By on February 1, 2013

Remember how you all mocked me for my earnest proclamation that the 2013 Ford Fusion would be a “game changer”? Well, January looks to be a promising prelude to my inevitable vindication, as far as sales goes.

Yes, one month in is hardly enough time to draw any conclusions, but the Fusion is off to a strong start. While the perennial favorite Toyota Camry is way out in front, with 31,897 units sold, the Fusion is nipping at the heels of the second place Honda Accord. The Accord sold 23,924 units, with the Toyota Corolla/Matrix (they’re grouped together) in third with 23,822 sold.

22,399 Fusions went out the door in January, while the 2013 Honda Civic held off the Nissan Altima for 5th place. You can check out the top 20 table here.

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90 Comments on “January’s Best-Sellers: Fusion Closing In On Accord For Numero Dos...”


  • avatar
    FAS

    Not to ruin the Fusions well deserved days in the sun…..

    BUT-If you talking Fusion sales and not talking FLEET, then you aren’t telling the story. My guess would the Accord had about 2-4% fleet and Fusion has about 25% fleet (camry around 10%)…

    The game has not changed that much.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Not to mention that the old Fusion was actually only behind the old Accord by about 5 cars a year ago, while the new one trails by 1,525 cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Yeah – continuing to be a reasonably competitive third place isn’t exactly blowing the competition out of the water.

        It looks to be a fine car holding its own against the leaders. Good for Ford – they didn’t blow it by any means. Maybe they’ll continue to gain on the leaders but I wouldn’t count on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Toyota is still trying desperately to unload the 2012 models of the Camry offering big incentives for all the left overs based on the constant radio and TV ads in my market area. That was after delaying the on sale date of the 2013 past the normal new car introduction period.

      Ford on the other hand had cleared out the majority of the 2012 Fusions months ago and many of the dealers in my area still don’t have decent inventories of 2013 Fusions.

      Of course my market area is not average, at least according to Toyota advertising the Prius is their best selling model in my market area and has been for a number of years.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Your post prompted me to look at my neighborhood dealer’s online inventory. They have 2012 Camrys too. So then I looked at their Ford inventory. In addition to their almost full line 2012 offerings, they still have new 2011 Fusions & Edges and a ‘new’ 2010 Transit Connect.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Hard to imagine how Fusions are scarce. On cars.com, across the country, their are approx. 25,000 Fusions sitting on dealers lots available for you. In Boston, the dealers are offering a 13 Fusion for 18K. That is cheap, cheap, cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        Like I said I was talking about my area. I went to cars.com and searched for a Camry and a Fusion within 50 miles of 98056 I found 6 2012 Fusions and 54 2012 Camrys along with 6 2011 models. Yes the total number of Fusions available is higher 195 vs 164 but many of the 2013 Fusions when you go to the Ford website shows that the car has been ordered and is not actually on the lot. Of the ones that are actually on the lot like I said in the previous post, are mostly fully loaded models with every or almost every option and a few w/o any options. So those in the meat of the market are pretty hard to find around here.

        Searching 92101 or the San Diego CA area does reveal some 2011 Fusions 2 and a pair of 2012′s too out of the 117 available. Out of the 417 Camrys available there are 6 2011′s and 272 (if I counted right) 2012. This in Toyota’s best market in the US.

        So yeah I’ll stick by my comment that Toyota is still desperately trying to dump their leftover 2012 Camrys, 2012 Fusions are very scarce and there aren’t a lot of 2013 Fusions to pick from.

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Possible. Appears Fusion inventory is massively loaded in the Midwest … just like Toyota and Honda inventory is massively loaded on the coasts. This is just smart. Why would Ford load up east and west coast dealers with vehicles hey can’t sell? As the link below shows, Detroit has become a regional player in the US … Detroit vehicles only seem to sell well in less trendy areas of the country around the Midwest. Read the link below …

        money.cnn.com/2013/01/31/autos/
        detroit-car-sales-states.fortune/index.html

        Secondly, Toyota was manufacturing new 12 Camrys until just recently. Ford stop producing 12 Fusions moons ago.

        One more comment … a few years ago, I knew a few long time Toyota owners that considered looking at a new Ford since Consumer Reports started showing decent reliability. Then, Ford reliability plunges off the chart. So, Ford has limited it’s appeal to the “buy American car” crowd who are willing to accept reliability flawed products over any Toyota or Honda. The “buy American car” crowd usually live in the Midwest.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah Toyota does it. My friend bought last model year Camry for 5 grands less than sticker price without haggling which was cheaper than similar three years old out of rent Camry!

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      I think criticism of fleet sales on this site are undeserved. A fleet sale is a car sold – the only difference being profit margin. Fleet cars end up in the hands of actual buying consumers someday (I bought one); they don’t go into a black hole.

