The Future of Ford Hybrids : With all the attention that Nissan, Toyota and General Motors have garnered in the recent hybrid industry, Ford remains a constant, slowly inching its way toward a leading position in the competition to get the most popular and reliable electric cars on the market. With the success of the Honda Insight and the Toyota Prius, Ford took notice and saw a profitable trend in the guise of an industry wave that was just beginning to swell.
Today, Ford continues to lobby media and Congress to offer better and more tax incentives to produce hybrid vehicles. Bill Ford has designs and expectations to make Ford the most innovative leader in the competitive high-tech hybrid market. Ford is not interested in carrying on tradition as much as it is now intent on renewing and reclaiming its ground-breaking and innovative future.
Some Recent Figures
As of July 16, 2013, Ford has quadrupled its share in the American electrified vehicle market. The company has expanded growth by hiring new engineers, spending more on research and development, including new plants and facilities and concentrating on fuel economy improvements. Ford’s share of the United States market has climbed to 16 percent, up 12 share points. Meanwhile Toyota’s share has dipped to 8 points, and much of it because of the trade-up to Ford’s new C-MAX hybrid. Ford’s vehicle sales have shown a 400 percent increase in one year, amounting to 46,197 units sold through June of this year. The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and the Ford C-MAX hybrid have pushed most of the sales growth. Coastal markets, Texas and Florida have strong sales and trade-in appeal for the C-MAX while Toyota sales have dropped 5 percent. According to Polk registration data, the first five months of 2013 has seen Ford dominate the California market.
In just the last month, the C-MAX accounted for 64 percent of the non-Ford brand owners who traded in their Toyota Prius for the Ford C-MAX. Ford has realized the fastest retail growth over every other brand in the coastal market, pulling in 2.5 percentage points from 2008. The company has gained nearly a full percentage point since the beginning of the year.
The Lincoln MKZ demand has forced Lincoln to up production 40 percent, a 20 percent increase. Lincoln has realized an influx of new buyers who have shown up in their showrooms in increasing numbers.
The Success of Going Electric
Ford’s versatile fuel-efficient lineup vehicles, trucks and utilities have all showed gains this year. Its passenger car share in the coastal regions has grown roughly three times faster than the rest of the industry. Ford’s greatest gains have come from the small cars, small utilities and midsize sedans which have contributed 42 percent of the its growth in the last five years. The compacts have led the way, like the Focus, Fiesta and C-MAX, pulling in more than 35,851 sales in just the last month, nearly a 40 percent increase over the previous year. The best-selling utility in America is the Escape, while the Fusion has topped record sales for the first six months of 2013. Overall, the utility line has taken top honors for the past three years, with the Ford F-Series outselling all other brand name pickups for 36 years straight.
Mileage Upgrades for Hybrids
Ford has placed emphasis on its on-road fuel economy for all its 2013 hybrid models in Canada and the U.S. They will begin performance calibration upgrades in August, 2013, for the Lincoln MKZ, Fusion and C-MAX hybrids. The areas that will receive upgrades, include increasing the electric speed phase to 85 mph, up from 62 mph, introducing Active Grille Shutters to reduce drag during all driving conditions, slowing the fan’s speed to reduce energy consumption and reducing the warm-up time by 50 percent to allow electric-only running at engine shutdown. The air conditioning systems will be refined, cutting down on compressor usage during cold weather running. The areas of calibration updates and refinements will cover city and highway driving, extended cold weather conditions and times of air conditioning operation.
Stars of the Future
Ford aims to capitalize on its most successful selling pickup of all time, the F-150. It appears as though they will be forging this new ground by themselves. Ford split from a joint venture with Toyota to produce a hybrid rear-wheel-drive pickup and now intends to develop its own version in-house. To start things off for 2014, Ford will dramatically cut the weight of the F-150 by as much as 700 pounds, just in time for its 2014 debut at the Detroit Auto Show. Longer term projections for the full-size pickups and SUVs are proposals and plans to meet or exceed the standard 54.5 mpg projected for 2025. Yet Ford hopes to have full hybrid versions of their trucks and SUVs before the decade is out.