Ford, Volvo Bulking Up Hybrid Development

Hybrid development center to be located in Sweden.

Ford Motor Co. said Friday it will establish a hybrid development center in Gothenburg, Sweden, for Ford's Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe business units.

This center will have overall responsibility for the application of hybrid systems into Volvo Cars vehicles globally as well as for ensuring Ford of Europe and brands from Ford's Premier Automotive Group are able to apply core hybrid systems into their own product plans.

The center will be staffed initially by a mix of 20 engineers from both Volvo Cars and other brands from the Ford Motor Company group. Volvo is a unit of Ford.

Part of a global initiative by Ford to speed the introduction of more fuel-efficient vehicles, the new hybrid development center will build on the experience and expertise that Volvo Cars has built up over many years in developing advanced environmental technology systems, including some of the early hybrid systems, that eventually made their way into the world's first hybrid SUV, the Ford Escape.
The center's location will ensure that hybrid technology development at Ford Motor takes into account different market trends and customer preferences in regions around the world. While the new center will be located in Gothenburg, each brand within Ford European operations will be responsible for applying new technologies to their own product portfolios.

The team at the new hybrid center will also work closely with Ford's hybrid development team in Detroit, Michigan, to ensure optimum global alignment and economies of scale.

"The hybrid cars of tomorrow will be more sophisticated and much further developed compared with what we see on the road today. And it is likely that we will find high-performance hybrids running on diesels and renewable fuels," said Fredrik Arp, president and CEo of Volvo Car Corp.

Volvo Cars also announced an investment of more than $1 billion in environmental research and development. The investment initiative will focus primarily on the development and deployment of cleaner, more efficient diesel engines, hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, the use of light, strong materials like magnesium, aluminium and lighter high-strength steel, and the introduction of smaller vehicles, while continuing to meet customer expectations for safety in Volvo Cars.

More in Operations