What to Read Next

Ford C-Max Hybrid gets 47 mpg, Prius-fighting price: Motoramic Dash

August 7, 2012

Twelve years. That's how long Toyota has sold the Prius in the United States. It's also how long Detroit has let the Prius command the demand for hybrids without building a direct competitor -- until now with the Ford C-Max Hybrid, which Ford said today would beat the Prius V wagon in fuel efficiency while costing $1,300 less. Finally, we have a ball game.

Despite its sales success, automakers other than Toyota have been loathe to build a stand-alone hybrid model, saying customers wouldn't bear the extra costs. The failure of the Honda Insight -- a car that's a near clone of the Prius -- only seemed to prove that Toyota had a secret sauce no other company could match.

To Ford's credit, the C-Max Hybrid has the recipe, at least on paper. Ford said today the C-Max will get 47 miles per gallon in both city and highway driving -- up to 7 mpg better than the Prius V. Ford had previously said the C-Max Hybrid would start at $25,995, compared with the Prius V's $26,550.

Part of Ford's savings comes from building the C-Max in Michigan using in-house parts, rather than relying on the same suppliers Toyota uses as Ford had done with other hybrid models. The C-Max won't be a huge seller, but it will test whether any automaker other than Toyota can sell a mass-market hybrid car.

Other stories from around the industry:

Nissan's new Mississippi hires: $12/hour, five-year "temporary" workers: I'm not sure how you can call someone you plan to employ for up to five years "temporary." Nissan says they will be offered full-time jobs at the end of their term. (Detroit Free Press)

Five popular cars to avoid: If you think Consumer Reports favors Japanese cars over American ones, note that two-fifths of this list come from Japan and three-fifths from Detroit. (Consumer Reports)

Nissan rolls out new London taxi idea: The NV200 van, which will become New York City's taxi of choice, may also replace London's black cabs. (Wall Street Journal)