As we've noted before, Ford's electrification strategy isn't an altruistic move but instead a business strategy to win market share from Toyota and Honda. The first full month of sales of the Ford C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi, announced on Thursday, show the automaker winning a sales battle with Toyota against the Prius v and Prius Plug-in.
The Ford C-MAX (U.S. Model) is Ford's first all-hybrid car nameplate, and the company positions it against Toyota's Prius family. The C-MAX Hybrid is a straight-up hybrid vehicle rated for a 47 miles/gallon fuel efficiency, while the C-MAX Energi is a plug-in hybrid with a 20 mile all-electric range. The C-MAX, with its high roofline and large rear cargo area, is very similar to the Prius v.
In late November, Ford announced that by their reckoning November's hybrid sales would set a sales record with the most hybrid cars sold in a month since July 2009, at over 6000 hybrid cars. The final tally for November was 6,985 Ford hybrid cars delivered, of which 4,848 were C-MAX Hybrid's and C-MAX Energi's.
“The C-MAX hybrids are off to a great start and our dealers and customers, especially in California, cannot get enough of them early in the launch,” said Dave Mondragon, Ford Motor Company general marketing manager.
“Because Ford has so perfectly hit the nail on the head with C-MAX hybrids, we have a tremendous number of former import buyers in the dealership every weekend who say they are ready to purchase a domestic vehicle,” said Tim Paulus, owner and president of The Ford Store Morgan Hill, located just south of San Jose in Northern California.
According to Ford, that dealership bought a Toyota Prius v so that potential customers could test drive both cars and decide for themselves. According to Paulus, no customer chose the Prius over the C-MAX Hybrid.
The response has been good in southern California as well. “The amount of interest in C-MAX has been outstanding,” says Dan Theroux, general manager of Los Angeles-based Airport Marina Ford. “We are getting more and more questions about C-MAX every day – including from quite a few Prius owners.”
C-MAX Energi, a plug-in hybrid, is estimated by the EPA to deliver up to 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined. C-MAX Energi also delivers up to 620 miles of range on a single tank of gas and a fully charged battery. This is 80 miles more total driving range than the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid. Additionally, the C-MAX Energi can drive up to 21 miles in electric-only mode, while the Toyota Prius plug-in can only go six miles in electric-only mode. C-MAX Hybrid delivers EPA-estimated 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway – 7 mpg better than Toyota Prius v – for a 47 mpg combined rating. Some journalists have reported being unable to replicate these fuel efficiency figures.
The C-MAX line isn't just about fuel efficiency, it also delivers some cutting edge technology in the drive system as well as passenger cabin. As a result the two C-MAX's have been named the Official Cars of the 2013 International CES, the world’s largest annual innovation event, scheduled Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas. “C-MAX is made for CES, especially when you consider the amount of advanced hybrid technology it delivers,” said Mondragon. “From SmartGauge and MyKey to the hybrid transmission and strong fuel economy, C-MAX belongs in the same conversation as the other technologies at CES.”