<a class=Mercury Mariner productionline 450 pr photo" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/3060000000054321.JPG?0.7170924691102961" align="top" border="1" height="293" hspace="4" vspace="4" width="450" />

Ford Motor announced Wednesday that full-scale production of the company's second full hybrid SUV, the Mercury Mariner, has begun at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant. This is a full year ahead of the original schedule for the vehicle, in keeping with Ford's push to increase hybrid production to 250,000 units annually by the end of the decade.

The Kansas City plant's flexible manufacturing capability allows the Escape and Mariner hybrids to be built on the same line as the conventional models, at normal line speed. Hybrid-specific components that must be worked into the production flow include a temperature management unit, electric battery pack, in-dash power outlet, regenerative braking system, power cabling, electronic power steering, power converter, Atkinson-cycle engine, and eCVT transmission.

According to Ford, the new hybrid is already beginning to arrive in Mercury dealerships.

[Source: Ford]

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