While it still takes some of the more forward thinking car companies seven years to develop a new car, Ford recently set itself a task to develop a new car in 6 months in order to respond to the market’s rapidly changing needs. Last summer, the motor company created a special Project M team of […]

While it still takes some of the more forward thinking car companies seven years to develop a new car, Ford recently set itself a task to develop a new car in 6 months in order to respond to the market’s rapidly changing needs. Last summer, the motor company created a special Project M team of execs and engineers to develop a new vehicle in record time, the New York Times reports.

The Project M car is planned to be released on a test run of 10,000 units in 2011 and will be positioned as an alternative to a family’s second car. The car will need at least a six-hour charge to travel 100 miles which will suit the average American who tend to drive their cars less than 35 miles a day. The Times says:

“It’s the right time to take this step, but it would be presumptive to try and predict what the market is ultimately going to look like,” said Derrick M. Kuzak, Ford’s chief of global product development…

The advent of smaller, more advanced lithium-ion batteries has also allowed the car companies to develop electric cars that look, feel and handle much like conventional vehicles. Ford and its supplier partner, the Canadian firm Magna International, built the Project M prototype in the body of a Ford Focus compact car. It is planning a more distinctive design for the finished product when it goes on the market in two years.

The modest expectations for initial sales are reflected in Ford’s plan for introducing the car at the auto show[in Detroit]. There won’t be the usual dry ice, flashing lights and pounding music.

Instead, there will be a simple announcement at a news conference, and the car will be parked on the street in front of the convention center, available for short test drives by journalists through downtown Detroit.

Meanwhile, Ford plan to introduce smaller European-style Fiesta cars into the market in 2010 too.

Ford At Detroit Autoshow

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