Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner production begin

Ford Motor Company celebrated the launch of the all-new 2008 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner at its Kansas City Assembly Plant. The vehicles go on sale first quarter 2007.

The small SUVs received a 10- to 11-point improvement in resale value, while offering reduced pricing, additional content and better fuel economy than previous models. Both vehicles are available in gas-powered engine and full-hybrid models.

The improved value equation of the new Escape and Mariner builds on gains made by other newly launched models, including the 2007 Ford Fusion, Ford Expedition, Lincoln Navigator and Ford Edge.

Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company, told employees at the plant’s launch celebration that the pair of small SUVs they build plays an important role in the company’s commitment to produce more vehicles customers want.

“Customers want products with striking designs, better fuel efficiency and even better value,” Mulally said. “To deliver these products, we are accelerating our new vehicle introductions around the world. And right here in Kansas City, you are playing a big part in this plan.”

The launch of the redesigned Escape and Mariner comes at a time when customers are trending toward small SUVs and crossovers. The vehicles offer standard cutting-edge safety equipment, all-new styling and more must-have consumer features – such as standard audio input jack, available touch screen navigation and SIRIUS satellite radio.

Fuel economy will improve by two miles per gallon for gas-powered models and three miles per gallon for hybrids.

“Leading the segment hands-down from the start, Escape and Mariner are core to our product lineup,” said Joe Hinrichs, vice president, North America Manufacturing. “With this launch, we’re telling the world that Ford will compete with winning products and strong brands. And with flexible plants like Kansas City Assembly, we’re telling the world that Ford will compete in manufacturing as well.”

Ford invested $100 million in Kansas City Assembly Plant for new training, equipment and tooling, including new hood and lift-gate subassembly systems as well as upgraded materials and processes to reduce wind and road noise.

Kansas City Assembly Plant Manager Ken Ward credited the employees with the successful launch of the Escape and Mariner.

“We at Kansas City understand the importance of the Escape and Mariner to the company’s vehicle lineup, and we’re proud to be the team to build them,” Ward said.

Kansas City Assembly Plant opened in 1953. It employs 4,927 employees, 4,665 hourly and 262 salaried. It builds Ford Escape, Escape Hybrid, Mercury Mercury Mariner, Mariner Hybrid, Mazda Mazda Tribute as well as the Ford F-150 Ford F-150 Regular Cab, Super Cab and Super Crew. The plant became a flexible manufacturing site in 2003 with the launch of the 2004 Ford F-150.


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