By on December 30, 2010

According to Wards Auto, the Ford Fusion is sitting at over 196,000 sales as November 30. A 200,000-unit year seems imminent. Why is this a big deal, and what does it say about Ford’s position in the marketplace when a facelift car has its best-ever year in a collapsing economy?

This is a tough time to be a Ford detractor. Like them or loathe them, the Dearborn boys have come out from the domestic collapse as the clear winners. The Focus was roundly panned by the spec-sheet-readers among the media and then went on to light up the sales charts, something I lampooned here two and a half years ago. Now we hear that the facelifted Fusion is set to have its best-ever year half a decade after its introduction.

The move from trucks to cars hasn’t hurt: Ward’s notes that

Cars have accounted for 36.8% of Ford’s deliveries through November, according to Ward’s data. In 2004, the year before the Fusion made its debut, Ford’s sales ratio was 29:71 in favor of light trucks.

Still, it has to be said that the conventional wisdom predicted that customers would flee the F-150 for the Accord and Sonata, when in fact they simply appear to have chosen a Fusion instead. A series of glowing predictions in Consumer Reports doesn’t appear to have hurt the Fusion nameplate, either. Last but certainly not least, Ford made the choice to develop and promote a very well-thought-out Fusion full hybrid while General Motors tried to bamboozle the eco-customer with a very, very mild hybrid Malibu. That “bold move” paid off in spades. Ford dealers tell me that the Fusion Hybrid is, literally, a “halo car”; buyers come in to see the battery bucket but end up taking a plain SE home.

In the “bad news” column, the Fiesta isn’t doing the numbers Ford had hoped for, selling at a rate that is approximately half that of the Yaris and one-third that of the Honda Fit. The PR spin is that the car is “popular in California”. That could be just hype, or it could be meaningful. Once upon a time, the Honda Accord was “big in California”, you know…

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94 Comments on “As If 200,000 Fusions Cried Out In Triumph…...”


  • avatar

    Jack, you and I were both at the Fiesta launch in San Francisco. You must find it as hard to believe as I do that Yaris’s are outselling Fiesta’s 2:1. Driving them back to back, the Yaris was a joke compared to the Fiesta. However, as much as Ford doesn’t want to hear it, if I was buying a small car, my money would go to the Fit based on rear seat and headroom alone.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      The Yaris has an extraordinarily low base price.  I’d say the Fit and the Fiesta are more similar, so that’s the comparison to be worried about.  It’s probably a matter of time – for people in that particular segment, the Japanese automakers have always been miles ahead of the domestics.  It’ll take years for Ford to build up a reputation among them.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Matt, what is so hard to believe? 

      Ford is 10th in consumer reports latest reliabilty test.  Every Honda and Toyota brand are ahead of Ford.  And, if you flip the the Consumer Reports used car reliabilty study, Toyota and Honda dominate the top picks by miles when the vehicle is between 5 and 10 years old.

      On top of that, the Ford’s are sporting excessive price tags … I guess we should be paying thousands more for the pleasure of Sync, which is a cell phone screwed in the dash.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      mazda 3 or a VW Golf before any of those other little cars, would be my choice.

    • 0 avatar

      we’re not talking about cars 5 or 10 years old, we’re talking about brand new cars. And although the Fiesta does start a couple grand more than the Yaris, to sit in one and touch it, and drive it, the Fiesta feels like it costs twice what the Yaris does. The Yaris is the cheapest-feeling new car I’ve ever sat in, independent of actual price.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the Yaris, in the 3D “eggmobile” version. I don’t know why, I never even drove one, just sat in it. Fit is an excellent car and we seriously consdered it, but got Lexus IS instead, mostly for passive safety. The weird thing is, I cannot fit in the IS no matter what I try, and I think I tried every seating position. I can fit into Yaris easily, and Yaris is almost 3 times cheaper.

    • 0 avatar
      MrWhopee

      I think people buy Yaris because it’s the lowest priced Toyota, not for any redeeming value of the car itself. I.e.: it ought to have all that Toyota stands for: reliability, resale value, etc., and it can’t possibly be too bad a car, since it’s a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      @view2share
      Barring a sudden, long-lasting doubling of gas prices, cars smaller than the Mazda 3, Focus, or Golf are and will remain a niche product in the U.S.  A necessary niche to be in, since they are what young buyers can afford, but a niche nonetheless.

      Of course, any car company planning on staying in business needs to be able to sell a car that Americans have at least seen on their roads even if gas gets to be $6 a gallon.
       

