Friday, March 30, 2012

Game Changer: Ford Fusion 2013 Sedan

It's an open secret now that I am biased when it comes to Ford Motor Company. This is because I'm a shareholder of the company and, as a result, have been following its product development and sales trends closely for the past 3 years. I've been ecstatic with the leadership of Allen Mullaly as Ford's CEO, especially with the re-dedication to the core brand and its recent lineup of product offerings.

The recent Ford Fiesta, Focus, and the TransitConnect represent the shift of Ford's strategy away from the traditional American car model -- the so-called gas-guzzlers and large-sized vehicles. In addition to the appealing looks (the Focus in particular looks great), these vehicles are very fuel-efficient. Ford also took a gamble by attempting to streamline the vehicles chassis for its models across the different geographies, whereby the Ford Focus, for example, is often referred to as the "Global Focus". From a financial perspective, the immediate advantage is lower development costs as all the geographies now share a single chassis that the company can build and market to customers.

I am also a fan of the TransitConnect and happy to see the vehicle more frequently on the roads. It seems custom-built for small businesses, a market segment seemingly under-served by the competition. The TransitConnect marked the hybrid of the truck and the mini-van -- resulting in something businesses can acquire cheaply and use for their needs. Ford essentially defined a new lucrative market for itself. But to me, the biggest star has just been announced by Ford at the 2012 Chicago Auto Show back this January. The unveiling of the Ford Fusion 2013.

Ford's Cash Cow for Years to Come...

You can read more about the different configurations here at Autoblog. The quick and dirty is that new Fusion combines the styling of the luxury brands like Audi and even Aston Martin, with the integration of new technologies -- all into a package that should cost around $25,000. It will come in a myriad of different flavors, ranging from diesel to hybrid to electric. You can see that Ford is betting big on the success of this model...

What gets me excited is the sheet positive reception garnered from this initial preview. Heck, I want to buy one too! One would assume the car is a luxury brand at first sight: the styling is aggressive, spacious, but also extremely elegant. The key selling point is mixing all these factors into an affordable package. In short, this model could be disruptive to the mid-size sedan segment as customers rich and poor alike will forgo their "natural" price points and converge on the Ford Fusion 2013. Why pay $50,000 for an Audi when you get something comparable in style for half the price? The Audi-loyalists will balk at this suggestion but I think for the general populace, my hypothesis will prove to be true.

My only gripe with the model is, paradoxically, its resemblance to the super luxury brands like Aston Martin. After the "love at first sight" moment, the Fusion 2013 seems almost trying too hard to imitate its much more expensive cousins. The net effect is a sense of "phoneyness", a visible element of forgery that makes those who value authenticity to cringe at its sight. It's akin to committing conscious deceit. Oftentimes when I see a Nissan Z, I laugh a little as the vehicle's styling resembles so closely to the Porsche that it's almost....sad. I think the owner of these vehicles are those forced to settle because they can't afford the real thing. The same, I fear will happen to this upcoming addition to the Ford lineup.

No comments:

Post a Comment