Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally said that the elegant new Fusion sedan is claiming superiority over the sales of Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry. Executives said that this isn’t actually what Mulally wants. Researcher IHS Automotive said that Ford couldn’t possibly build enough Fusions to sell more than the Camry, the No. 1 car in the U.S. for the last 10 years.
What Mulally is aiming for with Fusion is to strike a balance between getting top dollar for each car and achieving higher sales.
In an interview, Jim Farley, Ford's global marketing chief, said that the “right mix” will be attained between price and volume. He said that instead of targeting the No. 1 position, the company is actually more concerned about “getting the right price point and the right kind of people to buy the car."
The approach that Ford has taken with Fusion is a stark contrast to the industry’s goal to get the highest sales. General Motors Co. took back its global sales top rank last year after beating Toyota.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen AG aims to take the lead by 2018. Mercedes-Benz and BMW battled to replace Lexus as the leader in U.S. luxury sales even as they continued to fight with Audi for the global title.
Fusion shows the critical line between maximizing sales and maximizing profits. Right after the Fusion was presented at the Detroit Auto Show, it received a lot of praises. Its sleek redesign, which is reminiscent of the styling from the Jaguar and Aston Martin brands Ford once owned, is credited for having increased the interest in the Fusion on the Edmunds.com car-shopping website by 49%.
For every model that Ford releases to the market, it is clear that the company remains committed to its goal of becoming one of the leaders, if not the sole one, when it comes to fuel efficiency. As such, the new Fusion is hoping to bring with it a fuel economy that is the best in the segment that includes sub-segments like gasoline, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid.
Particularly for the mid-size car class, the Fusion will be offering a wide range of powertrains that are fuel efficient. This includes not only plug-in hybrid and hybrid alternative but even a 4-cylinder normally aspirated engine, and two 4-cylinder EcoBoost engines. Then there is also the automatic start stop system to make sure that the engine is turned off when idle or stationary and an all-wheel drive and front-wheel drive applications.
The engines themselves will be paired to a manual 6-speed transmission or an automatic version. Regarding the pair of EcoBoost engines, one of them will be the 1.6-liter version with non-hybrid fuel efficiency rated at highway 37 mpg and city 26 mpg. Meanwhile, the 2.0-liter variant is coupled with the SelectShift Automatic 6-speed paddle-shifted transmission.
This will come with the 19-inch wheels and tires with an all-wheel drive that can send extra torque to the back. Already named as 2010 North American Car of the Year, the Fusion Hybrid shows that innovation has not ended with lithium-ion batteries and that when compared to the nickel-metal hydride version, it still delivers more power while having lower weight.
In addition, running solely on electricity, maximum speed is now at 62 mph, an increase compared to the previous which was 47 mph. Part of the Fusion Hybrid’s appeal is the Atkinson-cycle 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine which maintains the same performance as that of the previous engine which was a 2.5-liter unit.
As a result of this innovation, it is projected that the Fusion Hybrid will have fuel economy rating of 44 mpg for the highway and 47 mpg under city driving. These figures reveals that the when it comes to fuel economy, the Fusion Hybrid is expected to be better than the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid by as much as 5 mpg for highway and 4 mpg for city. Fusion Hybrid is better as well compared to the 2011 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid as the latter has 4 mpg highway fuel efficiency rating with 12 mpg city rating.