Ford has declared war on the Toyota Prius family of hybrid vehicles, and its latest weapon in the war of fuel efficiency is the C-Max Hybrid. The Blue Oval has every reason to feel confident too; during its first full month of sales, the Ford C-Max Hybrid outsold the Toyota Prius V. Is the Prius brand losing its luster?
Ford C-Max Hybrid sales hit 3,182 cars to the Prius V’s 2,769, with about 70% of those buyers being new to the brand. Ford also reported that about one-third of C-Max Hybrid buyers had cross shopped the C-Max with the Prius and Prius V.
Those “conquest” numbers are especially important, as the new car market in America has matured to the point where the only way to expand sales is to conquer buyers from other brands. With a 47/47/47 mpg rating, the C-Max Hybrid compares favorably to the Prius V, which is rated at 44 city, 40 highway, and 42 combined. I think it is also fair to acknowledge that there is quite a bit of pent-up demand for this vehicle, which Ford has been hyping up for over a year.
One thing I wonder though is about sales of the Ford C-Max Energi. Are those included in the C-Max Hybrid sales, or is Ford’s first plug-in hybrid. The Prius Plug-In has already sold over 6,000 units in its first six months. With Ford launching a 47 mpg 2013 Fusion Hybrid, Ford is competing with the Toyota Prius on all fronts. How will the numbers tack up a year from now?
Is the Prius brand coasting? Will Ford usurp Toyota’s hybrid crown? Or is this just one battle in the fuel economy war that Ford happens to be winning?