The future of Ford hybrids
With all the attention that Nissan, Toyota and General Motors have attracted in the recent hybrid industry, Ford remains a constant, slowly moving towards a leading position in the competition for the most popular and reliable electric cars on the market. With the success of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, Ford took notice and saw a profitable trend in the guise of an industry wave just beginning to grow.
Today, Ford continues to push the 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 as keen on continuing the tradition as it now intends to renew and reclaim its groundbreaking and innovative future.
Some recent figures
As of July 16, 2013, Ford has quadrupled its share of the US electric vehicle market. The company has expanded its growth by hiring new engineers, spending more on research and development, including new plants and facilities, and focusing on fuel economy improvements. Ford’s share of the US market has risen to 16 percent, an increase of 12 share points. Meanwhile, Toyota’s share has dropped to 8 points, and largely due to the switch to Ford’s new C-MAX hybrid. Ford’s vehicle sales have shown a 400 percent increase in one year, totaling 46,197 units sold through June of this year. The Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Ford C-MAX hybrid have driven most of the sales growth. The coastal markets, Texas and Florida have strong sales and trade-in appeal for the C-MAX, while Toyota’s sales are down 5 percent. According to Polk’s log data, the first five months of 2013 have seen Ford dominate the California market.
In the past month alone, the C-MAX accounted for 64 percent of non-Ford brand owners who swapped their Toyota Prius for the Ford C-MAX. Ford has achieved the fastest retail growth of all other brands in the coastal market, with 2.5 percentage points since 2008. The company has gained nearly a full percentage point since the beginning of the year.
Demand for the Lincoln MKZ has forced Lincoln to increase production by 40 percent, an increase of 20 percent. Lincoln has noticed an influx of new buyers who have shown up in its showrooms in increasing numbers.
The success of going electric
Ford’s fuel-efficient and versatile vehicles, trucks and utilities have shown gains this year. Its share of passenger cars in coastal regions has grown roughly three times faster than the rest of the industry. Ford’s biggest profits come from small cars, small utilities and midsize sedans, which have contributed 42 percent of its growth in the past five years. Compacts have led the way, like the Focus, Fiesta and C-MAX, achieving more than 35,851 sales in the last month alone, almost a 40 percent increase from the previous year. America’s best-selling utility is the Escape, while the Fusion has broken the sales record for the first six months of 2013. Overall, the utility line has garnered top honors for the past three years, and the Ford F-Series has outsold all others. branded trucks for 36 years in a row.
Mileage improvements for hybrids
Ford has placed an emphasis on its highway fuel economy for all of its 2013 hybrid models in Canada and the US Performance calibration updates will begin in August 2013 for Lincoln MKZ, Fusion and C-MAX hybrids. Areas that will receive updates include increasing the electric speed phase to 85 mph, instead of 62 mph, the introduction of active louver louvers to reduce drag during all driving conditions, decreasing the fan speed to reduce the power consumption and reduce warm-up time by 50 percent to allow electric-only operation when the engine is turned off. Air conditioning systems will be refined, reducing compressor use during cold weather operation. Calibration upgrade and upgrade areas will cover city and highway driving, prolonged cold weather conditions, and air conditioning run times.
Stars of the future
Ford aims to capitalize on its most successful pickup truck of all time, the F-150. It seems that they will be forging this new ground for themselves. Ford spun off a joint venture with Toyota to produce a rear-wheel drive hybrid pickup and now intends to develop its own version in-house. Starting in 2014, Ford will slash the F-150’s weight by as much as 700 pounds, just in time for its 2014 debut at the Detroit Auto Show. Longer-term projections for full-size trucks and SUVs are proposals and plans to meet or exceed the projected 54.5 mpg standard by 2025. However, Ford hopes to have fully hybrid versions of its trucks and SUVs before the end of the decade.