Reuters. Mazda intends to launch a hybrid SUV using technology from Ford, which owns 33.4% of the Japanese automaker.
“Through our partnership with Ford, we are now proceeding with the development of a hybrid version of the Mazda Tribute, which we will launch as early as possible,” Imaki told a press conference at the Tokyo Motor Show. Imaki declined to say when the vehicle would be launched.
The conventional Mazda Tribute (picture above) shares its platform and Ford engines with the Escape, but has different styling and suspension settings. This commonality makes a Tribute Hybrid a very sensible move from a production standpoint. It will be interesting to see the timing—and whether Mazda will be constrained by the same supplier issues (such as batteries) that apparently are bedeviling Ford’s efforts to increase production of the Hybrid Escape.
Although Mazda is concentrating its research on hydrogen-fueled versions of its rotary engine technology (earlier post), the market boom for hybrids is clearly too tempting to pass up.
Mazda also reconfirmed that it is at work on a hybrid version of the its hydrogen-burning RX-8, combining the hydrogen powered rotary engine with a battery-powered hybrid drive system.(Same earlier post as above.)