I’ve been surprised that the Ford C-Max Energi hasn’t sold better since it was introduced. There have been many rough edges to the start up of plug-in vehicles for Ford. However, it’s often overlooked that Ford is doing quite well as a competitor in the new electric vehicle market. Ford has three plug-in vehicles today, the Fusion Energi, C-Max Energi and Focus Electric. There are rumors that a Focus Energi will be introduced soon. It is also expected Ford will introduce Energi drivetrains in other models during the coming years. In the U.S., Ford was the top seller of plug-in vehicles last month of those releasing sales. Tesla doesn’t release sales data on a monthly basis. Tesla estimates cover a broad range and they may have sold more Model S sedans than Ford. Autobloggreen estimates Tesla sales as 2300. CleanTechnia estimates sales as 1267. There were 1,425 Nissan Leafs sold, the top selling model. Ford had combined sales of 1,460 for the three models, a 239% increase from 2013 when just 611 vehicles were sold for the three models in February.
I doubt if the average person even knows Ford sells plug-in vehicles. In my opinion, the Energi drivetrain is the way Ford can exceed government CAFE standards. Because of CAFE, I think Ford will introduce Energi drivetrains in many vehicles which can offset CAFE requirements for trucks through credit trading. The North American truck market for Ford is 250% larger than the car market. Because of CAFE trading, Ford should have a big incentive to sell Energi vehicles, such as the Fusion and C-Max too. This is a good deal for those interested in the Ford C-Max Energi. It wouldn’t surprise me if lease deals and rebates on the Fusion and C-Max Energi become very aggressive in the coming years.
The Ford C-Max Energi is manufactured in the U.S.A. (Michigan Assembly Plant) and sold in the U.S.A. and Canada. Ford announced that the C-Max Energi will be sold in Europe in 2014 but manufactured in Michigan rather than the plant in Spain where the European C-Max is made. Although C-Max Energi sales are restricted to the U.S.A. and Canada, it is interesting to note where it stands relative to worldwide sales of plug-in vehicles – hybrid (PHEV) and electric only (BEV). There were more than 200,000 plug-in vehicles sold worldwide in 2013. The C-Max Energi accounts for about 3% of worldwide sales and is the 8th most popular plug-in worldwide last year. The Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Prius Plug-in, Tesla Model S, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Renault Zoe, and Volvo V60 Diesel Plug-in are all ahead of the C-Max Energi, in that order. The Leaf is by far the most popular plug-in, accounting for 23% of worldwide EV sales in 2013. The first four vehicles are available in the U.S. and Canada. The Outlander is expected to be sold in the U.S.A. in 2015. For more information, visit the ev-sales blog.
Yesterday, I published a blog on media reports on the Ford C-Max Energi having the worst reliability of all vehicles covered by ConsumerReports. According to a member on the Ford C-Max Energi Forum, the Energi had the largest percent of owners reporting reliability problems. The most common issues for the Energi were with the audio, navigation, and entertainment. The car’s mechanical reliability scored well. However, the owner satisfaction was not reported by the media, as far as I’ve seen. According to the same forum member, ConsumerReports asked members, “Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?” Out of 19 hybrids, PHEVs and EVs, the Energi was third in the rankings with a score of 84 behind the Tesla Model S (score of 99) and Chevrolet Volt (score of 91).
The ConsumerReports press release didn’t mention the high owner satisfaction score for the Energi. These are the quotes from their press release which led to the negative coverage by the media, “The top predicted-reliability score went to the redesigned 2014 Subaru Forester SUV, which hadn’t been on the market for very long when CR conducted the survey. The Ford C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid got the worst score, and the regular C-Max Hybrid wasn’t much better. …Hybrids and electric cars continue to do well. … Ford’s C-Max and Fusion hybrids were the only exceptions.”