For Sale By:Dealer
Disability Equipped: No
Sub Model: Titanium
Drive Train: Front Wheel Drive
American Fork, Utah, United States
No Prius Killer
As much as we enthusiasts like to rail on the lowly Toyota Prius as the harbinger of death for all we hold dear, there's no denying the machine's absolute and interminable grip on the hybrid hatchback market in the United States. Toyota has so thoroughly sunk its teeth into the segment that you can clearly hear the automaker's incisors clacking against one another with the conclusion of each financial quarter. And there's little wonder why. Buyers can plop down less than $25,000 and have a runabout that can return up to an estimated 51 miles per gallon in the city, leaving every other entry on the market with precious little gristle to gnaw on.
Enter the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid. With its claimed 47 mpg combined, the funky little hatch from Europe already falls behind the 48 mpg city offered by the Prius, but that marginal sacrifice in fuel economy could be a small price to pay for buyers who want a credible alternative to the stalwart Toyota. Unfortunately, like the Fusion Hybrid, the C-Max Hybrid had trouble even approaching its Environmental Protection Agency estimates during our time with the car.
The Russian auto market, in decline for the past year and further hit by the declining value of the ruble and recent sanctions over its annexation of Crimea, has forced Ford to cut jobs and shifts at two of its joint venture plants there. Around 700 of the 2,700 total workers who build the Russian-market Focus and Mondeo will be cut at the plant in Vsevolozhsk, near St. Petersburg as it drops to a single production shift. A second plant about 700 miles away in Yelabuga, in the Tartarstan region, will lose 250 workers. That plant builds seven vehicles, including the Explorer, Kuga and Edge.
The Moscow Times says Ford has been especially hit by the market decline, the overall market losing 5.5 percent in 2013 compared to the year before, but Ford sales dropping 18 percent in 2013 year-on-year. This year isn't going any better, with The Blue Oval posting a 21-percent decline through the first two months of 2014. That's why, though the Yelabuga plant builds the CUVs that customers are moving into, even it is facing cuts.
The job cuts in Vsevolozhsk come on top four-week plant shutdown planned so that the paint and body shops can go to one shift. In a statement, the company said, "Ford Sollers remains absolutely committed to the Russian market and is confident it has the right product plan, people and assets to deliver long-term profitable growth."
Bill Ford Jr. has more sway than ever over the automaker that bears his surname, as the great-grandson of Ford's founder has reportedly doubled is holdings of Class B Ford stock. According to a report from Reuters (which cites a newly discovered securities filing), he acquired some 3.7 million Class B shares from an unnamed family member.
Class B shares of Ford stock are held by descendants of Henry Ford and offer expanded voting power to their holders - Bill Ford Jr. now controls roughly 11.5 percent of the total Class B pool. Ford Jr. is also a one of five trustees that manage a voting trust that oversees the majority of these "supervoting" shares. In total, Reuters reports there are 71 million Class B shares that account for 40 percent of the voting power in the company, despite making up just 2 percent of the total volume of all Ford stock.
Ford Jr. served as Ford's CEO until 2006, when he stepped down to hire and make space for current CEO, Alan Mulally. The move to consolidate Ford family voting power, at least somewhat, is seen by many as a comforting sign with Mulally's departure from the company likely to happen in the next several years.