Ford sees its plug-in hybrid sales growing image

According to data coming from the automaker, Ford increased sales of its plug-in hybrids in October, but deliveries of gas-electric hybrids and the Focus EV fell.

Ford moved 2,179 of its Fusion and C-Max Energi models last month, which exceeded the 2,095 Toyota Prius plug-ins and 2,022 Chevrolet Volts. On the other hand, the company delivered 2,577 Fusion hybrids and 1,438 C-Max hybrids — the second-worst month for both models this year. Sales of the battery-only Focus Electric were a mere 115 units in October, the third-lowest monthly total this year.

Plug-in hybrids are just a niche vehicle category, representing less than 1% of total U.S. sales, but the segment has managed 39,000 sales through the first 10 months of the year, up 32% from the same period in 2012.

The vehicles are plugged in to recharge their batteries so they can run on electricity alone, but after a certain distance a backup gasoline engine also comes to the assistance. Toyota continues to dominate the market for traditional gas-electric hybrids – the ones that don’t need recharging.

General Motors officially introduced the extended-range plug-in Chevrolet Volt three years ago. Earlier this year, Chevrolet also premiered the electric Spark on the West Coast. Chrysler has the Fiat 500 electric.