By on October 1, 2013

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With the Flat Rock assembly plant on the cusp of sending cars to dealerships, the Ford Fusion could potentially sell 300,000 units this year, becoming the first car nameplate from Ford to cross that mark in a decade. But to catch the best-selling Toyota Camry, Ford will have to have capacity for 400,000 units – something that could happen as early as 2014.

With plants in Hermosillo, Mexico and Flat Rock running at full capacity, Ford will apparently have the capacity to take the sales crown from the Toyota Camry. This year, Ford will have to set its sights lower, with one Kelly Blue Book analyst telling The Detroit News is “definitely attainable”.

The mid-size segment is undoubtedly America’s most competitive, with the Camry and Fusion facing competition from the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu as well. While the Camry has a comfortable lead on the second place Honda Accord (and will almost certainly cross the 300,000 unit once September’s sales figures are released), Toyota executives have taken drastic measures to ensure the Camry hangs on to its crown.

Ironically, some observers fear that by shooting for 400,000 units, Ford would see its profits on the model reduced as the average transaction price falls – something that has dogged the Camry this year. But if the Fusion did become America’s best-seller it would be a “game changer” of sorts, as the first car to claim the crown from the Camry in over a decade.

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119 Comments on “Ford Gearing Up For 400,000 Fusions In 2014...”


  • avatar
    jimmyy

    Here we go again. Toyota’s year end Camry incentives were not a big deal, and were lower than incentives offered my many other mid sized producers, including Fusion. Camry’s transaction price is lower because Toyota focuses on providing a large number of near base LE models relative to the higher priced XLE. Ford, on the other hand, can not compete with Toyota on price. For Ford to turn a profit they must stuff the marketplace with a higher percentage of high end models. So, the same firm that brought you 47/47/47 is trying to spin this into a negative Toyota hit piece. Ford, the only way you will sell 400000 vehicles is to slash prices and increase fleet dumping beyond current levels. Currently, Fusions appear low demand vehicles in Boston and Los Angeles. Their appear to be many sitting idle on dealer lots. It is tough selling a brand on the coasts that ranks near last in Consumer Reports reliability. That is your problem. In my opinion, Ford is the desperate automaker attempting to make Fusion a player facing the hurdle of selling a vehicle with lower than average reliability at a premium price. It’s like they think the average joe is so enamored by an Austin Martin grill that they will make a snap emotional decision and overpay for less reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Agreed. Historically, Ford has been #1 in fleet sales and something like 1/3 of Fusions were fleet.

      Now, just when it’s lifeblood, the F series pickup is considered to be behind the Dodge and GM twins, it’s ramping up production of the Fusion, which again, is far from class leading.

      As word gets out about how poorly the Ecoboosts perform I suspect the Fusion become once again the fleet leader. And the Fusion comes nowhere close to #1 w/o massive fleet sales.

      Clearly, Ford must be severely disappointed in the also ran status of its severely overhyped Fusion. Guerilla marketing – yes. Game – changer? You have got to be kidding.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        The Fusion is far from class leading? Says who? Every midsize sedan comparison has it at or near the top.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          Not really.

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            I just did a quick googling. Every midsize sedan review from Popular Mechanics to USNews to Car & Driver has it at or near the top.

            Where are you getting your information?

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Haters dun need facts. The Fusion certainly has raised the bar and has other automakers scrambling.

            You’ll just have to take my word for it.

          • 0 avatar
            jz78817

            “Where are you getting your information?”

            rectal extraction, apparently.

          • 0 avatar
            papaj1

            The Camry is a fine car, but it is dowdy-looking and technologically dated compared to the Fusion.

            U.S. News & World Report, which rolls up numerous expert & user reviews, has 2 Fusions among its Top 4 midsize sedans, so Ford must be doing something right.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            You are right. Ford has done something right. You must know how the game works. Stuff second and third class car reviewers with advertising payola to score a positive review. You must know there is a strong correlation between the number of ad dollars flowing to a publication and the rank the publication assigns the vehicle. I thought everyone knew this, and that is why Consumer Reports exists. CR is a true testing service that does not take ad payola and actually runs long term statistical trends on reliability. Many of the other publications just accept ad money then reprint the carmakers sales talking points.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Dude, Toyota is going crazy with ads and incentives on the Camry. I commute by car and hear continual Camry ads in the morning and night. They are saturating the airwaves on TV, too. Lease deals are sweet as can be. Dealers are cutting killer deals off of MSRP. The result is a lot of sales and low profit margins. I know you love Toyota, and with good reason. But to pretend that they are conducting business the way Toyota used to is pure fantasy, a combination of Santa Clause with the tooth fairy for good measure.

            There is nothing wrong with a Camry, in fact I’d bet the ranch that it will be more reliable than the Fusion. But the majority of buyers will find its reliability to be more than good enough. “Average” today would be a nice round red CR dot 8 years ago. Time to face the fact that the lock on the midsize market is broken and in a few years (or less) the leader will likely not be a Camry.

