Best Hybrid Sales Quarter Ever For Ford

Ford said today it delivered its best hybrid sales quarter ever in the first quarter of 2013 with sales totaling 21,080 vehicles – marking the first time Ford has sold more than 20,000 hybrids in a quarter.

Ford’s hybrid sales were up 324 percent nationally over 2012, achieving 16 percent share of the electrified vehicle market – up from 4 percent last year.

This was the first quarter in which Ford offered all four of its new hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles, including Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi.

Ford’s first hybrid offerings went on sale in October 2004, nearly a decade ago.

This record sales quarter was driven by the C-MAX hybrids and Fusion hybrids. Ford said the company’s new hybrids offer is attracting an entirely new group of customers to Ford showrooms.

According to the company, three out of four customers in key hybrid markets are coming from other brands.

One quarter of electrified vehicles sold in the United States in 2012 were purchased in California – more than any other state – and increasingly these customers are opting for a Ford-brand vehicle.

Since the new 2013 Fusion Hybrid went on sale last fall, 73 percent of the car’s customers in the Los Angeles area are new to the Ford brand. In the San Francisco area, 77 percent of Fusion Hybrid customers are coming from another brand.

Four months ago Los Angeles-based Eddie Sasaki replaced his Jeep Wrangler with a Fusion Hybrid after checking out the Chevrolet Volt and Kia Optima Hybrid. “I love the look of the Fusion,” says Sasaki. “Fusion’s overall appearance and value are what sold me.” So far Sasaki is averaging about 42 mpg on his 40-mile daily commute.

Toyota remains the top conquest brand for both Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX hybrids. Ford said initial sales data show C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi are also bringing new customers to Ford, with conquest rates remaining above 60 percent since the vehicles hit the market in 2012.

Currently, Ford said the Prius and Honda CR-V remain the top two competitive trade-ins for C-MAX Hybrid.

Fusion hybrids are also attracting the youngest wave of customers in the midsize segment. More than one in five buyers of Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi are under 36 years old.

Ford’s electrified vehicles are also attracting customers in areas that have traditionally shied away from hybrids, including Texas, Florida and the central region.

One-third of all C-MAX sales are in the Midwest, where hybrid sales have historically been lower.

Early buyer data from industry analytics firm J.D. Power indicate design and technology are among the top reasons customers are choosing the Fusion Hybrid over the competition.

Interestingly, 70 percent of all Fusion Hybrids are equipped with the MyFord Touch package compared to just 50 percent on the conventional Fusion; BLIS and Lane-Keeping System are installed on 31 percent of hybrids, double the rate of the conventional Fusion; meanwhile, 12 percent of hybrid customers select active park assist, compared to 7 percent for the conventional Fusion

Ford also found that C-MAX Hybrid customers are also far more likely to load up their vehicles. Vehicles equipped with technology packages on C-MAX Hybrid move off dealer lots three times faster than those without; 27 percent of C-MAX customers get the panoramic fixed-glass roof; and more than three out of four customers choose the hands-free liftgate.