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Transportation & Fuel Source Technology

Ford in UK to Invest £1 Billion to Reduce Emissions and Fuel Consumption

Ford Motor Company, the UK's leading automotive company, is to spend at least £1 billion developing a range of global environmental technologies in the UK for its Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo brands - the largest commitment ever to the environment by a carmaker in the UK.

When the engineering actions are complete, the Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group (PAG) fleet has the potential to save in an average year the same as the total annual CO 2 emissions of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

This engineering programme doubles the rate of environmental spending in the past and is part of a broad strategy for the company's Ford of Europe and PAG business units that will deliver an extensive list and variety of technologies including lightweight, hybrid electric and bio-fuel vehicles.

This will see unparalleled collaboration between the 9,500 engineers that work at Ford, Jaguar and Land Rover R&D centres in the UK and the broader strategy will also bring together engineers from Volvo in Sweden and Ford's engineering bases in Europe and worldwide. Their combined actions will deliver over 100 models and derivatives that offer improved emissions or fuel economy performance, including for example, a regular Ford Focus, Britain 's best-selling car, capable of more than 70 miles per gallon.

"Climate change is one of the greatest single challenges facing the auto industry and society today," said Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group Chairman and CEO Lewis Booth speaking at today's announcement in London. "A broad business strategy that serves all our brands is the only way we can achieve the level of improvement in emissions and fuel economy required.

"We are not going to introduce just one or two high-profile green cars that sell in relatively low numbers and leave it at that. To tackle this issue, we are getting our 3,700 R&D people in Essex, our 2,000 engineers in Coventry and our 3,300 engineers in Warwickshire to work together. By pooling our engineering investment, our brands will develop a broader range of technologies, available faster than they could afford individually. And by deploying these technologies across the breadth of our product range - mass market and premium products, passenger cars and commercial vehicles - we can deliver far more significant reductions in the total amount of CO 2 generated by our total vehicle fleet. We can also help reduce our customers' consumption of fossil fuels, which saves them money."

Booth also highlighted what he described as the "multiplier factor". For example, Ford's Focus model is the best selling car in the UK, with some 145,000 units sold each year. Just a small percentage improvement in this model's CO 2 performance will deliver greater reductions in CO 2 emitted to the atmosphere than the combined effect of all hybrid models currently sold in the UK. "In the future, a regular Ford Focus will be capable of emitting less than 100g/km of CO 2, more than 20 percent better than today's model - that's the equivalent of getting over 70 mpg," he said. ( Imperial College London has calculated that the current ethanol powered Focus FFV emits less than 100g "well-to-wheels".)

Booth continued: "We have already invested significantly and made great progress over the last decade. Our fleet is significantly cleaner today than ever before. For example, t he current Ford Focus 1.8-litre TDCi diesel model has better performance, improved fuel economy and produces 26 percent less CO 2 than an equivalent Ford Escort 1.8 TCi model from 1998. With the further technology plans we have, our fleet in the next decade will use literally millions of tonnes less CO 2 over its lifetime on the road than our fleet does today.

By working together, the brands have developed a coordinated and collaborative business response that will include an unprecedented level of spending in the UK - by Ford or any other car maker - dedicated to improving fuel economy and tailpipe emissions. It is further evidence of the significant mindset shift at the company, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William Clay Ford, and will transform the spending at the three main UK R&D centres - Dunton in Essex, Gaydon in Warwickshire and Whitley in Coventry.

Global competitiveness
Ford is not only market leader in sales but also has the largest manufacturing and engineering presence of any car maker in the UK, responsible for some 80 percent of the UK's total automotive R&D investment, according to official UK Government figures. The UK 's competitiveness in the global marketplace is of critical importance to the company's operations and Ford is keen to see the development of high-skilled, low-carbon expertise in Britain to secure on-going competitive advantage for the country and Ford's workforce. This needs to be reinforced by a business environment that is supportive of R&D and skills investment.

The role of Government, oil companies and consumers
Speaking at today's event, Rt. Hon. Douglas Alexander MP, Secretary of State for Transport said: "There is no bigger long-term challenge facing us than climate change. That is why it is very important for all of us - government, business and individuals to act. Today's announcement from Ford is very welcome. It is good news for the environment, British jobs and the wider economy."

Lewis Booth represented the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) on the European commission-led CARS21 High Level Group that last year recommended an integrated approach between car makers, oil companies, governments and consumers to reduce CO 2 emissions. Booth again repeated this call, "Ford is committed to playing its role in developing technology solutions in cars. We are doubling the proportion of our spending here in the UK that goes into developing and deploying environmental technologies. But we call on all stakeholders to play their part in a holistic approach to develop technological solutions in cars, fuels and transport infrastructure to address climate change.

"We need governments to set the right legislative and fiscal framework to allow competing environmental technologies to flourish without distorting the marketplace. That means focusing incentives on the CO 2 outcomes rather than the vehicle or fuel technologies that deliver them. It also means more engagement with consumers to encourage a shift in behaviour over time.

"It is critical that taxation incentives are intelligently applied across all car segments and over time to encourage sustained improvement. Dramatic tax changes which distort the market or unfairly target specific market segments will not achieve the results we all want to see."

Ford of Europe and Premier Automotive Group environmental technology plan
Ford's Chief Technical Officer Richard Parry Jones said: "The size of the challenge we face is enormous. There is a body of scientific work that shows globe is heating up, but there is no agreement on the level of CO 2 stabilisation required. Furthermore, it is clear that the car industry - even the transport sector as a whole - is not solely responsible. For example, it's been estimated that emissions from just heating, hot water, lighting and appliances in an average UK household are more than twice as high as emissions from the household use of personal transportation. It is therefore clear that action must be taken in all areas of life and all industrial sectors if we are to meet this challenge. At Ford, we recognise our responsibility to act.

"We believe we have to follow a multiple technology strategy for three reasons. First, there is no single technology on the horizon that will enable the automotive industry to play its full part in stabilising levels of atmospheric CO 2. Second, we also cannot say for certain which way the market will go in the future and how much regional differences will play a part. Ultimately it will be customers who decide which technologies best suit their needs. And finally, as vehicles get cleaner and cleaner the technological challenge to eek out further improvement increases. By deploying multiple technologies we are able to make a series of small and medium size gains and leverage our range of vehicles and sales volume.

"This approach has the benefit of enabling us to vary our product offering to meet the needs of a range of customers in different market segments and to address the differing market preferences around the world. We will be able to build cars with technology bundles to improve the gains we can deliver and an array of technology will also mean we have the flexibility to adapt and respond quickly to market place developments and new legislative frameworks.

"By applying the technologies we develop across our product portfolio we will be offering customers more than 100 models and derivatives with improved tailpipe emissions or fuel economy performance over the next six years."

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