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          And we know what happens if someone gives a Ford a lousy review.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Wait – so shipping a higher number of low-margin cars just to keep the sales crown, which in and of itself does nothing but give you bragging rights, is better than shipping higher-margin premium models that make more profit? Is this the new math?

      And what the hell is an Austin Martin?

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Last year, the Camry was all-new while Ford was selling the old Fusion for much of the year.

      And despite that, Toyota actually sent more Camrys to RENTAL fleet than Ford did the Fusion – 52,768 for the Camry vs. 46,197 for the Fusion.

      YTD for 2013, the Fusion has lower incentives than the Camry while at the same time, having an ATP that is nearly $2,400 more than the Camry.

      For August, the Camry had a lower ATP than the “lipstick on a pig” Chrysler 200.

      And since Ford will be been selling the new Fusion for all of 2013, the Camry’s lead in rental sales should grow.

      The Camry is selling based on cheap pricing and (rental) fleet sales.

      The Accord and Altima have higher ATPs/lower incentive spending and yet still sell in volume.

      • 0 avatar
        goldtownpe

        Every year the media makes comments that the latest and greatest whatever new sedan will surpass the Camry or Accord in sales, yet the Camry and Accord continues to out sell them all by significant margins especially if you remove fleet sales. Maybe when someone actually out sells the champs then they can make a big deal about.

        Camry also sold 298,996 to retail customers vs 157,074 for the Fusion. Fusion has a higher RENTAL fleet percentage than Camry. Toyota also made more profit than Ford. So ATP doesn’t matter at the end of the day. Profit does. Apparently Toyota can produce the Camry cheaper, so the savings is passed on to the consumer. What’s wrong with that?

        BTW, Altima sent 69,011 out of 297,770 to fleet. Higher percentage than Fusion.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          Ford simply doesn’t have the production to match the Camry, even with Flat Rock production.

          Again, more Camrys went to RENTAL fleet in 2012 than Fusions and the Camry was new while the new Fusion didn’t hit the lots ’til the end of the year.

          Unlike for the Camry, Honda has been able to keep sales and ATP of the Accord high and rental fleet sales down.

          There’s a problem when Toyota, an import make, sends more of the Yaris, Corolla and Camry to Rental fleet (in 2012) than Ford did of the Fiesta, Focus and Fusion.

          The Yaris, Corolla and Camry did not only have abnormally high rental fleet rate percentages for 2012, but also the lowest (if not the lowest) ATP for their respective segments.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            I think you know the answer here. Toyota stopped many/most fleet sales in 2011 because of the earthquake in Japan. They had a lot of fleet customers who had to wait till 2012 for a purchase. It is now 2013 and the earthquake distortion is over. How about focusing on 2013 data instead of cherry picking earthquake data points.

            Also mid sized cars are a commodity. The maker with the lowest price on the commodity wins. Go ahead and pay the highest average transaction price for a commodity if you want.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Give me a break.

            Toyota was well beyond fulfilling its rental fleet backlog in 2012.

            In 2011, 43,278 Camrys went to fleet (14.8%) so Toyota did cut back in fleet sales a little that year.

            But in 2010, Toyota sent 56,799 Camrys to fleet (17.3%) – so Toyota sending 57,204 Camrys to fleet (16.1%) in 2012 is more in line with 2010 than 2011.

            Furthermore, the Camry is built in the US, so it didn’t really have the supply issues that Japanese-built models did and yet, Toyota still sent a whopping 52.2% of the Japanese built Yaris to fleet in 2011, as well as 19.4% of the Corolla.

            So, supplying fleet in 2011 wasn’t really problematic for Toyota.

            Try to keep up with the FACTS.

            As for ATP, it’s not like the Camry is much more cheaper than a similarly equipped Fusion or Accord.

            The difference is that a higher % of Fusion and Accord buyers are opting for higher trims/more options b/c those models are desirable (if people really wanted “cheap” – they can buy a Mitsu but they don’t), whereas Camry buyers tend to go for the base or maybe the mid-level trim (since, as you correctly state, the Camry is a commodity, or more accurately, an “appliance” – whereas competitors like the Fusion and Accord tug at the heart).

            There was a time when Toyota could sell the Camry on volume and still charge a premium; which is something that Honda has managed to keep doing with the Accord.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I think we’re all confused on the stigma of having high fleet sales. It’s not the end of the world, and for what it’s worth, Toyota May be doing it on purpose. Besides…*someone* has to produce the ubiquitous everyman’s car.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            They are doing it on purpose. Just like Ford did years ago with the Taurus. The end result was the old bull had the highest depreciation and the “fleet” stigma. Of course, a lot of loaded Taurus models made for some good used cars. Toyota had a better reputation so the impact from flooding the market will likely be less, but it is quite telling that the brand that could call the shots can no longer do so. And some are just having a problem accepting that. It simply is no longer 1995.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      If Ford is “stuffing the marketplace” with high-end Fusions, and people are actually buying them, I’d count that as a win for Ford.

      The mere suggestion that people would pay the equivalent of $30,000+ for a Ford family sedan would have been ridiculed in 2003.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      “Fusions appear low demand vehicles in Boston”…what? Though I live about an hour away from Boston, Fusions, at least Hybrids, were selling very quickly earlier this summer. I had trouble even getting a test drive!

