Ford's Hybrid Strategy

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by Hudsonglas, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Hudsonglas

    Hudsonglas Junior Member

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    Ford's strategy is to do nothing according to this article.
    What a concept for US manufacturers.


    Bloomberg.com: U.S.
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    so... they're gonna take the lazy way out? Wait, then catch up by paying someone else (like GM or Toyota) for rights to the technology?
     
  3. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    It sounds as though they are tinkering with them. Besides, with some of the fancy footwork spin tactics I've seen in print and on tv, it wouldn't surprise me if even those companies late to the party found a positive way to market their position.

    And isn't the Ford Escape Hybrid built on Toyota hybrid technology?
    2008 Ford Escape Hybrid Reviews
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2008-ford-escape-hybrid-review/
    2005 Ford Escape Hybrid Review - Hybrid SUV
     
  4. boulder_bum

    boulder_bum Senior Member

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    I think the way it worked is that Ford developed all of their technology in-house, but they swapped the rights to some patents with Toyota to avoid any lawsuits.

    Ford's attitude toward plug-ins exemplifies why US auto manufacturers are suffering so much lately: they can't see past the next quarter's profit so they run into problems when, for example, ever-increasing oil prices cause a sudden 20% drop in SUV sales.

    The situation is analogous to when the Prius first came out. US manufacturers scoffed that the development of the Prius was a money-loser, which it was at first. Look who's laughing all the way to the bank now, though.

    If Ford wants to be in the position to keep playing catch up, then they deserve to repeat their 24%+ stock drop in the next year, too.
     
  5. Rybold

    Rybold globally warmed member

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    In a competitive world, lazy=death.

    In the new issue of either Motor Trend or Autoweek (they both came in my mailbox today), there is a spy photo of the new (2010?) Ford Taurus. It looks decent. Nothing awesome, but definitely not ugly. If we go based on styling alone, it should the same as the average car on the market today (think of a Camry). If Ford really wants to sell them, they should offer it as a hybrid only.
     
  6. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    I think that this is a very smart strategy for cash-strapped Ford. IMO plugins will NOT be as monumental a change as the Gen1 and Gen2 Prius' were. PHEVs and EREVs will be directed to a very limited segment of the population that is...
    a. suburban
    b. well-to-do
    c. extremely enviro-conscious
    Joe and Jane lunchpail steelworker are NOT going to plop down $40000 to drive a two door commuter to work. However they might definitely buy an $18000 hybrid commuter that gets 50+ mpg.

    The options most commonly being discussed now are the Volt and the PHEV Prius. Both will be premium vehicles which are definitely NOT intended for the masses. Ford IMO would be much better served by bringing out a full range of 'traditional' hybrids from $18000 to $30000. Ford should sell the hell out of these and leave the risky PHEV mini-segment to Toyota which won't miss the spare change and to GM which desperately needs an econo-HomeRun.

    I think Ford is using its noodle here. Now if they do absolutely NOTHING that's inexcusable. They along with Toyota and Honda have been into hybrids since the beginning.
     
  7. dwdean

    dwdean Member

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    I don't like this, but I have to confess that it's nothing new for for Ford. The "success" of the company has always been based on that principle of "if no one buys it, we don't make it."

    Given that, what I don't understand is what they're doing with their truck lines. If they apply their corporate mantra, they should be seriously scaling back truck and SUV production and development. So if they're doing that, and they're taking the "wait and see" attitude on plug-ins, what are they doing? Sitting in the corner playing with their purchased Gen I hybrid technology (not that there's anything wrong with that technology, the point is they didn't develop it and probably are injoined from improving on it.)
     
  8. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Your Friendly Moderator
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    Joe and Jane's jobs were off-shored after their company decided to wait for the competition, their pensions were embezzled, the Union told them to strike, and their variable-rate mortgage turned their home debt upside-down.
     
  9. DeadPhish

    DeadPhish Senior Member

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    Actually because of our own wonderful American ingenuity the US mini-mills killed off the dinosaur integrated mills as non-union rules and flexible plants made the mini-mills assassians. In addition the Nucors and Steel Dynamics of the US became the models of ultra-efficient production for the entire rest of the world.

    Actually Nucor refused governmental assistance in keeping out imports in the 90s when the integrateds demanded it. Nucor wanted to '..fight them on the beaches,...." to borrow a phrase. As a result, the US steel industry now is the model of efficiency and innovation for the entire world. Surprising but true..I was there.

    Joe and Jane lunchpail steelworkers now work a flexible 40-60 hour week with a productivity bonus based on production with each doing multiple functions in a non-union environment. It is actually a pretty amazing story, especially the Nucor part.

    It would be something like CarMax taking down Ford, Chrysler and Nissan single-handedly then going into the vehicle-making business themselves selling the CarMax midsized sedan for $15000 and the CarMax hybrid for $19,999.
     
  10. hampdenwireless

    hampdenwireless Active Member

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    Ford technology is not the problem. They have improved TWO times the hybrid escape over its cycle. The system can now go up to 40 mph on electric and has more power then before. There is no small SUV that gets its mpg yet. There is a problem though.

