With hopes of unseating Toyota from its top spot in sales of gasoline-electric models, Ford Motor Co. has announced that it will beat its own record for the full year for U.S. hybrid sales this month due to the demand for its Fusion and C-Max models. Erich Merkle, Ford's U.S. sales analyst, said that in April, the Ford’s hybrid deliveries reached a monthly record of 8,481 units. So far this year, the total is at 29,561 units. Ford had set an annual sales record of 35,496 units in 2010. The Automotive News Data Center said that through April, Ford sold 13,891 Fusion hybrids and 13,285 C-Maxs in the U.S. During the past year, CEO Alan Mulally released the new C-Max hybrids and electric versions of its redesigned Fusion sedan.
Ford is putting up these models against Toyota’s Prius hybrids, which have dominated the market since the early 2000s. Ford’s strategy also includes introducing additional smaller cars that are more fuel-efficient to go together with its impressive lineup of pickups and utility vehicles. Merkle said during an interview that the company has been the “fastest” in increasing sales as well as “conquesting” in the biggest hybrid markets in the country. He added that in April, sales of gasoline-electric Fusions exceeded that of the Camry hybrid.
For this year, the top four markets for Fusion hybrids are Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Last month, Ford held an 18% share in hybrid sales in the U.S. – its highest so far. This represents a 3% increase in April 2013 sales compared to April 2012. It’s only Toyota that got a bigger share at 58%. On May 1, Toyota said that U.S. deliveries of the Prius hybrids had a 21% drop in April to 19,889 units. So far this year, this figure also fell by 12% to 75,613 units. Last year, Toyota sold 236,659 Prius cars in the U.S. According to Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American CEO, Prius demand had trimmed because of decreasing U.S. gasoline prices.