From United Press International
DEARBORN, MI — Plans by Michigan’s Ford Motor Co. to start making gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles could be affected by a lack of domestically available parts.
Phil Martens, Ford’s executive vice president of product development, said Ford had to turn to foreign suppliers for access to a majority of key components to build the company’s first hybrid, the Escape Hybrid, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
“What is it going to take for [U.S.] suppliers to invest in this type of R&D in the United States?” Martens asked. “It’s a burning issue.”
Ford’s choices are to buy from foreign suppliers, encourage domestic firms to begin producing the needed components or develop their own expertise.
The Toyota Motor Corp., the first automaker to pursue hybrid technology, took the last option about a decade ago.
Few automotive suppliers in Japan had practical expertise to help Toyota create a hybrid car, so Toyota developed its own expertise internally in battery production, “degenerative brake” technology and a computer control system.
Copyright 2004 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.
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