      Someone will say: “Yeah, but fleet sales are an indication that new car buyers don’t want that vehicle at new car prices, but they’re OK with buying them second-hand.” To that I say, so what?

      If I was a fleet buyer, I’d want reliable cars on my lot. So to me, a badge with lots of fleet sales might indicate reliability or low maintenance costs.

      Therefore, it makes no difference to me whether lots of Fusions end up on Hertz lots.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        It is an indication of how much pricing power the car has, iow how desirable it is at a “reasonable” profit margin. Over time, this matters a lot, since even though fleet sales are “profitable” at the margin, they leave much less money for R&Ding the next version.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      With no proof that it’s “25% fleet”, then just speculation.
      BTW: Altimas are heavily fleeted and no one complains.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        No kidding – for a LONG time the past few years, my Hertz experience (until I made President’s Circle and started getting upgraded to the good stuff) was “what color Altima are they giving me THIS week”. It was exciting to get one with the biege rat-fur interior, as opposed to the more bodily fluid hiding coal mine black. Blech. I would happily take a new Fusion as a rental.

        Also, these days rental sales at least are not NEARLY the dumping ground that they were when the Detroit Big 3 owned the Rental Big 3.

        I’m starting to see new Fusions all over the place here, and this is emphatically NOT American car country.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Alitmas are fleet darlings: I drive a “fleet” Altima and glad I do. My positive experience with the car I don’t own has been sung on every person with whom I engage car talk. Just like many a Toyota’s praises being sung at many a family BBQ. So from that point a view there is nothing wrong with fleet sales. But it does erode resale value over the long haul. The poster child of this would be the Taurus.

        Regarding the Fusion, it is an excellent car, but with an unknown reliability factor which is a deal killer to the red-dot slut crowd. But those buyers are far more inclined to skip Ford anyway. And to be fair, Ford’s “plunge” was mostly due to MFT, and some transmission and other issues. Still, those things did skew the numbers and for those unwilling to dig beyond a colored dot, this is a case of a good car being lost in the statistical noise. Time will tell how good the Fusion’s reliability is. I’d be more concerned with the Ecoboost engines than anything else. My local Ford dealer has some Fusions, but not nearly what you would expect from a volume model.

      • 0 avatar
        Hoser

        Not to mention the fleet is not all base-level non-optioned strippers any more. The last time my uncle visited, he showed up in a rental Taurus Limited.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      @FAS

      Thanks for the guess.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Camry fleet % the past few years has been more like 17-18% and Camry sales also saw a bump early last year in part due to increased fleet sales.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I would presume that Fusion fleet sales are about 25-30% of the total, while Honda’s are around 1% or so. (And Honda’s fleet sales are effectively zero for the purposes of this discussion, since there is no Honda corporate fleet department; if a company or rental car buyer wants to go to a Honda dealer and buy some cars, then nobody at Honda corporate is going to stop them.)

    It also helps to remember that there is no Mercury twin for this model, so the new Fusion has to maintain the sales levels for both.

    That being said, it’s an impressive looking car for its class (it looks better out in the wild than in the photos, in my opinion), and I would give it serious consideration if I was shopping for this sort of car. They’ve come a long way.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “And Honda’s fleet sales are effectively zero for the purposes of this discussion”

      They’re certainly available as rental cars, as I’ve rented one before. If you look at Hertz or another rental agency’s auto sales, you’ll definitely see them, but they do go quick.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “They’re certainly available as rental cars.”

        As I noted, if the Hertz fleet manager wants to buy cars at the Honda dealer, then the dealer will take his money just as he would take yours.

        But there is no Honda corporate fleet department that is designed to get those cars into rental. More importantly, the supply of vehicles is not driven by rental demand, and there are no fleet incentives to help move those Hondas into fleets. And not many Hondas end up in rental fleets because fleet managers are price conscious.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        Rental company auto sales are NOT the same as rental companies selling their fleet. Hertz, and others, buy cars at auctions just like dealers. And dealers buy rental cars at auctions. We looked at several CPO 12 Fusions when looking at cars at Ford dealers, because they had a better warranty and 0% financing on CPO. However, the history showed that all of them (no matter trim level) were in rental fleets.

        I did look at a 12 Accord at the Hertz lot, just out of interest. The history showed the previous owner was a private entity, not a fleet or corporation. Anecdotes are just that…

        However, I’ll whole heartedly agree with you that Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, and Hyundai have rather high fleet sales. Because they are very prevelant in the various rental fleets that I deal with (National/Enterprise, Avis, and Hertz).

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I get what you’re saying on the fleet thing, Pch, but I suspect if a rental car company went to a dealer and said, “I want 20 Civics for rental purposes,” they’d probably get a good deal, even if it’s not a de-side-airbagged Chevy.

