• Sep 4, 2009
2009 Ford Escape Hybrid - Click above for high-res image gallery

Last week, our friends from Consumer Reports got the chance to sit down with Mark Fields, Ford's vice president of North American operations, and some interesting information was gleaned. For instance, CR says Fields "implied the company isn't making money on the hybrids it sells today, and it is looking at ways to "enhance revenue" from them." Not surprising, really, but an interesting admission nonetheless.

There are a few ways Ford could try and recoup some of its hybrid powertrain R&D costs, most logically being to extend the technology across its line and into more expensive products – possibly from Lincoln, mimicking the strategy Toyota uses with its Lexus division. In addition to hybrid and electric cars, Fields says Ford is also interested in diesels but isn't currently planning to sell any oil burners in passenger cars. Instead, Ford's diesel efforts are likely to continue focused on pickups.

Speaking of which, Ford's light duty diesel engine for the F-150 is apparently still somewhat on the agenda. Earlier reports, says Fields, that said the program had been canceled aren't entirely accurate. Instead, the smaller diesel was merely "delayed," though we have no idea for how long.



[Source: Consumer Reports]


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Toyota is taking a loss on hybrids. Toyota expects to lose money overall in 2009.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Great to hear that the 4.4L is still on the agenda.
      • 5 Years Ago
      At over $36grand for an Escape Limited Hybrid (with an interior that looks and feels like a Rubbermaid storage bin), why didn't they gussy it up a bit, make it a Lincoln and charge more? They could drop the Mariner and just make a hybrid MKminiXwhatever.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'd like to know what vehicles Ford does make a profit on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Explorers? I haven't seen a new one on the road in at least a year.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yea right? LOL
      • 5 Years Ago
      Abandon hybrid technology. That would help. Go hydrogen.
        • 5 Years Ago
        H2 is a silly way to store electircity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, because hydrogen stations just dot this country like chicken pox. It is not that simple or inexpensive. The first hydrogen cars are going to be horrifically expensive. So, for now, hybrids are one of a few limited choices.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Are you signing up to pay more in taxes to fund the hydrogen infrastructure?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Huh? "all current hydrogen powered prototypes" have ICEs too?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't think you know what the term Hybrid means, because all current hydrogen powered prototypes are in fact, hybrids.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, Ford continues to refine its hybrid systems to make them more efficient and less expensive to build; one cannot dismiss, as one reader astutely suggested here, that the hybrid gives Ford a halo effect with consumers. Consumers may buy a Ford who might not have done so otherwise if there is a hybrid available for them and there is potential to build goodwill for another purchase either with that consumer or with a friend of theirs. A loss, while not wonderful, if viewed through this prism, is more of an advertising expense than an overall operating one. Get the consumers in the door to try a Ford and maybe you'll earn a second or third sale which will be profitable. And unlike Government Motors which has boasted it has built hybrids for years, actually hasn't and Ford has. Ford has the goodwill and credibility factors that Government Motors doesn't so Ford is ahead of the race to achieve profitability through units delivered and economies of scale. And judging by Ford's leadership, they will find a way to make these profitable in the next five years and likely will do so with a better product to boot.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I believe that GM has been making hybrids, but not automobile hybrids. Their position was that the technology is not appropriate for a general-purpose automobile. Rather, hybrids are best for large intra-city vehicles, particularly those that consume lots of miles. GM has for years manufactured hybrid city buses. I believe Seattle uses them.

        GM is probably correct, but they certainly lost the propaganda war to Toyota.

        By the way, Ford Escape Hybrids are very popular in New York City as taxis.
      • 5 Years Ago
      in Europe Diesels like the Mondeo Diesel and Focus Diesel are hot sellers.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm still waiting for my diesle powered small pick-up. Mihandra, Ford, doesn't really matter who.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As far as the diesel F150 goes, I wonder if they'll use a 6cyl version of the new 8cyl scorpion? Basically the same engine just with two cylinders lopped off.

      This would give them a roughly 5.0L V6 turbo diesel with around 300hp/545ft-lbs tq, which is plenty for a half ton. As a major bonus, they can save money on both engines as they'll share a lot of the same components.

      Hell, they might even be able to do a 4cyl version for the Ranger. Roughly 3.3L with 200hp/360 ft-lb tq? Sign me up!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I would expect ford to still use a version of the Lion TDV8 in the Range Rovers for a light duty F-150 diesel. That engine makes about 280 hp and about 470 ft-lbs of torque with only 3.6 liters. Bump that displacement up to 4.4 or so liters and you have a close to 350 hp and nearly 600 ft-lbs of torque.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Duh.

      No one makes money on Hybrids, it's a "Symbolism over Substance" product. You sell Hybrids to show you "get it", and have place feelings as a priority over logic.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not surprising - it took Toyota years to make a profit on their hybrid tech, and they outsell Ford by an order of magnitude.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I thought Toyota was still taking in a loss for the Prius?
        • 5 Years Ago
        From a business perspective, I don't think this is a bad thing, yet. Ford's Fusion Hybrid can be a loss-leader and still be successful because it's bringing in new and wealthier buyers into the brand and changing their opinions. The key is to convert brand loyalties while breaking even or losing as little as possible.

        As someone who has shied away from American cars, I'm one of those prospects who can be "flipped" via their Fusion hybrid. That may not be profit today but it easily could be as they introduce the truly spectacular Euro models here in the next few years.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @the4thheat

        Toyota's marketing talking head stated that they make money on hybrids. All evidence indicates that they break even at best. Most insiders seems to believe that they loose money on hybrids.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @216 no, Toyota started making a profit on them quite a while back when the volume finally ramped up.
        With stuff like hybrids the reason why it's a "loss" is because the initial R&D costs to get into the hybrid game are massive, as well as tooling and all that stuff for a manufacturing line that only makes a few thousand cars.
        But when that same line is able to be used to make hundreds of thousands of cars the cost per car drops enough that you're profitable.
        So if you want to get into hybrids you can't really half-ass it since you pretty much have to commit a massive budget then keep going until you get enough sales to make your investment back. Anything in between is going to result in a lot of money being lost.
        Thus I'm sure we'll see a lot more Ford hybrids in the future since they've already sunk so much money into them it'd be idiotic not to build as many as they can.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well...duh.

      We knew this for a long time. That's why Ford limits their production to 25K a year. It would have been nice though to see Ford spend some money on on making the Fusion Hybrid profitable rather than loading it with useless gauges and gimmicks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And, yes, Toyota has stated that with this latest Prius, they will be making money on it.
    • Load More Comments