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The Fiesta isn’t selling as fast as the Yaris or Versa because discounts aren’t nearly as high.  Ford only recently added a $500 rebate to the Fiesta, and still has no special financing terms that are better than what you can get with good credit from 3rd party banks.
       
      Ford is establishing the Fiesta as the premium option in the subcompact segment, and the miserly application of incentives will help achieve that reputation, as well as increase resale value and increase profits per unit sold.  If gas hits $4.00 a gallon, or higher, every automaker will suddenly start discounting their subcompacts less.  At that point Ford will be in a good position – the Fiesta will have already established itself as being worth more than the competitors who are now trying to ask the same money, and will also benefit from the higher established resale value.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Nullo – according to truecar.com, the national average price paid for a Yaris is about $500 under MSRP.  Doesn’t sound like much of a discount.  The Yaris is pushing 5 years old and due to be replaced in the fall.  The fact that you can actually drive off the lot in a new Yaris for under $15k helps.  Ford seems to only put the $18k MSRP model out on the lot.  When you can put another couple thousand in and get a Fusion, the Fiesta seems kind of silly.

    • 0 avatar

      Even $1,000 is a lot in an entry-level car. The Fiesta is priced too high to capture a large share of the market. The small back seat, mentioned quite a few times here, is no doubt also a factor. Reliability is unknown–though early indications through TrueDelta’s Car Reliability Survey are NOT good. Finally, as I noted in my review for TTAC, it’s just not that fun to drive. A Mazda2 is much more fun.
      As for the Fusion, it’s very much succeeding the same way the Camry did: by becoming known as a safe, no-thought choice. At this point “Fusion” has a lot more positive equity than “Taurus.”
       

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Matt Farah, a car you buy new today will be 5 years old in 5 years.  That is when you will care about 5 – 10 year reliability.  Most cars hold up well when they are still under warranty.  It is when they get older that quality begins to shine.  And, that is where Toyota and Honda become winners. 

    • 0 avatar
      Silvy_nonsense

      @jj99

      “And, that is where Toyota and Honda become winners.”

      You mean “used to become winners.” Toyotas and Hondas being sold today do not compare in quality to the Hondas and Toyotas that were sold five or ten years ago. It is not a safe assumption that a 2010 Honda or Toyota will last as well as a 2005 or a 2000.

  • avatar
    Christopher

    I think A LOT of people (myself included) are holding out for the new 2012 Focus. I really like the Fiesta, but I can’t see spending 19+ on a loaded one when I can wait a few more months and get a larger Focus with the sweet new platform and all the same bells and whistles that the Fiesta has for a few grand more.

    • 0 avatar

      +1. In a perfect world, Ford would have been able to release the 2012 Focus first — as the “halo” car — followed soon thereafter by the (quite similar in design language and execution, just smaller and less powerful) Fiesta to catch those buyers attracted by the larger car, but unable to part with the extra money.

      In any case, great news to see about the Fusion’s success.

    • 0 avatar
      gogogodzilla

      I’m in exactly the same boat.  Looked at the Fiesta… but am willing to wait for the new Focus.  (specially if the RS version makes it here)

      :-P

  • avatar
    jmo

    <i>the Fiesta isn’t doing the numbers Ford had hoped for</i>

    Hum…. was there really any brand equity in the name Fiesta?  I think “Fiesta” and safe, quite, reliable, aren’t the first words that pop into my head.

  • avatar
    jj99

    “Why is this a big deal, and what does it say about Ford’s position in the marketplace when a facelift car has its best-ever year in a collapsing economy?”

    Simple.  It means the Federal, State, and Local governments are buying lots of cars, as are rental fleets.  I have seen analysts estimate between 33% and 40% of Ford sales are fleet. The US government lot near my office has many brand new Fords. Because of the Toyota smear, rental companies are staying away from foreign vehicle purchases as it is not politically correct with the Obama followers.

    Personally, I would never purchase a Fusion, as it is a 2001 Mazda 6 with new sheetmetal and a Ford engine.  Nope.

