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Ford Going All-Out Eco-Conscious

A mid-July, 2008 media release by the Ford Motor Corp. provides insight into how the old American automaker looks at its future.

Ford presented tips on how motorists can save gas over the summer travel season by changing their driving behavior.

The public relations announcement occurred the same month that the company publicly admitted to a forthcoming focus toward small, fuel-efficient vehicles, and away from the trucks that made it so much money the past decade.

Built Ford Green?

Two European ModelsThe thrust of the message to consumers is, “We want to help you save gas!”

While the company wants to have more smaller cars in its lineup primarily to increase sales, not necessarily to protect the environment, the overall reach of the messages is one of eco-consciousness.

Did Ford wait too long?

Many other automakers already are well on their way in selling smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles.

They already have them on the market, and by the time Ford catches up, it may be a challenge to secure a hold in the market.

In reporting an $8.7 billion second-quarter 2008 loss, Ford tried to ease the hurt by announcing plans to deliver some of its small European models to the North American market over the next four years.

Four years? How about one or two years?

Ford Says: Drive Better, Save Gas

Loaded car roof rack“Fuel-efficiency experts agree that learning to drive differently can increase fuel efficiency”, Ford’s July 2008 media release stated.

“According to the U.S. Department of Energy, aggressive driving behaviors such as rapid acceleration, speeding and braking can lower gas mileage significantly”.

Nice information to have, but coming from an automaker known for a lineup chock full of trucks?

“Ford calls it EcoDriving – ECOnomical because it saves money and ECOlogical because it is better for the environment”, the release continued.

Ford’s gas-saving driving tips

  • Drive slower and maintain a consistent speed, 55 mph is optimum
  • Engines do not need warm-up time, idling wastes fuel & increases emissions
  • Tires inflated to recommended pressure levels can cut fuel usage by 3 to 4%
  • Don’t keep heavy items in your car and don’t stack luggage on your roof rack it cuts fuel economy by up to 5%
  • Cutting use of the air conditioner when temps hit above 80 saves 10% to 15% of fuel
  • Close windows, at high speeds, open windows create aerodynamic drag

European Ford Factory

Auto PlantNext Ford plans to bring to America what it’s already selling overseas.

Six European small cars are planned to hit U.S. roadways by 2012. These include the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, and Ford TransitConnect.

Also planned is the conversion of two additional North American plants that now build sport utility vehicles and trucks, to produce small, fuel-efficient cars.

According to the blog, company executives plan to convert at least three SUV-truck-producing facilities in North America immediately to produce Ford models now sold in Europe.

One high-level executive said, according to the website, the timeline is “Yesterday.”

Among Ford’s Plans

  • Convert the entire Ford, Lincoln and Mercury lineup by 2010
  • Double hybrid production for 2009
  • Add the European Transit Connect small van to North America in 2009
  • Add the European Ford Fiesta in early 2010
  • Bring the next-generation Euro Focus in 2010
  • Build a unibody Ford Explorer in 2010, with a fuel savings of 25 percent

It’s clear by the changes that Ford plans to make that the green-friendly trend is taking a firm hold in the automotive industry.