Will Huge Discounts on Plug-in Vehicles Impact C-Max Energi Sales?

Nissan Leaf SL Rear View from Driver side

Large discounts  on the Nissan Leaf are common

 

Cut-throat leases on the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt are widely available throughout the U.S.  Leases make sense for many buyers that haven’t leased before because both of these vehicles qualify for the $7500 federal tax credit.  With a lease, the lessor (e.g., Nissan Finance for a Leaf) is the owner of the car.  It takes the tax credit.  When you buy a Leaf or Volt, you need to have a federal tax liability of at least $7500 to write-off the full tax credit.  With a lease, you get the $7500 discount via the lease holder.

The tax credit for the Toyota Prius Plug-in is small, but now Toyota is offering huge incentives to buy the Prius Plug-in in some markets.  I searched BuyAToyota.com for three zip codes where Toyota sells the Prius Plug-in.  For buyers in Wenham, Massachusetts (01984), the offer is $4000 off the regular and $5000 off the advanced with zero percent financing for 60 months.  The selection is huge too, 264 plug-ins in inventory at local dealers.  For buyers in Martinez, California (Bay Area, 94553) the offer is $1000 off either advanced or regular with zero percent financing for 60 months.  They also promote the HOV-lane-single-driver access in California as a “special offer.”  The inventory in the area according to BuyAToyota.com is 105 hybrids.  For buyers in Tempe, Arizona (Phoenix Area, 85280), there isn’t any offer at all.  The plug-in doesn’t seem to be available right now in Tempe.  All offers end December 3rd, 2012.

I listed reviews recently for the Prius Plug-in/V.  The Prius Plug-in reviews are not very flattering.  Toyota has even leaked details of the next Prius redesign, a vehicle not slated for release until at least spring of 2015.  Was this done to discourage Toyota owners from trading in for a C-Max Hybrid or Energi?

With the announcement that GE will be buying 2,000 C-Max Energi vehicles and early adopters placing orders for the C-Max Energi, the Michigan Assembly Plant where Ford manufactures the Energi will be busy for months according to my estimate.  However, what about next year?  There is the possibility of a “fiscal cliff” dumping the GDP into negative territory in early 2013.  Now Ford is faced with this financial uncertainty plus bargains on competing plug-in vehicles in the U.S.  An advantage for Ford is the assembly plant makes five different vehicles.  They don’t need to idle the plant if C-Max sales fall.  This was a public relations mess for GM when they idled the plant making Volts recently.  Unlike GM and Chrysler, Ford is making contingency plans in the case Pres. Obama and congress fail to pass legislation avoiding the “fiscal cliff.”  It seems clear that Ford is managed better than GM and Chrysler after reading this Bloomberg article.

 

 

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Will a Ford electrified vehicle be announced at LA Auto Show?

MLive states that Ford is to announced a new vehicle at the LA Auto Show.  The bio for Kevin Layden states Ford is launching six new electrified vehicles in 2012, with a sixth that hasn’t been announced yet.  As far as I know, a sixth vehicle still hasn’t been announced.  Perhaps a new electrified vehicle will be announced this coming Wednesday/Thursday.  What do you think?

 

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Does C-Max Energi Have a Better Battery?

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

2013 Ford C-Max Energi

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article on the 7.6 kWh battery in the C-Max Energi.  They compared it with the 16.5 kWh Volt battery and 4.4 kWh Prius battery.  The comparison is based on the range of the battery per kWh.  Although the WSJ didn’t list these numbers, I will: 2.3 miles/kWh for the Volt, 2.76 miles/kWh for the C-Max Energi, and 2.5 miles/kWh for the Prius plug-in.  Many Volt owners commenting on the article point out there are various factors that could affect the miles/kWh specification for the vehicle, e.g., they state that the GM vehicle doesn’t use a full charge of the battery to obtain its 38 mile EV range (I didn’t verify this as a fact).  Kevin Layden, Ford’s director of electrification programs and engineering is quoted in the WSJ article as stating, “This, we believe, is the best battery in the entire world.”  The battery is made by Panasonic and assembled by Ford.  According to the Motley Fool, the battery pack in the Tesla Model S sedan is also powered by cells made by Panasonic.

 

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