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The Spaminator
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Ford expects Fusion to grab profits without Camry's crown
Keith Naughton
January 24, 2012
Automotive News

DETROIT (Bloomberg) -- Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally has suggested that his stylish new Fusion sedan is seeking sales supremacy over Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry.That's not exactly what the boss wants, executives said.

Ford can't make enough Fusions to outsell the Camry, the top car in the U.S. for the past decade, according to researcher IHS Automotive. Instead, with Fusion, Mulally is aiming for a balance between commanding top dollar for each car and selling a lot more of them.

"Between price and volume, we'll sort out the right mix," Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing chief, said in an interview. "I don't think we're very enamored with being No. 1 just to be No. 1. We're much more enamored with getting the right price point and the right kind of people to buy the car."

Ford's approach with Fusion stands in contrast to the industry's quest for sales crowns. General Motors Co. regained the No. 1 global rank last year, dethroning Toyota, while Volkswagen AG says it will become the leader by 2018. Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG's BMW fought to replace Toyota's Lexus as tops in U.S. luxury sales, while they continue to battle VW's Audi for the global title.

The Fusion demonstrates that there is still a careful line between maximizing sales and maximizing profits.

Accolades and attention poured in for the Fusion after Mulally introduced it Jan. 9 at the Detroit auto show. The family car's sleek redesign, which borrows styling from the Jaguar and Aston Martin brands Ford once owned, generated so much buzz the week it was shown that interest in the Fusion jumped 49 percent on the Edmunds.com car-shopping website.

Taurus comparisons

Inevitably, comparisons were made to Ford's Taurus sedan, which was the top-selling car in the U.S. from 1992 to 1996. When Mulally was asked if the new Fusion could finally topple Camry, he appeared to answer in the affirmative.

"Fusion last year set a sales record and with this new family of vehicles, we believe we can build on that success," he told reporters just after introducing the car. "I think we really will be preferred in that" mid-sized car segment.

Within hours, Mulally's executives began parsing his prediction.

"Alan's right, that is our hope," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product-development chief, said in an interview. "But we're not about sales races. And we're certainly not about sacrificing our profitability for a sales race."

Added Farley, who is in charge of selling the 2013 Fusion: "He didn't necessarily say that our ambitions are to be the segment share leader."

Plant Capacity

Ford is boosting factory capacity to build the Fusion by adding a shift of production of the car at a factory in Michigan, augmenting the two shifts of workers already assembling the car in Mexico. That will give Ford the capacity to build 400,000 Fusions annually, said Mike Jackson, a forecaster at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich.

Toyota has the ability to build more than 500,000 Camrys a year at factories in Kentucky and Indiana, said Mike Goss, a spokesman for the automaker's North American production unit.

Neither Ford nor Toyota is likely to use all that capacity, Jackson said. U.S. vehicle sales may rise 5.6 percent this year to 13.5 million, the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That's 20 percent less than the 16.8 million car and light truck sales the U.S. averaged from 2000 to 2007, according to Autodata Corp.

North American production of the Fusion will grow to 310,000 this year, from 294,000 last year, while the Camry surges to 408,000 from 308,000 in 2011, Jackson said. Next year, Fusion output will grow to 345,000, still 17 percent behind the 414,000 Camrys that Toyota plans to build in North America, he said.

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My wife and I are not brand loyal, but whereas I definately will consider this next Fusion, I absolutely would not consider a Camry. The 2013 Fusion is stunning, whereas the new Camry got even uglier.
 

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It is possible they could steal the crown though, Camry sales are not what they used to be... they didn't sell over 400k last year iirc. but that is yet to be seen, who knows they may start picking up steam again.
 

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Mercury C557
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umm ... just to spread a rumor*

maybe Fomoco is willing to spend a bit more on the Fusion when FlatRock opens
...like an other body style*?
(& maybe they'll spend a bit more on their other cars too?)
((OR because they're counting the cost of retooling FlatRock))



** I heard that a Fusion-sized car has been spotted in Dearborn/Detroit that is STILL wrapped up in a tarp!!
coupe? notchback?



btw
re: FlatRock:
"...The first trial bodies for the Fusion are now set be be run in Feb. 2013 with production starting in late spring 2013. A second shift will be added shortly thereafter, and there are plans for a third shift, with no date set yet. Ford wants a 4 shift operation for skilled trades, NO overtime, all straight time...
...Retooling for the Fusion begins the minute the last Mazda leaves Body Shop in August. Stamping, Body, Paint & Trim will all need some retooling between then and January 2013..."
BON
 

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Any news if the Mondeo-badged version of the 2013 Fusion will be manufactured in Thailand so it can go against the Camry and Accord in the ASEAN markets?
 

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Ford is boosting factory capacity to build the Fusion by adding a shift of production of the car at a factory in Michigan, augmenting the two shifts of workers already assembling the car in Mexico. That will give Ford the capacity to build 400,000 Fusions annually, said Mike Jackson, a forecaster at IHS Automotive in Northville, Mich.

Toyota has the ability to build more than 500,000 Camrys a year at factories in Kentucky and Indiana, said Mike Goss, a spokesman for the automaker's North American production unit.
Remember...they need to subtract about 35K for MKZ production.
 

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I have a Fusion now, so in 3 years when its up to get replaced, this new Fusion will be on the short list. The more I look at pictures the more I like it. I thought the polarizing front end would make me not likeit after a short while (like the Sonata .....cant stand the look of that car anymore), but I like it even more now then when released. The interior is for sure best in anything out and coming out that I have seen in this class .... at least by my tastes.

When does production of the 2013 start in Mexico, and when are the first 2013 slated to hit showrooms?
 

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Mercury C557
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...When does production of the 2013 start in Mexico, and when are the first 2013 slated to hit showrooms?
the Fusion Job1 is "this summer" - not sure how that will exactly work out with the summer vacation plant closing (usually 2nd half of June iirc).
Looks like they'll start arriving at dealers either 2nd half of August or early September.
 

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I really think the 2013 Fusion is a beautiful car. I'm trying to decide if I can afford one. Have I heard correctly that the "S" level Fusion will be the one with six speed auto and 2.5 engine. I could afford this in this iteration unless Ford decides to really raise the base level transaction price of the car. I hope not. I have looked at the Focus, but I still struggle with how the DCT is working.
 

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Mercury C557
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You can count with 50 to 60K MKZs for the first year of production....
^ I definitely won't bet against the Z (or anything having to do with Fomoco**) no matter what my personal feelings are about how it could be styled better


** ever since the mortgaging before the collapse
when no one else afaik prepared as well as they did.
Don't care if it's smarts, luck, or karma;
don't bet against Ford

carfan said:
...Have I heard correctly that the "S" level Fusion will be the one with six speed auto and 2.5 engine...
not sure, Carfan, tho that sounds familiar
but
imho $5+ gas could change things.
usually a couple months before Job1 is when the OrderGuides come out = April-ish
maybe timed with-or-after the NYC autoshow to keep anticipation high?
 

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Have I heard correctly that the "S" level Fusion will be the one with six speed auto and 2.5 engine.
Most likely (well that's how they did it with the 2013 Escape, only the base S trim gets the 2.5 engine, the rest get EcoBoost engines).

According to initial 2013 Fusion specs (no trim level specified), the 2.5 only comes with a 6-speed auto, its the 1.6 EcoBoost that has an option of either a 6-speed auto or a 6-speed manual.
 
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