"I don't think we're very enamored with being Number One just to be Number One," Ford Global Marketing Vice President Jim Farley says of his expectations for the 2013 Ford Fusion. Interest in the Fusion spiked after the 2013 model's premium-look sheetmetal made a splash at this month's Detroit Auto Show, so it's natural to expect that Ford wants to grab the sales volume brass ring. After all, the Ford Taurus was the best-selling car in the U.S. for nearly half of the 1990s, but Farley points out that Ford is "much more enamored with getting the right price point and the right kind of people to buy the car."
Simply put, that means that while Ford is bringing additional Fusion production to the AutoAlliance International facility in Flat Rock, MI, success won't be measured just by total units sold. Besides, even with the added capacity, Ford's 400,000 per year full-tilt capability still trails the 500,000 Camry models Toyota can assemble in Kentucky and Indiana. Ford apparently thinks it's smarter to focus on the technology, style, and efficiency that customers will pay more for, rather than forcing dealers to take more cars than they want and dumping the rest into fleets just to get the sales crown.
Instead of crowing about a short-term metric that ultimately cheapens the brand image and drives down resale values, Ford's posture suggests they want to drive continued profitability by getting more money per sale than the competiton. Finding tech savvy buyers will mean spending heavy dollars on digital marketing campaigns, including social media, and for a change, that may mean strong Fusion sales in markets that don't traditionally embrace the Blue Oval as strongly as the stalwart support of the midwest.
We have to agree that profit-per-vehicle and a good reputation strikes us as a better strategy to long-term health than a strategy based on volume dominance, but we're guessing that Farley and company would still be pleased as punch if the Fusion managed to outsell the competition.