NASHVILLE — Ford Motor Co. has come to a conclusion about building autos: Petroleum is dirty and expensive; soybeans are good.
Just five years ago, the automaker began a modest experiment to make seat cushions with a patented soybean oil product it calls soy polyol. It worked. Now the notion has sprouted.
The company is using the resulting soybean-based foam on seats in the 2008 Ford Mustang, F-150 pickup and Expedition and the Lincoln Navigator SUVs. In 2009, three more models also will contain the soybean cushions, including the Ford Escape crossover, said Matthew Zaluzec, manager of the company's Materials Research & Advanced Engineering Department in suburban Detroit.
At the same time, Ford plans to push the soybean content into other interior components, including headrests, armrests, floor mats, glove box liners and trunk liners.