Despite word we heard yesterday Ford's hybrid engineering and design team had a note scrawled on their white board exclaiming:
"Kermit is to remain spokes-frog"
We now know why they might have been worried. If you remember, Bill Ford made a committment last September to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles a year by the end of the decade — a much huzzah-ed claim many heralded as a "Bold Move" towards a much broader environmental strategy for the automaker. Maybe it was just too bold — because Ford, in an e-mail to folks in Dearborn yesterday is backing away from said pledge — claiming:
"...what I didn't foresee at the time was how rapidly other technologies would evolve. Now I am convinced that the objective we had set earlier to build capacity for 250,000 hybrids at the end of the decade is too narrow to achieve our larger goals of substantially improving fuel economy and C02 performance."
Instead, Bill Ford claims FoMoCo will be focusing on "alternative fuels" like E85 — which Ford feels will give FoMoCo more bang for their buck...like an extra 1.2 mpg credit in CAFE standards to sell more SUV's and light trucks.
This falls into the growing list of environmental committments made by FoMoCo over the past 10 years they've eventually cut and run from — like the pledge during the Clinton years to create 80 mpg super-car prototypes by 2000 to show off what American automakers could do. That was abandoned when Dubya came to office. Then in 2000, FoMoCo promised it would raise fuel economy in its SUV fleet by 25% over five years. Three years later, that commitment went out the window. Now this. It's no wonder Kermit was so scared. FoMoCo should probably be a bit worried that eventually the Miss Piggy of public opinion's gonna come back and drop a haymaker on their ass for continuing to stick its hand up Kermie's.
Ford bails out on hybrid promise [Detroit News]
Ford Taps Muppet for Escape Hybrid Super Bowl Spot [internal]