Ford C-Max Facebook Page vs Toyota Prius

Toyota and Ford have Facebook pages for the Prius and C-Max.  The Prius page joined Facebook May 3, 2009.  The C-Max page started two years later on June 16, 2011.  The C-Max page is focused on the C-Max Hybrid/Energi.  The graph below shows the Facebook Page likes for C-Max and Prius pages since I started tracking it.  The data was collected on Oct 18, Nov 16, and the 16th of all other months (except July 2013, which wasn’t recorded).

dyerware.com


There’s also the talking about this page count on Facebook.  These numbers jump more radically from month to month.  It is interesting to note that the talking about this page has dropped off dramatically from Oct for C-Max.

dyerware.com


The most popular week for the Prius was February 26, 2012.  The most popular week for the C-Max was November 11, 2012.  Prius Facebook fans are more likely in Los Angeles in May but were from Bangkok Thailand every other month I’ve followed the Facebook page.  The C-Max Facebook fans most popular city has been Detroit every month except January 2013 when it was Boston, March and June and August 2013 when it was Los Angeles, April when it was New York City and May when it was in Istanbul, Turkey – that’s a strange one.  Facebook fans of the Prius are most likely in the 18-24 age group whereas C-Max fans are in the 45-54 age group.

Does Facebook help to predict the future of the C-Max?  I don’t know yet, but I’ll continue to monitor the Facebook pages for the two vehicles.

 

 

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The Latest on The C-Max MPG Story

USA Today reported tonight that the EPA is finally preparing to test a Ford C-Max in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The paper said the EPA review is of hybrids that are capable of highway speeds on electric power alone.  They quoted Chris Grundler, EPA’s director of the Office of Transportation and Air Quality as saying, “This is a different type of hybrid, and we need to understand it.”

Earlier this week, Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG wrote an article on his comparison of the Ford C-Max Hybrid and the Toyota Prius V, entitled “Ford’s 47 mpg City/Highway/Combined Hybrid Ratings Ring Hollow”.   There are comments on this article in the PriusChat forum too.  I blogged on these CleanMPG tests and more last month in “The C-Max MPG Saga Continues.”  Today Toyota issued a press release with the following quote: “Recently, editors of Cleanmpg.com tested the Ford C-MAX and the Prius v on a 365-mile-highway route at a steady cruise-control moderated speed. In this evaluation, the Prius v averaged 40.8 mpg and actually bested its EPA highway rating by 1.9 percent. On the same roads and using the same testing criteria, Cleanmpg.com editors stated that the Ford C-MAX averaged 35.5 mpg, which is short of its stated EPA rating by 24.4 percent.”

The test implemented by CleanMPG is more than a month old.  What’s interesting is now Toyota is involved in the dispute over the C-Max and the MPG controversy.  I think it most likely means that the C-Max is viewed by Toyota as possibly hurting their Prius sales in the U.S. rather than just growing the hybrid marketshare of the vehicle market overall.  According to Mr. Gerdes, “To give you an example of how much effort has been expended on ‘Beating the Prius’, a search of Ford’s media site using the term ‘Prius’ reveals 4,380 results as of this afternoon [February 25, 2013].  That seems excessive given Toyota’s media site shows 0 hits for the term C-MAX and just 13 when inquiring on the Fusion.”  As of today, Toyota is now mentioning the C-Max.

The Detroit News reported today that San Diego based Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd and Redlands based McCuneWright, two California law firms, are consolidating lawsuits against Ford alleging “false and misleading” marketing for the C-Max.  The paper quoted a partner at McCuneWright, Rich McCune as stating, “There’s a lot of really unhappy people…We’ve received hundreds of calls from the few newspaper stories that have been around.”  I couldn’t find the new consolidated lawsuit at either firm’s website, but the original complaint filed by McCuneWright at their web site still states that the C-Max is sold by Hyundai rather than Ford as I reported in December.  Although it wasn’t reported by the Detroit News, there are other law firms interested in filing complaints against Ford.  Morgan & Morgan with offices in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Tennessee has been soliciting disgruntled C-Max and Fusion Hybrid owners and lesees.  Mehri & Skalet PLLC in Washington DC has also been soliciting owners.

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The C-Max MPG Saga Continues

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

Many owners of the C-Max Hybrid have reported lower than the EPA mpg for the C-Max Hybrid, a story I first wrote about in November.  The ConsumerReports tests brought it to the attention of the media in December.  McCuneWright LLP, the same law firm that filed a mpg lawsuit against Hyundai, filed a class-action lawsuit against Ford incorrectly stating Hyundai sold the Ford C-Max rather than Ford.  I’ve also written a blog on understanding the EPA MPG measurement method.  There are many interesting developments since these blogs were published.

If you’re a C-Max Hybrid owner, you play a significant role in determining your fuel economy.  I’ve given suggestions on how to  improve your fuel efficiency.  However, I’m concerned that many experienced hybrid drivers on internet forums that bought the C-Max Hybrid are having troubling achieving 47 mpg.  One person goes by “Paymaster” on CleanMPG.com and has a 2006 Civic Hybrid and a 2013 C-Max Hybrid.  Paymaster said “I still like the C-MAX. I just wish the mileage was better, and still say with software changes it can be.”

