While Ford’s pair of plug-in hybrids, the Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi, have sold well-enough here in the U.S., the two PHEVs aren’t sold anywhere else…yet. That may soon be changing according to Automotive News, which reports that Ford execs are mulling the idea of selling its plug-in hybrids to European customers.
Even though electric vehicles are the fastest-growing market segment in Europe, Ford only offers the Focus Electric to customers wanting a plug-in vehicle. Instead it has pushed its EcoBoost engine technology, with the 1.0 liter three-cylinder EcoBoost engine leading the charge against high gas prices. This engine (as well as the car it is most commonly found in, the Fiesta) has proven exceedingly popular in the Old World…but people are starting to finally pay attention to plug-ins.
Only a handful of manufacturers have offered plug-in hybrids to European customers, including the Opel Ampera, which is a Europeanized Chevy Volt. But a languishing economy has hindered sales to the point where GM is killing the Ampera and replacing it with a pure electric car…just as Volkswagen and Audi get ready to launch their first plug-in hybrid models. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV has also proven insanely popular with buyers, shooting to the top of the sales charts in numerous countries.
Seeing this trend has Ford reconsidering its options; it wouldn’t take much effort to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Mondeo, which is the same car as the Ford Fusion minus some slight design differences. The time may finally be right to offer European buyers a plug-in Ford, though the new car market is still kind of muddling along as the Old World economy rights itself.
Maybe now is the time for a renewed push of the Focus Electric as well?