    Even with all the government and fleet purchases, Fusion is way behind the Camry and Accord. If you to remove the fleet numbers from the Fusion, it would be a non-starter. You don’t see many new Ford products in coastal areas where imports rule.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      The MAZDA 6 seems like a great car buy considering it is heavily discounted, as in never selling well like the 3 does.  Of course the resale value will reflect this as well — depends on how long you keep a car.  The Fusion is indeed the old Mazda 6 though somehow the handling is not as good.  Anyone know if Fusion is or will be EPS steering?  Mazda has the electric pump hydralic, which is fine.  I see they went EPS on the Stang — I am not sold on that just yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Roundel

      JJ99 again fills another topic sprouting Consumer reports ratings and unbridled love for everything Toyota and Honda.
      You pan the Fusion for being outdated, yet both Accord and Camry aren’t spring chickens either.
      And you must be blind, there are plenty of Fusions in the NYC metro area, and I can tell if they are rental or not, especially because I work for a rental company.
      Just another import snob using the same old tired fleet argument.
      Next…

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      roundel, lets see.

      The Camry is on an 07 chassis design.  The Accord is on an 08 chassis design.  The Fusion is 01.  The new Camry, due mid year 11, is an all new chassis.  So, as of mid 11, the Camry chassis will be a DECADE newer than the Fusion chassis.

      The analysts, which estimate Ford fleet sales between 33% and 40% also estimate the Toyota fleet sales between 8% and 11%.

      Just the facts.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      “Ford fleet sales” ≠  “Fusion fleet sales”.
       
      Unless you have some actual numbers, this argument is meaningless.

    • 0 avatar
      Jesse

      “Because of the Toyota smear, rental companies are staying away from foreign vehicle purchases as it is not politically correct with the Obama followers.”

      Wait, what? How are Toyota’s recall problems related to Obama. I don’t see the connection.

      “The Camry is on an 07 chassis design. The Accord is on an 08 chassis design. The Fusion is 01.”

      The Fusion debuted for the ’06 model year.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      Personally, I would never purchase a Fusion, as it is a 2001 Mazda 6 with new sheetmetal and a Ford engine.  Nope.
      Mazda6 came out in 2002, not 2001.  It had a 105.3″ wheelbase.  The 1st gen Fusion had a 107.4″ wheelbase.
      Compare the crash test scores of the 1st gen Mazda6 with the 1st gen Fusion.  They are worlds apart.

      It is my understanding that Ford started with the Mazda6 when creating the Fusion, but they are nowhere near the same car with different sheetmetal and engines.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      J99, I think you’re wrong regarding the Fusion, the Camry, and rental cars.  Lately I see more Camry rental cars than Fusion rental cars.  Not sure which domestic brand cars get purchased for government fleets, but I would guess that GM’s E-85 4 cylinder cars have an edge over Ford’s E-85 V6 Fusion.
       
      All 2010+ Fusions except the Fusion Sport use electric power steering.  I absolutely hated the light effort low feedback electric power steering on the 2010 I drove, but the rest of the car was pretty good.  Would consider buying a Fusion Sport at the right price.

    • 0 avatar
      dartman

      “…Even with all the government and fleet purchases…”

      I don’t know about that.  I spent all of this year trying to rent a Fusion or a Taurus from the various rental agencies and was never successful.  Most Gov. entities other than the Feds are broke and have postponed fleet purchases.  So I think that is a bit of an old canard from days gone by. 

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Isn’t the Fusion Hybrid the most reliable on CR’s latest survey?  I know that is for new cars, but that accomplishment should count for something as this place was usually a mainstay of Japan, Inc.  My last rentals were Mazda 6’s and Subarus, though the Subie might be due to the mountainous locations…
       
      The Obama comment is irrelevant.  Most “lefties” I know drive small fuel efficient Hondas.  Nor do rental companies base their fleet purchases on political correctness.  Might as well have stated that rednecks have been turning in their F350s in for Fusions with dealer installed NRA stickers.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Ford has higher fleet sales than Honda/Toyota because certain vehicles Ford offers are sold almost entirely to fleets, such as the Crown Vic, Town Car, Transit Connect, E-Series, and F-550 and above.  Added to that, Ford trucks are the standard against which others are judged for construction, utility, and other blue collar infrastructure type work.  Fleet sales are not bad, fleet sales to businesses are in fact quite good.  The only fleet sales that are even halfway bad are those to rental fleets, and even those have benefits, such as exposing people to your product.  I’ve sold a number of Focuses, Edges, and Escapes to people who first experienced them as rentals.
       
      Regarding the Fusion’s platform – yes, it is based on what Mazda had with the 6, but it has gone through so many improvements since then that you can hardly call it the same car.  The suspension, safety features, engines, electronics, interior and exterior design, etc, have all been radically altered from the original Mazda6.  If anything remains it’s the general dimensions and cut lines of the unibody, but even those have been changed over the years.  Even the materials are different – the 2010 refresh came with more high strength steel and boron steel used in key structural areas to further improve crash resilience and reduce body flex.

