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Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (TM), Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (HMC): Ford Motor Company (F)’s Fusion Is a Company Game-Changer

2013 Ford Fusion Titanium. Photo credit: Ford Motor.

I hate tossing around the term “game-changer,” but every now and then the shoe fits. Consider the time around 2006, when Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) had to dish out roughly $2,000 in incentives to sell its vehicles because nobody wanted to buy a Ford car. That caused Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) to rack up $30 billion in losses between 2006 and 2008. Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) was closer to competing with Starbucks with its break-room coffee than it was competing with Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM) and Honda Motor Co Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) in smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Those days are gone, and Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) can’t keep enough of its Fusion at dealerships. In some markets, the Fusion is selling in 20 days; that’s three times faster than the industry average! Not only are Americans clamoring to get the ride, but Ford is also having great success with the vehicle overseas — something no analyst predicted half a decade ago. The Fusion is changing the game for Ford’s success in the U.S. and globally. Here’s why consumers love the ride, and why Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) investors do, too.

Wait … stylish?
One of the biggest points of emphasis on the Fusion was creating its unique style, something that isn’t seen often in the typically bland mid-size sedan segment.

“My design brief to the team was to do an absolute drop-dead gorgeous head-turner,” said J. Mays, Ford’s head of global design, according to the Detroit Free Press. “And it was to look $10,000-$15,000 more expensive than it is.”

Consider it a job well done, Mr. Mays. Not only does it look stunning next to bland competitors, but Ford has crammed quite a few features into the ride. It’s the first sedan to offer gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid powertrains. In addition to its award-winning line of EcoBoost engine options, it’s loaded with popular tech features. Those include a Lane-Keeping System, adaptive cruise control, active park assist, and MyFord Touch.

Those give consumers plenty of reason to buy, and it shows, with sales of the Fusion up 13.4% this year — and improving each year as the word gets out that Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s Fusion is impressing critics and consumers alike. Consider some of its recent awards.

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

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

Ford’s Fusion has a chance to do two things that haven’t been done in some time. Right now the flashy sedan is on pace to break 300,000 annual sales in the U.S., something only the F-Series has done for Ford in nine years. It also represents the best chance for an American-made vehicle to take the No. 1 passenger car sales crown — which has been held by Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) (NYSE:TM)’s Camry for 15 of the past 16 years.

Graph by author. Information from Automotive News DataCenter. 2013 projected from first six months.

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