Ford Motor Drops Plans for Hybrid SUV

November 27, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, MI) has dropped plans to use a form of hybrid power on the Explorer sport-utility vehicle, an effort that had been designed to sharply improve fuel efficiency.

Ford engineers and insiders told the Detroit Free Press that the automaker acted because of a cash crunch and less success with the gasoline-electric hybrid than expected. As a result, the automaker decided to limit the hybrid system to smaller trucks and cars. The starter generator was a key component to Ford's plan to increase sport-utility fuel efficiency 25 percent by 2005, a promise made by then CEO Jacques Nasser in July 2001.

Ford declined to comment on the move to drop the hybrid-powered Explorer, but stated that it stands by the 25-percent improvement goal.