    • 0 avatar

      jj99,
      There’s a lot of confusion about platforms. At its simplest a platform are some basic hardpoints on the car’s structure. That still gives tremendous latitude with design and technology.
      Also , if I’m not mistaken, the ’07 Camry was not a full redesign. Toyota generally does a full redesign every two generations.

    • 0 avatar
      FordDude

      It would seem that jj99 is drinking the Z71_Silvy Koolaid…why is it that when a domestic gains a little positive press, there is always a camp of detractors? Kind of like college…

    • 0 avatar

      Ronnie is correct. The ’07 Camry was heavily based on the ’02. The ’08 Honda was, for better or for worse, essentially all-new.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      “The ’07 Camry was heavily based on the ’02.”

      That seems to conflict wiith what I see on the web.  Many articles claim the 07 was a all new chassis, XV40, which was wider, longer, and stiffer.

      The previous version, 02-06, was based on the XV30 chassis.

      Is this not the case?

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      Ronnie Schrieber, the 2001 Mazda chassis under the 2010 Fusion is too old.  Why?  Since 2001, computer power has exploded, and because of this, mechanical engineers are able to design the chassis with much more precise analytical tools.  For example, the mechanical engineers are able to design a chassis with a much more refined Finite Element and Dynamic Models relative to 10 years ago.  While Ford may have success making improvements on that older chassis, the fact is 10 years is a big difference in chassis design.  After I graduated from college, for a number of years I worked as an engineer with experience in both mechanical and electrical engineering.  I saw the massive improvements in analysis capabilities as each year passed.

      In my opinion, a 10 year old chassis smells like engineering cost cutting.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      golden2husky says:  “Isn’t the Fusion Hybrid the most reliable on CR’s latest survey?”

      That would be no surprise, as I think the Fusion Hybrid has a Toyota drivetrain.

    • 0 avatar

      golden2husky says:  “Isn’t the Fusion Hybrid the most reliable on CR’s latest survey?” That would be no surprise, as I think the Fusion Hybrid has a Toyota drivetrain.
      And you’re not going to bother researching the topic because your mind is already dead set against Detroit. That’s because you’re an oikophobe, you hate what is familiar, in this case the domestic automakers.  You’d believe anything that put the domestics in a bad light. The truth is that Ford developed their own hybrid system independently of Toyota’s. The licensing agreement between the two companies states that explicitly. Furthermore, Ford’s hybrids do not use Toyota drivetrains nor Toyota designs. Ford does have a license from Toyota, but that license exists only to prevent litigation.
      Both Toyota and Ford, btw, have settled patent disputes with PAICE/Severinsky. Those patents are more about the controls than how the drivetrains are hooked up.
      Ford, Toyota and GM (w/ the Volt) are all playing around with the same basic components: engines, motors, and planetary gearsets. If you think the Japanese are automotive superheros, go ahead and think that, but there are still plenty of talented engineers in Detroit.
      You’re the automotive equivalent to an urban legend.

  • avatar
    galaxygreymx5

    The Fiesta might not be setting the world on fire but it’s all customers that Ford has previously ignored.  This is a new segment for Ford and happy premium B-segment customers will be ripe for the C-Max or Focus in a few years.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    And as much as the Fester isn’t setting the world on fire, I was lead to believe that it was actually making Ford some money – which I heard is more important than market share…

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’ll stick to the used market.

    EDIT: or, if we’re talking euphamisms, “Pre-owned”

    I like the Fiesta, but I’m still trying to figure out if I prefer small cars or large cars.

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      Well $4 to $5 a gallon gas is in the future, if that becomes a consideration for ya.  Dollar wise perhaps a VW diesel is a good choice, though I never owned one.  Are diesels OK to live with?  Hate the smell though.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      @tankinbeans: “I’m still trying to figure out if I prefer small cars or large cars.”
       
      It’s OK. A lot of people go through this.

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @tankinbeans & bomberpete….. I hear ya. I had my daughters G5 for a week and I loved it. You can jam into any parking spot. Gas is over $4 USD up here and the G5 isn’t that thisrty.

