There is a hybrid, plug-in, and all-electric vehicle war going on in the U.S. new car market right now and Ford is not sitting out on the side lines. Attacking Toyota and their range of Prius vehicles isn’t the only way Ford plans to boost sales of its “green” fleet, which will include the hybrid and plug-in (“Energi” in Ford talk) versions of the C-MAX and the Fusion, and the pure-electric Focus EV by 2013.
Ford has announced that they have tripled the number of their dealers that are certified to sell “electrified” vehicle to 200. Their plan is to have certified dealers in all 50 states by early next year when the Fusion Energi will go on sale, and 900 dealers, including the 200 already green-lighted, have enrolled in the program. This is around triple the initial estimate of dealerships, which was originally 350.
“Ford’s strategy to deliver the power of choice for leading fuel economy across our lineup seems very well timed as out customers and dealers are showing significant interest in vehicles such as the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid,” said C.J. O’Donnell, Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing manager. “C-MAX Energi joins C-MAX Hybrid to help Ford take on Prius for the first time, with great early signs as the hybrid outsold Prius v in its first full month of sales in October,” he added.
Starting off the list of requirements is the installation of at least two on-site charging stations, one in the customers’ area and one in the service area. Furthermore, dealership personnel would have to participate in specialized training in electric vehicle technology as well as 80 percent of the sales consultant, sales manager, service adviser, and service manager employees should meet specific EV training certification requirements.
The final requirement for dealerships is that at least one Focus C-MAX Energi and Focus Electric should be available at all times for demonstrations and events, and each showroom must have a point-of-purchase display materials including “digital assets and window signage”.