Ford’s compact people mover hybrid C-Max earned its first victim last month: Ford says the C-Max Hybrid topped the Toyota Prius v in sales in October, the first full month both hybrid wagons were on sale in the U.S.
It’s another small coup for Ford, which has been aggressively targeting the Prius family for months now. The C-Max’s whole claim to fame–at least, if you listen to Ford–is that the car matches or beats the Prius and Prius v in metrics like horsepower and mpg, yet undercuts its Japanese competition in pricing. It’s a gutsy strategy, and it seems to have paid off, at least in part: the C-Max Hybrid sold 3182 units last month, elevating its year-to-date total to 4151 units (the car went on sale about halfway through September).
This is where things get slightly tricky: Ford’s early promotion strategy for the C-Max positioned it as a competitor to both the Priusliftback and Prius v family car, and pitted the upcoming C-Max Energi against the Prius Plug-In. The C-Max Hybrid was victorious in October in outselling the Prius v–3182 units to 2769, but fell well short of the heavyweight Prius liftback, which sold a healthy 8788 units last month. The C-Max Energi isn’t yet on sale, and Ford doesn’t build a hybrid model comparable to Toyota’s Prius c compact hatchback.
Toyota declined to comment on the tight sales race between the two models, but Ford’s manager for electrified vehicles C.J. O’Donnell showed plenty of delight in a statement released to the press. “The new C-Max is off to a fast start in the heart of the hybrid market, not only outselling Prius v, but drawing a lot of interested Toyota customers who chose our new hybrid instead,” he said.
Expect the race to tighten even more as Ford introduces new models. The aforementioned C-Max Energi goes on sale this fall in select markets (with a full rollout expected for next spring), and the Fusion Hybrid has already begun trickling into dealers. A plug-in Fusion Energi is expected next year.