It's Marketing 101 - Never promise what you can't deliver. Must deliver value to the target market.
Ford's target was the Prius V (we know the promotional ads). Then, after the mpg fiasco, Ford tried to change the image to a "luxury" car with the "new generation" ads. However, damage was already done. It's near impossible to change without a redesign which takes years. Lower gas prices coupled with the lower EPA FE diminish value and sales fall even more. So, to get more value with low gas prices, consumers must buy cars with higher EPA ratings. Hence, Ford pushed the Energi more in ads and came out with an SE model (lower cost) to increase value to the consumer.
Also, the early purchasers of the C-Max received value in the form of two Ford rebates totaling, IIRC, $1025 for the lowered EPA fuel economy ratings. Subsequent buyers did not directly receive thIs value. That's the cup of coffee a week.
Edited by Plus 3 Golfer, 01 July 2018 - 08:37 AM.