Both Ford and Nissan are abandoning major hybrid-electric vehicles that might seem perfectly suited for a time when fuel prices are rapidly approaching record levels and consumers are looking for higher-mileage alternatives.
Nissan will no longer offer a hybrid Altima when it launches an all-new version of the midsize sedan for 2013. Ford, meanwhile, is scrapping the hybrid version of its Escape, which had the distinction of being the first-ever gas-electric SUV.
Though such decisions actually were made quite some time ago they impact new products coming to market during one of the fastest run-ups in fuel prices ever experienced in the U.S. market. And the two gas-electric models are dropping out just as hybrids – notably including the Toyota Prius – are setting all-time sales records.
So, why pull two hybrid versions of popular models like the Altima and Escape?