Ford Plans Hybrid C-MAX Van in Europe
By Chris Haak
Ford announced today that it will offer a hybrid version of its C-Max mini-minivan when the next-generation model bows in 2013. Ford is investing $410 million in the company’s production facility in Valencia, Spain to produce both hybrid electric and plug-in electric C-MAXes.
Helping Ford to foot the bill is the Spanish government and the Valencia regional administration in the form of grants. Ford did not disclose the amount of the grants, which might imply that they were sizable. But who knows?
The all-new C-Max will be based on the all-new 2012 global Ford Focus. The C-MAXwill come in both five- and seven-seat configurations when it launches for the 2013 model year. The drive toward hybridization of the C-MAX is part of the company’s stated goal of selling five hybrid vehicles in Europe by 2013.
US production of the Focus is set to begin in late 2010 in Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, and it should hit the market in very early 2011. (It cannot come earlier than January 1, 2011, or it would have two January 1s in the 2012 model year, which is forbidden in the US.)
The C-Maxes pictured above are the Grand C-Max (silver) and the C-Max (red), which launch later this year in Europe. Valencia is the sole source of C-MAXes, and will export the seven-seat C-MAX to North America beginning late next year (the silver one above). No word on whether the hybrid version will cross the pond, but that may depend on customer acceptance of the non-hybrid model, plus exchange rates and the price of fuel.
Ford’s press release follows below.
FORD TO BUILD ITS FIRST HYBRID ELECTRIC MODELS FOR EUROPEAN CUSTOMERS
- Ford’s Valencia Plant in Spain will build the company’s first hybrid vehicles for European customers
- Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) derivatives of the all-new Ford C-MAX to launch in Europe in 2013
- Total investment in the C-MAX program is almost $410 million (over €300 million), of which up to $36 million (around €27 million) is for the HEV and PHEV programmes
- The Spanish government and the Valencia regional administration will provide the highest grant assistance for the C-MAX PHEV and HEV programmes in line with European Union requirements
- The HEV and PHEV C-MAX models are part of Ford’s global electrified vehicle plan under which five Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Hybrid models will be introduced for European customers by 2013
- Ford’s Valencia Plant also to build the seven-seat version of the C-MAX for export to North America beginning in late 2011
VALENCIA, Spain, May 10, 2010 – Ford’s Valencia plant in Spain will build the company’s first hybrid models for European customers with two advanced technology derivatives of the all-new five-seat Ford C-MAX compact multi-activity model to be launched in 2013 – a full Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV), and a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).
Valencia was confirmed in 2009 as the European single source for all versions of the
all-new Ford C-MAX and Grand C-MAX which launch later this year, and which feature a range of highly efficient new Ford EcoBoost petrol and Duratorq TDCi diesel engines.
As part of the company’s global sourcing strategy, the Valencia Plant also will produce the seven-seat version of the C-MAX for export to North America beginning in late 2011.
“The Hybrid Electric and Plug-In Hybrid Electric derivatives of the all-new Ford C-MAX are great news for the Valencia plant and region, for Spain, and for Ford customers across Europe. These new advanced technology models are key to Ford’s commitment to delivering a portfolio of alternative powertrain vehicles globally and to European customers in the next few years,” said John Fleming, Chairman and CEO, Ford of Europe and executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Labour Affairs.
John Fleming was speaking at a ceremony to mark the HEV and PHEV C-MAX announcement in the city of Valencia. He was joined by Spain’s Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Señor Miguel Sebastián Gascón, and by Señor Francisco Camps Ortiz, President of the Generalitat Velenciana, the Valencia regional administration.
“Our Valencia Plant here in Spain will build these new C-MAX five-seat hybrid models exclusively for European customers seeking a practical, efficient and affordable environmental vehicle, while the export to North America of the new Grand C-MAX petrol model beginning in late 2011 opens a new era of production for the team at the plant,” Fleming added.
