Ford Motor, the second largest US automaker, mulls the development of a new hybrid gasoline-electric car designed to compete with the world’s No.1 hybrid model – Toyota’s Prius.
The best-selling Prius is expected to make a generational change soon – although so far its official launch date has been postponed a few times – and Ford wants to address the new model with a hybrid of its own starting late 2018. According to people with knowledge of the maker’s strategy, the Prius rival will be Ford’s first standalone hybrid. So far the US carmaker didn’t have a dedicated hybrid, rather using conversions of traditional gasoline models – like the Fusion or C-Max.
The two sources that talked to Reuters under condition of anonymity because the plans are not yet public, said that Ford could expand the model into a line-up later on, offering several body styles – mirroring the Prius series. The sources added that the new model, which will also feature different versions of the hybrid drivetrain – including a plug-in – would be assembled in the US, at the maker’s Wayne assembly plant in southeastern Michigan. Production of the model would be started in late 2018, with the car offered as a 2019 model, with initial output of around 120,000 units, according to the people.