LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 14 (UPI) -- Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford proclaimed the company's turnaround on track and pledged to build more fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles.
The promise of more high-tech hybrid cars and trucks came as environmental groups picketed outside the company's annual stockholders meeting in Louisville, Ky. Ford told shareholders he is committing half of Ford's research and development budget to greener technology to boost mileage and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the Detroit News said.
Bill Ford repeated his goal of raising average fleet fuel economy to 50 miles per gallon by 2010.
"We plan to build great products, a strong business and a better world," said Ford.
Financial woes in 2001 and 2002 prompted the U.S. automaker to back off a pledge by the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford to boost fuel economy of highly profitable sport-utility vehicles 25 percent by 2005.
Three members of the Ford family sit on the board of directors and control 40 percent of special class voting stock.