There are many other forum users that are much more upset.  An owner going by “CmaxVsPrius” on CleanMPG.com and Twitter, has a 2010 Prius Liftback and a 2013 C-Max Hybrid.  CmaxVsPrius has been actively posting on his poor mpg for the Ford C-Max.  He has other reasons to be disappointed with the car.  His C-Max Hybrid has been in for repairs twice, most recently when the LCD screen on the dash went blank and he lost navigation, back-up camera and other touch controls.  Despite his disappointment with the mpg, CMaxVsPrius likes a lot about the C-Max.  As he said on January 16th, “What I want is the C-Max ride with the Prius mpg.”

On December 14th, Raj Nair, group vice president global product development said, “There have been some questions raised about fuel economy, so it is important to note that we have designed our hybrids to drive exactly the same as all our other vehicles, with the global Ford DNA.  A key part of that DNA is ‘fun-to-drive’.  We could have detuned the vehicles to maximize fuel economy like some of our competitors have done, but it would have been at the expense of a fun driving experience.  And this would have meant that you would not be [able] to take advantage of the 54 more horsepower that the C-Max provides over the Prius.”

Although Nair states the poor C-Max Hybrid fuel economy experienced by owners is due to the horsepower of the hybrid, I’m inclined to think it is something more than this.  It doesn’t make sense that there would be so many experienced hybrid owners on internet forums that are disappointed with their mpg.  As of January 23rd, ten Ford C-Max owners have filed complaints on ConsumerWatchdog.org about their low mpg.

On December 27th, Larry P. Vellequette of Automotive News wrote a blog about the Ford C-Max Hybrid he bought last October.  He drives it on a daily 120-mile round-trip commute.  His driving also included a 660-mile holiday trip to Ohio.  After driving it 5,200 miles, he reported an average of 35.5 mpg.

On January 3rd, Neal Pollack of Motoramic wrote a blog about driving the C-Max Hybrid more than 2,000 miles in the south.  He’s a Prius owner.  In the post, he drove the C-Max for two weeks on freeways, country roads and in cities.  The trips included short errands and a long trip to visit family during the holidays.  He reported an average of 33.5 mpg.  He really didn’t report much detail, including highway speeds during the long holiday road trip.

Wayne Gerdes of CleanMPG.com has been discussing the mpg issue for the Ford C-Max and 2013 Fusion Hybrids since October.  On CleanMPG.com, he said he spoke with Ford in November about a “backlash far worse than anything they have experienced with SYNC to date.”  Mr. Gerdes, with two other drivers, traveled 365 miles from San Diego to Phoenix to test the mpg for the C-Max, Prius and Prius V.  The drive consisted of 99% highway miles with an average speed of 66 mph.  They measured the gasoline used, rotated drivers between the three vehicles, and drove together at the same speed.  They drove the vehicles with cruise and without any attempt to improve mpg with hypermiling methods.  Gerdes reported the C-Max Hybrid averaged 35.5 (37.2 displayed) mpg, Prius V averaged 40.8 (43.6 displayed) mpg, and Prius Liftback averaged 43.3 (47.1 displayed) mpg.  Of these three vehicles, only the Prius V averaged better than the EPA mpg, at 40.8 over the EPA of 40, a 1.9% improvement.

Another interesting test of Mr. Gerdes was the steady state Prius V, Liftback, and C-Max tests.  With these tests, the three vehicles were driven at 50, 55, 60, 65 and 70 mph.  The tests were conducted near the same time but were corrected for different temperatures.  The results are shown in the chart below.  It’s interesting that the Prius V exceeds the 40 mpg highway rating at every steady-state mph.  The Ford C-Max drops significantly from the 47 mpg highway rating at 70 mph to just 38.1 mpg.

Prius V, Liftback, and C-Max Steady State Chart

CleanMPG’s Prius V, Liftback, and C-Max Steady State Chart

Gerdes also reported a 22.8 mile all-city San Diego route with a 200 ft elevation drop.  Both the Prius V (55.8 mpg) and C-Max (52 mpg) exceed the EPA city mpg, but the Prius V exceeded it by a much larger margin.

It’s important to keep the fuel savings in perspective when comparison shopping.  According to Fuelly.com on January 23rd, 2013, the average mpg that Prius V owners get is 42 mpg and C-Max Hybrid owners get 38 mpg.  If you assumed that you paid $4 per gallon over the next year and drove 20,000 miles per year, you would save $200 over the year driving the Prius V.  It may well be that you prefer a variety of features of the Ford C-Max features over other cars you’re considering.  Mr. Gerdes and the two other drivers assisting in the mpg tests had interesting comments on the three vehicles.  It’s possible that two of the drivers would have picked the Ford C-Max over the Prius models based on other factors.

The Ford C-Max Energi has the potential for much lower fuel costs than either Prius or the C-Max Hybrid.  If most of your drives are short, the plug-in C-Max Energi is an exceptional choice while the tax credits are available.  It promises exceptional fuel economy because you can drive about 20 miles with a full charge for less than one dollar.  The 20 miles could even be free if you “fill up” at a public charger.  Eighty-five percent of the public chargers are free.

C-Max Energi Charge Port

The Ford C-Max Energi can travel about 20 miles on electricity only.

 

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