        What I don’t completely get, with respect to the rental business, is how dumping a crap load of American metal with higher relative depreciation at 20,000 miles after a year makes economic sense. Wouldn’t it be better to buy a Civic with very little depreciation at 20,000 miles if you insist on having relatively new vehicles in your rental fleet? Or are fleet sales so cheap that they negate that depreciation advantage?

        I do see a lot of Corollas being sold by Hertz after rental duty (at ridiculously high prices, I might add), so clearly they’ve been using this tactic.

        “We looked at several CPO 12 Fusions when looking at cars at Ford dealers, because they had a better warranty and 0% financing on CPO. However, the history showed that all of them (no matter trim level) were in rental fleets.”

        Well, it’s highly unlikely that there would be a large number of lease repos that quickly. I’ve seen something similar at Chevy dealers, where they have a large number of last year’s rental duty Suburbans with 18-25K miles as CPO vehicles.

        And sure, not all the cars at Hertz auto sales are former rentals, but a pretty good number are.

        Don’t same-make dealerships get first crack at some of the former rental cars that are in better shape? It’s my impression that the ones in crappier shape are the ones that get auctioned.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I suspect if a rental car company went to a dealer and said, “I want 20 Civics for rental purposes,” they’d probably get a good deal”

        You don’t seem to understand why critics are concerned about excessive fleet sales.

        High fleet sales are usually an indication of excess production. The automaker sells heavily into fleet because they make cars that consumers don’t want to buy. When the dumping gets fierce, then the profits fall with it.

        Some level of fleet sales can be useful. Toyota usually fleets around 10% or so as a tool for smoothing out production. Since they are generally able to maintain their margins and brand equity, that’s fine.

        The domestics are closer to 25-30%, with fleet sales on certain models being well above that. That sort of figure is usually an indication of some sort of branding weakness.

        Hyundai was unique, in that it began by producing more supply than demand (they needed to have the scale), but with the objective of eventually creating retail demand for that volume. So fleet sales were initially quite heavy, but have been partially phased out as retail sales increased. That was an out-of-the-box but intelligent way to use fleet sales.

        “is how dumping a crap load of American metal with higher relative depreciation at 20,000 miles after a year makes economic sense.”

        The major rental fleets traditionally purchased domestic cars accompanied by a buy-back/ price guarantee program. In effect, there are leases disguised as sales.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “High fleet sales are usually an indication of excess production. The automaker sells heavily into fleet because they make cars that consumers don’t want to buy. When the dumping gets fierce, then the profits fall with it.”

        But when Honda has overproduction, they just dump it in Ohio (for Accords, at least) for fleet-level prices. There are lease deals you can only get in Ohio, and dealers in other states won’t match them because the dealer incentive is only for Ohio. Sometimes as low as $129/mo. American Honda does this in Ohio only because Accords are made there (cheaper trucking costs).

        Seems like an exercise in vanity so they can say they have no fleet sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        Honda has some of the lowest incentives in the industry, consistently below the industry average.

        In contrast, the domestics have the highest incentives, which are consistently above average.

        There’s really no comparison. I know that the domestic fans like to believe that all of these companies are the same with respect to bad business practices, but they absolutely are not. Not even close, really.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        “I know that the domestic fans like to believe that all of these companies are the same with respect to bad business practices, but they absolutely are not.”

        Careful there, I’m not saying I’m a domestic fan or that they are the same at all or trying to be a snarky fanboi. I’m just trying to examine the issue carefully, and I truly appreciate your knowledge here.

        It seems like dumping overproduction in Ohio with cheap leases, as Honda does, isn’t that much different than the lease-buyback you’re describing for domestics, just on its face, but maybe there are subtle differences. By the way, when American Honda does this, you can see the lease deals pop up on deal-watcher-type sites, and people always say YMMV because most out-of-Ohio dealers absolutely will not match the pricing.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “It seems like dumping overproduction in Ohio with cheap leases, as Honda does, isn’t that much different than the lease-buyback you’re describing for domestics”

        Assuming that what you’ve described is correct (I don’t know whether this Ohio leasing program exists or not), it actually proves my point.

        A program deployed in a limited area, which does not have enough of an impact to change the national averages, is obviously small and fairly inconsequential. Honda continues to have some of the lowest incentives and fleet sales, regardless.

        You’re suffering from selection bias, i.e. the tendency to confuse anecdotes with data. Exceptions to the rule don’t disprove the rule.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Sure, dumping in a limited geographic location (even if Ohio is highly populous and more likely to buy Hondas than say South Dakota) is a bit different than selling into fleets. I suppose the number of vehicles is probably in the aggregate lower, but I don’t know what the number actually is relative to, say, Toyota.