      Then I jumped into my Impala and did Oshawa, to Montreal, then Ottawa, and home. Man ya gott’a love a big car.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      I prefer cars in which a person that’s 6’4″ can sit behind the driver (also 6’4″ or taller) and have at least 6″ of legroom.  Also, a car in which there’s more than a shoe size 15 between the front door sill and the front edge of the drivers’ seat.  Power memory seats are also nice.  I’m thinking maybe Odyssey Touring, but I think I’ll hold out for a plugin hybrid version unless my 300SDL dies first :p

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I was actually making an allusion to that point in life when people try to figure out whether they prefer members of the opposite sex or their own, but I obviously didn’t get the point across.

  • avatar
    view2share

    Like a Stang?  Interesting how you can buy a 2004 Mustang and own a Foxbody 4 car, which began as an ’80 platform for the Fairmont.  Ya know, it is still a great car, as in reliable, simple, with lower repair costs.  I will consider one some day, though the new series has some points to its favor as well.  Did you know the older Stang is a 5 star crash rated car?

  • avatar

    My brother has a Fusion. He had a Ford Focus before that. He likes the Fusion. Like he did the Focus. He’ll probably at least look at something for the brand before buyng another car.

    In my case I had 3 Fords. An Escort XR3 that was handed around in the family for 10 years. I loved ot. Toyed w/ idea of buying an old one as a weekend car. Also had a Ranger 4 pot. Great, for what it was, but it threw me back into cars, which I realizes I prefer.

    Alas, had a Ford Ka that burned me. After just 1 very unpleasent year w/ it, got rid of it – at a loss. That’ll keep me away from Ford for the time being.

    Dad had the Escort mentioned above. Though he enjoyed it, he never bought  a Ford after that.

    IIRC, we are some of the people I kow who have had the most Fords. The jury is still out, but keep up the preceived quality and the embareassment the Ka was might just go away.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Marcelo,
      I am afraid you have a different Fusion down there, a small, Fiesta-based semi-wagon. While US Fusion is basically a Gen I Mazda 6 in new clothes.

    • 0 avatar

      Hello Acubra,

      Not this time Acubra. We get the exact same car as the Amricans get. In fact, it’s built in Mexicp and collects no import tax (as Brazil has a free trade agreement in cars with Mexico).

      What you might be talking about is the EcoSport, a car we call a styled in what we call a “jipe” form, based on the “old” Fiesta platfrom.

    • 0 avatar
      Acubra

      Oops, my bad. I thought (drawing on analogy with Palio and misc Frenchies) that your market is as per EU. Wrong am I. :)

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yeahhhhh for Ford.  Glad to see something other than Camrys and Accords selling to Americans in the sedan segment.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Nice photo.
     
    Having just seen some Fiestas on the road for the first time, I’m shocked at how small they appear.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    Ford dealers around my place don’t want to sell cars. I contacted two for fiesta information (My wife needs a new car…).  I got a reply back from BOTH within about 8 hours or so.  I then asked them when I could test drive, and neither had a single one.  I told them BOTH to contact me as soon as they had SOMETHING and if I liked it, we’d be willing to buy within a month or two.
    Never got a call back from either.
    We are no longer interested, but if the c-max ever arrives, I think my wife would be partial to that.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      That remains an issue with old-line GM and Ford dealers, especially those who have pickup sales and big fleet accounts for their profits. If you aren’t interested in at least a Fusion, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that there are a few who still take that attitude.

    • 0 avatar

      If you think Ford is bad, try Toyota.  When we were replacing my Mom’s car in 2002 I sent out e-mails to 2 Toyota and 2 Ford dealers.  Got nothing from Toyota.  Ford got back to me right away, we bought the Taurus.  When I was looking for a new car in 2004 I went into 2 Toyota dealers and they didn’t even approach me.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Robstar: “and if I liked it, we’d be willing to buy within a month or two. Never got a call back from either.”
       
      I’m not surprised. While I’m not an apologist for the dealers, I have worked in sales. No one is going to wait a month or two for a “maybe” sale. They have objectives to meet and you’re clearly not interested in buying, for at least “a month or two”.
       
      Reverse the situation: If you ran a business and a potential client came in to your store and then said they might patronize you in a month or two, how would you take it? You’d move on to the next opportunity.
       
      With apologies to the car salesmen on this board, who do take the time to find out what’s what, and at the risk of over generalization, many car sales staff are just sellers. They don’t keep up with what’s coming down the pipeline, they only know what they have on the floor now, whether it’s iPods, refrigerators or Fords.
       
      But if you’re telling them you won’t be interested for a couple of months, then you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment in that relationship. Personally, I try to treat the sales staff like I would like to be treated, and don’t pester them until I’m ready to do some business.

