2012 Ford C-Max coming only as a hybrid in the United States

Article by Christian Andrei, on June 10, 2011

Ford Motor Co.’s upcoming C-Max hatchback will start selling next year in the U.S. It is a dedicated hybrid that will rival the hybrid and electric vehicles from Nissan, GM, and Toyota.

In addition, Ford said that its plan to make a C-Max version with a four-cylinder gasoline engine has been cancelled. The C-Max is a five-passenger hatchback that’s built on the Ford Focus platform.

Ford claims that this vehicle will appeal to buyers more since it was able to cut the cost of hybrid technology. Ford is currently working on a plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi.

The C-Max will compete with Toyota’s Prius hybrid, GM’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, and the Nissan Leaf. During an event in Sterling Heights, Mich., Ford executives said that they intend to build over 100,000 electric vehicles and hybrids in North America by 2013.

Also in this year, Ford has set a target that 25% of its vehicles will run on electricity (at least partly). Ford plans to invest $135 million at three Michigan plants for the production of five "electrified" models.

This project creates 220 jobs. Aside from the C-Max and C-Max Energi, Ford is also working on an electric version of its Transit Connect van. Furthermore, it will begin producing a battery-powered Focus compact later this year. However, Ford has yet to announce what the fifth vehicle would be.

Ford is presenting the new Ford C-MAX, a part of the carmaker’s global small vehicle strategy that entails the launching of at least 10 vehicles – comprising the deliveries of around two million vehicles every year – underpinned by a single C-vehicle platform by 2012.

It is aimed at busy families in North America looking for affordable transportation alternatives that offer sporty performance, best-in-class fuel economy, ample interior space, industry-first technology and flexible seating. Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas, remarked that the Ford C-MAX further proves how the carmaker’s One Ford plan continually delivers the high-quality, fuel-efficient vehicles that customers desire. He quipped that the C-MAX is perfect for customers in North America seeking a stylish and flexible vehicle that features life-enhancing technology as standard equipment.

The new Ford C-MAX comes with a range of distinct features like twin sliding doors, active park assist and hands-free power-operated rear liftgate as well as a versatile 5+2 seating configuration with five seats in the main cabin and two smaller seats in the third row. Moreover, the new C-MAX comes with an advanced new system that could steer the compact vehicle into parallel parking spaces. It marks the first application of Ford’s new 1.6-liter EcoBoost I-4 engine in its C-class vehicles in North America. This new powerplant offers a good blend of responsive performance, better fuel economy and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Made of lightweight aluminum, this new 1.6-liter Ford EcoBoost engine employs low-inertia turbocharging, high-pressure direct injection, and twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) to become 20 percent more fuel efficient than larger-displacement naturally aspirated gasoline engines with comparable power output.

With its attributes, this 1.6-liter Ford EcoBoost engine is expected allow a seven-passenger vehicle like the Ford C-MAX to achieve outstanding highway fuel economy. As standard, the Ford C-MAX is powered by a 2.5-liter iVCT I-4 that has been optimized for powering small crossovers and boasts of a low-end torque. Power from both the 1.6-liter Ford EcoBoost and the 2.5-liter iVCT I-4 engines are sent to the wheels through Ford's 6F35 automatic six-speed transmission featuring a gear ratio span that allows for more responsive acceleration from standstill as well as satisfying fuel efficiency for town driving. Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president of Global Product Development, quipped that the carmaker’s global new C-vehicle platform boasts of a scale and flexibility that allow them to develop unique vehicles like the C-MAX, which he described as a 'white space' vehicle in North America.

Kuzak said that the new C-MAX is a new choice that would appeal to buyers who will surely appreciate the technology, convenience and functionality packaged into the vehicle. With a 109.7-inch wheelbase and 178 inches in overall length, the Ford C-MAX features a size comparable to original minivans offered in North America, allowing it to offer ample space to accommodate up to seven passengers, or five occupants with cargo. It is expected to attract customers who place value in a high seating position, versatility, comfortable accommodation, and a "smart-sized" package. The exterior and interior designs of the new Ford C-MAX were fashioned according to the latest evolution of Ford's kinetic design language, deriving its styling from recent Ford products like the Ford Fiesta and Focus.

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