KANSAS CITY, MO – Ford Motor Company has launched 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. Fuel economy will improve by 2 mpg for gas-powered models and 3 mpg for hybrids. The redesigned Escape and Mariner launches comes at a time when customers are trending toward small SUVs and crossovers. According to a report recently issued by J.D. Power and Associates, compact vehicle market share rose to 31.2 percent in 2006, up from 27.9 percent in 2005. New inside and out, the 2008 Escape and Mariner offer standard safety equipment, including Ford's Safety Canopy side air curtains, side-impact airbags and ABS brakes. Advance Trac with Roll Stability Control (RSC) also is standard on gas-powered models. The vehicles also feature all-new styling and electronic features — such as standard audio input jack, available touch-screen navigation, and SIRIUS satellite radio. A combination of engineering and design has also helped the 2008 Escape and Mariner deliver a 12-percent reduction in noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels inside the vehicle, according to Ford. Powertain choices include the standard 2.3L, 16-valve Duratec I-4, producing 153 horsepower and 152 lb.-ft. of torque. The available 3.0L, 24-valve V-6 Duratec 30 engine delivers 200 horsepower and 193 lb.-ft. of torque. Hybrid versions of the 2008 Escape and Mariner continue to be "full" hybrids, meaning they can run on 100-percent electric power up to 25 mph, maximizing in-city fuel economy. Ford's hybrid engineers also made revisions to software in the vehicles' control systems to improve the transition between gasoline and electric operation. Prices for the 2008 Escape start at $19,245 (including $665 destination and delivery charges), while the Hybrid begins at $25,740. Across the model range, that's an average of $1,100 less than the 2007 prices. Mariner starts at $21,395 (including the $665 destination and delivery charges) with the Hybrid beginning at $26,430. These prices average $1,300 less than the 2007 Mariner models. In addition, the Mariner Hybrid is available for the first time in a front-wheel-drive configuration. According to Ford, resale value for the 2008 Escape after 36 months is up to 11 points higher than the 2007 model. Mariner's residual gains are comparable. Ford invested $100 million in its 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.



Originally posted on Fleet Financials