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Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) recently revealed that it is upgrading its 2014 C-MAX Hybrid, which will hit the stores in December this year. The automaker is eyeing the top rank in the hybrid market with fuel efficient vehicles. The new version of C-MAX Hybrid offers better fuel efficiency, thus providing greater satisfaction to customers.

The new Ford C-MAX Hybrid features upgraded powertrain software together with favorable hardware changes. The hardware modifications include changes in the gearing, which will make the transmission drive ratio more efficient.

Further changes include new hood seal, front and rear tire deflectors, pillar moldings and addition of rear lift gate deflectors, which will boost the aerodynamics of the vehicle. The 2014 C-MAX Hybrid is also equipped with new engine oil, which will help in reducing friction.

Ford is also changing the pattern of testing miles-per-gallon label for C-MAX Hybrid. Initially, testing of the Fusion Hybrid would generate fuel efficiency labels for many vehicles including C-MAX Hybrid, in accordance with EPA's General Label rules. However, now Ford will test and label C-MAX Hybrid separately, leading to a decline in the miles-per-gallon label for the original 2013 C-MAX Hybrid.

The 2013 Ford C-MAX Hybrid will now carry an EPA combined fuel efficiency value of 43 mpg, which is the best in the class and surpasses Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TM - Analyst Report) Prius v, which has a combined label value of 42 mpg. As a result of the change in the miles-per-gallon values, the automaker is making a goodwill payment to current C-MAX Hybrid owners to compensate for the estimated difference in the average fuel costs of the two labels. Ford will pay $550 to owners and $325 to people who leased the vehicles.

Ford is benefiting from the strong sales of C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. Customers prefer C-MAX as it is more luxurious with innovative features.

Electrified vehicles sales increased 392% to 53,014 vehicles in July. Ford's electrified vehicle market share in the first seven months of 2013 increased 12 points year over year to 15.4%.

Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other major automobile stocks worth considering are General Motors (GM - Analyst Report) and Volkswagen AG (VLKAY). Volkswagen carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and General Motors carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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