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Hybrid SUV getting big response
USA TODAY
Fri May 14, 6:14 AM ET
By David Kiley and James R. Healey

Ford Motor won't start selling its Ford Escape Hybrid sport-utility vehicle until August. And it plans to sell only 20,000 a year. But it already has 30,000 potential buyers.

"Clearly, there is a lot of buzz about SUVs and this being a first," says Chris Fuell, who manages SUV marketing for Ford.

Fuell says 30,000 people have told Ford through its Web site that they want to buy an Escape Hybrid. And they've given detailed personal information, including:

- 80% are college educated, vs. 50% for regular Escape buyers.

- 40% are female, higher than expected; 50% of regular Escape buyers are female.

- 80% earn more than $100,000 a year, vs. 20% for regular Escapes.


Ford will market the SUV through an unusual collection of magazines and radio and television outlets. They include ultraliberal Mother Jones, as well as Organic Gardening and Green Car Journal. For the first time, Ford will be a National Public Radio sponsor.

"I think a lot of people want to see if (Ford CEO) Bill Ford is going to make good on some of the environmental promises made a few years ago," says Mother Jones publisher Jay Harris. "But, clearly, the Escape Hybrid is progress."

At Ford's annual meeting Thursday, Bill Ford said the company is "pouring enormous resources" into developing more hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles.

Martens says potential Escape Hybrid buyers are "interested in a hybrid version of the kinds of vehicles they're already driving. They don't want to go to a small car to get better fuel economy."

Full Article Here

 

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As long as the EPA numbers aren't rediculously inaccurate, this should be a good PR vehicle for Ford. Of course, in all reality, the fuel savings won't be too spectacular, although the Escape is lightweight enough already that it gets decent fuel economy.
 

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They put the Escape Hybrid through a real-world torture test--They filled up the tank, drove into manhattan, and kept driving around NYC until the tank went dry.

They ran for 37 hours straight, in Manhattan gridlock, and averaged 38 miles per gallon. 38 MPG x 15 gallons = a 570-mile city range. Not bad.
 

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do you know what gm is planning to do if any thing to get some of this market
GM is going to sell a Silverado truck with a hybrid powertrain in 2005. They already delivered a few to some select customers already.

The fuel economy improvements on these trucks have only been 2-4 MPG. Not too dramatic.

Mark
 

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The hybrid trucks and SUVs being released by GM this year are more of a stepping stone than anything else. They'll have full-hybrid versions, from what I heard, in '07 or '08, which I'm guessing will be GM's next full redesign for the Silverado, Tahoe, etc.

Right now, NOBODY has anything that directly competes with the Escape Hybrid. The closest vehicle I can think of is the upcoming Toyota Highlander hybrid, which is a larger vehicle and costs considerably more.
 

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GM really needs to get in this market with the Equinox, FAST! Given gas prices these days, I've become VERY interested in an Escape hybrid, and hybrid vehicles in general.
 

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A Saturn VUE hybrid was in the works at one point - perhaps Chevy can implement this for the Equinox without taking 5 years to do so... <_< :blink:
 

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Originally posted by jwrebholz@May 16 2004, 02:54 AM
They put the Escape Hybrid through a real-world torture test--They filled up the tank, drove into manhattan, and kept driving around NYC until the tank went dry.

They ran for 37 hours straight, in Manhattan gridlock, and averaged 38 miles per gallon. 38 MPG x 15 gallons = a 570-mile city range. Not bad.
:eek:

If that's true, I might take back everything bad I've said about hybrids and SUVs.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@May 16 2004, 08:54 PM
Of course to get the top mileage you'll need to get it with a manual and without AWD. Still VERY impressive.
Well, I can live with manual transmission, but AWD is not optional for me -- it's required. But if I could reasonably expect to get 30mpg in the city with an AWD hybrid Escape, I'd be running out of excuses for not owning one. But there's still that nagging issue of battery replacement and devaluation.
 

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Originally posted by awalbert88@May 16 2004, 03:16 AM
although the Escape is lightweight enough already that it gets decent fuel economy.
For an SUV, maybe. For a everyday vehicle, no. My parents 2000 3.0L V6 Escape chugs gas like you wouldn't believe. They need to fill it probably every week if not less, whereas my Camaro with a bigger engine has a LOT better mileage, where I have to fill up between 2-3 weeks, for the exact same amount of driving.

If Ford does anything to help improve fuel efficiency in their vehicles, the SUVs are an excellent place to start, especially with gas at 91.9 cents per litre in British Columbia. Regardless of how much or how little the miles per gallon changes, some is better than none.
 

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Originally posted by stewacide@May 17 2004, 01:54 AM
Of course to get the top mileage you'll need to get it with a manual and without AWD. Still VERY impressive.

There is no manual transmission on the Escape Hybrid.

The transmission is an Automatic CVT similar to the one in the Nissan Murano.


IMO, Ford is screwing up in that they are only going to make 20000 Escape Hybrids per year. I think they will sell every one of them if they made more than 50000 a year.
 

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I thought I had read that there was a manual tranny available in addition to the CVT (a la the Honda hybrids). Not sure tho'.

And Ford will likely lose money on every one they sell (Honda and Toyota probably are too, despite claiming otherwise), so selling more beyond a point isn't a good thing. The profit margin on a normal Escape is much higher.
 

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Originally posted by Rob V+May 17 2004, 01:33 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Rob V @ May 17 2004, 01:33 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-awalbert88@May 16 2004, 03:16 AM
although the Escape is lightweight enough already that it gets decent fuel economy.
For an SUV, maybe. For a everyday vehicle, no. My parents 2000 3.0L V6 Escape chugs gas like you wouldn't believe. They need to fill it probably every week if not less, whereas my Camaro with a bigger engine has a LOT better mileage, where I have to fill up between 2-3 weeks, for the exact same amount of driving.

If Ford does anything to help improve fuel efficiency in their vehicles, the SUVs are an excellent place to start, especially with gas at 91.9 cents per litre in British Columbia. Regardless of how much or how little the miles per gallon changes, some is better than none. [/b][/quote]


2-3 weeks? I call bull. The Escape should get around 300 miles on a tank of gas, depending on conditions. There's no way you're putting 600 miles on one tank of gas in your LS1, let alone 900.

I put 400-500 miles a week on my car. When I first got my Audi, it took about $34 to fill the tank. My last trip to the gas station Sunday cost me $39.48 to fill it up. That's with Sunoco Ultra 94, of course. You shouldn't complain about gas prices if you only have to fill up every 2-3 weeks. :unsure:

The fully loaded 2004 Escape Limited AWD w/ the 3.0 V6 weighs 3346lbs. That's scarecly more than your Camaro. If it's getting worse mileage, it's because of the difference in transmission, although I think driving habits may have something to do with it as well. The reason the LS1 F-body was able to get good fuel economy wasn't the LS1 itself so much as the T-56 behind it. The A4's didn't do nearly as well.
 
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