By on November 26, 2014

Ford Fusion sales chartFord division car sales in the United States are down 4% in 2014. The automaker’s eight-nameplate passenger car lineup, including two Lincolns, is down 3.8% over the last ten months.

Imagine how much worse it would be without the Fusion, sales of which have risen 6.2% to 263,431 units this year. After the Fusion broke its 2011 sales record last year, 2014 is bound to be an improved year again, as the midsize Ford is on track to break through the 300K barrier for the first time ever. The last time a Ford car generated more than 300,000 U.S. sales in a single year was with the Taurus in 2005, the year the Fusion went on sale.

Exclude the Fusion from Ford’s passenger car sales equation and year-to-date car volume at the Ford brand would be down 9.9% in 2014.

C-Max sales have fallen 23% compared with ten-month results from 2013, the C-Max’s first full year on the market. The Fiesta is down 9.6% compared with 2013, the nameplate’s best year so far. Focus volume has fallen 6.8% this year after sliding 4.6% in 2013. The Taurus and Taurus Police Interceptor are down 20.4%, a loss of 14,179 units. The Mustang, in a very public replacement phase, is down just 2.6%.

An aging product lineup is a clear cause of disappointing results, as is Ford’s decreasing interest in boosting volume through fleet sales. The Fiesta, though refreshed, has been on sale since the end of 2010’s second-quarter, and there are newer, more spacious subcompacts available. The Focus has been facelifted for MY2015, but that will be its fourth model year. The Taurus competes in a dying segment, and there are far fresher faces there, as well. As for the Mustang, a genuine volume producer for the Blue Oval in America, a far more drastic decline would have been understandable.

Ford Fusion. Picture courtesy of netcarshow.comMeanwhile, over at Lincoln, MKS sales have tumbled 24.5% in 2014, the car’s seventh – and worst – year of availability. MKZ sales are up 9.7% this year but have decreased in each of the last five months, falling 13.8% since the beginning of June. Lincoln sales are up 9% during that five-month period thanks to extra sales from the new MKC, 8615 of which have been sold since going on sale in May.

Low volume from the majority of FoMoCo’s cars have been countered, though not completely counteracted, by the Fusion’s strength and by strong utility vehicle sales. (The Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer, Flex, MKC, MKT, MKX, and Navigator have combined for 620,759 year-to-date sales, up 2.9%, compared with 688,981 total Ford/Lincoln car sales.) The Fusion is America’s fourth-best-selling midsize car, and its share of the segment has grown from approximately 12.1% during the first ten months of 2013 to 12.8% in 2014.

Fusion volume has increased by 15,398 units in 2014, compared with 24,246 extra Accord sales 20,008 extra Camry sales, and 9176 extra Altima sales. Overall midsize sales are stagnant; Fusion volume is up 6.2%. It leads the fifth-ranked midsize car, Hyundai’s Sonata, by nearly 83,000 units.

Among Detroit brand cars, regardless of size, nothing sells as often as the Fusion. The Chevrolet Cruze comes closest, with 232,403 units so far this year, a 9.7% improvement.

As for the pleasure the Fusion brings the Ford brand, consider this: 36.5% of Ford brand car sales in the first ten months of 2013 were Fusions. That number has shot up to 40.3% in 2014. Over the last six months, Fusion volume has improved 13.3%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

41 Comments on “Midsize Aston Fusion Is Ford’s Bright Car Light...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Wow, imagine that, build a decent good-looking car for a fair price and people will buy it. Who would have thunk?

  • avatar

    I think you somewhat overstate the “aging lineup” factor and understate the big drop in sales to rental fleets — that’s a lot of Fiestas and Focuses (and to a somewhat lesser extent, Escapes) that aren’t going out the back doors anymore. None of those are especially “aging”: Escape was all-new for 2013, Fiesta was refreshed last year, Focus is refreshed for 2015. But it is true that the current Fusion has been a great story for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The Escape resides on the other side of the coin. (Escape sales have increased somewhat in 2014 in a Ford division that has increased its year-to-date volume) There was no thought of the brand’s utilities when mentioning the aging lineup, as evidenced by the specific references to the Fiesta, Focus, Taurus, and Mustang. My intention wasn’t to overstate or understate but to mention two contributing factors. Keep in mind, product refreshes are not nearly as consequential as they might otherwise be when, as in the case of the Fiesta most obviously and the Focus to a lesser extent, better-selling rivals are more recently all-new.

