[GRRN] SUV redux

RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Mon, 1 Mar 1999 08:51:07 -0600

05:34 PM ET 02/27/99
Ford Defends Massive New SUV
Ford Defends Massive New SUV
AP Auto Writer=
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) _ Ford Motor Co., defending itself from
attacks by environmental groups, says its hulking, nine-passenger
Excursion sport utility vehicle will be among the safest and
cleanest-running SUVs on the market.
The 2000 Excursion, at nearly 19 feet long and just under 7 feet
tall, will be the largest sport utility vehicle on the market when
it arrives in showrooms Oct. 1. Empty, it will weigh 3.5 tons.
Its size and low fuel economy have made it a target for
environmental groups.
``This will be the most polluting truck on the road and will set
a new low for Detroit,'' said Dan Becker, director of the Sierra
Club's global warming program.
The Excursion will get only about 10-12 mpg with its optional
V10 engine, Ford Motor Co. acknowledges. At best, the optional
diesel V8 will get 15-18 mpg. To ensure fewer fuel stops, the
Excursion will comes with a 44-gallon fuel tank _ twice the size of
tanks on most midsize SUVs.
To address safety concerns, the Excursion will be equipped with
a 4-foot tubular steel bar under the front bumper to help prevent
it from riding over a car in a head-on collision. A 3-foot-long
trailer hitch will be positioned to offer the same protection in
rear-end crashes.
``It is an innovative product,'' Ford truck chief Gurminder Bedi
said. ``I hope you can see beyond that it's just big.''
Ford said all three of the big engines available will meet
California's low-emission standard for light trucks. The No. 2
automaker announced last year that it would make all of its 1999
sports utility vehicles meet the lower standard.
But the California standards address smog-producing emissions,
not carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Environmentalists argue
that with its poor fuel economy, the Excursion will be one of the
worst highway contributors to global warming.
With annual production initially set at 50,000, Ford will be
competing in a niche market that has doubled in volume in the last
eight years. General Motors Corp. has dominated the market with the
Chevrolet and GMC Suburban; it sold 151,356 last year.
``They're kind of a mirror image of America at work and play,''
Bedi said. ``They reflect the American lifestyle, the hobbies and
toys and the way they live their life.''
Retail prices were expected to range between $45,000 and
A smaller sport utility vehicle Ford plans to unveil a year from
now will get 28 to 30 mpg, Bedi said.
``We will have what the customers want. We will have the small
ones with very, very efficient fuel economy and we will have the
powerful ones that need to carry a load and need to do a job at the
other end of the spectrum.''
There was considerable debate within Ford over whether to build
the Excursion, Bedi said. Studies showed a number of customers
wanted a larger vehicle for specific tasks such as pulling a horse
trailer or carrying a large number of people.

Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011