Ford and Toyota Dispute California Hybrid Sales Leaders

2014 Ford Fiesta
The 2014 Ford Fiesta
2014 Ford Fiesta
The 2014 Ford Fiesta

After Ford announced stellar numbers for its sales in California, lead by the Ford Fiesta, last week, Toyota fires back.  Toyota would like to remind you that it sells six out of every ten hybrids sold in California.

After our recent article on the Ford Fiestas and its impressive numbers, see here, it didn’t take long for Toyota to launch a press release saying how it was still number one in hybrid sales, especially in California.  To add to the Ford claim, Ford Motor Company reported its best July since 2006 and best retail sales since 2005.  Can you feel the heat rising between these two?  Good, we needed strong competition and Ford rose to the challenge.  And what timing is this since we’ve just finished a seven day long test drive of the Fusion Energi, plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

Ford Bumps Sales, Again.  Ford’s U.S. sales in July increased 11 percent compared with a year ago.  It is the best total July monthly sales since 2006, with retail sales surging 19 percent, making July retail the best sales since 2005.  Where is all the love coming from?  Ford’s small car segment, of course, as we discussed last week.  The Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX hybrids – up 32 percent, are driving the coastal retail share gains.  Ford’s utility vehicles also show strong numbers, with the Edge up 15 percent, Explorer up 13 percent and Escape up 4 percent.  Finally, the company’s F-Series posts best July sales since 2006.

According to Ken Czubay, Ford vice president, U.S. marketing, sales and service: “We saw continued strength and growth in our retail business, particularly in the coastal regions of the country.  Our small cars and hybrids continue to attract new customers to Ford and away from our competitors, thanks to the vehicles’ combination of styling, technology, fuel economy and performance.”

Toyota Keeps The Heat On.  For its part, Toyota reported July 2013 sales results of 193,394 units, an increase of 12.6 percent over July 2012 on a daily selling rate (DSR) basis.  On a raw-volume basis, unadjusted for 25 selling days in July 2013 versus 24 selling days in July 2012, TMS sales increased 17.3 percent from the year-ago month.

Toyota Division posted July 2013 sales of 173,063 units, up 11.5 percent year-over-year on a DSR basis. On a raw volume basis, Toyota Division sales were up 16.2 percent over the year-ago month.

According to Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager: “Solid industry sales in July point to a stable market indicating a recovering economy.  Consumer confidence also maintained elevated levels as evidenced by strong retail sales. For Toyota, we saw growth year-over-year with July sales up more than 16.5 percent.”

Fret Not For GM.  GM is doing well also, and according to the company, its dealers delivered 234,071 vehicles in the United States in July, which is up 16 percent compared with a year ago. Retail sales increased 23 percent while fleet sales declined 6 percent.

According to Kurt McNeil, vice president, U.S. sales operations: “For GM, July was the most well-balanced month of the year from a retail sales standpoint: trucks were hot, but so were small cars and family vehicles.  Our experience shows that the difference between good sales and great sales in a slow-growth economy is how many new products you have to offer, and we are starting to hit our sweet spot.”

One thing the news seems to have missed is that Ford also heard its hybrid clientele asking for longer electric mode drive range.  In response, it has given two fantastic cars, the C-MAX and Fusion Energi line that offers up to 22 miles of electric mode only driving.  Compared to this, Toyota’s low-key plug-in hybrid Prius only delivers 12 miles after it reluctantly decided to give its customer that much awaited for a PHEV version of the Prius.  Toyota brought out the Prius PHEV with little to no fanfare and on a very limited base.  The sales went through the roof and all cars were gone in a few short months.  What we have here is Ford challenging Toyota by offering not just one plug-in hybrid, but two, one of which a sedan.

It’s funny to think a few years ago all eyes were on GM and Toyota, each trying to outdo the other.  A few years later, GM is rebuilding itself successfully and back to engineering great cars.  Toyota is still on top of the hill and watches the trends unfold.  Ford has come a long way and after our test drive the Ford Fusion Energi this past week, we cannot help but think how much improved Ford cars are today.  The Fusion feels like a solid sedan you would use to transport VIPs.  Congratulations Ford and Toyota, the name of the game is quality vehicles.

Nicolas Zart
Born and raised around classic cars, it wasn't until Nicolas drove an AC Proulsion eBox and a Tesla Roadster that the light went on. Eager to spread the news about those amazing full torque electric vehicles, he started writing about this amazing technology and its social impacts in 2007. Today, Nicolas covers renewable energy, test drives cars, does podcasts and films. Nicolas offers an in-depth look at the e-mobility world through interviews and the many contacts he made in those industries. His articles are also published on Teslrati, CleanTechnica, the Beverly Hills Car Club and Medium. "There are more solutions than obstacles." Nicolas Zart