      • 0 avatar

        Ford’s spin on declining sales of their cars (ex Fusion) is that their buyers — generally speaking — are moving away from cars and toward utilities. That idea is well-supported by broader industry trends, as I’m sure you know. The Escape isn’t quite on the other side of the coin, in the sense that its sales aren’t up as much as we’d expect if we believe that Ford is capturing all of the buyers who might otherwise have bought a Fiesta or Focus in earlier times, and declining daily-rental sales may explain that to some extent.

        I don’t think “all-new” vs MCR vs ‘this thing hasn’t changed in three years” is nearly as consequential for the average US retail buyer as whatever Consumer Reports said last month. But yeah, Corolla is selling well. Meanwhile, check out Nissan’s fleet sales…

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry but I just can’t help admiring the looks of that car. Who would have guessed that if you provide a car that is that good looking, relatively affordable and has competitive reliability that people would actually by it?

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Thank you, Arthur, couldn’t have said it better myself ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Up close the details are cheap.

      The upper and lower grills are cheap and flimsy, the tail lights are just a waste of space (why no separate turn signal?), and it looks like they ran out of ideas when they got to the rear.

      My co worker bought one when they first came out. Mechanically it’s been fine, but the interior fit and finish has been awful. The dealers still haven’t fixed the huge gaps in the A B and C pillars to the headliner, and they’ve already had to put in a new overhead console as the first one wouldn’t hold in place and fell out.

      Looks like for 2015 though they finally ditched the plain hubcaps and added 16″ alloys.

  • avatar
    1998S90

    “and there are newer, more spacious subcompacts available.”

    For some reason made me chuckle. At what point does a more spacious subcompact become simply a compact car? Or just a small car?

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      That was my thought as well… Along with the Taurus remark. I need to go look up dimensions, but I’m pretty sure the Fusion is around the same size as the old Taurus.
      After out experience with our rental Focus, I start to think maybe the halo effect of the bailout stuff has worn off the Ford logo and people are remembering that they generally make crappy cars…

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Fusion and Taurus have almost exactly the same wheelbase. The Fusion feels more spacious.

        I like when I get the Taurus as a rental and I would buy a used one for my daughter, because they are extremely safe, but I wouldn’t buy a new one.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The best subcompacts perform the wonderful trick of being bigger inside than they are on the outside. The Fit is 19.4 inches shorter, bumper to bumper, than the Civic, but it offers 2% more passenger volume and 33% more cargo volume.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    Well, C-Max is hitting a perfect storm of terrible; low gas prices and a very public over-statement of MPG numbers. There are now even fewer reasons not to opt for the less expensive and more attractive Focus, or a Prius, and I imagine a glut of low-milagr 2013s will be coming off lease soon.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The C-Max is a way better vehicle for a small family than the Focus.

      More headroom/legroom
      Better visability
      35%-40% better gas mileage in the real world (I’ve owned both)
      More cargo space (with a powered hatch)
      Easier to get child in and out of
      Lower insurance premium
      Similar price when similarly equiped

      Lets be honest though, the C-Max and Focus are getting stomped by the Escape and Fusion. For $10-$20 more a month you can have an Escape or Fusion instead of a Focus. Single white female says, “Sign me up!”

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The C-Max is more then the Escape, so for a few dollars less…

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          On a lease the Escape is way less. On a buy, they are almost exactly the same. SE with cloth is the best comparison. The C-Max will be about $500 less, but it will have heated seats, heated mirrors, and puddle lamps.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Isn’t the C-Max hybrid-only?

        I confess, I do like it. It’s dorky and functional, but the design “works” for me.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It is hybrid only. I would have purchased a gas or, especially, diesel model if it was available in the US. What I really want is an S-Max, but that will never ever happen.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I was going by starter base price, Escape $22,610, C-Max $24,170

            Yes, S-Max is cool

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            You are right, the Escape does have a lower starting price. The Esacpe has an S model below the SE though. It has wheel covers, the 2.5L, and no options. I rarely see them on dealer lots. I doubt they sell many at retail. Corey hates the amber fog lights on the Escape S with a passion.

      • 0 avatar
        Chicago Dude

        The C-Max is a great package for sure, but has a bunch of tiny little things that bother people. How on Earth did Ford forget about their hybrid plans when designing the platform? The batteries in a Prius aren’t robbing cargo space, but they are in the C-Max – and the C-Max uses smaller lithium ion batteries while Toyota doesn’t!

        Where are the projector beam headlights or the LED taillights? You can get them in Europe, but not here. It looks like a car that you’ve settled for. A Prius, on the other hand, looks like a car you bought on purpose, instead of all the other options on the Toyota lot (some cheaper, some more expensive).

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The C-Max wasn’t originally going to be a hybrid here. Ford planned on bringing over the C-Max and Grand C-Max, then decided not to. They got government money for retooling Wayne Assembly from Expeditions to small cars (Technically, the ATVM loans came when Ford was retooling for the 2012 Focus). Those green loans required plug-ins, hybrids, and BEVs. Therefore, we have a C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi.

