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Ford electrified vehicles gaining market share over Toyota's hybrids

Ford's plan to gain electrified car market share from Toyota is paying off with another month of sales and market share gain in hybrid vehicles.

Ford's hybrid car sales is strongly growing as the company adopts a new strategy to win market share from Toyota and Honda by selling greener cars. On Wednesday the company announced they'd set a new hybrid car sales record over their previous hybrid car sales record, set last month in December 2012.

Ford is in the game of electrifying their automobile and truck lineup not only to meet climate change goals, but to grab sales from Toyota and Honda. To a large extent those companies have an image of selling clean green vehicles. Grabbing market share from Toyota and Honda means that Ford must also clean up their product line.

Last fall, Ford rolled out five new electrified vehicles, the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, the Focus Electric, and the Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Together these form five prongs of a strategy to win market share while increasing the companies overall fleet average fuel efficiency.

In November, Ford announced that during the C-MAX's first full month of sales it outsold the Toyota Prius v. In December 2012 the Ford Fusion Hybrid an achieved all-time monthly sales record of 3,244 sales. The car is expected to set a new sales record for January 2013, and Ford's total hybrid sales is projected to be 5,500 units. While this is smaller than the 6,985 hybrid cars Ford sold in November 2012, the company does claim to have gained market share as a percentage. December's sales gave Ford a 9 percent market share gain to 16% while Toyota lost nearly 8 points of market share in this segment.

Additionally nearly 70 percent of new Fusion Hybrid owners are new to the Ford brand while Ford claims that Toyota’s conquest rate for its Camry Hybrid is only 53 percent.

Another positive sign is that the Fusion Hybrid is appealing to younger buyers outside the traditional hybrid vehicle demographic. On average new Fusion Hybrid buyers are five years younger, 48 years old on future, than buyers of the previous Fusion Hybrid which averaged to 53 years old. By contrast, Ford claims using J.D. Power and Associates PIN data, that 2012 model year Toyota Camry Hybrid buyers have an average age of 54. Additionally 22 percent of Fusion buyers are under the age of 35; only 13 percent of Camry Hybrid buyers are.

“We’re bringing new hybrid buyers into the market, many of whom wouldn’t be considered traditional hybrid buyers,” said Amy Marentic, marketing manager, Global Small and Medium Cars. “There’s a sense hybrid buyers represent a pragmatic or green ethic. Fusion Hybrid is scoring with these audiences, but the car also puts some excitement into the segment through design; it shows hybrids can have beautiful and sophisticated styling. This, in turn, means different buyers.”