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Ford hybrids to be profitable late 2008

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Gioia: Ford hybrids will be profitable this year

Richard Truett

Automotive News

January 15, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

DETROIT -- By the end of this year, Ford Motor Co.'s hybrid vehicle program is expected to be profitable for the first time.

Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs, said that since production started in 2004, Ford has chopped about 30 percent of the cost out of making the Escape, Mercury Mariner and Mazda Tribute hybrid SUVs.

She said the improvements have come from better batteries, upgrades to the electrical system that governs the hybrid powertrain and less complex controls.

Gioia said Ford expects its hybrid vehicles to make money once hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans start production later this year.

Ford sells around 21,000 Escape and Mariner hybrids per year. Ford has not said how many hybrid Fusion and Milan sedans it expects to sell, but the price of batteries and the vehicles' hybrid transmission will drop once the volume increases. Escape, Mariner, Tribute, Fusion and Milan will share the same basic powertrain and battery pack.

Gioia also said Ford is exploring gasoline-electric hybrids that use the company's new EcoBoost system. EcoBoost uses a turbocharger and direct fuel injection to improve fuel economy and lower emissions. Gioia said a hybrid with EcoBoost could have a much smaller gasoline engine without hurting performance.

EcoBoost Hybrid? :scratchchin: I like the sound of that.

Edited by mustang84

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good news. I look forward to the day when GM says this about the Volt. Will be great to see it move beyond high mpg halo car to a profitable product. :)

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Sweeet. The demand for Escape Hybrids is definitely greater than the supply. They're hard to find, and hold their value extremely well - I can't find a single used one under $20K. The Fusion Hybrid will rock; the Escape Hybrid already gets better city mileage than a Camry Hybrid.

I suppose the Prius should be profitable, too, since there are now a million of them.

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