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        Fusion are a rare event on the Mass Pike and around the Wellesley area. Recently, I saw a Boston Globe article showing top 10 selling vehicles in the Boston metro. Guess what … no Fusion in sight.

        • 0 avatar
          toxicroach

          Why in God’s name are you guys arguing about how many you happened to see around town? We have actual sales numbers to talk about. Whether the car is popular in Boston or not is irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            But, the Ford marketing machine keeps telling all how the Fusion is the big game changer in the import heavy east and west coasts. Unfortunately, hard to get any data on that talking point. But, I have seen top selling lists in Mass, CA, and the NY areas. None show the Fusion as a big seller, which runs counter to the Ford marketing spin. And, the smell test, which is what I see, also runs counter to the Ford marketing spin. None of this should amaze me as the same marketing team promoted 47/47/47. It is relavent since Ford marketing put the “Fusion killing imports on the coasts” party line into play.

          • 0 avatar
            bd2

            Fusion sales have increased exponentially in California, they just don’t have the supply to meet demand which is why certain Fusion trims have had a 12-16 day supply.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Ford gets all kinds of sloppy, wet lovin’ on TTAC. It’s the anti-GM post-Farago.

    Should Ford announce that it has increased production capacity of the Fusion to 1 million units annually, TTAC would reflexively pen a headline that reads “Ford set to sell more than 2 Fusions for every 1 Camry sold by Toyota in U.S.”

    And then Alex Dykes, Michael Karesh or someone else would scribe a comparison test between the Fusion & Mercedes E350 where the Fusion would register a non-price adjusted knock out, sweeping 19 of 20 categories.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      May I ask what your issue with Ford is? Or is this just a case of “haters gonna hate?”

      I’ve been unimpressed with most sedans the Detroit-based automakers have put out over the last decade, but I’d be hard pressed to choose an Accord or Mazda6 over the Fusion.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I’ve said this many times before, but don’t mind repeating it: I actually think the new Fusion has the best chassis and exterior styling in its segment, and is tied with the Mazda6 for best in class steering feel. It also happens to have the lowest amount of road noise, and best sorted suspension in its class.

        I do not like the dash, however, with the mono gauge & especially in the touch screen operated-everything trim levels, I can’t stand their choice of powertrains they offer (with the exception of the hybrid), and most critically, I am wary of the new Fusion’s reliability prospects over the long haul (despite the fact that the last gen one with a Mazda-shared 2.5 liter motor proved reliable).

        If the Fusion had the proven reliability of the Accord with the interior design of the Mazda6, it would be the best vehicle in its segment by a long way.

        With that said, I detest Ford’s dealership modus operandi based on three prior experiences (with 3 different Ford vehicles), believe they charge too much for their wares (the Mustang being an exception), and don’t have confidence in the long term durability/reliability of many of their current gen vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      “Ford gets all kinds of sloppy, wet lovin’ on TTAC?”

      Then why did Ford Of Canada cancel Derek’s next press loaner, deny future loaners, and refuse to answer the phone or emails after his (Fusion-based) Lincoln MKZ review?

      In bed with each other AND not on speaking terms…sounds like a troubled relationship!

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        My point is that the “TTAC Staff,” at LEAST implicitly, and DEFINITELY bizarrely, has just correlated PRODUCTION CAPACITY and SALES, in a very stealthy way, when they have little to do with each other necessarily, in an attempt to suggest that a ramp up in production capacity equals an increase in sales, let alone in a sufficient quantity to overtake the Camry as the #1 selling sedan in the U.S.

        By the way,reliability is what sells vehicles in sales crown leading volume in this segment, and by this metric, it would be patently untrue for anyone to proclaim the Camry (or Accord) should be sweating the Fusion.

        The Fusion is quite a distance away from Camry & Accord sales as it is, and I doubt it’s for lack of manufacturing capacity.

        • 0 avatar
          Sam P

          “My point is that the “TTAC Staff,” at LEAST implicitly, and DEFINITELY bizarrely, has just correlated PRODUCTION CAPACITY and SALES, in a very stealthy way, when they have little to do with each other necessarily”

          So your theory is that Ford is planning to invest in increased production capacity for the Fusion when they aren’t planning an increase in sales?

          Please explain.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            ” your theory is that Ford is planning to invest in increased production capacity for the Fusion when they aren’t planning an increase in sales?

            Please explain.”

            If the logic in your question is correct, why doesn’t Ford “invest in increased production capacity” of the Fusion more along the lines of 600,000 units, or 1,000,000?

            Increased production capacity causes a proportional increase in sales, yes?

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            You can’t seriously compare 400,000 units to a million units. That’s the difference between being the leading car in the class and completely controlling the class with no competitors.

            Ford could conceivably hit the 400k figure with a large proportion of fleet sales and some serious discounting. Trying to do that while maintaining its current price points and fleet percentages probably wouldn’t work, though.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            The fundamental point that I’m making remains constant.

