Ford Hybrid Sales Up 115 Percent

DEARBORN, Mich., ““ With gas prices on the minds of all drivers, hybrids are playing an increasing role in the marketplace, producing the best-ever monthly sales for Ford Motor Company’s hybrid vehicles.

Combined sales of the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid more than doubled over March, and increased 68 percent compared to April 2005 sales. Ford has had three months of hybrid sales increases, fueled by rising gas prices, company and government incentives, and increasing consumer awareness of the benefits of Ford’s hybrid products.

“There is a strong market for hybrids, provided they are attainable and affordable,” says Al Giombetti, President of Ford and Lincoln Mercury. “More and more consumers want to improve their fuel economy, both to save money at the pump and to limit the social and environmental impacts of oil consumption. Offering up to an 80 percent increase in fuel economy, up to $5,925 in tax incentives, and an affordable purchase price makes the Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid very compelling for consumers.”

Escape Hybrid

Mariner Hybrid

Total

Increase

January 2006

801

97

898

February 2006

1,233

108

1,341

49%

March 2006

1,441

149

1,590

19%

April 2006

3039

381

3420

115%

“Our sales record is the product of an integrated marketing campaign to raise awareness for Ford’s hybrid vehicles,” says Barry Redler, SUV Group marketing manager. “As the sales show, consumers clearly have a strong demand for affordable, fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles that deliver both environmental and economic benefits.”

In February, Ford launched a new marketing campaign with Kermit the Frog, focusing on the environmental aspects of the Escape Hybrid. In March, Ford launched the tax hotline to help Ford and Mercury dealers stay current on government incentives available to their hybrid customers. On April 4, Ford introduced 0 percent financing for up to 60 months on the Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid, to further enhance their economic value.

Escape Hybrid was the first full-hybrid SUV on the market, and remains the most fuel-efficient SUV on earth. The front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid returns 36 miles per gallon in the city ““ an 80 percent improvement over an Escape V-6. Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid also meet the most stringent emissions standard achievable by a vehicle that uses fossil fuel, California’s AT-PZEV standard.

Because of this impressive fuel efficiency and clean emissions, governments are increasingly rewarding hybrid purchases. A new tax hotline keeps Ford dealers informed on the latest federal, state, and local tax credits available for the company’s hybrid customers, which in some states can total as much as $5,925 in tax credits. Some states also offer hybrid drivers other perks, such as HOV lane access, free parking and insurance discounts.

Ford Motor Company has committed to producing up to 250,000 hybrids a year globally by 2010. Ford has also committed to offering hybrid technology in at least eight vehicles, including: Ford Escape, Fusion, Five Hundred, and Edge; Mercury Mariner, Milan, Montego; and Lincoln MKX.

“The Escape Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid have established a hybrid leadership position for the company, in terms of both technological expertise and customer awareness,” says Giombetti. “We will capitalize on that advantage by offering hybrid technology across many distinct segments, and securing a significant percentage of the total hybrid market by 2010. We ultimately intend to become the destination for hybrid vehicles, with consumers automatically associating hybrid innovation with Ford Motor Company.”

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