Propelled by four new gas-electric models, Ford saw record hybrid sales in the first quarter this year, but perhaps more importantly, the automaker boosted its share of the electrified-vehicle market by 4 percent year-over-year during the same time. The 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid, along with the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids, helped drive more than 21,000 hybrid sales for the company in the first three months of 2013, resulting in a 324 percent increase compared to the same period last year.
Ford claims that three out of every four of its buyers in key hybrid markets are converting from competitors, with Toyota coming in as the top conquest brand for the Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX hybrids. Meanwhile, initial sales data suggests that conquest rates are holding steadily above 60 percent for the C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi. Edmunds.com also reports that the Fusion Hybrid has taken the lead over the Toyota Camry Hybrid in purchase consideration among consumers.
"Ford may have taken longer than Toyota to enter the hybrid market, but during that time it developed an approach that ensured style, performance and versatility would not be sacrificed in the name of fuel efficiency," said John Melkonian, general manager of Stoneham Ford, a Ford dealer serving Boston. "Now Ford customers can get their fuel savings in a boldly styled midsize sedan with one of the Fusion hybrids, or they can opt for plenty of flexible seating and cargo space with one of the C-MAX hybrids."
Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, an advanced electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack, the Ford Fusion Hybrid produces a lively system output of 188 horsepower, yet it returns up to 47 mpg during city, highway and combined driving. Ford's C-MAX Hybrid mirrors those EPA ratings while offering up to 52.6 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first-row seats. With their charging capabilities, the Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi can each net up to 108 MPGe in the city.
Even with its hybrid models gaining momentum, Ford continues to focus on advancing the fuel economy of its gas-only vehicles. Building on the success of its EcoBoost engine lineup, the automaker will be introducing a new 1.5-liter unit in the Fusion later this year. Like Ford's current 1.6-liter EcoBoost powerplant, the 1.5-liter EcoBoost will use a combination of turbocharging, direct injection and variable valve timing, but it is expected to be even more fuel efficient while providing similar performance.
"Ford has taken a multidimensional approach to improving fuel economy in recent years, whether it is through hybrid drivetrains, lighter frames or just by getting more out of traditional gas engines," added Melkonian. "Regardless of customers' drivetrain preferences, they'll find technology that is just as advanced on the inside of their car, like the intuitive SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system."