Ford Boosts EV Marketing with Lincoln Exec
There's good news for Ford Motor Company’s effort to promote a growing lineup of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. C.J. O’Donnell, previously the marketing chief of the Lincoln brand, is now tasked with promoting Ford’s range of hybrids and electric vehicles. These include plug-in hybrids, such as the Ford C-Max Energi and upcoming Fusion Energi, along with dedicated EVs like the Focus Electric. Despite a highly anticipated launch, the Focus EV has been a particularly low seller since its limited release earlier this year.
The Forgotten Ford EV
There is much to like about Ford’s foray into the pure electric vehicle market. An overall driving range of 76 miles is more than a match for its more established competition, particularly the Nissan LEAF, which had been on sale for about 18 months before the electric-powered Focus arrived on the scene. The Focus EV’s 6.6 kW on-board charger gives it quicker recharging times than the LEAF, though the Ford’s steep (pre-rebate) price of $39,995 makes it more expensive than the Nissan—and much more expensive than the highest trim level of any gasoline-powered Focus. If Ford makes the effort, sales should improve later this year and into early-2013, if only because the Focus Electric will finally be available in 19 additional metropolitan markets. Sales have originally been limited to only New York, New Jersey, and California.
The Push for Hybrids and Plug-Ins
Ford’s commitment to hybrids and plug-in hybrids appears stronger, at least during this early stage in the company’s promotion of alternative energy vehicles. The C-Max Energi has an EV-only operating range of approximately 20 miles, which easily bests the EV range of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid. More importantly, the C-Max Energi’s base price is $29,995, making it the cheapest plug-in hybrid vehicle presently on sale in the U.S.—this boast does vary depending on the model and trim level, especially when compared with the Prius Plug-In. No matter how you debate the numbers, the C-Max Energi makes a stronger economic case for itself than the pricier and more limited (in terms of range) Focus EV.
Getting the word out about Ford’s full-electrics, plug-ins, and hybrid models is not going to be an easy task. Speaking with the Detroit Free Press, Ford spokesman Paul Harrison referred to O’Donnell’s move from Lincoln as “good news for the strategic work we need to do” in terms of promoting these eco-themed vehicles. The American auto giant might have products that match competitors from Toyota and Nissan, at least when it comes to driving range and charging times. Yet more work is definitely needed when it comes to pushing the blue oval brand to the forefront of EV awareness.
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