        The effect on the used market is similar I guess — a dumped car is a dumped car, although likely to a lesser effect. Of course, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you look at the used Honda market. I was surprised by what even 100K+ 10-year old Hondas can go for.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “I suppose the number of vehicles is probably in the aggregate lower”

        There’s no supposing about it. As I noted, Honda has no fleet program and consequently very few fleet sales. That’s just a fact.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        A couple things I can say as a very frequent renter (average more than one a week due to short trips), all with Hertz the past five years, so I speak only of my observations at Hertz:

        1. They aren’t dumping anything after a year these days, they are keeping them 2-3 years, and upwards of 35-40K, especially the smaller, non-corporate locations. I suspect they are keeping most cars until just before the warranty ends. To me this shows how much flatter the depreciation is these days, and how much more reliable cars are. Back in the ’90s (I rented from Avis exclusively when they were GM-owned -shudder), I never, ever, ever got a car that was more than a year old with more than about 12K on it. A 15K Olds Unda-Achieva was a ragged out wreck in rental service. Things got MUCH better around the turn of the century. Today, even the PREMIUM cars are likely to have 25K+. I got a 40K Lincoln ClownCar in Colorado Springs last year. And again, I’m a top tier President’s Circle customer, so in theory I get the nicest cars they have when I arrive. CO Springs Hertz lot is obviously an automotive wasteland.

        2. They have relatively few American cars in thier fleet the past few years,and other than Panthers Fords are particularly scarce – I have gotten one Fusion ever (and rarely see them), and have never found a Focus or Fiesta to rent, and I tried. Being the big car geek that I am, I always look around the lot when staggering off my flight, and I will often ask to get switched to something interesting if I see it out there. The Hertz fleet is markedly Asian these days. And yes, they actually have plenty of Hondas. Nowhere near as many as Nissans, but I see plenty of Civics and Pilots kicking around. Accords too. They have an annoying tendency to consider Crown Bricks an “upgrade”. Ugh. The latest common upgrade is a loaded Passat, which is just fine with me. Very nice!

        3. They are getting MUCH nicer cars on average. All at least mid-trim levels, no strippers to be found once you get past the Aveo/KIA Rio level. And even those are probably loaded with the most recent ones. The price difference between a tiny car and a full-size is so small most of the time I can’t image anyone actualy rents them unless they have to – it is usually less than $6-8/day. I get something really small once in a while just for giggles if I am going somewhere I won’t be driving much.

        4. Companies DO use rental fleets as a marketing tool – Ford effectively GAVE Hertz a bunch of C-Max’s to put in thier “Gold Choice” area (I chatted up the manager in Atlanta). Which is really a great idea – I got to try a car I otherwise likely NEVER would have looked at, and I loved it! Recommended it to a friend who ended up buying one. Good job Ford. Supposedly VW is doing the same with Passats to some extent. Hertz had a TON of the current Sonata right when they were introduced, but no more – so I suspect a bit of this there too. Smart really, business travelers tend to be a pretty nice target market.

        So there you go, a customer side view of one of the rental Big 3. I have been traveling for a living for 18 years now across three jobs (same basic job, three different employers). Crapload of miles, both in the air and on the ground. In the next 10 days I will pick up rentals in Dallas, San Francisco, Newark, and Columbus.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The rental fleets place orders of very specific cars how do you think the Impallas w/o the standard side air bags got produced. Yes some mfgs often have stipulations on the model mix and colors if the rental company wants to qualify for the repurchase agreements.

        As krhodes noted the rental car companies are keeping their vehicles much longer on average than they used to. I’ve been given a car that was nearing 3 model years old and near 50K miles on it. Plus having your vehicles in rental fleets particularly if you make the rental company purchase other than the stippo base models can be good. It can get people in a car that they never would have shopped w/o having been “forced” into driving one as a rental.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        I agree that some of them aren’t the base level — a few weeks ago, I grabbed a leather/sunroof Ford Escape instead of the POS Hyundais that composed the rest of the row. No heated seats, although I got that once on a Pontiac several years ago.

      • 0 avatar

        Last time I rented car at Hertz they offered me to choose between Camry, Maxima, Sentra and some other non-descript Asian car, no American cars was offered (though I saw few on the lot). I chose Maxima because of my positive experience with previous gen rental Maxima which felt like muscle car. Man was I wrong! New Maxima behaved like a whale, felt kind of isolated from road and was awkward to drive, I would better ask for Camry!

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        @krhodes1 — Toyota has been doing fleet marketing with National as well — there was a big promo last year when they (inexplicably) refreshed the Avalon. The cars were exclusively on the Executive Selection and had “Learn more!” QR codes on them.

