Once again the Ford C-Max Energi won our 'best plug-in you forgot exists' award (if that was a real thing), finishing as the sixth most popular plug-in electric car in U.S. for 2016 with 7,957 sales.

The 2017 C-Max Energi is slightly refreshed, has a couple more miles range, and a better price-point...which naturally leads to more sales!

The 2017 C-Max Energi is slightly refreshed, has a couple more miles range, and a better price-point...which naturally leads to more sales!

The growth over 2015 is less than 5%, and the C-Max Energi in general doesn't often make a splash, selling around 7,000-8,000 copies a year since its launch in late 2012.  But solid consistency, if not sexy, should still count for something.

However in December, the C-Max Energi significantly broke out of its norms, and noted its best ever result of 1,289 sales (123% year-over-year), which made up a massive 59% of total C-Max sales.  The average C-Max Energi share in C-Max sales stands in 2016 at 40%.

Why the sudden surge?  And will it continue into 2016?

A MSRP price cut of $4,650 ($27,120 + DST) and a slight efficiency/range bump (~21 miles) is definitely the reason why sales improved in December so drastically, and should help the C-Max Energi continue to outperform past numbers.

Why the sudden 'sharper pencil' on the C-Max Energi offering in December?

Two words - Prius Prime.  The 2nd generation of the Prius Plug-in debuted in November, and offers 25 miles of range, and industry best 133 MPGe rating (for plug-in hybrids) and a price-point $27,950.  If Ford wanted to keep volume sales of the C-Max going it needed to make a big adjustment, and to its credit, they did.

While we don't expect the C-Max Energi to live past its 2018 model year (it will be replaced with another PHEV offering), we do expect to see much great sales in 2017 as Ford looks to maximize profits from the line.

Here is sales outlook for the C-Max Energi since late 2012 through the end of 2016:

Ford C-Max Energi sales in U.S. - December 2016

Ford C-Max Energi sales in U.S. - December 2016

Overall, Ford plug-in car sales are on the rise. In 2016 Ford sold 24,796 plug-ins, which is 31% more than year ago, or about 1% of total Ford sales.

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016

Cumulative Ford plug-in sales stand at 83,701, including 43,327 Fusion Energi, 33,509 C-Max Energi and 6,865 Focus Electric registrations.

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016

Ford plug-in car sales in U.S. - December 2016