Mercury Mariner Hybrid Named 'Green Car of the Year'
The Mercury Mariner Hybrid – the first full-hybrid premium compact SUV – is now the first vehicle to be honored by Green Car Journal as “Green Car of the Year.”
Mercury Mariner Hybrid received the “2006 Green Car of the Year” award this afternoon at the 2006 Los Angeles Auto Show. The award winner is determined by an 11-member panel of international jurors comprised of automotive and environmental experts, including Carroll Shelby, Jean-Michel Cousteau and Mario Andretti.
“The Mariner Hybrid is the perfect vehicle for customers who are looking for a distinctive design, the versatility of a sport-utility vehicle, and advanced technology capable of bettering their lives as well as the environment,” said Tom Brewer, general marketing manager, Lincoln Mercury. “Being selected ‘Green Car of the Year’ is a great accomplishment. Mariner Hybrid is helping pave the way for more vehicles to come in the company’s expanded commitment to hybrid technology.”
The “Green Car of the Year” award is designed to recognize environmental leadership in the automotive industry. The jury includes Green Car Journal staff, as well as experts drawn from transportation technology, automotive design, racing, environmental protection, social engineering and other related fields. It makes its final selections based on research and driving experience, with an emphasis on vehicles that advance overall efficiency and functionality while decreasing environmental impact. Gasoline-electric hybrids, near-zero emission gasoline models, advanced diesels, and an array of vehicles capable of operating on alternative fuels were among those considered. The Mercury Mariner Hybrid received top honors among five finalists.
Innovative Launch Ushers in Hybrid Ingenuity with Premium Appeal
The new Mercury Mariner Hybrid is bringing upscale attributes into the hybrid marketplace – as well as an innovative order process designed to appeal to the tech-savvy consumer. True to its distinctive nature, the Mariner Hybrid is going to market very differently than other Lincoln and Mercury vehicles. For starters, the majority of sales inquiries for the Mercury Mariner Hybrid involve the assistance of online “Personal Sales Consultants” who serve as the primary liaison between customers and dealerships.
The 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid took to the streets in September at the first-ever Sierra Club National Environmental Convention and Expo in California , where Sierra Summit attendees were among the first consumers to test drive the vehicle. The Mariner Hybrid launch also included visits to 10 U.S. cities as part of Ford Motor Company’s Hybrid Patrol tour, designed to educate consumers about hybrids and offer fuel-saving driving tips. Ford’s hybrid experts teamed with local police departments to patrol in Mariner Hybrids, rewarding motorists who demonstrated fuel-efficient driving techniques with “citations” – BP gas cards valued at $25.
The “Green Car of the Year” award is the latest recognition Mariner Hybrid has garnered since its debut. The Texas Auto Writers Association and ForbesAuto.com both named it the “Best Compact SUV” for 2005. The Mariner Hybrid, along with Ford Escape Hybrid, also topped Edmunds’ list of Most Fuel Efficient SUVs and Pickups for 2005.
Mercury Mariner Hybrids are built at the Kansas City Assembly Plant. Pricing for the 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid starts at a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of $29,840.
Ford Motor Company Underscores Commitment to Hybrids
The Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the second of five hybrids announced by Ford Motor Company. The first, the critically acclaimed Ford Escape Hybrid, debuted as a 2005 model year vehicle and was named the North American Truck of the Year for 2005.
“Demand for our first hybrid – the Ford Escape Hybrid – was so strong that we pushed very hard to pull production of the Mercury Mariner Hybrid up by a full year,” said Nancy Gioia, director, Ford Sustainable Mobility Technologies and Hybrid Programs. “Ford is committed to improving fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions across its range of vehicles. As the second of our five announced hybrids, the Mariner Hybrid represents the next stage of this commitment.”
By 2008, Ford will have five hybrids on the road, including the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Mazda Tribute Hybrids. By 2010, Ford plans to increase its global hybrid production to approximately 250,000 hybrid units annually.
Ford Motor Company has more than 150 patents from technological innovations developed for its hybrid program.
The Mercury Mariner Hybrid is a compact SUV that blends the best features of a gasoline engine and an electric motor to achieve nearly 50 percent higher city driving efficiency and lower emissions with no loss of functionality or performance. With outstanding fuel economy estimated at 33 mpg/city and 29 mpg highway, it will meet the cleanest emission achievable by a fossil-fuel vehicle: California ’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Standard. In addition, it has extended range well over 400 miles per tank and V-6-like acceleration performance.
Configured as a full hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid’s powertrain system is able to propel the vehicle to 25 miles per hour solely with clean electric power. When not required during coasting, at stoplights or crawling at low speeds through traffic, the gasoline engine automatically shuts down to conserve fuel and curb emissions.
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