For many years, Ford lacked a real contender in the mid-size segment. They lost considerably ground after the redesign of the Ford Taurus, and the compact-ish Contour simply couldn't compete. Clearly, the Ford Fusion is a significant vehicle for Ford. Detroit News has a fascinating look at the market testing Ford performed prior to the release of the Fusion. Some of the consumer behavior is fascinating. For instance, Ford would often take the Fusion into the public, but remove the badges to see if people could identify the manufacturer. A vast majority did not realize it was a Ford, many of whom were impressed by the Fusion's progressive design. Also, Ford would take several midsize competitors out with the Fusion, and they would ask the public which vehicle they would buy. With the Ford de-badged, the Fusion became a popular choice. Once a test subject found out that it was a Ford, they switched back to the Toyota Camry. After years of being beaten out by the likes of Honda and Toyota, the domestics have huge perceptual boundaries to cross. Like we've said before, producing reliable, high quality product that is backed by strong warranties at a competitive price will go a long way toward reversing this perception. It worked for Hyundai. Honestly, if anyone has ever spent time in many of the new domestic vehicles, you will be surprised by the leap in quality they have made of the past few years.

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