The midsize sedan segment is filled with competition, but if Ford (NYSE:F) or General Motors wants to regain market share lost to the Japanese, that is where it will be done. The majority of Detroit's automakers' profits come from trucks, but market share is driven by high volume vehicles such as Ford's Fusion, Focus, and a couple others. The Fusion has had tremendous success, and is beginning to change consumers' minds about the quality of Ford's vehicles. Let's take a look at how it's selling and what critics are saying. One thing is clear: If Ford continues to have success with other vehicles as it has had with the Fusion, it will be a stock you want to own.
Let's first look at how tremendously well the Fusion has been doing this year. In January it topped its prior year by 65%, a very impressive increase. February was another strong month, topping last year's record February by 28%. On Monday Ford released March sales information, and the Fusion – for the first time in history – delivered sales figures over 30,000 for the month and over 80,000 total for the quarter. Consumers are giving Ford's Fusion a chance, and they're driving them off the lot in a hurry.
The Fusion continues to add to its collection of trophies, locking up this year's "Green Car of the Year" award at the auto show in Los Angeles. The Fusion beat five other models from Toyota, Mazda, Dodge, and wouldn't you know it – another Ford model. One reason it won was due to the sheer number of fuel-efficient options it delivers to consumers. It has the conventional vehicle, a hybrid, plug-in hybrids, and multiple EcoBoost engines that offer increased gas mileage.
Kelley Blue Book named the 2013 Fusion the "Best Redesigned Vehicle" of the year, describing the new ride as "gorgeous". Its styling definitely takes on hints from Ford's previously owned Aston-Martin brand, and has been a hit in a midsize segment that can sometimes lack innovative styling to appease the mass market.
Looking at the U.S. News & World Report 2013 "Best Cars for Families" award, the Fusion won in the best midsize car category for three straight years now. In addition to that accolade, the hybrid version has won the top spot in its category for two years in a row. This award is based on quality, features, and space for families. Aside from family vehicles, the U.S. News also named the Fusion the best midsize car for your money. Ford's brought home other awards, too, as it won "Best Cars for the Money" awards with six vehicles taking home first place – the most of any brand. I could go on, but that should be enough to emphasize that the Fusion is changing consumers' minds. What's all this mean for Ford investors, though?
For investors it's all about profits and market share, both of which Ford is looking to increase. Consumers have been giving rave reviews of the Fusion's styling, quality, and options. This is all good news to Ford, which has lost a little market share – albeit while increasing profits – and is attempting to gain that share back. The Fusion is definitely going to help win that fight. The Fusion and Focus are both integral parts of the "One Ford" plan to create quality vehicles on an efficient global platform to improve profit margins. The F-Series will continue to be America's best-selling truck, bringing in large profits consistently. Now Ford has more vehicles helping improve the bottom line. Look for the Fusion and Focus to increase sales figures and market share globally. Those long on Ford should be happy with the way things are developing.
Fool contributor Daniel Miller owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.