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Ford Celebrates Production Of 100,000th Hybrid SUV


2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

2009 Mercury Mariner Hybrid

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Further proving that Ford is the one domestic carmaker that understands the brave new world of automaking, today its Kansas City assembly plant spit out their 100,000th hybrid SUV in five years of production. The plant produces the 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrid small SUVs.

The 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids remain the highest mpg hybrid SUVs in the world, despite brash new entries like the Lexus RX450h. Both FoMoCo hybrid SUVs earn EPA ratings of 34/31 mpg, trouncing the aforementioned Lexus (in two-wheel drive form) by two and three mpg, respectively. Of course, the Lexus will leave the Ford SUVs in the dust (Ford claims 10.4 seconds to 60 mph), but good low-end torque from the Ford's electric motors mean perfectly acceptable around town acceleration especially considering all that frugality.

2009 Ford Escape

2009 Ford Escape

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While Obama's auto task force team is hunched over the negotiating table with the UAW, GM, and Chrysler, the UAW couldn't be happier concerning Ford's Kansas City operations. Jeff Wright, president of UAW Local 249 at the plant, commented: "We have a great workforce in Kansas City and they are committed to building a high-quality vehicle. It's a testament to the employees that the hybrids have performed so well on the road."

Rather than playing catch up, Ford is reaping the rewards of its hybrid prescience with both the Escape/Mariner and the award-winning 2010 Fusion hybrid. Plans to bring all-electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and next-gen hybrids to market by 2012 should only strengthen their position, proving that taxpayer bailouts aren't necessary for successful domestic auto production.

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Comments (5)
  1. "Smart Moves"

    Ford is proving that when it sat in on that hearing with Congress, it was basically there to provide moral support to Chrysler and GM. It is a reason that they are not begging with hat in hand for a lifeline. Ford is largely making smart moves to stay in the game. One such move was licensing the Hybrid Synergy Drive system from Toyota to create the Escape, Fusion, and Mariner hybrids. This allowed them to build a bridge now to carry them into the future. GM was smart enough to do this with the Pontiac Vibe. Second was leveraging Mazda to provide the platforms for the Euro Focus and Fusion. Third, was leveraging Volvo to provide the platform for the Taurus and MKS. In addition, Ford is finally delivering, for instance with the Fusion, on its slogan that "quality is job one". GM and Chrysler could take some lessons here, even Consumer Reports have recognized this. Outside of the Pontiac Vibe, which is a Toyota Matrix derivative, you would be hard pressed to find a GM model with a predicated reliability rating any where near above average. Furthermore, I hope that when the upcoming Fiesta is built here it comes with an option for the about 65 mpg highway rated diesel engine that will be available in the European version. I also hope that Ford retains a significant interest in Volvo. To increase Volvo's chance at making a profit in this country, Volvo vehicles could be built in Ford idle plants or Ford plants that could use the capacity.
     
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  2. "Better Moves"

    Ford should get rid of those temporary spare tires and provide full size spare tires across the board. Also, the money spent on developing the capless fuel filler neck would have been better spent on installing locking fuel filler doors across the product line. This is because the need to make sure that no one drops foreign objects into the tank or steals our fuel is greater than the convenience provided in filling the tank up. Furthermore, the Escape interior is overdue for a quality upgrade, and that electric steering system needs more road feel or feedback.
     
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  3. "And don't forget ..."

    ... the Mazda Tribute Hybrid as well!
     
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  4. "ford did not use the toyota hybird system"

    They developed their own hybrid tech independently of Toyota's work. Because there are only so many ways to skin a cat, ford licensed some of the patents involved with the toyota system to avoid any future legal problems. toyota also licensed some of fords patents on diesel engine technology at the same time for the same reasons. To state that ford is using the toyota synergy drive is untrue.
     
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  5. "Splitting Hairs"

    Okay Matt, to be absolutely correct, as you state Ford licensed some of the patents involved with the Toyota system. That is, for instance, to operate on electric power only, gas only, or a combination of gas and electric. Ford then used its own engine and continuously variable transmission. My point was that Toyota was the one to put this concept into production under the moniker Hybrid Synergy Drive. Ford utilized this technology or as you say licenses to produce a vehicle using this technology and adding components. Nissan did the same thing with the Altima Hybrid, Toyota technology with a Nissan engine and continuously variable transmission. Therefore, using these licenses, for which Ford and Nissan pay for, were smart moves.
     
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