            I merely stretched the numbers to emphasize that point.

            p.s. – I should have read the TTAC Staff article more closely, because some paragraphs don’t even make sense as written; for example:

            “With plants in Hermosillo, Mexico and Flat Rock running at full capacity, Ford will apparently have the capacity to take the sales crown from the Toyota Camry. This year, Ford will have to set its sights lower, with one Kelly Blue Book analyst telling The Detroit News is “definitely attainable”. “

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “The fundamental point that I’m making remains constant.”

            If you’re claiming that Ford can’t generate deliveries of 400,000 units under any circumstances, then I’ve already addressed why that isn’t necessarily a good assessment.

            One should also note that Ford production does not equal US-only sales. Some of those units will end up in Canada.

            I would also presume that these numbers include MKZ production.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I’m sure Ford could sell as many Fusions as they could make, just as almost any automaker could of any particular model, if the price is low enough.

            Hell, I’d consider a Fusion SE if it carried a $3,500 real transaction price discount relative to a comparably equipped Accord, and Ford tossed in a 10 year/100,000 mile bumper to bumper, no deductible warranty.

  • avatar
    Jase

    I don’t understand how Fusion is going to increase sales in such a competitive segment. I would expect Honda Accord and Mazda6 to be the most likely to increase their market share in this segment. Fusion is a nice car, but it doesn’t look that strong vs. it’s competition in terms of price, reliability, real-world fuel economy, and even performance and design.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I realize looks are subjective, but the Fusion looks hot, hot, hot. The Mazda 6 looks good too, but they havent got a hope in hell of ever touching Ford’s volume with lesser brand recognition, dealer network, capacity. Not when the Fusion looks as good or better and is very competitive. Style still sells in this segment, and the Fusion has it.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “Style still sells in this segment, and the Fusion has it.”

        I think what sells more, especially in this segment, is good reliability and a decent price. A good looking car is just the cherry on top.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          As autos have become more reliable, style has become more and more important.

          And buyers nowadays will pay a premium for a model with good styling.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            “As autos have become more reliable…”

            Here’s the rub. Toyota and Honda have a reputation of reliability built up over decades. Right or wrong, most buyers, especially in this segment, will associate these two brands with a more reliable product.

            The Camry, as style challenged as it is, is still the leader in this segment (287,119 units sold) with the Accord (256,926 units sold) bringing up a strong second. The Fusion (206,320 units sold) is fourth behind the Nissan Altima ( 228,297 units sold).

            Toyota and Honda’s reputations precede them. When Ford proves that the consumer can have very good reliability and stunning looks more customers will come their way.

            (sales numbers from Jan-Aug 2013, sourced from GoodCarBadCar.net)

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Toyota still holds the reliability crown. I don’t think anybody is challenging that. But the previous Fusion had a good reliability record. And assuming this one can continue to be at least as good, that level of reliability will satisfy most buyers. Mike Karesh has said that his data indicates that the worst vehicle would likely prove to be trouble free in the first year for half the buyers. And that’s the WORST vehicle. In 1990 that would be pretty awesome. So, even if the Fusion is just average in reliability, there simply are not going to be many trips to the dealer. I would be more worried about 8 years from now and turbo issues. That could kill Ford if issues become common…

      • 0 avatar
        jimmyy

        “Style still sells in this segment”. There is a difference between style and an Aston Martin Rapide knockoff. In the circles I run in ( Wellesley, MA, Newport Beach, CA, Upper East Side Manhattan near 75th and Madison ) driving an Aston Martin knockoff is downright embarassing. Perhaps blue collar areas are more acceptable to such style.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          “In the circles I run in ( Wellesley, MA, Newport Beach, CA, Upper East Side Manhattan near 75th and Madison )…”

          Those areas aren’t exactly in love with Toyota or Honda either.

        • 0 avatar

          In circles where I run in (SF Bay area) driving an Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Bently and etc is considered as a crime against humanity, ripping off 99% of the American people and waging war against the planet and solar system in general. We prefer bicycles or Teslas. Poor people drive Mercedes, Lexus or BMW though and are looked upon with disdain.

        • 0 avatar
          TheAnswerIsPolara

          They used to say that about the Rolls Royce grille on the Town Cars and Continentals in the 70′s. I always thought Lincoln did a good job, even if it was a rip-off.

          IMO, pictures of the Fusion come off looking like a fish. But, in person, it’s rather handsome.

          Maybe I’m just too “blue collar”. Guess that’s better than being “Blue Blood”.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “But, in person, it’s rather handsome.”

            Completely agree. I think it’s one of the more extreme examples of reality being better than photos.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      They’re going to raise the horsepower by 5-10hp, and slightly tweak the styling.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Double Post, ARGH!

    • 0 avatar
      bryanska

      Distribution.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      My brother is looking to replace his ’07 Fusion. It has been an outstanding car for him and he would like to replace it with another but the lack of a V6 is a deal breaker for him. Just wonder how many sales may be lost due to no V6.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        This is the exact complaint that an old codger I know voiced.

