Hybrids

Ford C-Max, Toyota Prius V must die so SUVs can live

Both suffered from lagging sales.

Ford

The Ford C-Max and Toyota Prius V were weird hybrids, not really existing in any specific segment -- they weren't crossovers, nor minivans, but they were more than your average hatchbacks. But none of that matters now, because they're both dead.

The 'Max' in C-Max didn't refer to sales

The Ford C-Max had two variants in the US -- the standard gas-electric hybrid, and the Energi plug-in hybrid. Production of the C-Max Energi ended in September, but late last week, Automotive News reported that the standard C-Max hybrid will meet its maker in mid-2018.

There are two main reasons that Ford decided to eliminate the C-Max in the US. The first is sales figures -- the C-Max was Ford's worst-selling mass-market model. It arrived in the US just as the crossover craze grew to consume all of humanity, and continually low gas prices didn't help its prospects much, either. Ford hasn't sold more than 2,000 C-Max models in a single month since December 2016, and in January, it couldn't even break into four-digit figures.

The other reason for the C-Max's departure is that it must make room for two new models. Ford will take the Wayne, Michigan plant where the C-Max was made and retool it for both the upcoming Bronco SUV and Ranger mid-size pickup. Trucks and SUVs command far higher margins, and there's a great deal of anticipation surrounding these two models. They'll do more for Ford's bottom line than the C-Max ever did.

The C-Max is a bit more popular in Europe, and it will continue to live on in that market, where Ford offers both gasoline and diesel variants.

Prius V, slain by its own brother

Similar to the C-Max, the Prius V was killed so that SUVs can live, but this time, the SUV in question is technically a competitor. Toyota launched the RAV4 Hybrid crossover in 2016, finally offering an electrified version of its incredibly popular cute-ute. That car promptly ate up all of the Prius V's sales, leaving it a shell of its former self.

Its sales figures have been in the three-digit range this entire year, and the last time Toyota sold more than 2,000 in a single month was December 2015. Over six years, though, the Prius V amassed approximately 160,000 sales, which is impressive until you realize Toyota sold twice as many RAV4s just last year.

These two deaths are not outliers, but rather results of a fever that has encompassed an entire industry. With gas prices staying low and fuel economy numbers rising thanks to new technologies, crossovers and SUVs continue to see growing demand. So much so, in fact, that they're pulling owners from every other segment in the industry, whether it's wagons, sedans or even coupes.

So it goes. 

Toyota updated the Prius for the 2016 model year, but that didn't do much for its sales.

Toyota