Ford Seeks to Capture More of Mid-Sized Sedan Market with Redesigned 2013 Fusion

Since being launched in the U.S. market six years ago, the Ford Fusion has grown in popularity. With the new 2013 Fusion, Ford says it is now ready to take on all comers for the title of best-selling mid-sized sedan.

Last year, the mid-sized sedan segment represented 52 percent of all passenger car sales in the U.S.

The Fusion has been a perennial top performer for Ford.  Even during the economic collapse in 2008, Fusion sales dropped by only one percent.  In 2011, Ford sold 248,067 Fusions in the U.S., marking the third consecutive year of double-digit gains.

The 2013 Fusion features a sweeping profile and will be available with a fuel-efficient four-cylinder gasoline, gas-electric hybrid and plug-in electric powertrains.

Ford will not offer the 3.0- and 3.5-liter V-6 engines available in the current 2012 model. The Fusion gas-electric hybrid will reportedly deliver 47 mpg city / 44 mpg highway, and Ford expects the plug-in variant to achieve the equivalent of 100 mpg combined city / highway.

Despite its low-slung styling, the new Fusion will offer more interior space than the Toyota Prius all-electric and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid sedans.

Fusion chief exterior design engineer Chris Hamilton said the goal was to offer “a top-drawer visual experience, adding some emotional appeal to an already sensible choice.”

The mid-sized sedan segment represented nearly 52 percent of the U.S. passenger car market last year. The all-new Volkswagen Passat and redesigned Kia Optima have performed well in the increasingly competitive segment, and Ford expects the redesigned Fusion to fare equally well with U.S. consumers.

Toyota launched its redesigned Camry earlier this year to mixed reviews, and Chevrolet will launch an all-new Malibu later this quarter.  A number of other redesigned mid-sized sedans will enter the fray in 2013 including the Mazda6, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima.

The overall design for the new Fusion is based on the Evos concept model which was unveiled last September at the Frankfurt Auto show. Ford has also done away with the chrome bars that adorn the grill of the 2012 Fusion.

AutoPacific Incorporated analyst David Sullivan likes the new design. He says, “To me it looks expensive. It’s for people who don’t want the vanilla-flavored Camry. Fusion is not going to appeal to some people. I think Ford is OK with that.”

The 2013 Fusion will feature active park assist, adaptive cruise control and Ford’s Lane Keeping System.

The 2013 Fusion is scheduled to arrive in U.S. dealer showrooms during the second half of this year.

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