        He was finally ready to retire his old Taurus with the 3.8L and asked me to go with him (after lunch) one day to the Ford dealer to go car-shopping.

        The sales guy kept pushing the Fusion. The old codger was stealing glances at every sedan on the showroom floor. Still, the sales guy kept pushing him toward the Fusion.

        The old codger kept asking the sales guy about whether or not each car he was looking at had a V6. Only ONE sedan had. Not a happy ending.

        Finally, after about an hour of looking around and walking the lot, the sales manager comes out and asks the old codger for his drivers license to make a copy of, under the pretense that the old codger can take a vehicle he likes for a test drive. Not a good suggestion since he hasn’t seen anything that he is even remotely interested in.

        This codger’s an old Ford man from way back when sedans still had the big V8 in them and he doesn’t want a sedan with anything less than a V6 in it. It took an awful lot of adjusting just to get used to that 3.8L V6 in his ancient Taurus.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’m sure a decent percentage but not enough for it to really matter.

  • avatar
    ash78

    They should keep the Fusion semi-premium, IMHO. I agree with previous comments that Toyota had to push a TON of base model Camries to achieve these numbers, and at what cost? Ford needs to keep their margins intact and capitalize on the fact that they have a premium LOOKING and FEELING car already, especially compared to Camry. Comparison shoppers should be willing to pay an extra grand or two for that, just as they typically do for Accord.

    And if they won’t pay, to paraphrase Marx, Ford probably doesn’t want them as customers.

    You probably thought I meant Karl Marx.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      “I agree with previous comments that Toyota had to push a TON of base model Camries to achieve these numbers, and at what cost?”

      I think Toyota’s strength is that they *can* push a TON of base model Camrys and make a decent profit on each one. I think part of their strategy is to offer LEs at good prices, rather than push LTZs and Platinums at inflated prices that may scare people away.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        Our neighbor has had a few leased Camrys as her company car. Every time she looked at something different – she WANTED something other than another Camry – Toyota basically gave her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

        They were/are pretty basic models, too, FWIW.

        So, how come no one criticizes Toyota for buying customers, but skewering the others, especially GM and Ford if they did/do the same?

        Pro-foreign OEM bias appears to be in force.

        I’ll say it: GO FORD!

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        People would buy higher trim/loaded Camrys if they desired them.

        Kia started offering the SX-L trim on the Optima b/c of customer demand.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Anyone who would pay a premium for the looks of an Accord is too blind to be allowed to drive it. Accords are sold for their record of reliability and resale value.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I think Ford will iron out the initial problems with the Fusion. I agree that Ford should concentrate more on the premium models and more on quality. Let Camry have No 1 and watch Toyota’s quality slip as they push more volume. GM needs to learn this lesson as well and concentrate on quality. Much better to have more demand for a model than supply than to have too much inventory and have a higher defect rate. Concentrate on quality first and growing a customer base with a quality product

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    I always wondered why Ford was so quick to source the vehicle to Flat Rock and not increase capacity in HSAP (which was very feasible). I think I just came to a revelation –
    Each plant has a on site Product Development team of engineers referred to as the ‘Plant Vehicle Team’ or PVT. It makes a lot of sense to increase the breadth of knowledge of this group and get a 2nd PVT close to Dearborn. Why lean on your Mexican engineering team when you can get a more robust engineering base to work on current model product?

    God help the fusion if they build it in OAC. That PVT struggles. But 3 plants are better than 1. I saw KTP and DTP work together and while it isn’t a shining example of team work, its like a 1.4 heads are better than one.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The PVT at KTP were a good bunch to work with. Or at least were when Curt was there. Not sure if he’s back yet.

    • 0 avatar

      Given the recent “investment” by the Ontario government, I have no doubt they’ll bring the Fusion to Oakville. Man cannot live by Flexes alone.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Doesn’t Oakville still make the Edge/MKX as well as the Flex/MKT? It’s too bad the Explorer has basically killed the Flex and MKT. The Explorer Sport is the final bullet.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @Derek….Ford is certainly a big hit with the Canadian consumer. It would be wonderfull to see some Fusion production up here.

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        CD539 (CD4.2) will be OAC. New Edge. I’m sure the MkX or Mark Whatever will be CD538 or something… so just refer to it as CD53X.

        What I am yearning to see is will they keep the D platform alive via livery sales with D472? Complexity wouldn’t be an issue. But would OAC dare launch CD4.1 and 4.2 while they get rid of Automodular (third party manufacturer that makes power packs for their ‘moon buggies’ on OAC Chassis) and integrate a 2nd tier compensation? I doubt it. OAC will also be bringing in part sequencing that they outsourced to whatever MP&L third party (probably DHL or UPS). Judging from the past, any major Launch at OAC will arrive with major issues. 2007 U38X caused the entire plant management to get fired. OAC hourly chanted ‘f*ck you’ to the plant manager when he got up to the podium while Mark Fields stood by during a congratulatory speech (old plant manager got promoted to a director – go figure). They just recently ripped out the old Freestar Body Shop.

