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Infotainment and hybrid sales appear to be helping for make the pitch

Q1 2013 was a record setter for Ford Motor Comp. in the so-called "super segment".  The company saw sales of 72,983 Ford Explorer SUVs (28,934 in March) and 80,558 Ford Fusion sedans (30,284).  That's the best the Explorer has sold since the launch of the nameplate 13 years ago.  And it's the first time Ford has sold 30k+ Fusions in a single month or 80k+ in a quarter.

I. Hybrids, Infotainment See Strong Sales

The automaker tells us hybrid and infotainment technology were key drivers to the record sales.  SYNC comes standard on Fusion and was a selected option in 98 percent of Explorers.  MyFord Touch, despite perennial criticism from reviews agencies, was picked up by a whopping 60 percent of Fusion buyers and 63 percent of Explorer buyers.

Ford Fusion and C-Max hybrids moved 21,080 units in Q1.  Ford saw much of this buying push coming from the cities -- Fusion Hybrid rose 518 percent in New York, 478 percent in Los Angeles, and 325 percent in San Francisco.

Ford Fusion
The 2013 Ford Fusion

Ford Explorer
The 2013 Ford Explorer

In terms of electrification not all has gone perfectly for Ford.  Ford Focus Electric sales have been very low volume.  But ultimately that's somewhat immaterial for Ford as just by having the vehicle in its fleet -- regardless of units sold -- it raises its average federal-certified fuel economy (which is a flat average across models, not based on unit sales).

II. Courting Younger Buyers

Ford's current marketing is focused on both the younger adult buyer and the middle-aged/early-retirement segment.  The hybrids and infotainment are critical to Ford snagging those younger buyers.  Ford says that 21 percent of hybrids ales are to drivers under 36, versus 29 percent of overall Fusion sales.

The first thing to note from that figure is that's a big chunk for both hybrid and non-hybrid sales, for a CD vehicle -- a more expensive segment.  While the hybrid figure indeed shows less young people are picking the hybrid variant than older buyers, it's also impressive not to see a bigger gap, given that the hybrid Fusion SE starts at $27,200 USD versus $23,830 USD for a non-hybrid Fusion SE.

Ford young buyers
Ford is snagging more young buyers than before.

The base Fusion SE has a fuel economy of 34/22 mpg (highway/city), while the hybrid gets an even 47/47 mpg (highway/city).  Assuming a 40-mile daily commute that's a 50-50 mix of city and highway driving for a five day work week, you'd save about 150 gallons of gas a year with the hybrid (on a 10.4k miles basis).  That means at $3.50 USD/gallon you'd save $525 USD per year and break even at 6 and 1/2 years (at $3.50 USD/gallon gas) or 5 and 1/2 years (at $4.00 USD/gallon gas).

Ford still has its work cut out for it in winning over infotainment reviewers and figuring a path to driving battery electric vehicle/plug-in sales, but it appears to be doing quite well in overall sales and in courting younger buyers, thanks to its aggressive technology push on multiple fronts.

Source: Ford

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I love my 13' fusion
By BillyBatson on 4/18/2013 10:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said in another post, my friend and both just bought 2013 Fusions 1 month ago this Saturday, it's a great car. We are both in Los Angeles, both automatic, he went with a 1.6L Ecoboost engine hike I went with the 2.5L naturally aspirated model. I have only been able to drive in very heavy traffic since I got it so I'm getting 22.8mpg while my friends ecoboost is getting 19mpg despite not driving in traffic and not being a speedster.
I previously had a 2010 Edge while he had a 2009 Mini Cooper. I wanted to go with an Explorer this time but maybe next time.

Btw the article title says ford escape while the article talks about the explorer.

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