* Ford gaining share but still trails Toyota, GM
* Company sees record EV sales of more than 6,000 in Nov
* Ford positions C-Max vehicles as rivals to Toyota’s Prius
By Deepa Seetharaman
DETROIT, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co, vying to challenge Toyota Motor Corp’s stronghold on the U.S. hybrid market, said it expects to wind up with 11 percent of the U.S. market for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles this year.
This target would be a record for the second-largest U.S. automaker and is more than double its current presence of 5.2 percent in the U.S. electrified vehicle market.
Toyota, the maker of the popular Prius hybrid, held 70.4 percent share during the first 10 months of the year, according to auto information site Edmunds.com. Ford’s larger U.S. rival General Motors Co accounts for 12.5 percent of the market.
But Toyota’s market share has slipped, down to 60.9 percent in October, Edmunds.com data show. Meanwhile, Ford has jumped to 11.8 percent share in October.
Ford has made improving fuel economy one of the central pillars of its business strategy and has been vocal about its desire to challenge Toyota’s reputation for fuel economy.
“Toyota has been a strong reputable player for so long,” Michael O’Brien, Ford’s electrification marketing manager said on Thursday. “We’re not first to market, but in many attributes we believe (Ford’s) products are best to market.”
The U.S. automaker has positioned its new C-Max lineup of hybrid and plug-in hybrid crossovers as a direct competitor to the Prius brand.
So far this month, Ford has sold more than 6,000 electrified vehicles, a record for the company. Some 4,400 of those sales have come from Ford’s recently launched C-Max hybrid and plug-in hybrid, the company said.
The Fusion hybrid, which won the coveted Green Car of the Year award this week, is among the fastest-turning nameplates in Ford’s showrooms, Ford said.