New Ford EVs and hybrids maybe not first to market, but 'in many ways we are best to market'

Ford's electric and hybrid vehicles are gearing up to face the competition. Ford Motor Co. will have six electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars in its lineup by this fall, but is betting on one car in particular: the new C-MAX Hybrid.

Ford hopes to boost its share of the alternative-powertrain vehicle market through a retooled hybrid lineup (mostly built in Michigan) this fall, according to an article in the Detroit News.

The Dearborn automaker has Toyota's Prius clearly in its crosshairs, and analysts say Ford's strategy of positioning the C-MAX directly against Toyota is the right way to go.

The C-MAX Hybrid, built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, represents Ford's best chance to grab market share in the hybrid arena, many say. The vehicle, which will hit U.S. showrooms this fall, beats the Prius V, its comparable base model competitor, in fuel efficiency, horsepower and price.

"The reason we're bullish on C-MAX is because we know we're not first to market, but in many ways we are best to market," said Michael O'Brien, Ford's electrified-vehicle marketing manager.

Ford is counting on newcomers to hybrids for half of C-MAX sales, and betting on selling families on their affordable price and functionality.

And what does the competition say? Toyota's U.S. sales unit chief, Jim Lentz, told The News recently that they welcome the added competition.

"The more manufacturers that get involved in hybrids, the more interest it creates among consumers, the more shopping that takes place," Lentz said.