        OAC: Suppliers absolutely dread it, and Bennie Fowler loathes it. Oakville is a beast. It’s parking lot looks like an emptied out liquor shop’s dumpster during the weekend when it’s empty. The plant is and always will be a dinosaur. Romantic, ridiculous and obscene. It’s miraculous modern production can be done along the 403 so close to expensive-as-f*ck Toronto.

        • 0 avatar
          tresmonos

          Want to give a little more history on OAC: The plant went from a crew style division of a work week to traditional shifts when U38X was introduced. The workforce revolted as many had side jobs that had to be abandoned.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    That’s a lot of ugly vehicles in fleets that will have to be recalled.

  • avatar

    Fusion is what the Taurus should have been.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    If only Ford had kept the old midsize Taurus up-to-date and Camry competitive (in both quality and volume), we wouldn’t be having this conversation. There would BE no Fusion.

    Ford is STILL digging out of the hole they dug by relying so much on light trucks in the 90s. What I find so impressive is that they’re almost out of that hole.

    I’m just wondering if they’ll be satisfied with the Fusion coming CLOSE to beating the Camry in annual sales, or if they MUST WIN AT ALL COSTS, so they can lord it over Toyota in the marketing.

    You have to admit, anyone who is able to dethrone the Camry will have some serious bragging rights, and with good reason: bringing that beast down would be a Herculean feat.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The Accord is not that far off from taking down the Camry. If Honda was willing to cut its profit margin on the Accord and match the Toyota on incentives and do some direct fleet sales they could take out the Camry very easily.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    What really gives the Fusion the edge in this market is its appearance of good value, looking akin to whats perceived as a sophisticated luxury car while being affordable.

    And yet, whenever I see the front end I compare it to Ford Fiestas and C-Max’s more than Aston Martins, so to me it just says “cheap”.

    I hope people get used to it though, the next Mustangs going to have the very same Fiesta-face.

  • avatar
    rolladan

    It’s always the same… Yes new toyotas have the least exciting cars blah blah but any quality issues they have it’s rarely stuff that keeps the car from driving. What is a car? It’s a mode of transportation for 90 % of the population which is why they sell. Us 10%ers can buy the other options but that doesn’t lead to many sales. Just mho

  • avatar
    marc

    I am shocked that TTAC used the term ‘game changer’ once again for the Fusion. New Fusions are crowding rental, municipal and taxi fleets. If Ford is serious about volume, this will only increase, and margins and transaction prices will fall. That is truly the only way Fusion can make any significant bump in sales, I don’t care how attractive it is. Then what will you say? By the end of the year, Fusion will be 50,000 units better than its best year. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. But without dramatically chasing the lower end of the market, that’s about as high as they can go. Will you really be so impressed with a fleet of hub capped, white, stripper Fusions selling at 16,000 and 0% APR? Will you call them out as you do Camry? Or will this be written up in a year as Fusion’s next game changing strategy?

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      “TTAC Staff” (aka Derek in this case) just can’t resist “game changer” as a phrase to use in conjunction with anything Fusion related, though I suspect it was written in a highly intentional manner and to elicit a quite specific response, this time.

      Regarding the odds of Fusion closing in on, let alone overtaking the Camry (or the Accord) sales volume, see my comments above.

      • 0 avatar
        TTAC Staff

        The term was used in a tongue-in-cheek manner to remind Derek of past sins.

        • 0 avatar
          marc

          My sarcasm detector was not finely tuned at 830am.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Well played, Jack.

          I realize I’m prickly (prickishly?) this morning, but this article’s (premature) speculation, which is the latest in a long of Ford stroking, justifiably or not rubbed me the wrong way (I was fine previously even considering the dedicated Mustang love missives for a week).

          • 0 avatar
            TTAC Staff

            It’s not Ford stroking. With capacity for 400,000 units, the potential to be #1 is there. It may not be financially prudent to do so. You are letting your own biases (in this case, that we are somehow pro-Ford and shilling for them) cloud your interpretation of a rather dry article.

            In any case, we mostly wanted to make fun of Derek.

            -Not Jack

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      More Camrys went into rental fleets last year than the Fusion and the Camry was still a new model while Ford sold the old Fusion for much of the year.

      And likely, the Camry has only increased its position as the rental fleet sales leader for 2013.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        All aboard the Hyundai-Kia Disinformation Express.

        2012 sales per Automotive Fleet:

        Fusion fleet – 73,517 (32% of total sales)
        Camry fleet – 57,204 (16% of total sales)

        Fusion retail – 157,074
        Camry retail – 298,996

        At this point, you really should disclose your relationship with Hyundai-Kia or its affiliates, whatever it is.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Thanks for that breakdown.

          It further emphasizes how misleading this article is, IMO, since it makes absolutely no mention of the fact that Toyota sells 2 Camrys for every 1 Fusion Ford sells to retail (aka non-fleet) customers.

          And yet Ford is apparently ramping Fusion production higher.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If you assume that:

            -The US SAAR keeps rising
            -Production isn’t just for the US
            -MKZ production is included in those figures

            then, 400,000 units is an achievable figure if aggressive pricing/incentives and fleet sales are part of the strategy.

