In an online chat with employees last week, Ford Americas President Mark Fields said, “We are constrained by the amount of components, including batteries, that the supply base can provide us."This comes under the heading of 'not surprising.' Since Ford started selling hybrid cars, they have limited sales to a certain point. Given their reported losses for every hybrid car sold, that's not surprising. They wanted to point to their hybrid car sales (really, hybrid SUV since we're talking about the Hybrid Escape) and tell everyone they were making and selling them.
But they also wanted to keep from losing too much money while keeping a reputation for their hybrid technology. Which is fine. Over the years, even as hybrid car sales started taking off, they've kept this policy in place. They were only going to order so many parts and supplies, including batteries, to build and repair so many hybrids a year.
And they are going to keep on doing so into the foreseeable future.
I had hoped they would loosen up their restrictions a little with the introduction of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Milan Hybrid, but it's not shocking for them not to. They were supposed to start making money off their hybrid line-up with the new vehicles, but it's quite likely the economic downturn is affecting how many parts, batteries, etc... they are willing to build. It's only when the economy of scale kicks in that Ford's hybrid line will start making money. But if no one's going to be buying in great numbers, it makes sense for them not to expand their production.