It’s a Great Time to Buy a C-Max Energi; Here’s How to Get a Bargain

Last month, I wrote an article on deals for the C-Max Energi in California.  Those were based on government incentives in California.  How can the rest of us get a deal on a Ford C-Max Energi.  My son’s interested in buying a Ford C-Max Energi.  I’m searching for a deal for him.  I decided to write a blog that might be helpful to others.

If you follow all of this advice, you can get an exceptional discount on the Ford C-Max Energi, $14,000 or more off MSRP and additional tax credits and incentives depending on your state and city.

I enjoy finding bargains.  This is a good time to shop for a 2013 Energi.  The 2014 and 2013 models are the same, but Ford and dealers need to clear out old inventory.  Many 2013 models have been sitting on dealer lots for a long time.  The weather in much of the country didn’t encourage car shopping lately either.  It’s a great time for a car buyer.

There are two metrics that determine how desperate manufacturers and dealers are to sell their vehicles.  One is how much inventory is available for sale.  A 60 to 70 day supply (assembly line to sale) is considered normal.  The other is days to turn, or the time it takes to sell a car from the day it is delivered to the dealer.  Right now, it is 64.9 days according to TrueCar, which is quite long and up 23% from one year ago.

Here’s another metric, related to those above, to indicate regions where dealers should be most competitive.  For some time, I’ve kept track of dealer inventory in different metropolitan regions.  Using, one can get the inventory of 2013 and 2014 vehicles within 50 miles of a zip code.  The ratio of 2013 inventory to total inventory is the metric I’m using.  In other words, what is the percent of unsold vehicles that are the 2013 model year.  It’s also important that inventory is high.  In other words, if there was only one 2013 Energi in the region that normally has 15, it wouldn’t be an area to get the best price – inventory is too low in the region.  Regions with a large percent of unsold 2013’s will be our best markets to get a deal.

Some metro areas stand out for bargain shopping for the Ford C-Max Energi.  Raleigh-Durham (zip code 27713) inventory is at 104% of the next highest month of inventory, on February 3rd, 69% of the inventory was 2013’s and on March 9th, 79% of the inventory was 2013’s.  Washington D.C. (zip code 20011) inventory is at 74% of the highest month of inventory (August 2013), on February 3rd, 87% of the inventory was 2013’s and on March 9th, 76% of the inventory was 2013’s.   Atlanta (zip code 30301) inventory is at 83% of the highest month of inventory (August 2013), on February 3rd, 94% of the inventory was 2013’s and on March 9th, 62% of the inventory was 2013’s. Austin (zip code 73301) inventory is at 73% of the highest month of inventory (November 2013), on February 3rd, 50% of the inventory was 2013’s and on March 9th, 50% of the inventory was 2013’s.  Even though my son and I live in Utah, we’re considering a trip to one of these areas where the price on a new Energi is far below invoice.

Here’s another suggestion: examine the days to turn for the vehicles that you’re interested in buying.  Use to find dealers in the market of interest.  Search each dealer’s website for 2013 Energis.  If you find one of interest, display the window sticker.  It’s normally available at the dealer’s website.  Examine the top edge of the window sticker. You’ll see a section on the top edge that looks like the image below.  This car was built on March 19th, 2013.  The format is Year – Month – Date.  It’s on the left side of the image.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 4.08.00 PM



Although the dealer didn’t receive the car on this date, it gives you a good idea of how long it’s been sitting on the lot.  In this case, a very long time.

Finally, there may be incentives (tax credits, free parking, HOV lane access, etc.) in your state, region or city.  These will be available where the vehicle is registered, not where it’s purchased.  State and local incentives can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.  There is also a tax credit of $4007 from the Federal Government.

In addition, Ford has several incentives that may depend on the region where the Energi is purchased.  In most cases, you can get a rebate of $3,000 plus 0% for up to 72 months on the loan this month.  Finally, this can be combined with a competitive lease offer of $1000.  If you lease a vehicle now (or its ended very recently), ask the dealer if your vehicle qualifies for the additional $1000 rebate from Ford.

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I Bought a C-MAX Energi

Our 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

Our 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

I bought a Ford C-Max Energi.  Finally.  As some readers of this site know, we ordered a C-Max Energi in August 2012.  It was delivered to the dealer at the beginning of January 2013, but we declined going ahead with the order and our deposit was refunded.  There were many reasons making now a good time to buy.

Inventory.  Since January, I’ve followed C-Max Energi dealer inventory.  The inventory has grown dramatically since the beginning of the year as the chart below illustrates.  The inventory according to within 50 miles of the first 19 cities that Ford shipped the C-Max Energi to last year is depicted in the chart.  There is overlap between the 50-mile radius of these cities, but there are many markets with C-Max Energi inventory, like Utah and Nevada that are not included.  After the initial early adopter orders in 2012, the number of C-Max Energi vehicles sold each month in 2013 averaged 416 vehicles.  The highest month was March (494 sold) and the lowest February (334 sold).  July was about average at 433 sold.  Since inventory levels were high, I assumed dealers would offer substantial discounts off MSRP.  (The original 19 markets for EV Certified dealers are Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tucson, and Washinton D.C.)

Price.  Since February 12th, 2013, I’ve collected a variety of sales data from TrueCar and other sites for the C-Max Energi.  The chart below is for TrueCar, illustrating how the discount from MSRP has increased from $898 in Feburary to $2,657 in August.

Most dealers quoted invoice plus their dealer handling fee, typically just less than $400 in Utah, Nevada and Colorado.  This quoted price didn’t include Ford rebates.  The lowest price quoted was $200 less than invoice but that dealer didn’t have the option package and color that we wanted.

Incentives.  Three Ford incentives were available simultaneously to me in August: $1000 rebate, $1000 rebate for a conquest sale (we have a Nissan Leaf lease), and 0% interest for five years.

Ford Stockholder and X-Plan Pricing.  Last fall, I bought 300 shares of Ford stock (in hindsight I wish I would have bought more).  Earlier this year, I became aware of X-Plan pricing for anyone that held 100 or more shares of Ford stock for at least 6 months.  Since I qualified, I faxed the proof of stock ownership to Ford and received the PIN just a few days later.  We used the X-Plan pricing because it was about $200 less than the quote of invoice plus the dealer handling fee for an Energi with the color and options were wanted.  I had received comparable quotes on pricing without X-Plan at other dealers but my wife liked the Ice Storm Metallic exterior and I wanted the 302A package with the panoramic sunroof, there were only two vehicles in Colorado that matched and none in Utah or Nevada.  If you’re interested in X-Plan pricing, here’s the information and form.  It was possible to not use X-Plan pricing and get just as good pricing, but more flexibility on color and options was required, at least for me.

Tax Credits.  Finally, the Federal Tax Credit of $3751 and a Utah Tax Credit of $605 are still available.  [The IRS has now stated that the tax credit is $4007.  It was previously listed at $3751 and stated by Ford as $3750.]For more information on these credits, read my blog, “C-Max Energi Tax Credit.”

We have our new Ford C-Max Energi.  I can finally blog on it based on experience too.  I started my first test tonight.  I look forward to creating many more blogs with photos and videos.  However, I love the outdoors and have limited time to blog.  Hiking, backpacking and canyoneering are still top priorities for me.  I’ll blog on the C-Max Energi as time permits.

This blog was updated September 27, 2013.

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