Ford’s claim of out-selling Toyota not all it seems

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Since the late 1990s, when they introduced their first hybrid Prius model, Toyota has had a stranglehold on the alternative-to-fuel vehicle market.

But Ford Motor Company wants consumers to know they may not be for much longer.

Earlier this week, Ford released a statement saying it had surpassed Toyota in plug-in hybrid sales for the first time ever.

Now, was Ford telling the truth, or using smoke and mirrors to make it appear as if they’ve topped Toyota? Little of both.

Ford Fusion Energi
Ford Fusion Energi

Upon further review of Ford’s release and public statistics of sales, their statement is not exactly as it seems. The Ford C-Max Energi (which sold 1,092 units) and Ford Fusion Energi (1,072 units moved) combined did out-sell Toyota’s Prius Plug-In hybrid last month, but only when the numbers are combined (2,095 Prius’ were sold). In fact, October was Toyota’s best month ever for plug-in sales, but Ford was able to squash that benchmark by proclaiming themselves sales victors.

The Prius PHEV, which is only sold in 15 U.S. states, is still the uncontested winner though. It out-sold the Chevy Volt (2,022) and Nissan Leaf (2,002), both of which also moved more units than the Ford models individually.

Given how successful Toyota has been – and continues to be – at cornering the hybrid market, it’s not a surprising move on Ford’s part to try and steal some of the spotlight at a time when hybrids are having a real consumer moment. That they went after Toyota outright in their lead-out statement on the release is indicative of their marketing strategy since the beginning with the C-Max and Fusion.

Still, the questionable way they portrayed their sales for last month shouldn’t overshadow the fact Ford has taken great strides with their hybrid cars. Sales of the Fusion and C-Max have steadily increased and are putting a competitive product on the market for consumers. Their focus could be characterized as being more about style points, and crafting a car that’s more “fun” than a Prius by offering an abundance of styling options Toyota doesn’t.

Either way, the surge in plug-in hybrid sales, regardless of the manufacturer, is good news for our environmental future. And if Ford continues to increase their numbers at the current rate, they could soon be the actual hybrid leader.

5 thoughts on “Ford’s claim of out-selling Toyota not all it seems”

  1. I don’t see the problem – Ford did outsell Toyota in plug-in hybrids. I don’t think the claim was that a specific nameplate outsold Prius, which would have been false, but rather that the Ford brand outsold the Toyota brand.

  2. As an owner of a Prius plug in hybrid, I don’t care. It is fine that Ford is doing well. Ford has a long way to go to equal the reputation of Toyota. Ford cannot equal the utility of the flat floor in the cargo area of my Prius PHEV. Ford cannot equal the dependability of my car.

  3. Toyota offers additional EV vehicles as well I.e. RAV4 EV, which if combined as Ford did will definitely claim the sales victory.

    • Ford also sell a pure electric, the Focus EV and they sold 115 in October v Toyota’s 91 RAV4 EVs. So, Ford sold the most plug-in cars at 2,294 units. Toyota had the best selling plug-in with the Prius at 2095 cars and second in total plug-in sales with 2,186 cars. Considering none of these cars are sold in all dealerships both companies did very well. For the Record I drive a plug-in Prius

  4. why are you showing the Grand C Max from Europe? (look at the rear doors–they slide) It’s neither available in the US nor is it a hybrid.


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