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Mercury Mariner Hybrid production begins

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.  Ford Motor Co. on Wednesday took one small step in its quest to build 250,000 hybrid vehicles annually by 2010: launching the gasoline-electric version of its Mercury Mariner crossover.

Production of the hybrid Mariner began in early October, but full-scale production is now underway and the company celebrated the launch with the media and employees Wednesday.

Only 4,000 Mariner hybrids will be built annually at the companys plant in Kansas City  and only about 2,000 the first year.
That will bring total hybrid production by Ford, which also makes the Escape hybrid, to about 24,000 vehicles a year  about 225,000 vehicles short of the companys goal, which is being promoted in an advertising campaign by Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford.

The Dearborn-based automaker will have to increase hybrid production more than tenfold over the next four years to meet its aggressive objectives.

Its absolutely going to be met, Nancy Gioia, Fords new director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs, said at the Kansas City plant Wednesday.


http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article...NEWS11/51116015
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