Ford plans to more than quadruple the number of dealers who can sell plug-in electric vehicles, including 900 to be certified by spring, in an effort to boost sales Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi.
The 900 dealers represents about one-third of all Ford dealers in the U.S., triples Ford projections for the time frame and are an increase of 200 from November 2012, the second full month C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid were available.
Certification allows dealers to sell Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid. Certification isn’t necessary for a Ford dealer to sell C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid. Ford announced the certified dealer program in February 2011.
Certification also means greater geographic convenience for customers throughout the U.S. for vehicles such as Fusion Energi – Ford’s second production plug-in hybrid that delivers an EPA-estimated gas plus electric range of up to 620 miles (21 in all-electric mode) and fuel economy of EPA-estimated rating of 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined. Fusion Energi – Ford’s most fuel-efficient sedan – recently began shipping to dealers.
Ford’s launch of the new C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Hybrid this past autumn led the company to deliver record-setting hybrid sales in December, resulting in a 9 percent market share gain to 16 percent. In the same period, Toyota’s share of the hybrid vehicle segment fell 8 points, from 68 percent to 60 percent.
Certification means the dealerships have met the automaker’s guidelines for dealers selling electric vehicles – including installation of at least two on-site charging stations and participation in highly specialized training in the field of electric vehicles.
To become certified, dealers had to satisfy a list of other requirements, too, including:
– One of the two required charging stations at the dealership must be in the customer area and the other must be in the service area
– At least one Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi must be available at all times for demonstrations and events
– Of the sales consultant, sales manager, service advisor and service manager jobs at each location, 80 percent must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements that cover topics including advanced knowledge of electrification
– Each showroom will have point-of-purchase display materials including digital assets and window signage
– Participation in a Ford Go Green Dealer on-site facility assessment to identify energy- and cost-saving opportunities with a goal of facilitating energy efficiency, lower operating expenses and carbon footprint reduction
Ford took a phased approach to rollout of the EV Certified Ford dealer program that began with phase one and centered on 19 key markets as determined by market research, projected customer demand and other factors. The same approach was used in phase two as the program launched in an additional 23 markets.