As the major U.S. automakers continue to beg for a bailout from Congress, at least one corporation, Ford Motor Company, is still looking ahead with some hopes and plans for the future. The great-grandson of Henry Ford, William Ford, Jr. has been working quietly, behind the scenes to lay the foundation for a green car plan.
Not a day passes by in the last few weeks when you don’t hear about Chrysler and General Motors on the brink of bankruptcy in the financial crisis of the century. However, Ford’s news is more positive – not only for the company, but also for its consumers. William Ford, Jr. has been meeting with Barack Obama and the Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, for the last 3 months to discuss a green car plan that could be viable with new environmental policies of the incoming Administration.
Obama campaigned heavily on creating millions of green collar jobs. The American public is sick at the thought of being held hostage at the gas pumps, as we were last summer, not to mention security concerns resulting from continuing wars in the Middle East to “protect” oil supplies. As Ford explained recently,
“One of the things that I feel very encouraged about is the president-elect and where he’d like to take this country in terms of energy, and I completely buy into his vision.”
Going green is nothing new for Ford Motor Company, as shown on this video clip in which consumers are instructed how to drive efficiently and save gas:
While Ford’s CEO joined Chrysler and GM in testifying before Congress last week regarding a potential bailout of the “Big Three,” Ford is not looking for an immediate handout from the federal government. Fortunately, the company has enough money right now to get it through 2009 and – most importantly – for it to continue development of its new, improved fuel-efficient cars.
William Ford, Jr. is known for his environmentalist approach among car manufacturers. He has been pushing Detroit to develop a green car plan for years. Among the American automakers, Ford was the first company to market a hybrid SUV (the Ford Escape) and next year it will be introducing “Ecoboost” engines to cut fuel consumption by 20%. But fuel-efficiency is not the only goal of a green car plan. Ford and Obama discussed electrification of the industry – that is, taking cars away from the pump and onto the grid by introducing plug-in electric vehicles.
So what are the specifics of Ford’s green car plan? At this point, it appears that the details will continue to be worked out as the economy dips and dives, and after Obama is sworn in as the 44th U.S. President. The good news is that Ford is sitting in a much better economic position than the other two major automakers. This gives it a bit of breathing room, and the ability to be creative in designing cutting edge vehicles. William Ford, Jr. told the press recently that Ford Motor Company is committed to helping end America’s dependence on foreign oil, regardless of whether Detroit gets a bailout this year. He said:
“It’s all about fuel economy and energy independence. I passionately believe that Ford can and should be part of that solution.”
I sure hope so too! It is time for some good news both for Ford and the environment.