’s newly designed ’13 Fusion midsize sedan is flying off U.S. dealers’ lots, constrained only by production at the car’s Hermosillo, Mexico, assembly plant that is running full-tilt on a 3-crew pattern.
Fusion deliveries jumped 18.7% in April and surged 25.3% through the first four months to 107,280 units, according to WardsAuto data.
’s bread-and-butter sedan is gaining popularity thanks to its sleek styling and array of technology, which is attracting younger car buyers, says Samantha Hoyt, Ford Fusion marketing manager.
“The percentage of customers under the age of 36 is almost 30%,” she tells WardsAuto. “That’s eight points higher than the prior model and makes us the youngest of the major competitors in the segment.”
Hoyt points to the median age of ’13 Fusion buyers, which she says has dropped from 51 years for the previous-generation model to 48. That makes Fusion owners younger than those of theCamry, Accord and Altima, who average 50.
The median age of ’13 Fusion hybrid owners also has dropped, from 53 years to 49, which Hoyt says comes as a surprise because hybrid buyers typically skew older.
Another surprise is the number of conquest sales the new Fusion has achieved in a short time, which currently represent 49% of deliveries, up eight points from the previous model.
An increasing number of Fusion buyers are trading in luxury vehicles as well, Hoyt says, “including Cadillac,and Audi. We’re seeing more people move down (in pricing), but into the high-technology packages. They are younger, more affluent and more adept at technology.”
The majority of Fusion customers purchase the SE low-trim level, but demand for the high-end Titanium editions is exceeding production, Hoyt says, noting even SE buyers are opting for the up-level, direct-injected turbocharged EcoBoost engine.
A good number of first-time ’13 Fusion customers are from the East and West coasts, areas where Ford products generally have performed poorly, Hoyt says. Fusion sales in California, for example, have doubled compared with the previous model.
Fleet orders account for about 25% of the new Fusion’s deliveries. However, most are to government and commercial agencies that are more profitable, rather than daily rental companies. “The 25% is in line with the last generation, but it fluctuates a little,” she says.
Despite the redesigned sedan’s strong market start, the worry is inventory constraints could limit sales as the year progresses.
Fusion days’ supply was just 40 at the end of April, according to WardsAutodata. Auto makers typically consider 60 ideal. Some relief will come when Ford’s Flat Rock, MI, assembly plant begins Fusion production this fall.
“Inventory is a concern to me as a marketing manager,” Hoyt says. “I want to sell as many as I can. In this segment, it’s going to come down to capacity.”