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Ford to triple hybrid vehicle production
by Staff Writers
Detroit, Michigan (AFP) June 9, 2011

Ford said Thursday it will triple production of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles by 2013 as it challenges industry leader Toyota and prepares to meet tough new fuel efficiency rules.

"This is our Prius fighter," Ford vice president of global marketing Jim Farley said as he showed off the C-Max compact minivan.

The C-Max, already on sale in Europe, will only be offered in North America with a plug-in or regular hybrid gas-electric engine.

Ford plans to build five electrified vehicles for North America by 2012 -- including the Transit Connect electric van, on sale now, and the Focus electric sedan, which goes on sale later this year.

The carmaker also already offers the Fusion hybrid mid-sized sedan and the Escape hybrid sport utility vehicle.

It currently sells about 35,000 electrified vehicles a year and plans to boost that to more than 100,000 vehicles annually by 2013.

The hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles built near Detroit will also be exported to other markets around the world, Farley said.

"Customers have come to expect fuel efficiency with every new vehicle Ford delivers and now we're further differentiating our electrified lineup with something else people truly value -- choice," he told reporters at a Ford transmission plant outside Detroit.

"Whether people want a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or a full electric vehicle, we have a family of vehicles for them to consider, providing a range of options to best meet their needs."

Farley said Ford is now the fuel-economy leader in 12 different segments and builds four vehicles that get better than 40 miles per gallon (17 kilometers per liter).

Both the hybrid and plug-in versions of the C-Max will get better than 41 miles per gallon (17.4 kilometers per liter) and help Ford keep its edge in the fuel economy race.

In April 2010, the US government finalized new automobile fuel economy standards starting with 2012 models, a move aimed at saving billions of barrels of oil and reducing greenhouse emissions.

The regulations will then require automakers to improve fleet-wide fuel economy and reduce fleet-wide greenhouse gas emissions by roughly five percent every year.

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Toyota sees net profit falling 31% to $3.5 billion this year
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