    • 0 avatar
      jj99

      In the east, I find the opposite.  Most Asian car dealers have pleanty of customers, so they ignore you to the point of being rude.  You need to make an appoitment for an oil change a week in advance.

      However, the Detroit dealers are more than happy to help you and are much more polite.

      In fact, I take my Toyotas and Hondas to the Ford dealer for an oil change.  Drive right in.  No appoitment needed.  The Ford dealer is more than happy for the business.  He only asks I bring the oil filter.  Then, thanks me for the business. Even washes and vacums the car.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    When the Fusion first came out, many potential customers were very, very skeptical of a US nameplate car in that category. But, bit by bit, Ford has done a good job with that model and interest has build over time. Kudos to Ford for getting it right.
    Hopefully the next redesign will be an even better car. Someone at Ford must remember what happened when the ruined the Taurus with that All Ovals redesign for the 1996 model year. Ford, don’t make that mistake again!
     

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Add in to an improving reputation that so many competitors to the Fusion are overstyled to the point of being baroque.  In bad times, people are buying with the long haul in mind, even if they may not keep cars for ages and ages in the end.
      Looking at excess curves and curlicues, like two-foot long headlights running up the fenders, is likely to get old.  A Fusion looks handsome without being boring or unnecessarily big, and will not cause a “what were they thinking” smack on the forehead in 7 or 8 years.

  • avatar

    @JJ99
    I don’t care about styling (much); but I do want quality and good driving dynamics. I haven’t driven the Fusion, but Consumer Reports gives it a very high rating for quality. My gut says stay away from American, especially  after the debacle with the ’93 Saturn, but my intellect says I should consider it if I can get it with a stick and want that type of car. (I’m not in the market, and don’t expect to be any time soon.)

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      93 Saturn?  That’s almost two decades ago.  Double that again and the Japanese stuff was the junk.  You can’t expect something from the automotive Jurassic period to represent what is available today.  Not saying to buy anything blindly but an educated consumer will take an open minded approach to what is available. No matter how you look at it, Ford’s portfolio has improved dramatically. I hope the beancounters don’t destroy what they have accomplished, but so far so good.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    It all takes time.  We all know that.  Takes time to build, or destroy, reputations, confidence, gotta-have-it, etc.  It has taken them 5 years to build this car.  If they keep this up with all their models, I believe nearly all Ford’s lineup just needs similar time to do the same.  Focus will be similar I bet.  Should be an excellent car, but still a lot of skeptics to convince.  Only time can do that.
     
    Fusion is good to drive, but comfy.  Excellent fuel economy.  Top reliability marks.  Well priced.  Full of great features.  Somewhat sporty styling.  Not GM or Chrysler or Toyota.  Not enormous.  It checks almost all the boxes.  But really, its a good car, well made, at a good price.  That almost always sells.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    They seem like good cars. I rented a Fusion in California last month. I liked it way better than a Camry, and the Accord as well. Ride and steering were good. So was pickup in the 4cyl., though it’s rougher than the Camcord.
     
    I’d say it’s about even with Altima. I haven’t driven the latest Sonata or Mazda6 to compare. It bothers me a bit that its bones are almost a decade old, but it does work.
     
    If the Fusion is reliable and not a complete bore to drive, what’s the big surprise? I’ll give Ford credit with sticking with something until it gets results. They’ve done it here, with the Focus, the Mustang, and hopefully with the Fiesta even if the first sales aren’t encouraging.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      I have several hundred miles in the passenger seat of a rented Fusion, but haven’t driven one.  It was comfortable, had decent acceleration even at 7000 feet plus elevation, and held the road well.
      The driver, whose last American car was a Fairmont, was very pleased with it.

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    “The new Camry, due mid year 11, is an all new chassis”

    Heard it is re-designed with 15 frontal air bags, air brakes and a parachute. Also, floor mats are no longer available

  • avatar
    JKC

    Agree that Ford has done well here. Especially smart, I think, was to not ignore their car lines. If (or when) fuel prices spike again, they seem to be better prepared than Chrysler, and perhaps GM and Toyota as well. And if prices don’t spike… there’s plenty of F-150’s to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      BMWfan

