Low Energi: Production Ends on Ford’s C-Max Plug-in, With Hybrid to Follow


It’s a near-silent swan song for a duo of electrified Ford models. The Ford C-Max, which debuted in late 2012 in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid form, hit its sales peak during its first full year on the market, declining every year since.

As Ford Motor Company shakes up its U.S. production landscape — ironically, to bolster production of trucks and SUVs — the ungainly-looking C-Max is on its way to the cemetery. The automaker has confirmed the ceasing of production of the C-Max Plug-in, with the Hybrid variant to follow in the middle of next year.

The discontinuation, confirmed by Ford in a message to Green Car Reports, comes as Ford gears up the Michigan Assembly plant for future production of the Ranger pickup and Bronco SUV. The $700 million upgrade means the slow-selling C-Max bites the dust, with production of the compact Focus sent to China.

Both models were originally expected to set up shop in Mexico, but Ford’s decision to kibosh its proposed plant saw one model culled and the other sent on a long boat ride.

“Ford C-Max Energi production has ended,” Dan Jones, Ford’s North America Car Communications Manager, told Green Car Reports. “We will continue to make C-Max Hybrid  at Michigan Assembly Plant until mid-2018.”

Production of the Ranger is expected to commence at Michigan Assembly in late 2018. As for the automaker’s green cred, there’s newer electrified vehicles in the works, including a fully electric crossover due out in 2020.

The C-Max Hybrid was America’s eighth best-selling hybrid vehicle in October, capturing 3.71 percent of the U.S. hybrid market. Sales of the plugless variant sank over 18 percent over the first 10 months of 2017, even with October sales rising over 33 percent compared to the same month a year prior.

The C-Max Energi, on the other hand, was the fifth best-selling plug-in hybrid in October, making up 8.54 percent of that particular segment. Sales of the plug-in variant sank 16.7 percent, year-over-year, though year-to-date sales are actually up over 20 percent.

Ford’s green twins earned a black eye early in their lifespan. The automaker faced criticism and lawsuits after real-world fuel economy didn’t match the vehicles’ lofty EPA ratings. The regulator was forced to dial back the stated fuel economy of both models, with the hybrid version receiving two haircuts. Combined fuel economy for the latter model fell from 47 mpg to 40 mpg.

Ultimately, the Blue Oval was also forced to hand over some extra green to these early green car buyers, compensating for the extra fuel consumed.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]



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