DEARBORN - Production of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid will be increasing from 20 percent to 40 percent in 2014 due to increased customer demand, according to Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development.
“Strong consumer acceptance of our hybrids shows that our plan to lead in fuel economy across our lineup is working,” Nair said. “Our commitment to deliver great fuel economy in our cars, utilities and trucks is a key reason we are seeing strong growth in coastal markets and with import buyers.”
In a recent forum on electrified vehicles, the company announced its share of the electrified vehicle market had quadrupled in the first half of 2013. In order to continue the momentum, Ford and Lincoln have committed to growing the staff of electrification engineers by 50 percent to a total of more than 500 engineers. The company also plans to invest $50 million to expand electrified vehicle development centers.
Not only are both Lincoln and Ford committed to providing the most fuel efficient products, they also are dedicated to continuously improving the fuel economy of products even after they are purchased. In the forum, Nair announced plans to provide fuel-economy and performance upgrades to existing 2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid vehicles and no charge to owners. Letters detailing specifics will be mailed to owners at the end of July.
The same improvements also will be applied to existing inventory on dealer lots.
The enhancements will:
• Increase the maximum pure electric speed to 85 mph from 62 mph for increased use of electric-only mode on the highway
• Optimize the use of Active Grille Shutters to reduce aerodynamic drag under more driving and temperature conditions including cold weather, during air conditioner use and when engine coolant temperature is higher
• Reduce the electric fan speed as a function of coolant temperature to minimize the fan’s energy consumption
• Shorten engine warm-up time by up to 50 percent to enable electric-only driving and engine shutdown at stops sooner after cold starts
• Optimize the climate control system to minimize use of the air conditioning compressor and reduce the energy used in cold weather operation
Other 2013 models also will receive these upgrades including the Ford C-MAX Hybrid and the Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.