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Ford Fusion Surprises?

Fusion Hot Out of the Blocks
Fusion is Ford’s new mid-size sedan and is a very respectable piece of work. It has distinctive styling, a good sized interior and a large trunk. This combination puts Fusion in the hunt to attract buyers of mid-size cars that have been unable to consider a Ford since the demise of the easily forgotten Ford Contour (and who can’t forget its predecessor – the Tempo). For the first time in years, Ford has a competitive mid-size entry worthy of consideration. The first full month of sales for the Ford Fusion was October, 2005. Fusion, right out of the blocks, looks like a surprise winner with slightly over 4,000 units sold.
In a departure from conventional mid-size car marketing, Ford says they are not going after buyers who would consider the high volume Japanese entries like Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima. Instead, they think they can have a pretty healthy business selling to Mustang owners who are moving into a mid-size sedan after their fling with the most popular sporty coupe on the planet.

Fusion One of Three New Mid-Size Sedans from Ford Motor Company
Fusion is produced at Ford’s Hermosillo, Mexico assembly plant along with the Mercury Milan and the Lincoln Zephyr. Milan sold a bit over 1,300 units in October and Zephyr about 1,200 units. This gives sales-hungry Lincoln Mercury dealers a shot in the arm. When the plant and dealers get up to speed, Ford hopes to sell about 100,000 Fusions a year.
Engine Power Not Competitive
While Fusion comes standard with a 4-cylinder engine, its optional V6 puts out only 221-horsepower from its 3.0L displacement. Comparing Fusion’s power with that of its Japanese competition puts it at a substantial disadvantage. The Camry, the lowest powered V6 of the Japanese troika, has 190 or 210-horsepower so Fusion won’t lose to Camry because of power. The Accord has 244-horsepower and the Altima has 250 or 260-horsepower from its V6. Admittedly, Fusion feels pretty good with the V6 combined with its 6-speed automatic transmission, but Fusion loses the “brochure war”.
Shotgun Marketing
Hearing a marketing presentation from Jyarland Jones the marketing manager for the Fusion leaves you confused about where they really want to sell the car. Fusion will be Ford’s NASCAR entry so they want it to appeal to Bubba. They also have tuned Fusions tricked out for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas to show how Fusion can be personalized. Then, Ford will be using minority-heavy target marketing to African Americans, Hispanics, Women, Soap Users. Nowhere was a WASP male mentioned. Interesting approach. Trying to hit everyone without going after a core group of buyers! Shotgun marketing at its purest.

1 Comment

  • KarXprt| November 4, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    Some people are criticizing Fusion’s body fit and finish. Ford’s design for build needs to be perfect to get high quality out of Mexico. Also, Ford has a 3.5L V6 coming in a year or so. Shouldn’t that be added to Fusion as a higher performance model to go with the efforts they are making at SEMA, etc?

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