By on April 23, 2014

Ford_C-Max

Sales of the Ford C-Max have down as of late, with lowered fuel economy figures cited as the reason.

Autoblog reports sales of the hybrid from January through march 2014 were 42.5 percent from the previous year as 5,566 — 2,295 of which were sold in March alone — have left the lot.

After a number of lawsuits alleged the C-Max couldn’t meet the initial fuel economy numbers in the real world, Ford lowered the numbers to 40 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 43 mpg combined, down from the 47 mpg throughout the range originally proclaimed.

Ford Americas chief Joe Hinrichs is aware of the decline in sales, and says his company needs to “reinvest in the product because [the C-Max] is a great car,” while Ford itself believed sales would remain strong despite the controversy surrounding the fuel economy figures.

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60 Comments on “Ford C-Max Sales Decline Post-Fuel Economy Revision...”


  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    How about a gas version or diesel version. Please?

    I own a C-Max hybrid as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Loki

      Gas-only version of the C-Max? I think it’s called a Focus.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        There is actually a non-Hybrid version of the C-Max in Europe, but you know that already.

        I had a Focus hatchback, two of them actually. The C-Max is bigger inside, has more legroom in both the front and back, and has more trunk space. It is a MUCH better family vehicle. If anything, the gas version of the C-Max in the US is the Escape (that goes for the Focus wagon too).

        • 0 avatar
          tuffjuff

          +1 on the Focus hatchback legroom.

          My 2012 hatch pretty much didn’t need a back seat, it was so small. It was a gorgeous car, though.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I hated sitting in the passenger seat too. At 6’4″, the seat track doesn’t go far enough back for the dahboard not to eat my knees. If we drove anywhere with four adults in the Focus I would have to drive or sit in the backseat behind a woman (or short man).

  • avatar
    catachanninja

    My folks own a Cmax and are thrilled with it. While my father is not the daily driver he is able to routinely get the original 47mpg. My step mom who is the daily driver usually gets around 42. I’m surprised sales have dipped as the c max strikes me as a great vehicle for non enthusiasts, it offers decent size and space with what is still great fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Escape/Fusion/Focus lease prices and incentives are much better. My neighbor bought a Fusion Hybrid instead of a C-Max Hybrid because they ended up being about the same price.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Sales of this car have declined, as well they should. Even if the feds can’t do anything, consumers are right to punish Ford for that outright stupid fuel economy lie.

    This, combined with their stubborn refusal to release a gas version, means that they turn off the market still wary of hybrids, and the fuel economy shenanigans have a tendency to turn off those attracted to hybrids. There’s few left willing to buy what could otherwise be a very practical and useful car.

    (Speaking for myself, I’d consider it if it wasn’t a hybrid… I don’t like the cargo floor sacrifices the hybrid has had to make.)

    • 0 avatar
      daver277

      You haven’t seen fuel economy lies until you’ve seen the Canadian Government’s published numbers.
      http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/transportation/personal/7469

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      They should have to retest the Fusion and it’s Lincoln rebadge too. The also don’t get near 47MPG like Ford says…yet more lies from FMC…

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      12,000 miles at $4/gallon:
      47 mpg: $1021
      43 mpg: $1116

      So people are being scared off in droves by an extra hundred bucks a year? I guess Barbie was right, math is hard!

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The recertification brought on a conversation of actual fuel consumption for the tastes-like-medicine’ styled C-max. Car and Driver saw 32 mpg over all in their testing of one. Fewer people are willing to pay the premium in style and price for a car that isn’t far more efficient than a CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        This has been addressed before, the difference between several MPG’s matters a lot less in efficient cars.

        12,000 miles at $4/gallon:
        47 mpg: $1021
        43 mpg: $1116

        $100 difference

        12,000 miles at $4/gallon:
        Tahoe: 18 mpg: $2666
        Tahoe hybrid: 22 mpg: $2181

        $500 difference

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          CD,

          Leave it to GM’s Special Genius to develop a vehicle that saves an amazing $500/year on fuel but still is priced so that the payback is on the order of 20 years.

          And to make the entire analysis moot by providing the Traverse as an alternative that has almost all the capability of the Tahoe hybrid with similar fuel economy at far lower cost.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Russycle,

        Sure, it’s just $100… but that’s still $100. And it’s not so much the difference in what you spend on gas as what the lower fuel economy means in the competitive environment. If the C-Max is about $2K more than a basic Prius but the Prius outdoes it by 6-7mpg, why spend the money on the C-Max?

        • 0 avatar
          VCplayer

          I think the augment is that C-Max is a lot more fun to drive than a Prius. Not everyone who is hybrid shopping wants to crawl off of stoplights.

