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But William Ford Says He's Ready to Put His Money Where His Mouth Is!

Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford laid out his blueprint for the company's future – underscoring the commitment to innovation, including a global plan to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles annually by 2010, a new corporate advertising campaign that will begin in the fall and increasing the number of Flexible Fuel Vehicles it produces to as many as 280,000 units in 2006.

"From this point forward, innovation will be the compass by which the company sets its direction," Ford told employees. "Today, I am renewing the promise of Ford Motor Company – to again be first in delivering innovative products to our customers – stylish in design, safer for families, first in technology that uses new fuels (emphasis added) and offers new services to consumers."

Presently, Ford produces about 24,000 hybrid vehicles annually. Ford is the only American auto company to produce hybrids and was the first in the world to offer an SUV hybrid. That vehicle was the Ford Escape Hybrid, the cleanest, most fuel-efficient SUV on the road, awarded the title of North American Truck of the Year at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

Shortly after receiving that award from a distinguished panel of 50 automotive journalists, Ford announced it would pull ahead to this year the production of its second hybrid, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid. Mercury began taking orders for the Mariner Hybrid in July.

By 2008, Ford will have five hybrids on the road, including the Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner, Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Mazda Tribute. By 2010, Ford plans to increase hybrid production to approximately 250,000 units annually – with more than half of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup having hybrid capability.

In his speech to employees, Bill Ford challenged them to make innovation a top priority, building on the heritage and history of the company. Whenever technology has been available to improve safety or the environment, Ford has a strong history of sharing it with others to benefit consumers and society.

For the first time, Ford is offering Flexible Fuel technology on America’s best-selling vehicle – the Ford F-150 – for the 2006 model year. Ford Crown Victoria, Mercury Grand Marquis and Lincoln Town Car also will offer the ethanol-fueled option in 2006.

Other key actions being taken include:initiating a pilot program that will offset the greenhouse gasses emitted in the manufacture of hybrid vehicles. The carbon offset program will pay for projects around the world that reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

"Innovation – in safety, in the environment, in design and in technological solutions to real world problems – is going to be reclaimed as our natural birthright," Ford said. "It will be the lens through which we view our budgets and our capital investments, our people and programs, and the way in which we rank our most essential priorities."