Originally Posted by GaveUpOnGM
What took him so long? Ford could package the FEH powerplant in the Freestyle crossover vehicle right now without having to re-program the computer (Freestyle is in the same weight class as FEH, and is FWD). That would have spread out their R&D investment and have a formidable competitor in the minivan market. The cheesy thing is...when Ford says they will offer 4 more hybrids, they really mean 2 more platforms but badged twice (Ford and Mercury). How about a hybrid Focus with a 1600 cc (or smaller) engine. That would be able to compete with Prius and Civic. But, at least Ford is trying, and was the first US automaker to offer a true hybrid!! Maybe Alan Mullaly could light a fire under Ford's management and the board of directors.
LOL, why not ask the simple question? Where is the Ford Fusion Hybrid? It was shown to us in 2005. There's even a picture of a parking lot full of them taken in 2006!
The answer is, in all likelyhood, because the FEH, and indeed all Ford hybrids were never really meant to be sold. Oh, sure, it's great that people buy them and love them, but really the FEH's duties aren't in that arena, it's to raise the CAFE standards, give them something to help advertise the conventional Escape, gives them a media shield that they can fall behind (Take a look at their new advertising for the FEH, about the recycled components. Why?), and to deflect criticism. "Why aren't the American companies making hybrids?" We are, there's the FEH. And perhaps in the future, there may be more.
The FFH was shown to us, announced loudly in the later months of 2005. Then it didn't make news and wasn't shown at the Auto Shows. Then around that time, it mysterously dropped off www.fordvehicles.com
and the head of the Hybrid developpment and future sustainable technologies quits and leaves Ford. Then rumors popped up, the FFH was canceled. Then what? Nothing. It disapeared off everyones radar. People at the Auto Show circuits had no idea about the FFH, or any other hybrid prospects, and now here it is, 3 years later and there isn't so much as a peep. Instead, suddenly the new micro RV Hydrogen powered Hy-Wire shows up! Wow!
The initial idea was to hybridize the FEH/MMH/MTH, then the Fusion, then the Edge, and finally the Freestyle by today. That was the timeline we were shown and this was told to us by the engineers at Ford, during the Ford Escape Experience along with the department people and the head of Hybrid and sustainable technologies. It seems clear now why there was a change in leadership, and why suddenly despite all the lead time that they had in the FEH in the Hybrid SUV market, you never see it heavily advertised and why it's remained the only Hybrid offering on the road. Because Ford Motor Company doesn't need another hybrid for their marketing and media shielding purposes that's already on the road. Future ones that are sometime off are great, and serve the purpose of keeping people from examining why there aren't more now.
Hopefully one day, they'll wake up and get moving. However, they've lost a lot of time doing nothing. GM's Dual Mode may well give HSD a run for it's money, especially if they mate it to a smaller engine (They're still attaching it to V6's and V8's
), and they don't seem to be as interested in competing in the midsize sedan or small vehicle class either hybridwise.
Personally, if I were Ford, I'd have already Hybridized and released the S-Max. It's a EU vehicle that replaced the aging Focus design. It wasn't released in the USA because Ford didn't feel there was sufficient need to change the plants over. It just happened to get tremendous FE on it's own, as a Diesel, and won Europes car of the year, a first in the history of Ford. It's a sharp looking vehicle that I think would sell very well over here, and with a good Hybrid Drivetrain could give the Prius a good run for the money, but again, that would be a sensible move, and since it doesn't involve the F-series trucks, it's a second tier product at best.