After a long time, since 1997 actually, 2014 could be the year when one of the Detroit three cars could become the best selling passenger car in the United States.
From 1997 onwards, with only a small hiccup for the 2001-year (when Honda Accord took the crown), the best-selling US model was Toyota’s Camry and only from 1992 through 1996 was a local model first – another Ford, the Taurus.
In order to meet the goal of being the best on the US market, Ford is ramping up production of the Fusion, which is now manufactured in 350,000 units at Ford’s plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. But, more will be needed, so this fall when Ford begins production at its plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, another 100,000 Fusions could be manufactured annually.
“With sufficient capacity we are on the cusp of competing at Accord and Camry volumes,” said Ford analyst Erich Merkle.
Still, for 2013, Camry is at its usual lead, as through July, Camry sales totaled 242,406 units, while Accord sales totaled 218,367, Nissan Altima’s sales were 197,321 and Fusion sales were of only 181,608.
“Nothing is hindering the sale of Accord and Camry right now, but Fusion is having major production and distribution issues,” said Kelly Blue Book analyst Karl Brauer. “Once those are fixed, Fusion will likely displace Accord and Camry. It’s been a long dry spell in between (Taurus and Fusion), but Ford is going to do it again.”
The mid-sized car segment is the biggest single segment for U.S. light-vehicle sales, accounting for about 24% of sales through July and it is a segment where every manufacturer has updated its vehicles in recent years.