Ford C-Max Hybrid sales still steady despite mpg rating revision

Article by Anita Panait, on September 13, 2013

When Ford Motor Co. revised downward the estimated fuel economy of its C-Max hybrid, many thought it would lead to lower demand and lower sales. However, Ford has been posting steady demand and sales for the C-Max and is not implementing any changes in the marketing of the hybrid unit despite its lower mpg rating, global marketing chief Jim Farley told Automotive News in an interview.

According to Farley, the carmaker will continue pushing the C-Max’s fuel economy as its selling point against its key rival Toyota Prius V. He remarked that they still have the “leadership claim over the Prius V.” The C-Max is rated at a combined 43 mpg, while the Prius V is rated at a combined 42 mpg.

Farley said that they see no reason to change the marketing for the C-Max as customer reaction “has been great,” noting they were going to have “another great C-Max month” in August. Farley made the comments a day before Ford disclosed a 12-percent monthly surge of C-Max hybrid sales in August to 3,032 units.

Sales of the C-Max have been up and down since it was launched in September 2012. Its peak sales were in November 2012 when 4,848 were sold. According to data analysis firm Autometrics, the C-Max did not incur appreciable damage following a July safety recall announcement or the Aug. 15 fuel economy rating downgrade.

Autometrics chief executive Stephen Shaw said that both the recall and mpg compensation “did not impact retail demand for the C-Max model.” Demand for the C-Max -- measured by hits on third-party car shopping Web sites -- lingered at 1.4% of the small-car market, Autometrics data show.

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