        National doesn’t keep cars nearly as long as Hertz — I rarely see one over 25k still — but I suspect it may just be that ERAC farms them out to Alamo or Enterprise to differentiate the premium brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It’s not like there was a Mercury Milan available last year of the year before it either. As I mentioned above at least at the dealers in my area the 2013 Fusion is still pretty scarce. When I look at dealer inventory a fair amount of what shows up is marked as dealer ordered and to contact the dealer to see when they expect delivery. This time last year the lots were reasonably stocked with Fusions.

      Finding the often maligned Hybrid version is very hard, they sometimes have a base model and then the jump is to the fully loaded version, nothing in between like I would purchase. I just can’t see paying $1000 for the adaptive cruise control for a car that will rack up most of it’s miles around town. When I do take road trips I can live with the old fashioned cruise.

    • 0 avatar
      LBJs Love Child

      Honda does indeed have a fleets sales division, or at least a “Government Sales” division. My former agency bought municipal fleets of Civics and Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Honda’s incentive spending was middling for much of the past 2 years and only just returned to levels near/at the bottom.

      For the past year or so, more Hondas went to fleet by way of dealership sales.

      Also, Toyota has been relying on fleet sales to get rid of excess inventory – which is why fleet %s for the Camry and Corolla have been higher than in the past.

      In addition, it’s perfectly normal for domestics to dominate fleet sales within their home markets.

      Toyota dominates fleet sales in Japan and VW in Germany.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    The new Fusions seem to be everywhere I look these days…and I like what I see.

    Honda is swimming in some dangerous waters. Yes, on the surface everything appears to be fine, but a blunder with one of three volume models and things could go badly in a hurry. Honda had several new vehicle launches that failed to resound with the consumer: CR-Z, Crosstour, Ridgeline, and Insight. Plus, a couple other models are not performing as well as they really should be (Odyssey and Fit). On top of all that, European market share is slipping away. When will a global partner emerge?

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Why oh why has Honda never offered a 2-door, larger bed Ridgeline? There are so many retired but active Americans with still-healthy finances that would adopt it as the uber-Nursery & Home Depot wagon.
      I’m 10 years shy of that demo but I’d be in line right with them.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Perhaps you live in Michigan? On the east and west coasts, I hardly see any new Fords. And, the few I do see are usually rentals. Before you start calling me a troll, better read this article. Earlier this week, it was passed among the traders on Wall Street. It contributed to the sell off in Ford stock. It claims Detroit vehicles are a no sell in the most important parts of the country … the east and west coast.

      money.cnn.com/2013/01/31/autos/
      detroit-car-sales-states.fortune/index.html

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Wall Street traders needed to pass around a CNN Money article to figure something out that was pretty common knowledge for anyone with a novice knowledge of the automotive markets in the US?

        And THAT article helped to contribute to a near immediate sell off?

        I thought you folks were hiring rocket scientists these days?

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Everyone knows this, and any analyst for automobile manufacturers already knew this. This article had nothing to do with Ford’s stock price going anywhere.

        Stock prices move in response to new information, and this is not new information. If there was a movement in response to new news (and I’m not talking about those idiot talking heads on CNBC BSing about why Ford’s stock moved), then it was because of the January sales figures.

      • 0 avatar
        Loser

        @ ajla, Yep, this is the same group of rocket scientists that helped caused the financial crisis in 2007-2008.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        @Loser

        Well, considering that the Wall St. banksters and hedge fund hucksters made fortunes the during run up to the financial crisis – these “rocket scientists” knew exactly what they were doing.

  • avatar
    thesparrow

    Fleet sales aside, Ford should enjoy this sales bump cuz methinks the novelty of the new Fusion is gonna wear off quick. Looks great from the front, but from the sides and rear it looks boring and cheap. Slab-sides and economy-car, not-enough-glass greenhouse. The new Accord isn’t exactly exciting either but at least it looks more expensive than it is – not so much the Fusion.

    The new Mazda 6 will poison both of them looks-wise. Actual sales numbers remain to be seen.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      I feel like you’re probably in the minority there. I’ve seen the new Fusion from all angles, and while the front is probably its best part, in my opinion it looks great all around. Certainly not cheap; and in Titanium and SE Appearance package guise it could pass for a $40k car easily. The 6 on the other hand is good but has cheap-looking door handles and too much DLO fail around the C-pillar.

  • avatar

    Definitely a good looking car, but Ford IS STUPID for not offering the Ecoboost 3.5-L optional in both the Fusion and MKZ. I’d make a sport model out of this that would be a BEAST. This Fusion with an AWD 3.5-liter could outrun SRT8′s if they kept weight down.

    I drove the MKZ 2013 with the 2.0l Ecboost. I’m waiting to test the 3.7-liter when it arrives. youtube.com/watch?v=HvbOJu27idI

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Yes, but then all the TTAC auto sales experts will say:

      “why would anyone buy an MKFusion with 3.5L Egoboost for $10,000 more than a Fusion with 3.5L Egoboost; don’t you know boosted engines with cars that heavy will fail at 30,000 miles, even though they have tons more horsepower and torque than the engines of yore that were far more burdened? Ford is just trying to kill Lincoln and make it a trimline.”