      @JKC,

      I don’t know about that. I think the days of an F150 as a personal vehicle are just about done. People are just too uncertain about a sudden spike in fuel prices. In the old days, fuel prices rose based on actual supply and demand. Now it is all based on speculation. If a butterfly farts in Thailand, prices go up. Funny how they never go down as fast as they go up. I wish the Government would keep a closer eye on this, and keeping energy cost out of the CPI is just crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      tced2

      Or when Ben Bernanke announces he’s buying $600B of government securities with imaginary money.  The world markets expect (and possibly predict) inflation as a result and the prices of crude oil rise.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      @BMWfan: I agree that the F-150 makes no sense as a personal vehicle. (It never did.) But sales on the old beast are up anyway. How many are personal vs. work/fleet sales I don’t know. My overall point, though, is that Ford has viable product to serve both markets.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      F-150s, as personal vehicles, makes perfect sense to me. BMWs for non police/taxi use is what’s bizarro. Some folks just prefer their luxury cars with a tailgate. I’m pretty sure you can get more luxurious gadgets in an F-150 King Ranch vs. a 3 or 5-Series BMW. People will stop using BMWs and Mercedes, as personal vehicles before F-150s.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @DenverMike: I would agree with you. If you could only have one vehicle, an extended cab (or a 4 door) pickup with a hard lockable tonneau makes perfect sense. It could haul most anything you would need, and have enough capacity to do whatever you could need to do, at least for the vast majority of regular folks living outside of large cities. Probably right behind that would be a SUV, and even people in large cities could utilize those, at least more so than a pickup.

  • avatar
    Windshield

    Ford has improved its entire lineup, as as the Fusion, people want a reliable, decently equipped, fuel efficient, and comfortable vehicle in the mid sized sedan market.  Fusion does this well.

    As far as the Fiesta, the sticker price is too high to sell at real high numbers.  If Americans really want the Euro small Fords, there gonna have to pay premium prices. 

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I rented a Fusion and drove it about 600 miles very recently. For people who don’t read car blogs, it’s perfect.
    The Fiesta’s problem is the Voltron-inspired dashboard. Lose the scales on the center console and make it look like a car for someone other than an 8-year-old jacked up on chocolately frosted Sugar Bombs! and it would do a lot better.

  • avatar
    spyked

    Good for Ford.  They’ve always had a bit of Euro flair that kept them interesting when it came to cars.  Fiesta, Mondeo/Contour, LS/S-Type, Merkur/Sierra, Capri.  I knew they would turn it around when they did the Five Hundred.  Volvo platform, VW looks, American car pricing and service.  It didn’t sell but it told me they had a plan.  The Fusion, though tacky, is right-sized, right-priced, reliable, and shares a platform with the first gen Mazda6 (the best Japanese branded FWD family sedan).  What else would normal people need if they don’t have the Mondeo as an option?  The Malibu had a shot but it’s about a 1/4 size too big, as is the Altima and Accord these days. 

    It’s really a pity people don’t reward Suzuki for right-sizing a sedan and making it gorgeous inside and out and buy the damn Kizashi.  Maybe FORCE Honda to make a goodlooking Accord sedan again.  Have you seen the new rear end of the Accord sedan?  They literally GLUED some red tape across the top of the trunk lid and called it a refresh!  Makes the Ford Gillette Fusion grill look classy by comparison and the Camry almost gorgeous!

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      You may be the only person I’ve seen here who has nice things to say about the 500, although I agree with you on almost all your points. Personally, I wish they hadn’t made it look like a B5 Passat on steroids: the car deserved its own design language, not a blatant rip-off of VW’s. And I wish they’d given the CVT a chance: my wife has an ’05 Freestyle with 98000 miles on it, and the powertrain has been nearly bulletproof. We’ve had no transmission problems whatsoever.

  • avatar
    oboylepr

    Ford are simply doing it right and it helps that you are not a ward of the state also. Alan Mulally has been good for Ford and boy does Boeing need him back right now, judging by the state of the 787 program!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @oboylepr: “and it helps that you are not a ward of the state also.”
       
      I think you’ve touched on a very big issue with many buyers. They want/need to replace their current ride, and want to give the “home” team a chance, but are repulsed by the governmental actions around GM and Chrysler. The Fusion and Ford become the default choice, unless they find the Fusion not to their liking and go for the other default choice, the Sonata. I know of several people using this logic, and while it’s anecdotal evidence, it doesn’t surprise me in the least. Some of the people I know are rather dogmatic, at least so far as how they can spend their money.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Ford’s financing on the Fiesta is no deal, particularly when the Fusion is offered @ 0%.
    I’d hazard a guess there aint much difference in the monthly between a high end Fiesta and a base 4 cylinder Fusion. Just more acreage of sheet metal for the money

    Plus automatic buyers could be shying away from the Fiesta’s all new dual-clutch.

