Ford Changes Lanes from Minivans to Hybrids and Plug-Ins


Initially, Ford wanted to further its hold on the minivan market in the United States but with a recent announcement, scrapped these plans. Now, they would be entering the hybrid or plug-in hybrid market with the unveiling a five-passenger hatchback vehicle.

The new vehicle is to be called the C-Max and would be the venerable car company’s first foray into the hybrid-only market in North America. The company has also announced its intention to increase the production of hybrids and electric cars, making total production of 100,000 vehicles. This would also increase the number of jobs in its Michigan plant.

According to James Farley, the group vice president for Ford’s global marketing, sales and service, the change was due to higher demand for fuel efficiency in its consumers. The company studied the business cases between the gasoline powered Grand C-Max and the hybrid C-Max. While the company sells these gasoline-powered vehicles in Europe, the demand for the hybrid version has also doubled in the last year. Thus instead of fighting over the niche market of minivans, Ford is trying to leverage a greater market share from the Prius and Volt from the increasing plug-in hybrid market.

The exact specifications for the C-Max version, to be called the C-Max Energi, are still under wraps. The Energi would operate in the same way as the Volt, where the vehicle would initially run on battery power before changing to gasoline usage.

The company also introduced the new anelectric Focus. Compared to the GM Chevy Volt, the Focus has no gasoline engine as a back up with the ability to drive a distance of 100 miles on a full charge. It can also communicate with smart phones, making it a remote control charging for the vehicle. Also working for the consumer is the federal and state tax credits for the purchase, allowing individuals an assist for the steep price of the current electric vehicles.