One-Third of All U.S. Ford Dealers to Be Certified to Sell New EVs by Spring; Ford Delivers January Hybrid Sales Record

Wed Feb 6, 2013 12:01am EST

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DEARBORN, Mich.,  Feb. 6, 2013  /PRNewswire/ --

* More than 900 Ford dealers will soon be certified to sell plug-in electrified
vehicles, up from 200 in November; Ford expects to have EV Certified Ford
dealers in all 50 states by spring  
* The surge in EV Certified Ford dealers reflects increased demand for the
company's electrified vehicles - Ford's market share increased from less than 3
percent in  April 2012  to nearly 16 percent in  December 2012, second behind
only Toyota  
* Greater customer access to vehicles such as Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and
Fusion Energi is a necessity as electrified vehicles go mainstream - research
shows the number of customers considering plug-in hybrids has grown to 25

Strong demand for Ford's three new plug-in vehicles has Ford certifying hundreds
more dealers to sell them than expected - including 900 to be certified by
spring and make Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi available in all
50 states for the first time.  

(Photo:  )

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.  

Sales show these hybrids are resonating with customers, further strengthening
the case for dealerships to certify. Ford delivered a record January hybrid
sales month, following a record-breaking electrified vehicle sales quarter in
the fourth quarter of 2012. Ford expects to announce today record January sales
for Fusion Hybrid.  

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.

Video: Ford dealers discuss EV-certification   

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.  

"Research indicates that 60 percent of new vehicle shoppers are considering
hybrid products.  With this demand for more fuel efficient vehicles, early sales
of Ford's five electrified vehicles has been phenomenal, creating a tremendous
amount of excitement among our dealers," said  C.J. O'Donnell, Ford Electrified
Vehicle Marketing manager.  

Brian House, Electrified Vehicle Sales Manager at Varsity Ford in  Ann Arbor,
Mich., said the dealership went through the certification process about a year
ago - months before vehicles such as C-MAX Energi were being sold. He said the
process has been worth it, especially when it comes to providing the best
customer service possible.

"All 23 of our sales staff are able to answer questions about each of these
vehicles," said House. "That's important, because customers want to learn as
much about these vehicles as possible."

Such inquiries at Ford dealerships around the country are translating to sales. 

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.

"With so much excitement and activity surrounding Ford's new electrified
vehicles, we can rest assured our certified dealers are invested in being
prepared to provide the best possible customer service," said  Paul Russell,
Ford's field operations manager. "Whether a customer is stopping in to look at
one of these vehicles for the first time or picking up their brand-new plug-in
hybrid, the certification program ensures we are ready."

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.

"If you don't get on board, you're going to get left behind," said  Tom Tower, a
30-year veteran in the service department at Varsity Ford who took part in the
electrified vehicle certification training.  

"People in our field can usually look at a service order and get a pretty good
idea of what needs to be fixed. That's not necessarily the case with a hybrid or
all-electric vehicles."  

To become certified, dealers had to satisfy a list of other requirements, too,

* 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
* 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.  

With more than 900 EV Certified Ford dealers expected to soon be in the network,
the phase strategy is no longer being used.

"The newest approach is based on a key market coverage strategy to ensure we
have good representation on a national basis to meet customer demand," said

To certify… and beyond
Dealership certification is just one way Ford readied itself for the five new
electrified vehicles it is now selling. Other ways the Blue Oval prepared

* Doubling the size of the vehicle development teams focused on fuel savings and
electrified vehicles compared with five years ago; Ford now has more than 1,000
engineers working on electrification  
* Most of the 1,000 engineers work in the 285,000-square-foot Advanced
Electrification Center, a large building dedicated solely to vehicle
electrification and located at Ford's  Dearborn  campus  
* Doubling the size of its battery testing capabilities to help accelerate
development of electrified vehicle-related technologies by as much as 25 percent
* Transforming  Wayne, Mich.-based Michigan Assembly Plant into a
state-of-the-art facility capable of building several models - including Focus
Electric, C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi - as part of a  $550 million  project  
* Working with suppliers on a  $220 million  project to convert Van Dyke
Transmission Plant in  Sterling Heights, Mich.  into a facility that produces
transmissions for Ford's electrified vehicle lineup, a move that has helped
create 225 jobs and allowed Ford to deliver on its commitment to offering
customers the power of choice when it comes to fuel efficiency

More information about Ford's electrified vehicle lineup can be found  here.

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a global automotive industry leader based in 
Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents.
With about 171,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company's automotive
brands include Ford and  Lincoln. The company provides financial services
through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its
products worldwide, please visit

SOURCE  Ford Motor Company

Elizabeth Weigandt, +1-313-845-4147,; Amanda Zusman,

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