  • avatar

    I live in North Jersey and I pass a Ford Dealer on Rt. 17 every day on my morning commute. I see a lime Fiesta in the lot.  Looks nice. It’s the only Fiesta I’ve ever seen, on the road or off. I’ve seen exactly one Cruze. I guess the domestic brands have a ways to go before they make serious inroads in the subcompact segment.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Cheaper than a Camcordia, drives and performs as good (if not better), and nearly as reliable, the Fusion’s sales numbers aren’t too surprising.

    The one that perplexed me was the Focus. Yeah, it might have been cheap and built marginally better than the previous one, but it gave up a lot in practicality when they abandoned the hatchback (and its myriad variants) in favor of the poorly styled two and four door sedans.

    But that apparently didn’t matter to consumers who snapped up a lot of them.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The hatchback and wagon were dropped because people overwhelmingly bought the sedans and coupes.  I don’t understand why the American buying public shuns practical bodystyles either, but I can understand the business decision to concentrate on the two most popular variants when the redesign came around in ’08.
      Thankfully, we at least get the hatchback again for ’12, though I would love it if the wagon eventually comes back as well.

    • 0 avatar

      My sister bought a ZX3 because she thought Mini was “ugly”. But certainly chasing fringe buyers may not be a good idea.

  • avatar
    observer

    I have an 07 Fusion with 138k miles and other than regular maint. have had just 1 burned out tailight bulb. In fact, car feels just about as tight as when new and materials are holding up well. I use full synthetic in both engine and trans but I don’t baby the car as I use it for my job.
    Best car I ever had and over the last 35 years I’ve had other domestics, German and Japaneese.

  • avatar
    SV

    I’m not sure what sales numbers you’re looking at Jack, but the Fiesta has been outselling the Yaris for a few months now. In fact, in November 3,473 Fiestas were sold compared to 2,154 Yarises (Yarii?). The Fit is outselling the Fiesta, but not by much, with 4,180 sold in November.
     
    So the Fiesta’s not doing wonderfully, but it’s not doing badly either. The problem is that the subcompact segment as a whole just doesn’t do big volume sales in the US, apart from maybe the Versa.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Anyone else find it amusing the one Ford sedan that scores exceptionally well on Consumer Reports AND does well in sales is made in Mexico and NOT by the UAW.
     
    Huh, it’s almost like the UAW is holding back the Big 3.  I guess if the ‘Merican Big 3 wants to make quality products that are profitable, they’re actually going to have to build them outside of America.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Amazing what low-margin fleet sales will do to your numbers.
     
    Oh well…let the government and rental companies have the cheap, low quality appliance.  It’s their (mis-spent) money.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      Have you rented a Ford (Fusion) lately? They’re quite good.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Potatobreath, meet Z71_Silvy.  Z71_Silvy, meet Potatobreath.  You quickly figure out who Z71_Silvy carries a torch for.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      You quickly figure out who Z71_Silvy carries a torch for.
       
      Hmmm…off the top of my head:
      Porsche
      Cadillac
      Lamborghini
      Pagani
      Ferrari
      BMW
      Mercedes
      Acura
      Lexus
      Hyundai
      Chevy
      GMC
      Dodge
      Chrysler
      Honda
      Subaru
      Mitsubishi
      Kia
      Audi
      VW
      RAM
      Buick
      Aston Martin
      Volvo
      Saab
      Land Rover
      Holden
      And even Ford (but not the utter garbage they sell here in NA)
       

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Rented a Fiesta 4-door back in September to tool around New England for a week or so and was very impressed with the gas mileage and smooth quiet ride.  Not so good were the boredom of driving it (I prefer RWD, period), lack of trunk space even with the rear seats folded for the luggage of only two people, Klingon dashboard design and very annoying key fob operation and other tedious electronics nonsense that it insisted on doing.

    Quite a few strong qualities, but nowhere near enough to compensate for the negatives to get me to actually purchase one.  And not at those prices.

  • avatar
    mjz

    Ford needs to add a base S hatchback to the Fiesta line-up.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      What they really need is a three door hatch so we can go GTI hunting!  ;)  Oh wait I’d rather have a three door Mazda 2 cause the Mazda is lighter and sportier, sorry I don’t need a ton of sound deadening in a car like that.

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