Ford seems to have overshot its mark with the uptick in Fusion production at its Flat Rock, Michigan plant. In August, Ford announced it would be bumping up production of the Ford Fusion by 30 percent to match high demand for the midsize sedan, but now, according to a report from Automotive News, the plant has been idled to reduce the supply of Fusions sitting at dealerships.
Ford told AN that the Flat Rock plant would have approximately one extra week off in December to match production with demand for the Fusion. The Ford Fusion has been selling well throughout 2013, with 248,033 units sold to date, outpacing the 2012 full-year total of 241,263. However, AN says that there is an 88-day supply of Ford Fusion sedans nationwide as of November 1, considerably higher than the 48-day supply this time last year and also above the 65-day Fusion supply in October.
When Ford originally announced the Flat Rock production increase, it was a pretty clear aim at the best-selling Toyota Camry’s continuous sales dominance, as Ford said the increased Flat Rock production—in combination with the Fusion’s primary production location in Mexico—would mean that it could produce 350,000 Fusions annually. Year-to-date, the Toyota Camry has already sold 348,134 units.
Even if Ford is able to produce 350,000 Fusions each year, actually selling that many units is a different proposition, especially considering the ultra-competitive nature of the midsize sedan segment. As it stands currently, the Ford Fusion not only trails the Camry in year-to-date sales, but also the Honda Accord (307,264 units sold) and the Nissan Altima (271,303 units sold). And given that the automaker has an 88-day supply of cars, it seems unlikely that sales will catch up with those cars by the end of this year.
We’ll see if Ford can figure out this production cycle within the next few months, but we are interested to keep an eye on Fusion sales through the end of this year and into the first quarter of 2014.