Ford is ramping up Fusion output to cater to demand

Article by Anita Panait, on August 29, 2013

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Camry is the current leader is the race for the best-selling car crown in the United States. Ford Motor Co., however, is not taking chances as it braces to challenge the Camry’s dominance with its Fusion offering. Although the Fusion is being sold at around $2,300 higher than the Camry, Ford’s unit continues to eat away it rival’s sales lead, thanks to increasing demand for the American offering.

To cater to that surging demand, Ford has to increase the supply of the Fusion. The US carmaker is already preparing for that, as its assembly plant around 20 miles south of its headquarters in suburban Detroit will soon roll out Fusions from its production lines. But many do wonder if the increase in supply of the Fusion would lead to a decrease in price.

Alec Gutierrez, an analyst with Kelley Blue Book, told Bloomberg in a phone interview that Ford has managed to be a volume player competitive with the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord while maintaining “a far more competitive price point.”

He remarked that there might be some decrease in the Fusion’s prices, but only to a few hundred dollars. He added that Ford is not facing “any significant risk of serious price degradation,” and will be able to hold its premium spot in the segment. The Fusion saw its sales surge around 13 percent in the first seven months of 2013, allowing it trim a quarter of Camry’s sales lead.

This sales surge shows how much consumers are concerned about attractive design as well as how US carmakers could offer products in all segments. Increasing demand for Fusions has rendered Ford’s Hermosillo site in Mexico overwhelmed, as it could only produce up to 350,000 Fusions and Lincoln MKZ sedans annually.

Ford’s Mustang assembly site in Flat Rock, Michigan has increased it workforce by 1,400 people to build up to 100,000 more Fusions, allowing the carmaker to achieve production levels Toyota and Honda have with their Camry and Accord.

Ford has long promised a vehicle that shows high visual quality while making use of improved materials and revealing a high level of attention to detail and craftsmanship. The Fusion then is a good example of the brand fulfilling that promise. It is safe to say that this latest offering from Ford exudes dynamics and when combined with craftsmanship gives an excellent feel.

The Fusion’s interior has an atmosphere that is more athletic and is focused on the driver. The center console for example is in line with this driver-oriented theme by being positioned on a higher level. This same center console also has a number of storage options for items that the driver would want to keep handy. Meanwhile, the use of next-generation seating offers expanded functionality.

Already ensuring comfort, the seats are supported by frames that are both lighter and thinner. Further, the seats have been trimmed with fabric sourced from sustainable yarns. With regards to the instrument panel, Ford positioned it neared the windshield. Not only does it help the cabin get a more open and airy atmosphere but it also brings in added space for the passengers.

According to Chris Hamilton, who is the Chief Exterior Designer for this next-generation model, the previous version of the Fusion was a purchase that many customers found easy to rationalize. Thus when it came to this new model, he added, the brand wanted a car that would offer mainstream sedan customers a visual experience that is truly the best.

As such, it would add emotional appeal to what is already considered as a practical choice, he continued. Ford revealed that while the interior surfaces have been made softer to the touch, the gaps between the exterior and the interior have been minimized.

The brand made sure as well that each surface and edge that the customer can touch would be upholstered or covered. Meanwhile on the rear section, a spring-loaded cover ensures that the trunk latch hardware is immediately concealed once the truck lid is opened.

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