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Old 09-28-2004, 07:34   #1 (permalink)
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US:Ford to raise output of Escape Hybrid; company expecting higher demand

Ford to raise output of Escape Hybrid; company expecting higher demand
RICHARD TRUETT | Automotive News

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ford Motor Co. plans to build at least 17,000 gasoline-electric Escape Hybrids this year - more than four times as many as it had planned.

"It depends on how many we can get from the factory," said Phil Chizek, marketing manager for the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Other Ford sources gave the volume estimate, but Chizek confirmed that Ford will build far more than it had planned. Ford marketers said in May that it planned to build 4,000 Escape Hybrids in 2004.

Chizek discussed the hybrid while at the Electric Drive Transportation Association conference here for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. He said Ford has received more than 30,000 requests for information about the vehicle. Ford believes it can sell all the hybrids it can build this year, he said.

This year, Ford worried that it might not be able to get enough batteries for the electric drivetrain, which powers the engine at low speeds before the gasoline-powered engine takes over. Sanyo is the supplier of the battery pack. But Chizek said there are no supplier issues delaying production.

The Escape Hybrid is built on the same line as the gasoline-powered Ford Escape in Ford's Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Ohio.
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