        • 0 avatar
          84Cressida

          It’s pretty simply amazing how much he tries to cherry pick any bit of any fleet sale or incentive Toyota does seemingly every single month, while using his favorite acronym “ATP”. Then of course, goes into every Hyundai thread about how the 2017 Hyundai luxury car will have a higher ATP than a comparable Lexus and how Lexus is through and is made up of rebodied FWD Toyotas. The Camry and Lexus GS are his favorite targets.

          He also goes by j2j on Edmunds & YEH on GMI.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Lexus offers or has recently offered several shared platform Toyotas (HS, CT, ES, RX) with notable exceptions to IS, GS, and LS. This is not to say Hyundai/Kia is better or worse, nor to say Lexus builds a poor product.

            Whats amazing to me is how many people keep buying (or lauding) the warmed over 2007 derived Camry and then seem to look their noses down at say a Fusion buyer.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Personally our local Ford dealer is doing a brisk business in Focus, Fusion, and F150. There are lots of them around town and our Enterprise isn’t big enough to be the source.

    I’ve seen more Fusions around here than new Malibus or new Camrys although in Gallup, NM they seem to be selling in that order 1. Fusion, 2. Malibu, 3. Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Where I am in Florida it appears to be 1. Camry, 2. Fusion (at least 5 of them are parked in my apartment complex, so not rentals), 3. Accord, 4. Altima, 5. Malibu, 6. Mazda6 although considering how much longer the new Malibu has been available compared to the the Mazda (and the fact that it is from Chevy) it is pathetic how few Malibu’s I have seen. Chevy really dropped the ball on that one.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Within a 120 mile radius there are really only a Ford, Chevrolet, GMC/Buick, Nissan, Dodge/Ram/Chrysler/Jeep, and Toyota dealers. The Chevy and the Toyota dealers are connected and owned by the same group. The area is very price sensitive which is why I’ve been surprised that the more expensive Fords have done so well. I do believe that the Chevy side of the Chevy/Toyota may be undercutting the Toyota dealer on price and therefore selling more Malibus.

        The 200 and Avenger have actually done pretty well since the Fiat inspired “freshening” but part of that has to do with price since one of those is cheaper than a Dart with the way current pricing is going.

        Altima is doing OK, I think the Nissan dealer sold so many of the old model that it will be a while before those folks need to replace their Altimas.

        Honestly though it seems like a good time to be shopping for a midsize sedan, they’re all pretty decent cars. (Personally I’m a rear seat leg room and trunk space shopper who prefers V6 power.)

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I travel for work and rent about 40-50 cars/year, almost exclusively with one company, but I see the rental lots A LOT. My first hand experience thus far is finding a new Fusion has been very difficult. Got one in Seattle earlier this summer. Nice one, titanium with the 2.0L motor and I was very impressed. Hands down it was the nicest and most premium feeling mid sizer I’ve had as a rental in years. Absolutely beats the Camry. (Cue the accusations of Ford fanboism.) I also have rented scores of the Kia Optima, another vehicle that has impressed me over the Camry FWIW.

    Around town I’m starting to see more new Fusions, although from what I saw it took a while for them to take off. In the parking lot at work I see a brand new Accord but no Fusions – no new Camry either. Lots and lots and lots of old metal that keeps on rolling.

    Anecdotal evidence says that cars are selling like hot cakes but I’m just not seeing it. I’d buy a Fusion (hybrid please) in a heartbeat but not at $30k+ when my current whip runs just fine and is paid for.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    Toyota dumps Camrys into rental fleets all the time. Between my part time job at the airport, and now with my boyfriend living in 180 miles away in Jacksonville, I’m regularly renting cars from various companies every other week or so and seeing them through the airport fleets. I’ve seen only 2 2013 Fusions (and rented one). Have had or seen Camrys, Malibus, Sonatas, and especially Altimas (which I think is the new midsize fleet queen) much more often.

  • avatar
    Explorer93

    Increase in plant capacity does not necessarily mean increase in supply of the Ford Fusion. Ford is making the plants capable of producing several models on the same assembly line based on demand. So the increase in plant capacity will allow them to produce the new Taurus and Edge on the same assembly line as the Fusion (possible the next Explorer when it rolls out). I think the Flat Rock plant is going to act more like flexible demand plant. Each car will have a base plant (Fusion in Mexico, Taurus/Explorer in Chicago, Edge in Ontario) and Flat Rock will pick up the extra demand. By the way, I think the plant in Ontario is getting a couple million upgrade to start producing the new Edge soon and maybe to make it a little more flexible to pick up the extra demand of other models if the market shifts.

    I like the new Fusion alot and have test drove one as a possible replacement for my 06′ Fusion, but I can’t see Ford hitting 400,000 sales with this model solely based on the number of competitors in this market. As stupid as Ford executives have been in the past, I would hope they wouldn’t be stupid enough to outstrip demand with supply just to get a useless title as best selling car that they havent held since 1992.

  • avatar
    84Cressida

    It’s obvious a Camry ran over someone’s dog at this website. These hit pieces seemingly every month that lack factual information are simply ridiculous.

