|Ford 1Q 2006 hybrid sales. The company expects to do even better in April.|
April is turning into a banner month for sales of the Escape and Mariner Hybrids, according to a Ford spokesperson.
With seven selling days left in April (and many dealers slow to report numbers), the company has already exceeded the prior highest monthly Mariner sales results (150 in December 2005) and is closing in on its prior highest monthly Escape hybrid numbers (1,800 in September 2005).
The company attributes the increase to a number of factors, including:
The sudden surge in oil and gas prices and related geo-political tensions, all accompanied by the media focus on that topic.
Extending its 0% financing incentive nationwide. When Ford rolled that program out in March for California and Washington, DC, it experienced double-digit sales jumps.
Launching the dealer tax hotline, where dealers can get the latest federal, state, and local tax incentives available to Escape Hybrid owners (totaling up to $6,000).
Continued marketing, including Ford’s Kermit the Frog ads, and two high-profile appearances in Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Ford’s hybrids may get more of a boost from the gas situation than the company anticipated. Crude oil rose to $75.35 a barrel in New York on Friday over concern that shipments from Iran and Nigeria will be disrupted at the same time that the US increases gasoline consumption for the summer driving season.
At the same time, some regions of the country are experiencing sporadic shortages of gasoline due to the switchover to ethanol from MTBE as an oxygenate. These sporadic disruptions may last several months, according to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman. (Bloomberg).