Choosing a car to push as a volume seller is an important decision for any automaker, and Ford factors in cost recoup time, range and ease of refueling as part of the process.
According to a Ford executive, 25 percent of car buyers are willing to spend more for a fuel efficient powertrain if the cost can be recouped within four years. That has been an important factor in the American automaker’s future hybrid and EV designs, along with vehicle range and ease of refueling. If these three criteria are met, the car passes Ford’s volume-seller test.
The EcoBoost engine line is a good example of this plan in action. They use turbocharging and direct injection to squeeze the most power out of small displacement engines using less fuel. In the F-150, 43 percent of buyers opted for the V6 EcoBoost even though it costs more than a V8.
On its new C-Max Energi, however, Ford will not meet the four year cost recoup goal, though this isn’t a big problem according to the company. The tooling is already in place for the hybrid variant of the C-Max, so starting production on the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid won’t cost much.
Ford is gunning to have a hybrid variant of every vehicle in its lineup, and is no doubt testing the feasibility of each one.
[Source: Automotive News]