Electric cars, in general, were the winners in October 2013. However, within that overall story, I think the most notable stories of the month involved Ford & Toyota — not exactly the companies you think of when you think about electric car leaders, right?
No, neither company unleashed an electric vehicle version of LeBron James onto the world. However, each have made some notable, incremental improvements in this space and have seen significant rewards from that.
First of all, the Toyota Prius PHEV was actually the top-selling plug-in electric or plug-in hybrid electric car in the US in October. That’s the first time that the Toyota Prius PHEV has claimed the top spot, unseating the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf (who have been trading spots at the top all year long). It’s quite a surprise. It does come on the back of a $4,600 Toyota Prius PHEV price cut, but I don’t think most of us in the industry expected it to surge ahead of the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf at this point in time. Surely the well known Prius brand has helped with sales. And I imagine that up-selling customers who thought they were going in to buy a conventional Toyota Prius is happening.
Now, there is another way of looking at plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric car sales. And Ford wouldn’t let us forget this other vantage point. If you look at overall plug-in car sales by company, Ford actually took the top spot in October. With sales of the Ford Fusion Energi (1,087) and Ford C-MAX Energi (1,092) combined, Ford’s PHEV models hit 2,179 sales in October. That narrowly beats the month’s 2,095 Toyota Prius PHEV sales. And it accounts for 34% of the PHEV market.
It is Ford’s best month ever for plug-in hybrid sales, shattering the previous record of 1,508 vehicles sold in September, a 45 percent increase. Ford’s plug-in hybrid vehicles – Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi – hit this sales milestone just one year after introduction of C-MAX Energi and less than a year since launch of Fusion Energi.
Toyota and Ford were both relative latecomers to the plug-in car market (following Nissan and GM/Chevrolet). So, it’s sort of exciting to see them both doing so well now.
Perhaps there is one more big electric car story of the month, though. Five electric car models sold over 1,000 cars each in October. Three models landed sales between 2,000 and 2,100, while Ford’s two models combined climbed just a bit above 2,100. That puts 3–5 models from 4 different car companies within very close proximity of each other. It shows how diversified the EV market has already become, and that it’s not simply 1 or 2 models leading the way anymore, but a handful or so. This is exciting. Most people probably don’t have a clue that all these plug-in electric cars are on the market, but they’ll find out before too long. 😀
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