          There are certainly compromises in the design, but it has made an excellent family car for me.

      • 0 avatar
        jeoff

        C-Max has been in competition with new Fusion and the new Escape since day 1. While, do agree that it is a good car, it was billed as Prius competitor–the milage re-statements and low fuel prices are both more recent causes of C-Max sales declines.
        Btw, I am interested in the C-Max, but haven’t driven one yet. The things that I have heard that concern me most are a large turning radius, no BLIS, and lack of cargo space–especially for the Energi–I’d be interested in your thoughts.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I wish Ford would have had me market the C-Max because they wouldn’t have had all of this trouble. I drove various C-Maxes before they went on sale and usually averaged between forty and forty four MPG. 35K miles later, I still get the same MPG.

          I think the best value with the C-Max is the SE with the 203A package and winter package. It doesn’t have BLIS, but I don’t expect it at that price point. I think Conslaw, who posts here as well, has the same vehicle with a different color. I don’t have an issue with the raised cargo floor on the hybrid, but with the Energi, you lose half the cargo space.

          All of the C-platform Ford vehicles have large turn radii, and the C-Max is no exception. It does drive nicely, has a comfortable ride, excellent NVH for the price, and is generally a nice place to be. It is open and full of light.

          You hit on it’s biggest problem though. What is it? It doesn’t really compete with the Prius, but has a smaller cargo areas than most CUVs. I view it as a CUV alternative. Look at it as a CUV that gets great mileage and is more carlike than anything else out there. My wife perfers it to various CUVs she’s looked at and thinks it is a much better vehicle than the Escape. She used to DD it, but since we purchased an MkT, the C-Max is my ride. If you have any other questions, let me know.

        • 0 avatar
          Conslaw

          @jeoff

          I noticed in reviews that the turning radius of the C-Max is above average; however, in the real world, the car seems to have an average turning radius that has not been a problem. One thing the C-Max does have going for it is decent rear visibility even without a back-up camera, unlike a Prius. My suggestion is that if you are considering a Ford hybrid is that if you do a lot of highway driving, lean towards a Fusion; but if you drive mostly within a city, try the C-Max. If you are considering a Prius, try a C-Max as well, because you might prefer the extra power andnd more traditional instrument layout. I personally like that the C-MAX is union-made in the United States, the only hybrid that is.

  • avatar

    “The Focus has been facelifted for MY2015, but that will be its fourth model year.”

    …as far as I know, the refreshed Focus isn’t even on lots yet. Hard to tell how much of a difference it will make to the numbers.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’d like to know how badly the PowerShift debacle has hurt the Focus and Fiesta. Especially for the Focus, it seems like the transmission is the only thing keeping the cars from the top of their class.

  • avatar
    Fred

    When folks say the Fusion looks like a Aston Martin I assume they have never seen one.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      There’s a saying repeated here often, “The Fusion looks like an Aston-Martin until one pulls up beside it” I still think the Fusion is one of the best looking sub-$30K cars you can buy

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      There’s a saying repeated here often, “The Fusion looks like an Aston-Martin until one pulls up bes*de it” I still think the Fusion is one of the best looking sub-$30K cars you can buy

  • avatar
    wmba

    Very few Fusions around these parts, and in low spec rental form they are pretty anonymous in the crowd anyway, just as the Mazda6 is. Both look better when seen in isolation for some reason, rather than hemmed in by the herd. The C-Max is an awkward pudgy little dude as well, noticeable by its height and ordinary detailing.

    Not that Ford is much different from other manufacturers in this regard. Why the press awarded the Fusion its Aston looks must be the result of lazy perception, as 30 seconds on Google will show. The Aston grille has curves in it, the Fusion does not.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Long wheel base + V6 = New Taurus?

    If only!

  • avatar
    ehaase

    With its roomy interior, the Fusion is well targeted to the US market. The Fiesta and Focus are on the cramped size for their classes and are more suitable for Europe.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • dantes_inferno: FCA motto: Dodge testing. RAM into production.
  • Schurkey: A few years back, I treated myself to a Challenger 5.7 Hemi rental car for several days when vacationing on...
  • SCE to AUX: I was shocked to see an SSR in the wild the other day. The Hummer EV will do better, but I wouldn’t...
  • SCE to AUX: Yeah, I’ll bet the engineers didn’t think of that. Have you seen the armor plate under the...
  • CaddyDaddy: Ya, but when Dalton got to Missouri and the Roadhouse, the Riv was the one to go with for the Dirty Work.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber