Ford Places Faith in Fusion

The automaker hopes its redesigned 2013 sedan will surpass Toyota's Camry in U.S. sales.

Dan Carroll
Dan Carroll
Sep 18, 2012 at 12:00AM

Ford (NYSE: F) cranked up the Fusion PR machine today, announcing a "47 Challenges, 47 Days" chapter of Random Acts of Fusion. Why 47? Ford is glad you asked. It also announced that the new Fusion Hybrid had attained an EPA-certified rating of 47 mpg, "making it America's most fuel-efficient midsize sedan."

I leave it to Ford to explain Random Acts of Fusion: "a unique transmedia marketing program that already has introduced Fusion to millions of fans by playing out a story arc through multimedia platforms."

Ford's Fusion has become the company's best-selling vehicle since its launch in 2005, and analysts see it as the automaker's best hope for unseating Toyota's (NYSE: TM) Camry. To achieve this vision, Ford has introduced a number of new, driver-friendly incentives and is unleashing a marketing blitz in New York, Los Angeles, and three other cities across the United States.

The redesigned vehicle comes after hundreds of millions of dollars in development costs, reported The Wall Street Journal, as Ford aims to lead a midsize sedan market that represents 25% of American new car sales. Ford faces hefty competition, however. The Camry and Honda Accord have long ruled the top spots in this category and competitors have their own updated models in the works.

Midsize car sales have jumped 26% in 2012, according to Ford, surpassing a 15% growth in total American auto sales.

Ford's running on a good track record. In August, Fusion posted a sixth consecutive monthly sales record, with best-ever August sales totaling 21,690 vehicles, a 21% increase over the previous year.

The 2013 Fusion sports increased fuel economy -- with a hybrid version's 47 mpg standard rated the top in its class by the Environmental Protection Agency. The new model also brings a new look as well as greater legroom, an optional voice-controlled entertainment system, and the company's My Ford Touch dashboard screen. New Fusions will start at $21,700, with fully outfitted models going for close to $35,000.

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