    Next year, we’ll hear the same thing about how car XX will finally de-throne the Camry. Will be interesting because the 2015 Camry will be a significant refresh (not just a grille, tail light, trim level tweak).

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Where do you people come from? “Hit pieces?”

      This article says Ford is planning to increase production capacity to 400k units next year. Of course, they’re aiming for the best seller of the class, the Camry. That’s all it says!

      It’s fine to love irrationally but one would think they were picking on your family from the way you react.

      Of course these criticisms are moot if Toyota signs your paycheck- if this is the case, never mind me!

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        “Toyota execs have take drastic measures to ensure Camry hangs onto its crown”. Right there in the article. The problem is that those so-called “drastic” measures are hyperbole or blown out of proportion. Then there was J. Emerson’s “Stealth Failure” article that was completely devoid of anything resembling facts.

        • 0 avatar
          brenschluss

          The article linked is another dry, neutral article about Toyota’s incentive spending relative to its competitors. There is no hyperbole, and I don’t see anything out of proportion. Pretty standard article, and 38% increase in incentive spending YTD, taken at face value can reasonably be considered a “drastic measure” no matter the manufacturer. The “Stealth failure” article was an opinion piece, clearly labelled as such, and was never even mentioned here.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Well, oddly enough “ran over someone’s dog” was my first laugh on this thread. Not even the self avowed prick prone to premature speculation got more than an eybrow twitch. I agree that “drastic measures” is hyperbole, but don’t think it’s site wide hate. EIC(pt) tracked and liked a Camry. Posters have love and hate for the #1 seller as only a #1 seller could garner. Take it for what it’s worth.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      TTAC is just in line with news sources such as Auto News, Bloomberg, CNBC, etc.

      So you think all these sources are just making stuff up (not to mention rumblings by Toyota insiders?).

      And it doesn’t really matter whether car X dethrones the Camry from the sales podium, the issue is that Toyota has had to be aggressive about discounts/pricing and increase sales to fleet in order to keep its sales crown and yet, the Camry has been losing marketshare – to be fare, so has the Accord (back when those 2 simply dominated the segment), but unlike for the Camry, Honda is keeping its sales volume up w/o discounting and dumping to fleet.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If the engine is indeed the heart of the car, then I much prefer both Toyota’s 4 and 6 cyl engines for the Camry over the Ford’s iffy turbo powerplants

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Good point. As cheesy as the interior is in my GF’s 2012 SE, the 2.5 I4 6A combination is a gem of a pairing. Plenty of torque, and the transmission feels like it isn’t a ‘slushbox,’ not a whole lot of slip in the torque converter. And yet it shifts with impeccable smoothness, and will drop a gear instantly when you put your foot down. We got a hand calculated 33 mpg driving to and from Floria from Ohio, not trying to drive efficiently. To be fair I haven’t tried any of the new competitors’ engines. All I know is that The Hyundai Sonata/ Kia Optima DI motor shakes and rattles like an old school diesel. Looking forward to trying the Earth Dreams Accord, and a manual Fusion 1.6T.

  • avatar
    canddmeyer

    I’d be happy if Ford would gear up putting the 3.5 engine in this monstrosity. I don’t want an egoboost and the base engine is too small.

  • avatar
    EspritdeFacelVega

    Here in SW Florida we are seeing more and more Fusions. Local Kia and Hyundai dealers are VERY strong here (saturation Billy Fucillo ads etc, but the other showrooms equally, um, huge), with Sonata and Optima running a close 2nd and 3rd on the roads to the ubiquitous Camrys. Beyond that I’d judge it as 4. Altima, 5. Accord, 5 (tie). Fusion, 6. Malibu, and down from there. Several oddities to this local market w. the rentals and retirees, but not many Buicks, not a good sign given the large retiree market here (and Midwestern retirees, at that! Still, I see tonnes of new Avalons (IMO a great looking car), a healthy # of Azeras and Genesis sedans, and already a surprising number of Cadenzas). Times have changed – Back in the day I used to call this area Grand Marquis World, which the local dealers often cladded in padded “Suncoast Edition” vinyl roofs and gold-package chrome…

    • 0 avatar
      MK

      Ha! We lived in the CLW area from 95-2010 and back then it truly was a lot of the traditional American faux-luxo barges roaming the US19 parking lot looking for early bird specials.

      Our 60+ yr old staff admin got SO pissed when I called her Grand Marquis “Florida edition” with the white vinyl top a “Crown Vic” while trying to give her a compliment about how clean it was. I was already fully sold on imports so I didn’t even realize there Was a difference!

  • avatar
    billfrombuckhead

    A Fusion looks like it costs $10,000 more than a Camry. An Escape looks far more expensive than a RAV4. I would say Ford has a good shot at picking up market share from JapanInc.

    One thing they could do to pick up Fusion sales is make more body types such as a station wagon and a hatchback. Maybe they should make some V6′s and all wheel drives as well. Rumor has it that the next Taurus will be Fusion based.


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Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
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  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
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  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States