Ford to boost production of hybrid vehicles

Ford Motor Co., will boost global production of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles tenfold by 2010, Chief Executive Bill Ford said on Wednesday.

By then, more than half of the company's Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and light trucks will have hybrid capability, Bill Ford said during a meeting at a research lab here with company scientists and engineers.

Hybrid vehicles twin a gasoline engine to an electric motor and batteries to boost fuel economy.

The No. 2 U.S. automaker CEO Jim Padilla said Ford will have the capability to build about 250,000 hybrid vehicles by 2010, with the ability to boost capacity based on demand for the vehicles.

Ford, which is also looking at expanding the hybrid lineup across its European luxury brands, currently makes about 24,000 hybrid vehicles annually, reports Reuters.

Even with the new hybrid push by Ford, it won't necessarily close the gap with competitors such as Toyota Motor Co., which announced at the Frankfurt auto show last week that it intends to offer hybrid versions of all of its models, although it did not give a time frame to reach that target. Toyota also said it expects to make as many as 400,000 hybrid vehicles in 2006.

Ford Jim Padilla complained to reporters Tuesday that it could be offering more hybrid vehicles if it weren't for the shortage of specialized components, and he blamed some Japanese auto manufacturers for the shortage.

"It is a supply issue, and it's supply of several technologies," Padilla said at the Reuters Summit in Detroit. "The Japanese have shown a little bit of a predatory approach," informs CNN.

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