          Really, the US needs to switch to a more useful measurement of efficiency, like gallons/100 miles.

          • 0 avatar

            Not sure there is much difference pulling from stoplights. Motor Trend compared them last year and 0-30 was within 0.2 seconds.

          • 0 avatar
            KixStart

            In the market where people look at the MPG number and are willing to pony up for hybrid to get a big number, I think you’ll find “lightning fast quarter miles” is not a major consideration.

        • 0 avatar
          colin42

          With the incentives and stock stat on dealers lots you in my neck of the woods you should be able to drive off the lot for sub $22K. That’s cheaper than the Prius.

  • avatar
    Timothy Cain

    The C-Max’s downward trend has certainly worsened of late, but sales have been dwindling for quite some time. Second-half sales in 2013 were down 37% compared with the first half. And in Q4 of 2013, C-Max volume in the U.S. was down 44% year-over-year.

    The 5566 C-Max sales Ford has generated through the first three months of 2014 compares with 28,814 sales of the Prius/Plug-In, 8833 Prius C sales, and 6001 Prius V sales. But those car lines are down 23%, 10%, and 30%, respectively. Volt sales are down 15% to 3606.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    My sister has one and they love it. Good gas mileage and enough room for 2 adults and 3 kids.

  • avatar
    mjz

    They absolutely need a gas version, stat. Not everyone wants a hybrid. Add the 7-seat Grand C-Max too.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think the ship has sailed on the Grand C-Max here for now. Ford is dipping its toes into the minivan market with the cheaper to produce Transit Connect Wagon. I’d prefer the C-Max or S-Max over the TCW.
      However, this is what would happen:

      I want a S-Max with the 2.7L ecoboost/largest diesel available, AWD, leather, and all the bells and whistles. Oh, its $53,000?!?!? Hmmmmmm, I’ll buy the Explorer Sport instead.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        It’s hard to see the Transit as a family vehicle. We’d be interested in something like it as a sleeps two Westphalia type camper (with daytime seating for up to 4 if you change/add seats) but that’s certainly not mainstream interest.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          In theory, it is actually a good family vehicle, but I think its too expensive. I drove one a few weeks ago and there are some bright spots. However, the long wheelbase model is $30K+ when equipped how I’d want it and only comes with the 2.5L I4. For $3K more, I can buy a nicer Explorer XLT. The drop in fuel enconomy is 3-4 MPG, so no big deal. The lease is probably cheaper too.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        I believe that would be the BMW Active Tourer which I intend on shopping.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Even with the “revision” , Ford’s mpg claims are considered way optimistic in real life.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I think the current MPG estimates are reasonable. I find the C-Max MPG weather dependent though. If I can average 40 MPG on my commute while setting cruise control at 79-85 MPH, pretty much anyone should be able to at least get close.

      I never expected the 47/47/47 though. Someone should have been fired for that debacle.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    Give me an RS gas version. It’s the Mazdaspeed 5 we desperately need.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Right now my C-Max is showing 50.1 MPG, 200 miles into a tank. That’s up from the high 30s over the winter. My lifetime MPG is 43.4. It’s a good car that Ford has chosen not to spend marketing money on. I don’t think a gas-only C-Max would be a big seller. I don’t think the world is crying out for a 15% bigger 20% dorkier Ford Focus. I certainly would have considered a Grand C-Max if it had been available. I know a guy who bought a Jetta Sportswagon Diesel that has had problems due to the diesel particulate filter clogging on short trips. The C-Max does better on short trips than on the highway.

  • avatar
    baconator

    I test drove one the other day and thought that it was a subtly tiring thing to drive / ride in. The suspension has a lot of high-frequency jiggle to it, and the quality of the NVH is high-pitched and tinny. Not up to minivan standards, or even that of the Elantra wagon or the Kia Soul, other boxes-on-wheels that I’m cross-shopping. So for me, the fuel economy was in the range I’d want, but my no-buy decision was based on the car itself.

    The Fusion Energi, by contrast, felt like it could be a $45-50k European car. It was a puzzling level of difference in refinement.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    It’s heavy. It weighs about 325 lbs more than the larger Prius v. Fuel economy is worse. This is not surprising.

    I do wonder if they could do a little better with a smaller gas engine and a larger electric motor system. Even with a regular Prius, it’s pretty easy to exceed the electric power available in acceleration and maximum regen in braking, which certainly hurts city fuel economy.

