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Ford commits to tenfold increase in hybrids

Ford chairman and CEO Bill Ford has told employees the company’s focus must be on safety, technology and design innovation and has made a commitment to a tenfold increase in hybrid production by 2010.

A new corporate marketing and communications campaign focused on innovation will kick off in the autumn. Four new vehicles for 2006 will run largely on ethanol, raising the production of flexible fuel vehicles in 2006 to as many as 280,000 units.

At an employee meeting in Ford's Scientific Research Laboratory, Ford laid out his blueprint for the company's future - focusing every aspect of the business on innovation as its core strategy.

Several initial actions to underscore the commitment to innovation were unveiled, including a global plan to produce 250,000 hybrid vehicles annually by 2010, a new corporate advertising campaign that will begin this autumn in the US, and increasing the number of flexible fuel vehicles Ford produces to as many as 280,000 units in 2006.

More than half of the Ford, Lincoln and Mercury line-up will have hybrid capability.

"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 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, the Ford Escape.

Ford is also initiating a pilot programme that will offset the greenhouse gases emitted in the manufacture of hybrid vehicles. The carbon offset programme will pay for projects around the world that reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

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