Nov. 15, 2007: Source – PR Newswire
Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford, spoke yesterday at the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show about the automaker’s plans for what it calls a “blueprint for sustainability.” He outlined Ford’s plans to design future vehicle with a greater awareness of the environment. Mulally spoke specifically about the development of a small-displacement turbo-charged engine line that could be implemented as early as 2009. Direct-injection technology would allow Ford to improve fuel economy in its next generation of vehicles somewhere between 10 and 20 percent.
Despite its early start on hybrids, Ford has been relatively quiet about advanced fuel-saving technologies compared to other major carmakers. The company has apparently not recovered from its failure to deliver on Bill Ford’s earlier promise to make 250,000 hybrids by 2010. Meanwhile, GM and Chrysler have been touting their two-mode hybrid systems, while Honda and Toyota continue to pave the way on various fronts. Ford’s lackluster effort in this area is taking a toll on the company’s green reputation.
Mulally discussed the four primary approaches to green motoring—hybrids, clean diesel, hydrogen, and other alernative fuels—and Ford’s progress with each technology. Of the four, Ford has made the most progress with hybrids, evidences by hybrid SUVs such as the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid, and the upcoming sedans, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Mercury Milan Hybrid. As far as clean diesel goes, the automaker hopes to introduce new diesel models by the end of the decade, but technology will be limited to its F-150 pickup truck and certain large SUVS. Nothing with its diesel plan is set in stone. Plans for hydrogen fuel cells are even more tentative. Mulally gave Ford a big pat on the back for putting more than five million on the road that can run on E85 ethanol.
The speech served as a good summary of Ford’s intentions, but offered little to motivate car shoppers in the market for greener alternatives in the next couple of years.