Ford Motor Company said today that the 2013 Ford C-Max compact hybrid utility vehicle will be available this fall with a base price of $25,995 – more than $1,000 lower than the Toyota Prius V base price. Whether this makes any sales difference in the marketplace against the formidable – and market dominating – Prius lineup remains to be seen.
The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid will follow later this year with what was claimed to be better electric-mode fuel economy and overall driving range than the Prius plug-in hybrid. Ford, badly lagging Toyota the global hybrid sales leader, however did not provide fuel economy or sales estimates.
More than 156,000 units of the gasoline version of the C-Max have been sold in Europe since its 2010 launch. Ford originally planned to bring a larger 7-passenger version of the gasoline vans to the U.S., but has since scaled the program back to a small volume 5-passenger hybrid program. It is really a minivan version of the Focus, and one of several electrified vehicles Ford plans to produce in North America in 2012. In addition to C-Max Energi, the other vehicles include Focus Electric, Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid.
The C-Max has a high roofline of 63.9 inches, which allows the claim of 99.7 cubic feet of passenger space compared with 97 cubic feet in Prius v. The C-Max Hybrid also provides greater headroom in both front and rear seats than Prius v (41/39.4 inches vs. 39.6/38.6 inches). For cargo, C-Max Hybrid has 60/40 split-fold rear seats that easily fold flat with 54.3 cubic feet of space behind the first row and 24.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
Prius was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid gas-electric vehicle, and in its third generation is unquestionably the most successful hybrid, which continues to give Toyota a halo reputation as an environmentally responsible company.
In this new technology and green image boosting vehicle segment, TMS posted April sales of 32,593 hybrid vehicles, an increase of 124.6% compared to the same period last year. Toyota Division posted sales of 30,126 hybrids for the month, up 142.7% over the year-ago month. Lexus Division reported monthly sales 2,467 hybrids, increasing 17.6% year-over-year. The Prius brand – Prius, Prius V, Prius Plug-in and Prius C – accounted for a combined sales volume of 25,168 units.
Nobody else was even close. The Honda Insight and Civic hybrids were at ~1,500 vehicles. Nissan, which scorned the fuel saving hybrid technology two decades ago and is now attempting recover with pure EVs, sold, ahem, 374 Leaf electric cars, down 35% from 2011.