"Research indicates that 60 percent of new vehicle shoppers are considering hybrid products. With this demand for more fuel efficient vehicles, early sales of Ford's five electrified vehicles has been phenomenal, creating a tremendous amount of excitement among our dealers," said C.J. O'Donnell, Ford Electrified Vehicle Marketing manager.Brian House, Electrified Vehicle Sales Manager at Varsity Ford in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the dealership went through the certification process about a year ago – months before vehicles such as C-MAX Energi were being sold. He said the process has been worth it, especially when it comes to providing the best customer service possible. "All 23 of our sales staff are able to answer questions about each of these vehicles," said House. "That's important, because customers want to learn as much about these vehicles as possible." Such inquiries at Ford dealerships around the country are translating to sales. Ford's launch of the new C-MAX Hybrid, C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Fusion Hybrid this past autumn led the company to deliver record-setting hybrid sales in December, resulting in a 9 percent market share gain to 16 percent. In the same period, Toyota's share of the hybrid vehicle segment fell 8 points, from 68 percent to 60 percent. "With so much excitement and activity surrounding Ford's new electrified vehicles, we can rest assured our certified dealers are invested in being prepared to provide the best possible customer service," said Paul Russell, Ford's field operations manager. "Whether a customer is stopping in to look at one of these vehicles for the first time or picking up their brand-new plug-in hybrid, the certification program ensures we are ready." Certification means the dealerships have met the automaker's guidelines for dealers selling electric vehicles – including installation of at least two on-site charging stations and participation in highly specialized training in the field of electric vehicles.