This was just sent to me by someone who covers the automotive industry who requested anonymity. It’s pretty shocking and certainly explains why Ford’s Mary Ann Wright doesn’t like criticism of her company’s hybrid engine technology. Here goes”
“We in the Detroit automotive press reported basically what you did, and then we got a dressing down from Ford’s Phil Martens (now gone) about what really transpired between Ford and Toyota. I’m pretty sure that original press release is still on Ford’s web site. It’s terrible. It makes it look like Ford bought everything from Toyota wholesale, when that did not happen. I learned that Toyota actually wrote the press release and Ford approved it. I think there was an identical press release from Toyota that came out at the same time. Bottom line: the impression was created that Ford used Toyota technology. As Martens explained: there are only so many ways you can turn on a light switch. The electricity has to flow through certain paths. It’s the same thing with the way Ford and Toyota’s hybrids work. Though they share no common parts, the way they work is much the same. Toyota just perfected the process first.”
And this person added: “Ford licensed some Toyota processes — in other words, there’s only so many ways you can make a hybrid work. Ford did not use any Toyota technology or parts in the Escape Hybrid. What Ford did use was some of the same operating principles such as how you route the power etc.”
OK. So, back to my original question. Does Ford get innovation when it comes to hybrids? Given what I now know, thanks to the blogosphere and Mary Ann Wright, I have to answer “yes.” Now all it has to do is compete with Toyota and others in producing the hybrid models that consumers now demand.
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