been cranking out hybrid CUVs
on the CD2 platform for four years now, and with over 40,000 produced, it's gotten to be old hat. Since it started in 2004, Ford's managed to make the Escape
, Mercury Mariner
and Mazda Tribute
30-percent cheaper to build. That cost reduction, coupled with the pending introduction of the hybrid Fusion
platform-mates, will allow Ford's hybrid program to actually turn a profit for the first time in 2008. The Mariner and Escape hybrids find about 21,000 owners per year, and adding the hardware to the sedans could spur sales of Ford's hybrid system, further reducing costs. We're excited to try out the sedans with the hybrid
system and the potential for a winner is there if Ford manages to deliver the goods at an attractive price.
[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]