  • avatar
    SV

    It’s good to see the Fusion doing well – it’s one of my favorite midsize cars right now – but one really good month (and it’s worth noting the Accord had a still better one, up 75% over last year to the Fusion’s roughly 65%) isn’t necessarily indicative of a trend. Maybe six months from now some conclusions can be drawn; my guess is that the Fusion and Altima will be fighting for third place, with the Accord ahead by a reasonable amount and the Camry comfortably in the lead. On the other hand, Ford is typically quite slow to get inventories up to decent levels so the Fusion COULD do even better in the months ahead.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    A bland looking car with a horrible infotainment system and numerous recalls is not a game changer.

    The Ford love is insane. Had this article been about ANY other manufacturer, the first word out of the TTAC article would have been FLEET.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Not really. Fusion actually lost ground over same time last year.

    I believe Consumers Reports just gave the Fusion a relatively lastluster review and neglects to recommend it. Subpar engines and poor fuel economy. Not to mention those flaming turbos.

    Fusion is reprise 1996 Taurus: Fail. I’d love to see the incentives on the plus priced Fusion.

    Fusion allegedly owned sexy for 2 seconds. See Mazda6 if you want sexy now. Fusion=your next rental car.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Obvious (Honda) troll is obvious.

      They didn’t recommend it because there’s no reliability data for the new model yet. It easily scored high enough in their road tests.

      • 0 avatar
        piggybox

        Of course there isn’t. There are only predicted reliability for new models. It takes time to measure any real reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        And CR failed to say that the previous Fusion actually had a good reliability score. I think that with today’s reliability, people are making a big fuss for little real world difference with perhaps the worst case examples. in 1980, Popular Mechanics surveys showed that typically 50 percent of those surveyed had at least one trip to the dealer, for cars that were usually less than a year old. I read (on True Delta IIRC) that for the most unreliable makes today, half will make it through a year with zero trips for repair. A world of difference.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>Obvious (Honda) troll is obvious. They didn’t recommend it because there’s no reliability data for the new model yet. It easily scored high enough in their road tests.<<

        Looking for a troll? Try the mirror. And try reading what they wrote before commenting. Your comments are w/o merit.

        The Accord was highly recommended and it is just as new. They found the Fusion relatively poorly put together with an unseemly amount of assembly glitches. They actually said to wait a year or two for the Ford before leaping and they ranked the expensive Titanium edition in the bottom half or lower.

        Consumer Reports finds (Fusion's) small turbo engines don't deliver on fuel economy claims
        http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2013/02/consumer-reports-finds-small-turbo-engines-dont-deliver-on-fuel-economy-claims.html

        CR also finds the Fusion turbos slower than the competition besides being more thirsty. I would think this website would want to know the “truth” as reported by the US’s most trusted consumer goods rating org.

  • avatar
    ranwhenparked

    I don’t know if it’s exactly relevant or not, but January 2010 was the same point in the lifecycle of the previous version of the Fusion, and the current one is blowing that out of the water. This one exceeded combined sales of the previous Fusion, MKZ, and Milan by about 7,000 units in the first January following their launch. I’d say the 2013 Fusion had a pretty strong launch.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Mazda 6 has never sold well, and the new one will get it’s tires kicked, but buyers will go to big 4 middies. Mazda won’t make it alone and trying to be a ‘premium’ brand will fail too.

    The 1st gen Fusion was predicted to ‘fail’ by domestic bashers, and fans of the old Taurus, who called it ‘too Asian’. But, didn’t happen, and wont again, as much as one wishes.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I’m surprised nobody mentions the features of the car that help it sell. For instance, the Fusion is a rare Ford with the fuel filler on the driver’s side. That’s the magic ingredient with Accords and Camrys.

    • 0 avatar

      You joke right? On Accords and Camrys the filler comes on that side cause they’re engineered first for RHD market like Japan. Being that Ford Fusion is now same as Mondeo, I guess that part was done by Ford UK. My Ka has that feature too. Not only that but, being a hatch, the back wiper sweeps the wrong way. That was because it was primarily engineered by Ford UK so when they brought it over to Brazil they didn’t bother switching the way the blade wipes. In my book, minor fail.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        I thought the fuel door went on the driver’s side to keep him from driving away with the nozel still in the opening: saftey feature.

      • 0 avatar

        or maybe because the previous-gen Fusion was based on a Mazda platform?

