When the Ford Focus Electric first came onto the market this past summer, Ford only had 67 dealers to sell them. Then the C-Max Energi debuted later in October and Ford had over 200.
Ford Dealer Timeline (click to enlarge)
In anticipation of the Fusion Energi back in November, Ford estimated that 350 dealers would be certified by the time the car launched this month, with another 600-odd in the pipeline to eventually sell their plug-in vehicles.
Today, Ford confirms that over 900 dealers will be certified to sell plug-in electrified vehicles before Spring arrives, and that the company expects to have their entire lineup of electric plug-ins available in all 50 states by then as well.
In a press release Ford says, "The surge in EV Certified Ford dealers reflects increased demand for the company’s electrified vehicles – Ford’s market share (including hybrids) increased from less than 3 percent in April 2012 to nearly 16 percent in December 2012, second behind only Toyota".
Ford says with the help of the Focus Electric and the C-Max/Fusion Energis, electrified vehicles are going mainstream in the market, with "research showing the number of customers considering plug-in hybrids has grown to 25 percent."
Needless to say, more than doubling their existing dealership base to 900, which is about a third of all the Ford dealerships in the US, will certainly help sales across all of their plug-in lineup.
Ford sold about 2,400 C-Max Energis in the last two months of 2012, before stumbling to get their extended range hybrid out in January, selling only 338.
Ford defines the certification process as follows:
"Certification means the dealerships have met the automaker’s guidelines for dealers selling electric vehicles – including installation of at least two on-site charging stations and participation in highly specialized training in the field of electric vehicles."
- One of the two required charging stations at the dealership must be in the customer area and the other must be in the service area
- At least one Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi must be available at all times for demonstrations and events
- Of the sales consultant, sales manager, service advisor and service manager jobs at each location, 80 percent must meet specific electric vehicle training certification requirements that cover topics including advanced knowledge of electrification
- Each showroom will have point-of-purchase display materials including digital assets and window signage
- Participation in a Ford Go Green Dealer on-site facility assessment to identify energy- and cost-saving opportunities with a goal of facilitating energy efficiency, lower operating expenses and carbon footprint reduction