Since it was officially launched at the end of last year, only a handful of 2012 Ford Focus Electric hatchbacks have been sold.
That’s hardly surprising considering Ford has been particularly cautious about spending large amounts of money advertising its first production electric car.
In eleven days however, Ford will be taking the wonders of electric power directly to the holy temple of high-octane worship: a NASCAR race track.
On April 28, the Ford Focus Electric will become the first ever all-electric NASCAR pace car, leading the field on the opening lap of the Sprint Cup Richmond 400.
Essentially, Ford hopes that the Focus Electric’s appearance on a NASCAR track will expose electric cars to would-be owners for the first time.
NASCAR and electric cars? Ford is convinced there’s a crossover, although we beg to differ.
2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012
2012 Ford Focus Electric, New York City, April 2012Enlarge Photo
According to its own in-house research, Ford says that 35 percent of new car buyers are motorsports fans. Of those, 78 percent support NASCAR.
Drill down further, and Ford says that 67 percent of Ford race fans are more likely to buy a Ford than regular consumers, although it didn't detail how many of these would entertain buying a compact electric car.
Do the math, and the number of Ford race fans who are likely to buy a Ford over other brands equates to just 18 percent of new car buyers.
And that’s all Fords, including everything from the F150 pickup truck to the Ford Mustang. We suspect less than 1 percent would consider buying the Focus electric.
In other words, even as a pace car, the 2012 Ford Focus Electric isn’t going to attract that much attention from NASCAR fans.
We’re glad to see that Ford is finding innovative ways to advertise its Focus Electric, but we can’t help but ask one thing.