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        Of course I was joking. Your explanation works for certain non-American cars and some American ones. The alternate explanation is that the fuel system from the tank to the engine is on one side, while the fuel filler is on the other. That, of course, doesn’t explain dual exhaust. My contention is that it’s a selling point for some because you usually pull to the right of the island at most American gas stations. Mercs and Beemers screw that up enough, so there’s no need for American models with the filler on the right, we peons can sneer because the Mercs and Beemers have to buy premium anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      German cars have filler doors on the right side because it’s safer on the autobahn to fill on that side.

      All the BOF (including Panther and truck) and minivan Fords I drove had it on the left (back then the minivans had no door on the left).

      First gen G35s had it on the right because Nissan was lazy (that’s why the radio, climate, and satnav knobs were on the right too).

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        WTF does the Autobahn have to do with filling the gas tank? You pull off the Autobahn and up to an island off the highway just like in any other country.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Safer to be away from traffic if you run out of gas and need to fill up with a red can — seems obvious to me.

        Of course, actually running out of gas on the autobahn is a ticketable offense.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave W

      I currently drive a focus and a fiesta. One has the filler on the left, one on the right. In the spring and fall when I’m driving them interchangeably I’m happy for the little arrow on gauge to know which side of the pump to pull up on, otherwise no big deal.

      Theoretically you want the filler on the passenger side of the car to make emergency fill ups on the side of the road safer. In practice it makes me think of when Chryslers had CW lug nuts on one side and CCW on the other for a theoretical advantage, that in actual use is a continual pain.

  • avatar
    PolestarBlueCobalt

    Why do people still buy those terrible Camrys and corollas? The are piles of shit. I rented a 2013 Camry( hoping to get a fusion) and I was actually surprised at how not-much-better it was than the already mediocre last generation. The interior put me off as much as how it drove. The corolla is self explanatory. 4-speed, drum brakes, and a shitty interior even by 2006 standards. its basically the same car that debut in 2000. It just got uglier over the years.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    This article fails to mention that Ford Fusion buyers had to wait because of the 1.6L EcoBoost fire problem. All these people that would have bought their Fusion in December had to wait till January. This artificially elevated Fusion sales in January. Even with the pent up buyers, Fusion was still unable to catch Camry or Accord.

  • avatar
    autoguy

    I have driven both cars and I have visited the many Honda and Ford dealers in my area. The Fusions are in very short supply with only a few in stock at one dealer and none at all at another dealer. Whereas all of the Honda dealers are well stocked. Although I found the Accord competent with many nice features, its bland. overly conservative and totally uninspired styling left me cold (even the salesman had trouble distinguishing the 2012 model from this so-called new Accord). There is no doubt in my mind that the Fusion completely routs the Accord in styling. It also has a sportier handling and rode much better and was quieter than the Accord, especially over rough pavement. I also listened to the 2.4 engine idling from outside the car and it was very loud (I have had many Hondas over the years and my experience is that for the most part you can barely hear the engine it idle). I think Honda completely dropped the ball in styling and hopefully Honda well hire new design studios so that there cars well styled more like the Fusion, Optima and new Mazda 6 all of which utterly outclass the Accord in styling.

  • avatar
    murphysamber

    yeah…but how many were sold in Detroit? I’m just curious because when all it takes is a faint pulse and some A-Z plan papers you could get into one of these things for well under 200 a month on a 24 month lease. for $145 a month I’d give up german cars for two years to drive a rental. For $266 my wife is now in a Traverse 2LT and that was with $1500 of Jetta payoff in the trunk. It’s a nice car, and a hell of lot better than the previous versions, but I feel bad for any rube in the D who actually financed one. Talk about a flooded market of highly depreciated cars in a couple years.

  • avatar
    Loser

    IMHO Ford is losing some sales because no V6 option is available. Many folks are uncomfortable with the idea of a turbo and the recalls are not helping to calm those concerns. Call me stuck in the past but I’d rather have a V6 in this type of car.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      You and lots of people on this site would think that, but plenty of Accord, Camry, and Altima buyers stick with the 4-cylinder.

      Does anyone know what percentage of Fusions sold were V6s when they were offered? People say this V6 comment all the time, but hard to know if it’s actually true.

      (it seems like the laughable comments about BMWs only having 6-cylinders…)

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Not sure about the Fusion specifically but in the midsize class the V6 take rate has been quite low, probably 10-15% tops. It doesn’t help that the base engines now offer more than adequate power with superior fuel efficiency.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah but they offer also option of nice V6 if you prefer to buy one. I have impression that Japanese understand American customers better than American educated MBAs. Why not to offer more choices? In Europe cars offered with like 5-6 different engines. E.g. you can buy Buick Regal in Europe with V6. How things changed, now Japanese and European offer big powerful cars and Detroit offers smaller cars with I4 only option.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Japanese and European manufacturers do not bank the majority of their profits on larger Truck/SUV/CUV type vehicles, whereas the domestics do. Thus the CAFE monster in this case seems to force them into a corner and offer fewer engine options.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I actually appreciate Ford offering the V6 as a Lincoln only option right now. Not only does it give Lincoln one exclusive powertrain option, but it leaves room in a few years for a Fusion “SHO” edition with V6 and a really great suspension.

