Just as the Ford Motor Company announced its new C-Max hybrid will achieve an impressive 47 mpg both in the city and on the highway, the automaker claims consumers are ready for high-mpg electrified machines if they can recoup the cost within four years.
That, at least, is the result of consumer research conducted by the automaker says Ford powertrian boss Joe Bakaj, speaking at the Center for Automotive Research’s 2012 Management Briefing Seminars. Such an alternative energy vehicle must also meet two additional criteria, they must have an adequate vehicle range and refueling must be easy and accessible.
According to Bakaj, if all three qualifications are met, then the car has the potential for volume sales with 25 percent of buyers then willing to pay up front for what they will save in the future.
Ford will move ahead with this strategy to help inform its vehicle pricing and product planning and according to Bakaj it has worked in the past. Ford is currently in the midst of a powertrain transformation as it rolls out its EcoBoost engines, replacing larger displacement V8 and V6 engines with smaller displacement motors that use turbocharging and direct-injection. Those products typically cost between $800 and $1,200 more than similarly powerful larger displacement engines, though Ford has seen a massive spike in demand with F-150 buyers opting for the EcoBoost V6 43% of the time despite it costing more than the V8..