Wow! Ford Motor Company, just recently named to the list of America’s Ten Worst Greenwashers, has joined forces with the Sierra Club to promote the company’s second hybrid vehicle, according to this New York Times article. (registration required) Other environmental groups, such as the Rainforest Action Network and Global Exchange, aren’t so sure that Ford’s willing to make genuine progress towards greener vehicles, but Dan Becker, the Sierra Club’s top global warming strategist, believes Ford has changed its ways:
In the newsletter to Sierra Club members, he said the group would still push Ford to significantly improve gas mileage and to stop fighting environmental regulations.
But he also said “the Ford we challenged at the beginning of this campaign is different from the one we face today.” He added: “It’s easy to run a campaign against a target that is ignoring you. The hard part comes when they start doing things that you want them to.”
For the Sierra Club, the campaign is acknowledgment that Ford has been more aggressive on hybrids than its European and American competitors. Last year, Ford became the third automaker, after Toyota and Honda, to offer the public a hybrid electric vehicle on par with those offered by Toyota and Honda – a version of its Escape S.U.V. Ford will be about three years ahead of General Motors and DaimlerChrysler in offering Americans a hybrid comparable to the Toyota Prius.
This should be fun to watch. I’ve always gotten the feeling that Bill Ford, Jr., was genuine in his desire to green his company — the rennovation of the River Rouge plant was amazing –but I’ll also be interested to see if and when they start offering smaller, even more efficient hybrids.