Autos

Buyers Flock to Ford’s Fusion as Incentives Tick Higher

Ford’s (NYSE:F) decision to overhaul its Fusion sedan may have been one of its best decisions in the past few years. Not only are buyers snapping up the new car in great numbers, but its bold styling, Aston Martin-esque cosmetic demeanor, and variety of drivetrains have sent its competitors back to the drawing board in efforts to remain competitive.

Bloomberg is reporting that Ford moved a record number of Fusion sedans, since increased competition from the likes of the Honda (NYSE:HMC) Accord and Toyota (NYSE:TM) Camry has spurred the company to increase its incentives on the car by 32 percent. Ford reportedly beat its record of 30,284 Fusions sold in the same month of last year, according to Erich Merkle, Ford’s sales analyst, who spoke with Bloomberg. It’s just the second time Ford has sold more than 30,000 Fusions in one month since the original generation was introduced in October 2005.

“There’s a tremendous amount of competition in this segment,” Merkle told the news service. “This is really hand-to-hand combat. There’s no other way to describe it. This is bloody, it’s in the trenches.”

Aside from pickup trucks, three of America’s best-selling vehicles are in the midsize sedan segment. Often, they consist of the Accord, the Camry, and Nissan’s (NSANY.PK) Altima. Ford’s Fusion is often outside the number 10 spot on the monthly best seller lists but will sometimes make appearances.

Ford pushed the incentives on the Fusion up by $770 over last year, to an average of $3,160 per model. Merkle noted, however, that it still fell $80 below the average discount in the midsize car category. With the weak state of the yen, Japanese manufacturers have been given some extra room to play with discounts and have been doing so to keep their lead.

Regardless, the Fusion moves for an average ticket of $23,500, higher than the Camry and near the top of the category, Merkle said to Bloomberg, adding that the Fusion’s average price was down from a year earlier, though he didn’t indicate by how much.

Ford is finding particular success in California, where the available hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains are big sellers. “We have many power train offerings that appeal to the Californians now,” Merkle said to the news service. “The electrified powertrains tend to do very well in the state.”

Fusion’s surge in March countered a decline in January and February, when sales fell by 11.3 percent to 44,615, according to data cited by Bloomberg from research firm Autodata.