• Mar 7, 2006

During its Super Bowl marketing blitz, Ford made a big deal of its new association with Kermit the Frog, who in the course of his advertising duties experienced a change of heart, proclaiming : "I guess it is easy being green."

But Jim Henson's trademark amphibian may have had it right the first time. High profile market introductions and Muppet pitchfrogs aside, the Blue Oval is struggling with its hybrid initiative, and recently doubled its incentives on its green-tinged SUVs to $1,000. Though it remains early in the year, at its present clip, Ford is only selling about half its hybrid capacity and waiting lists have dwindled to zero -- a marked change from foreign competitors at Toyota and Honda.

[Source: Dow Jones via Morningstar.com]



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  • 26 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I cant see why people like #11 don't like the design of the Escape. I would get it if I liked SUVs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      If people want to buy a hybrid for buying a hybrid's sake, they have what? 4-5? vehicles that come in under a well optioned Hybrid Escape's price point. And the people that wanted to drive a fuel efficient SUV are already in their Subaru Foresters and Outbacks. The people that want a Hybrid SUV and have money just sneer at the dated escape look and feel and go to the Hybrid Toyota Highlander.

      If Ford wanted to get anyone's attention, they'd bring over the European Sport Focus Coupe and make it hybrid only, give it the body work of an early 80s mustang, and make sure it has a torquey electric motor for the low end. and then start it at $22k.

      That's one thing the competition dosent have, is a visceral, glued-to-the-road ass hauling, stupid hoontastic ride, which is something Ford can do: a Mustang. That's something America can do for that matter. But the folks at Ford are too obsessed with AUGH BUY A FUSION BUY IT BUY IT BECAUSE WE MUST COMPETE WITH THE CAMRY AND ACCORD WE MUST - BUY A FUSION!!!! and entirely overlooking an original automotive genre which they can excel in, which is stupid american go-fast car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      ...come on ford... who still wants a hybrid SUV when you can get a hybrid car with more gas mileage. now maybe if the fusion was a hybrid...
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am surprise by the lack of interest in the Escape hybrid. I would think that this would have been a hit (I know that it's on my list of possible choices). Maybe it's trying to split the difference - not appealing to hybrid types because it's an SUV, and not appealing to SUV types because it's a small. Or maybe there are quality, capability, or cost issues that I haven't heard about. Anyone care to enlighten me?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Methinks this doesn't bode well for the Saturn Vue Hybrid. I think it probably is the premium price, and the lack of novelty. Honda was behind Toyota in part because the Civic/Accord hybrids didn't stand out like the Prius. This suffers the same image problem (and so does the Vue). There's no "designer label" look to set it apart, and the Prius seems as big inside as the Escape.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good. BRING BACK THE EXCURSION!!!!!!!
      • 8 Years Ago
      After reading the comments, I don't think there's just one reason the Escape hybrid isn't doing as well as other hybrids. I think each of the reasons given above is probably true for some people. But for the most part, I think it comes down to this: if you want a hybrid, you want to save gas, and 31 mpg is not good enough for someone going into that market (see #3). As for Prius buyers: yes, some of them want their virtue to be visible. There are people like that displaying many kinds of virtue. But personally, I don't care if anyone knows I'm driving a Prius; I want a hybrid (one of which will be our next car, within the next year or two) for the mileage. It will save money, I genuinely think it is a good thing to do for future generations, and I don't really care what anyone else thinks. So no one generalization applies to everyone.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Bottom line: Ford missed the boat by slapping hybrid guts into an aged platform and dated body style.

      A "new" car needs to look new on the outside. Consumers buy packaging as well as content, i.e. all Apple products.
      • 8 Years Ago
      n8: The Lexus RX400h is also an SUV, and seems to sell quite well. I guess the problem is more in Ford's reputation, than in the product itself.

      I really wish Ford all the best with their new Hybrids. Finally an American manufacturer is right there in the market, and the people don't buy its cars.
      Shelly McIntyre
      • 8 Years Ago
      I would love to own a hybrid SUV but I don't think all the kinks are worked out yet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Take away the tax breaks and word of mouth about real world mpg of SUVs and bigger autos and sales will start flating out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      An interesting story along hybrid lines this morning:

      http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/14037080.htm?source=yahoodist&content=sjm_news

      Nope not easy being green, also, the portion on repair costs is interesting
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