Rain Forest Action Network
DECEMBER 2, 2004
9:47 AM
CONTACT: Rain Forest Action Network  
Paul West, 415- 398-4404 x319
Ads Challenge Last-place Ford: “America Deserves Better”
Jumpstart Ford Campaign Targets Gas-Guzzlers, Debunks Greenwashing and Calls for Innovation.

SAN FRANCISCO -- December 2 -- The New York Times will today publish a full-page open letter from Michael Brune, executive director of Rainforest Action Network, to Bill Ford, Jr., chairman and CEO of Ford Motor Company, highlighting the automaker’s longstanding last place EPA fuel efficiency ranking, broken promises and greenwashing. Under the headline “Gas guzzling is un-American,” the letter calls on Ford to reclaim its spirit of innovation and lead the United States to a future free from oil.

In the letter Mr. Brune reminds Mr. Ford that more than 50 percent of America’s oil supply now comes from conflict regions like the Middle East and that more that 100 million Americans currently live in cities that exceed federal health guidelines for air quality. “We’ve cured polio, put a man on the moon and decoded the human genome,” writes Mr. Brune. “Surely the car company that revolutionized transportation in its first decade in business can produce a fleet of zero emission vehicles by 2020.”

Today’s open letter is the latest in a series of ads aimed at debunking Ford’s misleading multimillion dollar marketing blitz to ‘green the blue oval.’ Publications including Mother Jones, Utne and The Progressive are running full-page color ads featuring a fleet of flag-draped Ford SUVs under the headline “The ultimate price of oil addiction.” A July 4th outdoor advertising campaign in major auto markets earlier this year depicted the Statue of Liberty struggling to breath free through a military-grade gas mask and called on Americans to declare independence from oil and demand zero emission cars from Ford.

“Something has gone terribly wrong in Detroit,” said Sarah Connolly, a grassroots leader with the Jumpstart Ford Campaign. “The year Mr. Ford took the helm, America’s flagship automaker started sinking to the bottom of the EPA’s fuel efficiency rankings where it remains today. Polls show that Americans are growing extremely concerned about the devastating effect that oil addiction and global warming will have on their children’s future. The time is long overdue for Americans to see Ford take immediate action to improve its fleet-wide fuel efficiency and ultimately eliminate tailpipe emissions. If the global thermostat isn’t turned down now, future generations will face almost unthinkable consequences.”

“According to the EPA, Ford has been on an oil binge for decades,” said Jennifer Krill, director of the Zero Emissions Campaign at Rainforest Action Network. “Hybrid and all-electric vehicles of all makes and models are famous for their long waiting lists, yet Ford blames lack of consumer demand for the under-production of its one hybrid model. Americans want clean cars so much that we are willing to wait for them, but global warming can’t be put on Ford’s waiting list. Human-induced climate change is already causing the Arctic ice-cap to melt at such an unprecedented rate that by the summer of 2070 it may have no ice at all.”

“Polls shows that we have a mandate to connect the dots between Ford’s addiction to oil and the ultimate price that Americans are paying at home and abroad,” said Michael Brune, executive director of Rainforest Action Network. “Ford needs to move beyond its one green roof and build a fleet of green cars now. Real leadership from Ford means ending an oil addiction that is destroying our environment, economy, health and national security.”

Rainforest Action Network campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through grassroots organizing, education and non-violent direct action.

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