DEARBORN – Underscoring its commitment to fuel economy leadership, Ford Motor Company today said it is upgrading the 2014 Ford C-MAX Hybrid, which will go on sale in December. The company also is changing the way it tests and labels the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid for fuel economy to better match performance and improve customer satisfaction.
The upgrades build on powertrain software updates Ford announced last month for the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid. The 2014 C-MAX also will benefit from several hardware changes, including:
• Gearing changes that result in a more efficient transmission drive ratio
• New hood seal, front and rear tire deflectors, A-pillar moldings and the addition of rear lift gate deflectors to improve vehicle aerodynamics
• New engine oil with reduced friction
The enhancements to the 2014 C-MAX Hybrid are expected to improve customers’ on-road fuel economy, especially at highway speeds.
“Ford is absolutely committed to being a leader in the hybrid market and to top fuel efficiency across our lineup,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. “We are taking actions with our popular C-MAX Hybrid so that customers are even more satisfied with the vehicle’s on-road fuel efficiency performance.”
The variability of on-road fuel economy is greater for hybrids than for conventional vehicles. Relatively small differences in driver behavior and driving conditions can have a significant effect on the degree to which a hybrid’s gasoline engine is used for propulsion, which affects fuel efficiency.
Changes to C-MAX Hybrid fuel economy labeling process
In addition to improving the vehicle itself, Ford is changing the way it generates the miles-per-gallon label for C-MAX Hybrid going forward. Previously – and consistent with EPA’s General Label rules – testing of the Fusion Hybrid was used to generate fuel economy labels for a family of vehicles, including both Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX Hybrid. The result was the same fuel economy label values for both vehicles.
While the company could continue to use EPA’s General Label for C-MAX Hybrid, Ford voluntarily has decided to test and label C-MAX Hybrid separately going forward. The result will be a lower miles-per-gallon label for the 2013 C-MAX Hybrid. Testing to generate a label for the 2014 C-MAX Hybrid is not yet complete.
The revised 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid label will carry a class-leading EPA combined fuel economy value of 43 mpg – topping the combined label value of 42 mpg for the Toyota Prius v.
Because this voluntary step results in miles-per-gallon values different from the original C-MAX Hybrid label, Ford also is making a goodwill payment to current C-MAX Hybrid owners for the estimated average fuel cost of the difference between the two labels. Customers who purchased their vehicle will receive a check from Ford for $550. Customers who leased their vehicle will receive a check for $325.
Strong C-MAX customer reaction
Customer response to Ford C-MAX is strong. In fact, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid are driving record U.S. electrified vehicle sales. Ford sold 53,014 electrified vehicles through July – 392 percent higher than a year ago. Two-thirds of buyers are coming from imports.
In addition, the latest J.D. Power APEAL study shows C-MAX Hybrid is scoring high with customers. Engine responsiveness, smoothness, passing power/acceleration, interior quietness and visibility all rank significantly higher than the segment average. Customers also report C-MAX is “more luxurious” and “more innovative,” as well as more environmentally friendly.
Ford’s electrified vehicle market share through the first seven months of this year is 15.4 percent - a 12-point increase compared with the same period last year.