Ford Expects to Sell Many Hybrid SUVs

2003 Escape SUV with hybrid-electric drive to carry 25% price premium and get 40 mpg in city driving.

Published: 08-Mar-2002

DETROIT -- As the Senate gears up to debate the fuel economy of sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks, a senior Ford Motor (NYSE: F - news) Co . executive said the No. 2 auto maker aims to sell "tens of thousands" of a small, superfuel-efficient Escape SUV powered by a gasoline-electric "hybrid" propulsion system, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported.

Prabhakar Patil, head of Ford's program that aims to launch the Escape hybrid by the end of 2003, said at an auto-industry conference here yesterday that the hybrid Escape isn't intended as a niche vehicle. Ford sees a good chance for the vehicle to become a "mass-market vehicle," he said.

Mr. Patil said that if it was priced today, the Escape hybrid would likely have as much as a 25% price premium over the conventional gasoline-powered Escape, which he said would put the SUV's price tag somewhere around $25,000. The vehicle is expected to deliver nearly 40 miles per gallon of gas in city driving.



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