Drive Type: rwd
Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
The Ford Fusion may already beat the Toyota Camry in terms of models offered, transaction price and sales increase so far this year, but if the Fusion wants to make a run at the title of best-selling car in the US, Bloomberg reminds us that volume is key. Opening a second production line at the Flat Rock, MI assembly plant will reportedly allow Ford to produce around 350,000 Fusions annually, which compares Toyota's ability to crank out 475,000 Camrys and Honda's capacity to build around 450,000 Accords.
For the Fusion, that's an extra 100,000 units compared to the car's current pace, and the article adds that the Fusion is "Ford's best shot" to regain the passenger car sales crown - a title it (or any other US automaker, for that matter) hasn't held since the mid-1990s. Despite hiccups with recalls and fuel economy numbers, the Ford Fusion is still red hot when it comes to sales. Fusion sales are up 13 percent so far this year (compared to a 0.6 percent decrease for Camry), and its average transaction price of $26,343 is about $2,300 more than its rival from Toyota.
The Fusion's popularity has helped Ford improve its sales in California; the Dearborn-based automaker has a market share of 18 percent in the state, which is just a fraction of a percentage behind Honda. And this popularity should continue as Ford ups Fusion production and expands the model lineup even further for 2014 with a new 1.5-liter EcoBoost engine soon to become an option.
Sitting down at the pre-drive briefing with Ford engineers ahead of sampling the refreshed 2015 Focus, water bottles clinked as we wet our whistles before Q&A. While pouring a glass, we noticed something stamped on the bottle label: "1L." One liter. We were palming the exact displacement of the EcoBoost engine our group was about to drive. This was undoubtedly coincidence (such bottles litter every conference and dinner table in Europe) but it served to drive home just how small the total swept volume of Ford's wunderkind powerplant really is. It's tiny.
Of course, this isn't our first run-in with the little triple - we've sampled its turbocharged charms before in Ford's smaller Fiesta. At that time, we found it had plenty of poke for the subcompact, but the larger C-segment Focus carries around another 450 pounds or so and pushes a wider profile through the air. Would the three-cylinder have the stuffing to make the most of the Focus' athletic chassis, or would it be a letdown? Would it be the same as it was when we tested it in a Euro-spec Focus a couple of years ago? There was nothing left for it but to head out on the bucolic roads surrounding Versailles the day after the Paris Motor Show and find out for ourselves.
Few upcoming debuts have been as eagerly anticipated as the all-new Ford Mustang that's expected to debut shortly as the Mustang's 50th anniversary year approaches. Well, Car and Driver magazine would have us wait no longer as it claims to be leaking Ford's new global pony car early.
Of course what you're looking at is just as likely to be a composite rendering based on what C/D projects the new Mustang to look like, but to our eyes it looks spot on. Combining design traits from the Evos Concept with classic Mustang signatures and Ford's Aston-inspired grille treatment, C/D's images - including a complete 360-degree digital navigator - show a Mustang not only for the modern era, but also for global distribution, taking a quintessentially American car to markets its predecessors were never designed for.
Those global considerations are expected to spell the demise of the outgoing Mustang's holdout live rear axle in favor of an independent suspension, and a slight constricting of the exterior dimensions. And thanks to a separate leak, coming from a digital survey, we have apparent confirmation of what will power the new pony car. While the existing 3.7-liter V6 and 5.0-liter V8 engines will apparently carry over with only slight adjustments in output, the survey confirms a new 2.4-liter turbo four will be positioned in between them, offering slightly more power than the V6 but markedly improved fuel economy for a manageable $560 premium over base.