A massive push toward smaller and more environmentally friendly cars is expected by ford’s european manager for environmental and legal affairs, wolfgang schneider. In an interview with the industry newspaper automobilwoche schneider said that in view of the current financial and sales crisis, the time has come for a fundamental turnaround in the automotive business. This is particularly evident in the u.S., where the electric car has gained enormous popularity in a very short time.
Even the paris motor show had shown how clear this trend is. Not only the volume manufacturers, but also the "premium manufacturers" are heading in the direction of greener and smaller cars. This is not only about environmental protection, but also about energy independence. This debate, which has been going on vehemently in the usa for a long time, is now also coming to europe. Schneider acknowledges that the smart was a pioneer in the increasingly important market segment of ecologically sustainable city cars. In the meantime, however, there is much more than the smart and there will be more to come. Ford has so far underestimated the hybrid and electric segment in europe. Nevertheless, the company is still focusing on micro-hybrids for the time being, because ford’s "customer base does not yet want a full hybrid car: the technology is still too expensive. The electric car is also in the back of the company’s mind, but it is still holding back somewhat because a business model has not yet been developed.
Despite all the prophecies of doom, the fuel cell car has also made amazing progress. From today’s point of view, schneider does not expect the first series-produced vehicle in 50 years, but "already in 20 years. Compared to the electric car, the fuel cell also has the advantage of not requiring rare raw materials such as silicon. This argument, too, has led to sustained research into this technology in the usa. In germany, ford presented the ford focus fcv with fuel cell drive as early as 2002, and some of them have been in practical use for several years now.