Ford Exploring Spectrum of Power Options

Interview with Richard Parry-Jones, Ford's Executive Vice-President for product development.

Published: 01-Jun-2005

The perfect choice for future powertrains remains a mystery, but Richard Parry-Jones, Ford's Executive Vice-President for product development, is used to failing to achieve perfection. "I have never launched a perfect car and I never will," he says. "I am a perfectionist. I'm not embarrassed about it." He was interviewed at the North American International Auto Show by AutoTechnology-Correspondent Bill Diem.

At this show, Ford, General Motors and Chrysler have a higher percentage of cars than trucks than usual, and the Asians have a higher percentage of trucks. Is this a sign of a homogenization of portfolios?

It feels that way to me. Proliferation of cars for the domestics, proliferation of trucks from the Japanese, and hybrids everywhere. Everybody has changed his mind about hybrids. People like to talk about how far we are behind Toyota. I like to talk about how far Ford is ahead of everybody else. The industry has always said that hybrids are inherently too expensive with two powertrains. It is expensive, but when people ask me to pick a winner, I say I can't. We don't know what the winner is going to be. That's the bad news. The good news is that we've got to work on everything. We've got to work on clean diesel. We've got to work on hybrid. We've got to work on fuel cells. We've got to work on gasoline engines. Because we're going to go through a period of 15-20 years of turbulence where a lot of different power alternatives will be out there, vying with each other.


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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