Toyota Camry, but, in April, a federal court ruled Philadelphia-based Pep Boys had a better claim to the name.

Last year, Ford also lost the right to call its 500-horsepower supercar the GT40 when a vehicle-kit maker stepped forward with the same label. A newly named Ford GT launches this summer, the report added.

The Detroit News said the Fusion name fits in with the Ford brand's strategy of beginning the names of its cars, minivans and crossover vehicles with the letter F - the Mustang and GT sports cars are the exceptions.