Investing in Valencia
Total investment in the new Ford C-MAX programme in Spain over the next three years, including the hybrid models, is almost $410 million (over €300 million). Investment in the hybrid programmes is expected to be up to $36 million (around €27 million). The Spanish government and Valencia regional administration are providing the highest grant support in line with European Union requirements. The exact amount of this support will be determined at a later date.
“I want to thank the Spanish government and the Valencia regional administration for their outstanding assistance in supporting the C-MAX programme in Spain and, in particular, for helping to turn our hybrid vehicles plan into reality. Their support means that customers in Spain and around Europe will soon be driving the all-new C-MAX later in 2010, and from 2013 will be able to choose from Ford’s first hybrid models to be launched in this region of the world,” said Fleming.
The programme supports the Spanish government and Valencia regional administration’s goal of establishing Spain and the Valencia region as important centres for advanced research and development in environmental engineering.
A Choice of Hybrids
Ford Motor Company has significant experience with hybrid vehicles in North America, and will now extend this expertise to Europe as part of the company’s aggressive global electrified vehicles strategy.
The reason for building both full Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle versions of the five-seat Ford C-MAX is to provide customers with greater choice to suit their specific driving and living environments.
Full HEVs charge their electric batteries through the use of the small displacement internal combustion engine along with energy recapture through the regenerative brake system, whereas PHEVs have the ability to also recharge their electric batteries through an external source, such as a conventional electric power socket.
“The extra benefit of being able to additionally recharge your batteries at home or other parking location means that PHEVs might better suit those customers who do the majority of their driving in city and other urban environments where electric battery power is the preferred powertrain alternative,” commented Fleming.
Ford’s Electrification Commitment
Today’s announcement forms part of Ford’s commitment to extend its global electrified vehicles strategy and introduce five Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and Hybrid models in Europe by 2013. The C-MAX HEV and PHEV models will join the full battery-electric Ford Transit Connect, already announced for 2011, and a battery-electric derivative of the next-generation Ford Focus, due in 2012. The fifth vehicle will also be a hybrid-electric model and will be announced at a later time.
“Ford is a leader today in Europe when it comes to offering customers efficient and affordable environmental technologies, such as our ECOnetic range of ultra-low CO2 diesel-powered vehicles and our new EcoBoost advanced petrol engine range.
“The five alternative powertrains we will introduce by 2013 – including the new HEV and PHEV C-MAX models we are confirming today – strengthen our ongoing commitment to providing customers with access to significant fuel economy improvements and reduced CO2 emissions to meet their functional needs and without compromising their driving experience,” said Fleming.
Ford’s Global C-Car Strategy and the All-New Ford C-MAX
The new five-seat Ford C-MAX and seven-seat Grand C-MAX models are the first of at least ten new models or derivatives that the company will launch around the world based on its new global C-segment platform – Ford’s first truly ONE Ford platform.
Ford’s new generation of C-segment vehicles will be sold in more than 120 markets and will account for more than two million units annually. The C-segment accounts for one-in-four cars sold worldwide today and, in conjunction with the B-segment, is expected to rise to 50 per cent of all cars sold globally by 2013.
With the new C-MAX family of models, Ford’s C-segment MAV customers will now have a choice of two alternative and distinctive models – the sporty five-seat C-MAX or the spacious seven-seat Grand C-MAX, which features twin sliding doors and innovative seat design for outstanding space and flexibility.
This all-new Ford C-MAX range also introduces a number of advanced new technologies to the compact MAV class. More often found only on larger or more premium cars, these technologies are focused on enhanced comfort, safety and sustainability, including the availability of new and powerful yet highly fuel-efficient low-CO2 Ford EcoBoost petrol engines.
The previous C-MAX model quickly established a reputation for providing a fine balance of enjoyable driving dynamics and impressive comfort. The all-new model is set to take that performance to a new level, giving drivers a class-leading combination of responsive, sporty handling, and overall refinement approaching the standards usually associated with larger, luxury vehicles.
The new C-MAX and Grand C-MAX models go on sale across Europe during the second half of 2010, while the seven-seat version of the C-MAX model for North America will go into production in Valencia in late 2011.