EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

March 31, 2013

New Ford Fusion looks like a winner

Selling a medium-sized automobile is one of the most important, but also one of the most difficult tasks that auto companies face today.

The job is important because the mid-size sedan is the bread-and-butter segment of the auto business. Populated by successful top-sellers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the market for mid-size sedans is where car makers win reputations, secure loyal followers and, importantly, make big money.

But the task is tough precisely because successful top-sellers like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry – plus eye-catching newcomers like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima – make this all-important market so competitive. It’s hard to sell a mid-size sedan because the car industry gives drivers so many good models to compare.

Ford’s solution when it remade its four-door, five-passenger Fusion sedan for 2013 was to approach the challenge like a beauty pageant. First make the car stunningly attractive, so when it’s on stage all eyes turn to see it. Next, give it stand-out talent, so when people look closer, they see that there’s brains beneath all that beauty.

The strategy just might win the diamond tiara for the new Ford Fusion.

“A lot of people come in because they see it on the road and like the looks of it,” said Michael Barry, sales consultant at Regan Ford in Haverhill. Others see it pictured in advertisements or discussed on the Internet, he said.

“The style draws people to the vehicle. There is tons of interest,” Barry stated. “It almost sells itself without a test drive.”

But with a test drive, the car can quickly overcome any lingering doubts. Barry sees shoppers sense assurance, seriousness and purpose in the vehicle.

“They feel that it has a lot of beef to it. They feel the way it merges onto the highway,” he illustrated.

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