The last full year of the current-gen Ford Fusion saw the Blue Oval’s midsize sedan have its best sales year ever with 248,067 Fusions sold. But the Fusion’s best year ever was still some 60,000 vehicles shy of the segment's best seller, the Toyota Camry and its 308,510 sales last year. One would expect Ford would want to overtake the Camry with its all-new 2013 Fusion. According to Automotive News, that’s not the case, because Ford is going for profit -- not sheer volume -- with the 2013 Fusion.
Ford's plan for the 2013 Fusion is to sell more cars at a slightly higher price than the current model – just not necessarily in Camry-beating numbers. Automotive News reports that Ford is more concerned about finding the right balance between price and sales volume than taking out the Toyota Camry and its legions of buyers. Ford’s global marketing head Jim Farley told Automotive News, “Between price and volume, we’ll sort out the right mix. I don’t think we’re very enamored with being number one just to be number one. We’re much more enamored with getting the right price point and the right kind of people to buy the car.”
For the 2013 Fusion's launch, Ford will have three shifts of workers building the new sedan: two in Mexico, and one new shift that Ford just created in Michigan. Mike Jackson, a forecaster at IIHA Automotive told Automotive News that even with the extra production capacity in Michigan, Ford is only capable of building about 400,000 Fusions per year. Toyota spokesperson Mike Goss told Automotive News that it has the capability of building over 500,000 Camrys annually in its Kentucky and Indiana factories.
Even with Fusion sales up 13.0 percent year-over-year last year, and Camry sales down 5.9 percent, Jackson still doesn’t think the 2013 Fusion will be enough to overtake the Camry’s crown. He expects Ford to produce 310,000 Fusions this year, while Toyota will produce around 414,000 Camrys.
Ford doesn’t seem to be discouraged by the fact that it can’t churn out Fusions as fast as Toyota can Camrys. Rather, it seems more focused on beating its Fusion sales from last year with its new model – baby steps, if you will. “Fusion last year set a sales record,” Ford chief Allan Mulally told Automotive News, “With this new family of vehicles, we believe we can build on that success.”
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)