By on August 8, 2011

You know it’s time to say “Toto, I don’t think we’re in traditional journalism any more” when fanboys get better access than industry rags. In a story picked up by Automotive News [sub], commenter whitgallman showed the auto media what can be done if you just send a few emails… as long as you make it clear that you are only interested in buying a car, not embarrassing the program. Because then, instead of languishing in some disinterested inbox, your emails actually draw a response, like this from David Finnegan, Electrified Vehicles Marketing Manager at Ford:

For the first few months of production, we will be concentrating on California and New York. Our dealers in those areas will be the first to have their retail orders scheduled and receive the Focus electric. We will be rolling out to the remainder of our initial markets starting in spring 2012.

Well, that was news to Automotive News [sub], which had been told (along with everyone else) that the Focus Electric was supposed to launch in “late 2011” in 19 US markets. So what happens to Focus EV intenders in Chicago, Detroit and Seattle (among others)? Per AN [sub]:

As for the rest of the country’s markets, no word yet from Ford, so the best advice is to be patient.

Uh-huh. We’ll send some emails ourselves, but we aren’t holding our breath for Ford to admit that, say, buying the Focus EV wholesale from a supplier may not have been a great idea. Or that there are problems with the batteries (again, hypothetically). But there I go thinking like a “traditional journalist” again…

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9 Comments on “Under Forum Fire, Ford Reveals Limited Initial Focus EV Rollout...”

  • avatar

    Exactly how many of these are we expecting Ford to actually sell anyway? The leaf has 4,806 YTD going into August. If Ford/Magna can pop out around 6,500 a year they should still be competitive with the Leaf. There’s nothing else in this segment but the Leaf. Not only is Toyota farming out their EVs but their aiming for a different segment. It makes sense for Ford to get their feet wet first and then wade into the pool once the market for EV’s expands.

  • avatar
    Mr. Spacely

    Focus EV looks like an impressive piece of technology, and I’d love to fast-forward four years and see what a second gen one looks and drives like. But… this EV market isn’t a real one. It’s a government created fiction that seems to be collapsing by the month. I’ll be shocked if the Focus EV sells what the Leaf manages.

    • 0 avatar

      OK Mr.Spacely, just how is the EV market supposed to be collapsing? Even more, how is it not real with every manufacturer including Mercedes Benz, BMW, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Chrysler, Toyota, and even Smart and Mini Cooper with models in the works? I don’t get why there are so many EV haters unless they own a gas station or auto parts store.
      It’s time to get on board.

      • 0 avatar

        The market is not defined by producers, but by consumers. The govt is giving away up to $7500 for the Volt & Leaf, yet they’ve only sold a few thousand to date–that’s a limited market.

        Is the market collapsing? I don’t think so, at least not until the govt subsidy runs out.

  • avatar

    Ford, please put the EV’s Aston Martin-esque grille on the regular Focus!

  • avatar

    What is the big issue? The other 17 areas, including mine of Raleigh North Carolina, are delayed around 4 months (late 2011 (probably November timeframe) is now Feb-April 2012. I would rather they rolled out slightly slower than planned a year ago and get it right than stick with some arbitrary timeline (of their own choosing a while back) and cock it up.

  • avatar

    Regular Foci are selling faster than Ford can build them. The delay could be related to a parts shortage, demand for the current standard ICE car, or delays in the rollout of charging infrastructure in some of the planned markets.

    There are a ton of variables here, but no matter which way you look at it, the Electric Focus is an extremely niche product, I doubt too many people are going to be heartbroken over a delay.

    • 0 avatar

      I would not be surprised if part of the delay is related to tweaking being done with the existing Focus. E.g., MFT was buggy when it came out, and Ford has been throwing a ton of resources at it, resources that likely could have been working on the electrical/computer systems in the eFocus. (The eFocus will have a unique MFT system.)

      They may also be scheduling more time to find glitches so that Ford doesn’t get burned. The eFocus is as much about corporate image as it is to make money on its sales. An EV that makes the news because it doesn’t work is worse than having no EV in your fleet.

  • avatar

    Not sure what the big deal is. Ford is having a delay in getting out a car that probably has very little demand and little chance of making money. By farming it out, they have actually decreased their risk with a project that is more public relations than car, and, as PR it is much less silly than the Volt, which was hyped for years, but is now almost invisible to most of the country.

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