Gioia: Ford hybrids will be profitable this year
January 15, 2008 - 12:01 am ET
DETROIT -- By the end of this year, Ford Motor Co.'s hybrid vehicle program
is expected to be profitable for the first time.
Nancy Gioia, Ford's director of sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid
vehicle programs, said that since production started in 2004, Ford has
chopped about 30 percent of the cost out of making the Escape, Mercury
Mariner and Mazda Tribute hybrid SUVs.
She said the improvements have come from better batteries, upgrades to the
electrical system that governs the hybrid powertrain and less complex
Gioia said Ford expects its hybrid vehicles to make money once hybrid
versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans start production later
Ford sells around 21,000 Escape and Mariner hybrids per year. Ford has not
said how many hybrid Fusion and Milan sedans it expects to sell, but the
price of batteries and the vehicles' hybrid transmission will drop once the
volume increases. Escape, Mariner, Tribute, Fusion and Milan will share the
same basic powertrain and battery pack.
Gioia also said Ford is exploring gasoline-electric hybrids that use the
company's new EcoBoost system. EcoBoost uses a turbocharger and direct fuel
injection to improve fuel economy and lower emissions. Gioia said a hybrid
with EcoBoost could have a much smaller gasoline engine without hurting