Originally posted on CleanTechnica
When the Ford C-Max Hybrid launched, the Blue Oval billed it as a competitor to the long-standing hybrid sales leader, the Toyota Prius. Unfortunately, optimistic fuel economy ratings and angry customers have soured C-Max sales.
Reuters reports that Ford is working to solve the problem by launching an all-new dedicated hybrid line based on the upcoming C2 platform, which will also underpin the next-gen Ford Focus and Ford Escape models. The new car will be Ford’s first built-from-the-ground-up hybrid, rather the adaption of another vehicle to hybrid technology.
So what happened with the C-Max? Well it wasn’t initially intended to be a hybrid, as Ford had planned to launch it with a 2.5 liter four-cylinder and 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine. Instead though, Ford used a $5.9 billion government loan to alter the C-Max drivetrain to be either a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, with the aim of taking on the Prius. But many buyers didn’t bite, which could be blamed on its funky shape, strange name, and lower-than-advertised fuel economy. Ford revised the numbers downward to appease regulators, which only further hurt sales.
The new, unnamed Ford hybrid is set to debut in 2018 as a 2019 model, well after the next-gen Toyota Prius is planned to debut. Several different body styles are also planned, but with the Prius continuing to build on its popularity, Ford might have missed its chance to build a real competitor for the hybrid crown.