      • 0 avatar
        corntrollio

        Plus, as I mentioned on the MKZ thread, it keeps TTAC auto executive-wannabes from saying, “why would I buy a Lincoln MKFusion with 3.5 Egoboost, when I can buy a Fusion with 3.5 Egoboost for $10,000 cheaper? Lincoln is just making chromed overpriced Mercurys.”

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        I’m glad they do it too, as it surely helps Toyota, Honda, and Nissan keep their powerful, smooth, and durable V6s selling in sufficient numbers to make them viable. It is quite selfless of Ford to shaft their customers to help sell other cars.

      • 0 avatar
        PintoFan

        I’m sure Toyota executives would be thrilled to hear someone describe one of their V6s as “durable.”

        As for Nissan and Honda, it’s pretty meaningless to design a great engine and then back it up with a transmission made out of discarded china. Maybe they should take a hint from Toyota and stick to cribbing GM powertrain designs.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Lincoln is just making chromed overpriced Mercurys.”

        Mercury by definition (post 1980) is a trimmed up Ford product. Did something change and Lincoln stopped being Mercury because that’s what they are at the moment.

        It’s like I suggested in the past, Mercury became a way for Ford to maximize plat capacity without changing the product/assembly and offer Lincoln dealers Fords to sell without irking the existing Ford dealers. The only thing that changed is Lincoln dealers stopped getting real Lincolns to sell alongside the Mercuried Fords, Ford is still able to maximize their capacity and build two models on a similar platform (a la what GMC is to Chevrolet)

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    Got to disagree. Turbos are great. It’s just the Ford ones seem like dogs. Compare either BMW or Audi with their turbo engines to V-6 engines.

    In C and D they had a turbo A4 rip off a 14.4 quartermile (with only 211 HP) and a 240 HP BMW rip off a 14.2 quartermile. A new Nissan Altima with the 3.5 liter rips off a quartermile in 14.6 seconds. But a Ford..well you are looking at 15 seconds.

    In the real world a turbo engine is very much a match for an older tech Japanese V-6. Ford is on the right track. But their performance doesn’t match the specs.

    Whereas the Germans know how to maximize these things despite in theory having far less horsepower. The thing is a good turbo hits its torque peak at 1250-1500 rpm. Whereas the V-6′s take a while to hit their peak. They don’t have enough displacement to make up for their torque curve issues.

    Don’t get a modern GM DI V-6 can beat the German low displacement turbos. But Toyota, Mazda, Nissan and Honda aren’t using those kind of engines.

    Interestingly enough the Japanese are falling well behind in engine design. Switching over to DI late in the game and only in 4 cylinders.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    In the review of the 2013 Accord the reviewer missed the fact that the model he tested had a backup camera. Big deal? Maybe not, but considering the size of the screen in the middle of the dash I just wonder how thorough a review that was. Maybe he never put the Accord in reverse?

    As for Ford’s Fusion, “Truth” missed what Consumer Reports did not, the fact that its EcoBoost engines deliver inferior performance in both acceleration and economy.

    Here’s what Truth missed:

    Consumer Reports finds small turbo engines don’t deliver on fuel economy claims
    http://news.consumerreports.org/cars/2013/02/consumer-reports-finds-small-turbo-engines-dont-deliver-on-fuel-economy-claims.html

    “…The latest example is the collection of EcoBoost Ford Fusions we tested, which come with small, direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder engines. The smallest one—a 1.6-liter producing 173 hp—is a $795 option over the basic conventional 2.5-liter four cylinder on Fusion SE models. But that car’s 0-60 mph acceleration time trails most competitors, and its 25 mpg overall places it among the worst of the crop of recently-redesigned family sedans. The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima, all with conventional 2.4- or 2.5-liter four-cylinder engines, get an additional 2, 5, and 6 mpg, respectively. And all accelerate more quickly.

    The larger among Ford’s EcoBoost four-cylinder engines, the turbocharged 231-hp, 2.0-liter, is billed as having the power of a V6 but delivering the fuel economy of a four-cylinder. However, our so-equipped Fusion Titanium returned 22 mpg (which pales against the 25 and 26 mpg we recorded for the best V6 family sedans), slower acceleration and reduced refinement compared to its V6-powered peers….”

    CR states that BMW turbos did not perform poorly like the Fusion’s.

    Ford Fusion: slow and thirsty. & you just gotta wonder how durable too.


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