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 DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- With production of the 1994- model Ford Aerostar beginning today, all Ford (NYSE: F) cars and light trucks built in North America are equipped with air-conditioning systems free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
 In addition, all Ford component and vehicle assembly plants in North America have eliminated use of CFCs in their manufacturing processes.
 Air conditioners installed on 1994-model Ford, Lincoln and Mercury cars and light trucks have been designed to use a new refrigerant called HFC-134a, which contains no CFCs. It replaces R-12 -- also known as Freon -- a chemical that has been used in automotive air conditioning systems for decades. Scientists have determined that chemicals with CFCs, like R-12, can be harmful to the earth's ozone layer.
 Ford's conversion to the new CFC-free systems has been accomplished two years ahead of a deadline imposed by an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol. Late last year, the agreement dramatically accelerated plans for worldwide production of CFCs to end after 1995 -- four years ahead of an original schedule.
 Ford was the first automaker in the U.S. to put CFC-free air conditioners on one of its passenger cars. In March 1992, the company began installing the new systems on some Ford Taurus models built at its Atlanta Assembly Plant and headed for hot and humid West Texas.
 This pilot program helped prove out the new technology, and the company proceeded with plans to convert its entire car and light-truck lineup to the new system.
 Ford worked with its dealers nationwide to install sophisticated recycling equipment to extract and recycle R-12 refrigerant from vehicles during service. The process has been in place for several years now -- ahead of governmental regulations requiring such equipment.
 In addition, Ford has worked aggressively to eliminate the use of CFCs in its manufacturing operations and among its supply base. For example, the company discontinued using foam-blowing processes to manufacture seat cushions. Ford also invented a new process -- "inert gas soldering" -- that eliminated the need to use CFCs to clean electronic parts. This innovation was shared with other companies worldwide.
 In recognition of Ford's worldwide CFC phaseout program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 awarded the company its Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award and commended Ford's "exemplary efforts to protect the ozone layer."
 "We felt that we could help make a significant contribution to the preservation of the environment by aggressively discontinuing the use of CFCs within Ford," said Helen Petrauskas, vice president-Environmental and Safety Engineering. "We will continue to work to find new ways to make our products and manufacturing processes more environmentally friendly."
 -0- 12/6/93
 /CONTACT: Ray Day of Ford, 313-322-7998/

CO: Ford Motor Company ST: Michigan IN: AUT ENV SU:

KR -- DE016 -- 0864 12/06/93 14:13 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 6, 1993

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