"We are looking toward 2013 as being a record sales year for our hybrid vehicles," stated Erich Merkle, Ford's sales analyst, who noted that sales of Ford Motor Co.’s five new electric-powered models “ surged by fivefold in the first four weeks of the new year, led by the Fusion and C-Max models this month, (for a total of 6,000 cars as opposed to 1,209 during the same period in 2012. Both vehicles have been rated at 47 miles per gallon in highway driving.
Ford's previous record for hybrid sales in the month of January was 1,847 vehicles in 2010, when Ford also set its annual record of 35,496.
"We're bringing new hybrid buyers into the market, many of whom wouldn't be considered traditional hybrid buyers," commented Amy Marentic, marketing manager, Global Small and Medium Cars. "There's a sense hybrid buyers represent a pragmatic or green ethic. Fusion Hybrid is scoring with these audiences, but the car also puts some excitement into the segment through design; it shows hybrids can have beautiful and sophisticated styling. This, in turn, means different buyers."
Not only are most buyers new to the Ford brand, early data suggest Fusion Hybrid is appealing to younger buyers outside the traditional hybrid vehicle demographic.
In addition, Ford reports that first time Fusion Hybrid buyers appear to be about five years younger than buyers of previous Fusions (dropping to 48 years old from an average of 53 years old), although 22% are now said to be under 35, as compared to consumers who bought the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid who were slightly older (54-years old or so), according to J.D. Power and Associates PIN data.
In the meantime, Toyota Motor Corp. remains the leader in the U.S. hybrid market, with its Prius line, which sold more than 236,659 cars last year after the company raised deliveries of its premiere hybrid by a whopping 73% as it added v wagon, c subcompact and plug-in iterations of the hybrid, which it began selling in the United States in 2000. However, with Ford breathing down their necks, that title may soon fall to the wayside.