    If I was running Ford, I’d give some thought to a Grand C-Max hybrid. Still, given their modest overall hybrid sales, it’s probably difficult to drum up enthusiasm for more hybrid projects.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    YTD hybrid sales are down 16%. The entire segment is taking a hit.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      I think everybody is now comfortable with $3.50 gas. I love my money too much to burn it.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        One study I saw showed that it is the change in gas price, not the price itself, that drives the type of vehicle people purchase. In other words, when price goes up, people buy hybrids, but once the price stabilizes at the high price, they go back to buying SUVs. It’s probably an oversimplification, but it seems reasonable.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    If rationality ruled the day, the Prius and the Prius V would be the #1 and #2 sellers on the overall car market. If you are looking for more pep than these two cars, or if you are looking for a more traditional driving environment, the C-Max is certainly a contender.

    I think Ford is selling as many C-Max’s as it wants to. It’s likely that Ford loses money (or at least doesn’t make money) on the car. My C-Max SE with the 302 package and cold weather package was $28k list, $25k paid. It has more than 90% of the features of a $40k Lincoln MKZ hybrid. In addition to the exact same power train as the MKZ, at that price the C-Max has stability control, traction control, active noise control, heated seats, LED accent lighting and Myfordtouch with navigation. The only thing it doesn’t have that I would want is a rear camera, but the view out the rear hatch isn’t bad, and it does have sonar. Go up to to the C-Max SEL, and you can get leather seats, the Sony HD Radio, and a few other things like fog lights plus the availability of parking assist etc.

  • avatar
    Carfan94

    The grille on that European market c-max looks soo much better than the one on the american c-max.

  • avatar
    nguyenvuminh

    With regards to the lower sales, I think a good part of the reason lies in lower gas cost and the hybrid segment as a whole is down, not just the C-Max (note the increase in SUV). But that fiasco about false MPG was the instigator and is only making it worse. As for the car itself, someone above mentioned the Grand C-Max and that was my choice until Ford changed their mind for the US market. Without the Grand C-Max, I test drove the C-Max, twice, and really liked it (more than the Prius in terms of dynamics). But at the end of the day, I bought the Mazda5 because of the sliding door and flexible 3 row seating arrangement and the $5,000 year end saving (despite the fact that I screamed at Mazda for not having a more economical engine in it).

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I don’t know where your at but gas here has been going up since the beginning of the year not down. We were near 3.10 in January and now were almost at 3.60.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Anything less than $4 today, and Americans are asleep.

        Besides, the inflation-adjusted price is the same today as in 1981: http://www.randomuseless.info/gasprice/gasprice.html, but fuel economy is double what it was then.

        No wonder the F-150 remains the top-selling vehicle (not that I’m complaining).

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      wow $5000 off MRSP of a Mazda5 – that was a good deal – I’ve looked at these a lot and not seen any that discounted.

      • 0 avatar
        nguyenvuminh

        Hi colin42, yeah, it was right before Thanksgiving. I did an internet query for a 2013 Mazda5 GT and got 4 responses in 3 hours with all of them offering $4,000 off. Then the one in Cerritos offered $5,000 off; no one counter offered so we drove up from San Diego and got it done that holiday weekend.

  • avatar

    Whatever happened to Jack Baruth’s long term C-Max test? Would be interested in how it’s been holding up…

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I think the problem is that it’s ugly. It has the odd proportions of a tall wagon and those never sold well outside the granola crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      colin42

      So the C-max has the same interior room as Escape get nearly double the fuel mileage and cost the same – it should be flying off the lots. I’ve wondered if they restyled it like a escape how much would the sale increase?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Those are still great numbers for a vehicle with this kind of interior volume. I don’t know why people have such kneejerk reactions in these situations. And I would say that it’s fairly-priced, too.

    That said, I do wish they’d have gone with the original plan to import the (prettier-looking) Grand C-Max.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Kyree-

      As usual, you are right. The Grand C-Max is much better looking. I’d like to see it here too.

      In the US, the C-Max is stuck between two of Ford’s four bestselling vehicles, both with better incentives and lease offers. Ford doesn’t want to cut into the more profitable Escape’s sales.

    • 0 avatar
      nguyenvuminh

      Kyree, yeah, I was really disappointed when Ford changed their mind about selling the Grand C-Max in the US. My key decision factors were the sliding door and flexible 3 row seating. I got excited about hybrid engine, then Ford changed their mind.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I feel like the C-max is due for a refresh. Didn’t it come out before or during the current Focus’ debut.

  • avatar
    eslz6

    I’ve had my C-max since 12/2012 and it has been reliable & great fun to drive. My summer mileage is in the 46-47 range & in winter weather in Maine, with snow tires, it gets about 38-39. The electronics had a few wonky problems in the beginning, but that has straightened out. All in all, it has been a comfortable car with a lot of intuitive features built in. And I love he headroom & fittings!


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