    Its either will or manufacturing.

    They promised a Fusion hybrid for delivery in 2007. Its 2008 and still its not here. They may in a few weeks start to publicize it. I can only hope.

    They just aren't making the numbers of hybrid escapes needed. I think its something like 24000 a year. Two thousand a month for the whole USA? Toyota makes that many hybrids a month.

    I would also think they could add mild hybrid systems to other vehicles GM style and they have no plans to do that. The GM weak hybrid approach can deliver the goods if it is made in large enough volumes. Start/stop should be standard by now.

    I really do like Ford. But they are failing to deliver. I would be quite interested in a Fusion hybrid. Its going to be too late though, I will probably be driving a Prius before then as I have an order in for one now.
     
  11. minkforce1

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    ford: we'd sell them if only people would buy them!
    us: what about the people on wait lists for the prius?
    ford: the wha?
     
  12. hampdenwireless

    hampdenwireless Active Member

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    There are also wait lists for the Escape Hybrid even though they are much smaller. FEH's are selling for above list or list as well.
     
  13. joe_g

    joe_g New Member

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    Yes, the block diagram is almost identical to the Prius.

    But then both are based on a system invented by TRW, and the patent was granted in 1972. Hard for Toyota to claim it's theirs.
     
  14. joe_g

    joe_g New Member

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    From the linked Bloomberg article:

    So do I read that to mean that NiMH batteries could make a plug in work????

    If so, is this more evidence that Chevron is the only reason that the plug in hybrid isn't being made because of Chevron's lock on the NiMH battery through patent blocking?
     
  15. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Nope, I think that's just sloppy journalism. Two unconnected facts. You can maybe get 1000 full charge-discharge cycles out of a current NiMH battery. That's just too short-lived for use as a PHEV, where you are supposed to allow for daily full discharge. For example, Cobasys themselves will only say "over 1000" 80% discharge cycles before battery failure, for their large-format NiMH batteries. That will work well in shallow-discharge situations as in the Prius, but would not be long-lived enough if they were routinely fully discharged, as in a PHEV.
     
  16. chogan2

    chogan2 Senior Member

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    Let's not forget that Bill Ford want to commit Ford to a major effort in hybrids -- and got kicked out of the CEO job for it.
     
  17. hotcakes

    hotcakes New Member

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    Sorry, but it has to be said:

    U.S. car manufacturers are like dinosaurs.
    Big, fat, unwilling to change.

    How come there are waiting lists for the Prius?
    Because people want it.

    But U.S. automakers don't get it.

    It will be interesting when gas hits $7 per gallon (as WSJ has foreseen).

    When will these people learn?
     
  18. holy_crap

    holy_crap Junior Member

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    from the article.
    "Operating a plug-in vehicle may be difficult for motorists in cities such as New York and San Francisco, Miller said. Manufacturers ``assume you have access to a plug, and that's simply not the case in many cities where people park on the street or just don't have a garage,'' he said."

    I must admit, I had not thought of that. Although a plug-in would be great for me and all of us who own or rent homes with driveways, it would not work for my brother, and millions of people who live in apartment complexes with no access to electrical plugs to "plug-in" their cars.
     
  19. Prius Prime

    Prius Prime Junior Member

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    What Hybrid Strategy?

    First of all--I'm from a "Ford family"--my grandfather and father worked for Ford. I have owned 2 Mavericks, a Fairmont, 4 Escorts and my husband is driving my Focus now. My son's previous car was an Explorer.

    I attended the Ford Escape Hybrid Experience in October 2005 with my son after he had purchased his FEH. At that time Ford was committed to putting 250,000 hybrids on the road in the next few years. They had a MMH there for us to test drive before its release and a Fusion which they said would have a hybrid version in 2007 or 2008.

    Fast forward to now. No Ford Fusion hybrid--went to my Ford dealer last summer, they tried to sell me a Fusion or a Focus--neither met my requirement of over 40 mpg. In fact they told me there was no such car! :confused:
    I asked what about a Toyota Prius--they didn't know what it was and talked about how the Fusion beat the Accord and Camry (?) in a survey.

    For the first time ever, I bought a foreign car. I got my Prius in September, 2007. Gas has gone up about a dollar a gallon since then. I'm getting over 60 mpg on this tank, lifetime average is over 50 mpg.

    I love my Prius. Sorry Ford.

    I think if they brought out a hybrid version of the European s-max for under $30,000 (cute car!) they would sell as many as they could make. But it seems like the Big 3 wanted to be truck companies.

    I just don't understand anyone's thinking about gas prices. After 9-11 and hurricane Katrina and the way gas went up--I knew gas would never be under $2/gallon again. Now $3/gal would be cheap!

    BTW, the FEH is a great vehicle--I just don't like to drive SUVs.

    How can they have been so wrong?

    Prius Prime--lovin' my Prius!:D
     
  20. JimN

    JimN Let the games begin!

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    People in NYC already have electric vehicles. We in the suburbs call them subways. If "city people" don't/can't buy the plug-ins then there will be more for the rest of us.
     
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