The Ford Motor Company is an American auto manufacturer based in Dearborn, Michigan, and Ford is one of the Big Three Detroit-based automotive companies. Ford was founded in 1903, and during that time, Ford Motor Company has produced and sold a wide variety of passenger cars and other passenger vehicles, as well as vehicles aimed at the commercial market. Ford produces cars under the Ford brand, as well as a lineup of luxury vehicles under its Lincoln brand, and also has a controlling stake in Mazda. Ford Motor Company also has investments and partnerships in many other automotive companies around the world, helping the company expand its expertise, resources, and global distribution. Though Ford Motor Company was not the first to bring a gasoline-electric hybrid car to market, Ford has invested heavily in hybrid technology and Ford hybrid cars have gained some ground on the early competition from Japan.
Though Honda and Toyota, the Japanese auto manufacturers, have some of the longest running hybrid vehicle models on the market, those brands’ early investments in hybrid technology have actually benefitted other automakers, including Ford. Ford hybrid cars use a type of hybrid technology that was developed by Toyota, under an agreement the two auto companies reached in 2004. The Ford Escape Hybrid was the first Ford hybrid vehicle to market, in 2005. This earned Ford the distinction of being the third auto manufacturer to release a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle and, because Honda and Toyota’s hybrid models were both subcompact cars, the Ford hybrid was also the first hybrid sport utility vehicle. The Ford Escape Hybrid was also a Flex Fuel vehicle that was capable of running on E85 ethanol fuel. This technology was soon adapted to Ford’s Mercury entry level luxury brand, for the Mercury Mariner SUV, and the Mazda Tribute also received a similar drivetrain under Ford’s oversight. Ford Motor Company initially had ambitious goals for hybrid vehicle sales, but has since decided to refocus on developing and producing its own hybrid drivetrain components to increase supply and reduce costs. Ford is also working on plug-in hybrid vehicles that are capable of traveling on fully electric power for short distances at fairly low speeds. Though a handful of Ford hybrid car models were developed and are still in production thanks to the Toyota partnership, including the Ford Escape Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Ford Edge Hybrid, Ford Motor Company is eager to participate in new hybrid technology development.