Published on August 22nd, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro


Ford Working On Another Prius Fighter?

August 22nd, 2014 by  

ford c max logo

When the Ford C-Max Hybrid launched, the Blue Oval billed it as a competitor to the long-standing hybrid sales leader, the Toyota Prius. Unfortunately, optimistic fuel economy ratings and angry customers have soured C-Max sales.

Reuters reports that Ford is working to solve the problem by launching an all-new dedicated hybrid line based on the upcoming C2 platform, which will also underpin the next-gen Ford Focus and Ford Escape models. The new car will be Ford’s first built-from-the-ground-up hybrid, rather the adaption of another vehicle to hybrid technology.

So what happened with the C-Max? Well it wasn’t initially intended to be a hybrid, as Ford had planned to launch it with a 2.5 liter four-cylinder and 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine. Instead though, Ford used a $5.9 billion government loan to alter the C-Max drivetrain to be either a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, with the aim of taking on the Prius. But many buyers didn’t bite, which could be blamed on its funky shape, strange name, and lower-than-advertised fuel economy. Ford revised the numbers downward to appease regulators, which only further hurt sales.

The new, unnamed Ford hybrid is set to debut in 2018 as a 2019 model, well after the next-gen Toyota Prius is planned to debut. Several different body styles are also planned, but with the Prius continuing to build on its popularity, Ford might have missed its chance to build a real competitor for the hybrid crown.

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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

  • There is a lot wrong with this article. First, you talk about unhappy customers, but not the happy ones also. I own a C-Max Energi and love it -so not all customers are angry. Plus, the C-Max is really not positioned agains the Prius but the Volt and the Leaf. The Prius plug in goes 10 miles on electric only and only up to 35 mph (20 miles for the C-max and 40 miles for the Volt). Plus it is tinny and seems flimsy compared to the Volt and C-Max. I got mine because I could actually complete most of my trips on electric only and go over 70 mph on the highway on electric only. On long trips it does not get as good mileage as a Prius, but overall, I am getting 53 mpg, with me driving like a typical Bostonian. The car has its flaws, but overall I am very happy with it.

  • patb2009

    Plenty of room in the market, with a 100 million unit market, the real issue is what segment Ford should aim at? IMHO, ford should look at a Plug in Minivan. Lots of room for battery, you could lay it on the chassis floor, and nobody expect great MPG from a minivan, so with 50 miles electric range before the generator cuts on, you have plenty of margin.

    • Roger Pham

      Great point. HEV vans and trucks are sorely needed. Why bother to compete in a segment that is already mature and crowded?

  • Roger Pham

    It is not productive to compete against the Prius. Ford should concentrate on improving the Fusion hybrid by making the engine smaller in order to place some of the battery under the hood while reducing the fuel tank size and get rid of the spare tire in order to realize a full trunk space. The poor-selling C-Max should be dumped while offering the Fusion with a hatchback version to replace the C-Max.

  • spec9

    This time, Ford, focus more on aerodynamics and don’t lie about your MPG.

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