Ford is eating away part of hybrid market from Toyota

Article by Anita Panait, on July 2, 2013

Ford is slowly but surely chipping away Toyota's dominance of the hybrid vehicle market. In the first five months of 2013, Ford sold 34,517 hybrids, which is still a small number compared to Toyota's 141,849. Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst at Edmunds.com, told Automotive News that while Toyota still commands the overwhelming majority of the hybrid market, Ford has established itself as the "second-largest make."

Acevedo noted that Ford managed to increase its share of the hybrid car market from 2012 to the first five months of 2013, thanks to its stylistic 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and 2013 Fusion Hybrid. He added that while Toyota has become "synonymous with the green car," Ford has "done an admirable job" chipping that away.

C.J. O'Donnell, Ford's marketing manager for electrified vehicles, remarked that they have "taken a big bite" from Toyota, noting that Ford managed to more than double its share in just more than a year. Ford has launched a series of amusing ads in TV and the Internet. The ads, dubbed the Hybrid Games, pits the C-Max against the Prius and Prius v.

The Ford C-Max holds a 7-percent share of the hybrid market, compared with a 3.8 percent share for the Escape Hybrid in 2011. Toyota, however, remains unfazed by Ford's rise in the hybrid market. John Hanson, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. remarked that they have openly said that they believe "hybrids were the way the industry needed to move" to complying with tighter emissions and fuel economy requirements.

Building on the success of Ford’s powersplit platform that underpins its current hybrid models like the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the new Ford C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid offers a better operating performance.

The powersplit hybrid allows the electric motor and gasoline-powered mill to work cooperatively for improved aerodynamics or independently for better efficiency. Moreover, the engine can also operate independently from vehicle speed, allowing it to recharge the battery pack or send more power to the wheels when required.

On the other hand, the motor could work solely to deliver power to the wheels in low-speed, low-load situations. It could also work with the conventional engine when the vehicle is moving at higher speeds.

When in fuel-saving electric mode, this powersplit system in the current Ford Fusion Hybrid could operate up to 47 mph. As for the Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Ford is eyeing operations at higher speeds. As for the C-MAX Energi, Ford is targeting to squeeze more capability from the extra battery power.

The new Ford C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid represent two of at least 10 new models or derivatives – all underpinned by its new global C-car platform -- that the American carmaker is planning to launch globally.

Topics: ford, toyota, hybrid

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