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Ford Motor Company (F), Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (TM): Two Signs That American-Made Is Back

It wasn’t long ago that Detroit automakers were the butt of every joke in the automotive industry. Their arrogance and short-sightedness ran their businesses into the ground, leaving General Motors and Chrysler to be bailed out by the taxpayers; Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) the only automaker to survive on its own. Five years after the deepest recession seen in decades, the story has completely changed. Here are two pieces of proof that American-made vehicles are coming back stronger than ever.

Ford’s Fusion

Ford’s 2014 Fusion is a big reason for Ford’s success this year. Photo credit: Ford.

The Fusion is definitely one of the biggest Detroit success stories in a decade. Japanese rivals Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) and Honda probably laughed at the idea, as did everyone else, that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) could produce a smaller, fuel-efficient vehicle to compete in segments long dominated by the Japanese — but Ford did just that. The Fusion’s sales are up 13.4% through August and are on pace to do something only the F-Series has done in the past nine years for Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F): top 300,000 in annual sales.

Interior of Ford’s 2014 Fusion. Photo Credit: Ford

Its sales would be even higher, except Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) can’t keep enough supply of the vehicle on dealer lots! In key markets the flashy sedan is selling in 20 days — three times faster than the industry average. While it’s no fun losing potential sales, the lack of supply has left consumers little negotiating room, and the Fusion sells at a $1,176 premium to the industry average. The Fusion even sells at a $2,378 premium to the industry-leading Camry, which has dominated the market sales for 15 of the past 16 years. That’s a night-and-day difference from when Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) had to sell its vehicles at a loss just to move them off dealer lots.

The Fusion isn’t just popular with consumers; critics are also throwing awards at the car left and right.

U.S. News and World Report‘s “Best Car for the Money.”

2013 “Green Car of the Year” award from the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Kelley Blue Book‘s “Best Redesigned Vehicle” of the year.

U.S. News and World Report‘s 2013 “Best Cars for Families.”

U.S. News and World Report‘s “Best Mid-Size Car” (for three straight years).

Fusion gains ground on Camry. Graph by author. Information credit: Automotive News DataCenter.

Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s Fusion represents America’s best chance to take the sales crown in a segment solely dominated by Japanese rivals. As you can see, it has a real chance going forward; that’s one proof American-made vehicles are back. Here’s another.

Tesla’s Model S

Tesla’s 2013 Model S. Photo credit: Tesla Motors.

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