GM, Ford hesitant about hybrids in Europe

Two stories, one bit of news: hybrids are not the answer in Europe.

In a pair of articles by Paul McVeigh in Automotive News yesterday and today (both subs req'd), Ford and GM are saying that they are moving forward very hesitantly on hybrids in Europe. GM says there is little demand for the gas-electric cars in Europe, Ford says they flat-out won't sell (full or mild) hybrids there, at least not in the foreseeable future. Ford of Germany Chairman Bernhard Mattes said the decision was due to the different driving habits of European drivers compared to Americans.

Instead of hybrids, Ford will "concentrate on solutions such as stop-start systems, better aerodynamics and tires with low rolling resistance to help make its cars more fuel efficient," McVeigh writes. Rita Forst, GM Powertrain Europe's head of product engineering, said that GM will also offer micro hybrid (aka stop-start) and mild hybrid (aka stop-start that can capture braking energy) systems in European vehicles for customers who want increased fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions, according to McVeigh. GM is also working on full hybrid powertrains with Daimler and BMW, but this technology is destined for U.S. vehicles. Not everyone is against hybrids in Europe. See Volkswagen, for instance.

[Source: Automotive News Europe]

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