U.S. Ford C-MAX and Focus Plant Production Moving In 2018

800_22871According to several media sources, Ford announced today that production of the C-MAX and Focus will move from the Wayne Michigan Assembly Plant in 2018 to another location.  UAW Officials understand it will be outside the U.S.  The C-MAX is also made in Germany.  The Focus is built in several other countries.  Although the plant only makes C-MAX and Focus vehicles, Ford said the plant would not be closed.  Does this mean anything about the future of the C-MAX Hybrid and Energi?  I don’t know.  It wasn’t that long ago that the plant was retooled for the Focus and C-MAX after being closed in the 2008 recession.  Focus production at the plant started December 2010 and C-MAX in 2012.

 

InsideEVs: The 2014 Ford C-Max Energi Is Same as 2013

According to InsideEVs.com, the only change for the 2014 C-Max Energi will be some new order codes.  The website said the 2014 C-Max Energi will start production on July 8th at the Wayne Michigan Assembly plant.  InsideEVs also speculated that the 2015 model year will have “bigger changes” (which isn’t hard if the 2014 year doesn’t have any).  Quoting InsideEVs: “…as the platform has been around since 2011 and is due for a refresh…which is most likely the culprit behind the model’s feature freeze for 2014.  (For 2015, think integrating the vehicles lithium battery that now resides in the trunk elsewhere in the car).”  Earlier, Motor Trend speculated that the 2015 Ford C-Max, updated in North America in 2014, will have an Aston Martin-styled grill (see, Most Important Features for The Next Ford C-Max Update).

 

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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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