Ford Introduces 1st Hybrid Minivan

By: Zacks Equity Research
Ford Motor Co. (F – Analyst Report) recently announced the introduction of a smaller, five passenger hatchback version of the C-Max Energi minivan, after canceling its plan to re-enter the minivan market in U.S. C-max Energi will only be available in hybrid versions when it rolls out next year in U.S. The venture will be Ford’s first hybrid-only version, which offers fuel-efficiency to customers.
According to the company, C-max Energi scores over seven-passenger Grand C-max, which it plans to import from Europe, in terms of stronger business it offers. The market for C-max Energi hatchbacks and minivans has increased two-folds in Europe, where it sells gasoline and diesel varieties. The facility producing five-passenger C-max Energi will be built in Detroit. Ford intends to triple its production capacity for hybrid and electric cars in North America, which will produce over 100,000 cars annually by 2013.
Ford’s hybrid version will compete directly with Toyota Motor Corp.’s (TM – Analyst Report) Toyota Pirus and Chevrolet Volt built by General Motors Company (GM – Analyst Report). C-max Energi will operate in similar fashion with Volt, which allows its users to connect it to an electrical outlet or high-voltage charging station. It will first run solely on battery power before using any gasoline.
However, C-Max Energi beats Volt in many aspects discussed below.
Once fully charged, C-Max Energi will travel 500 miles, while Volt travels only 379 miles including 35 miles on battery alone. Volt accommodates only two passengers as its battery protrudes where the middle seat should be, in comparison to three-passenger C-Max Energi. C-max Energi will have a price lower than that of Volt, as it uses a lot of indigenous parts.

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