Ford has tripled to more than 200 the number of dealers certified to sell its lineup of plug-in electrified vehicles, including the new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid that is on sale now and delivers the equivalent of 105 mpg combined in electric mode, beating the Toyota Prius Plug-in by 5 MPGe.
Ford’s plug-in electrified vehicle dealer growth comes as the number of new vehicle shoppers considering plug-in hybrids has grown to 25 percent. In total, 900 dealers are either certified or enrolled for certification, nearly triple Ford’s initial plans for about 350 certified dealers by early 2013.
Ford vehicles now deliver better fuel economy than Toyota in every segment in which the two companies compete with the launches of the new Escape, Fusion and C-MAX hybrids.
“Ford’s strategy to deliver the power of choice for leading fuel economy across our lineup seems very well timed as our customers and dealers are showing significant interest in vehicles such as the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid,” says C.J. O’Donnell, Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing manager. “C-MAX Energi joins C-MAX Hybrid to help Ford take on Prius for the first time, with great early signs as the hybrid outsold Prius v in its first full month of sales in October.”
The first 67 certified dealers were in California, New York and New Jersey and have been selling the Focus Electric since spring. By early 2013, Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi will be joined by Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid – expected to be the world’s most fuel-efficient sedan by achieving more than 100 MPGe in electric mode – and available at certified dealers nationwide.
Greener dealers selling greener vehicles
Certification means the dealerships have met the automaker’s guidelines for dealers selling electric vehicles – including installation of at least two onsite charging stations and participation in highly specialized training in the field of electric vehicles.
“The amount of hard work and resources dealers put into becoming certified really is a testament to how excited they are, how excited customers are, and how excited we are about C-MAX Energi,” said Paul Russell, Ford’s field operations manager.
To become certified to sell America’s most fuel-efficient and affordable plug-in hybrid vehicle, dealers first had to satisfy a list of other requirements, including:
- One of the two required charging stations at the dealership must be in the customer area and the other must be in the service area
- At least one Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi must be available at all times for demonstrations and events
- Of the sales consultant, sales manager, service advisor and service manager jobs at each location, 80 percent must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements that cover topics including advanced knowledge of electrification
- Each showroom will have point-of-purchase display materials including digital assets and window signage
- Participation in a Ford Go Green Dealer Onsite Facility Assessment to identify energy- and cost-saving opportunities with a goal of facilitating energy efficiency, lower operating expenses and carbon footprint reduction