Ford Hopes to Recharge C-Max Sales With Incentives

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The Ford (NYSE:F) C-Max was supposed to be a Prius killer, an American version of the versatile Japanese hybrid hatch that showed the world that Michigan had what it took to create a vehicle that offered minivan-like capabilities coupled with outstanding fuel economy for the multitudes of people who want to do more while spending less. The C-Max seemed to be on the right track, too, until it was discovered that a formulaic error had seriously high-balled the expected fuel economy averages for the C-Max minivan-crossover vehicle.

Since it shares the same drivetrain as the Ford Fusion hybrid, the EPA allowed Ford to apply the same figures to the C-Max — 47 miles per gallon combined — that it awarded the sedan. However, the Fusion is a far more aerodynamic vehicle, and in the real world, that had profound effects on the C-Max’s ability to actually achieve such a number. An outcry from owners who were having trouble breaking 43 miles per gallon or so period made Ford examine the issue to find that they were right, and the official numbers were lowered to more accurately reflect the car’s true fuel economy. The car is now rated for 45 in the city and 40 miles per gallon on the highway.

That came with some detrimental effects to the demand of the C-Max, which appears to have been largely driven on the car’s ability to score some seriously impressive consumption figures. After Ford’s revision, sales tanked and volume dropped, down 39 percent last month. For the year, C-Max sales are down 43 percent.

“We’re definitely seeing consideration on C-Max decline over time,” Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, said last week, per the Detroit Free Press. “We need to reinvest in the product because it’s a great car.”

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