Citing strong demand, Ford is expanding the number of dealerships that can sell its electric vehicles in the US market.
The carmaker said that more than 900 US dealers will soon be certified to sell EVs, up from 200 in November, 2012.
The move reflects increased demand for Ford’s electrified models. The company continues to roll out new EVs such as the Focus Electric, C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Hybrid. It said that having more dealers to sell these cars is a necessity if EVs are to go mainstream. All three models came to market in the second half of 2012.
Ford is betting that EVs will become a sizeable part of the global car market and the carmaker has invested heavily to roll out a large number of electrified models. It announced in 2011 that it would be tripling EV production capacity by 2013.
“Research indicates that 60 percent of new vehicle shoppers are considering hybrid products,” said C.J. D’Donnell, Ford electrified vehicle marketing manager.
Ford cited record US hybrid sales in December, with market share up 9 points to 16 pc. That December market share was also up from 3 pc in April, 2012. Ford noted that the share of market leader Toyota dropped 8 points in December to 60 pc.
The 900 dealers that will soon be selling Ford’s EVs represent about one-third of all the company’s dealerships in the US.
Certification implies that dealers have met Ford’s guidelines for selling EVs. These include the installation of at least two on-site charging stations and participation in specialized training.