Ford's Secret Weapon

Ford hopes the Piquette project will be ramped up enough by 2010 to be able to put a quarter million hybrid recyclable vehicles on the road.

Published: 29-Jan-2006

p;The big headlines for Ford Motor Company have been centered around the extensive layoffs and plant closures slated for the next few years. But at the same time, the company came out with a plan to mass-produce recyclable hybrid cars that might just bring Ford back into the green. Tim O'Brien is the director of the Piquette Project. He joins host Steve Curwood from his office in Dearborn, Michigan.

CURWOOD: So, how would you like a car that burns a lot less fuel, has a non-toxic interior and, when it finally costs too much fix, its maker will take it back?

Those are some of the concepts behind the secret Piquette project of the Ford Motor Company, named after the original model T plant. Ford quietly leaked the existence of the project to the press at the same time it announced layoffs of up to 30,000 employees and the closing of 14 plants in the years ahead.

Necessity may be the mother of invention...or in this case, environmentalism, as Ford figures out how to compete with eco-friendly big sellers like the Toyota Prius.


Third quarter losses and fierce competition for American car and truck buyers, prompted the automaker to launch a corporate-wide campaign last month to reposition Ford Motor as a leader in innovation and cutting-edge energy policies.

While Ford is having trouble getting hybrids to American buyers, in the UK, Ford cars average 20-40 mpg more than their US counterparts.

Ford's next hybrid will be the Fusion slated to be introduced in 2008, along with the Mercury Milan Hybrid.


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