Ford is planning on taking pre-orders for the Mercury Mariner Hybrid starting in July. The pre-order process is going to be used as a planning tool for production. Production is to begin in October. The Mercury Mariner is going to be a more luxurious version of Ford's other hybrid, the Escape. It is also slightly better looking than the Escape.
The Escape Hybrid seems to be hampered by the amount of plastic cladding and by its low-key appearance. Who wants a hybrid that does not look like one, or worse looks like an econo-box SUV? The Lexus and Toyota SUV hybrids exude class, and the Prius screams "look at me I'm a hybrid." Perhaps the Mariner will be more successful, despite sharing many elements with the Escape.