Ford Motor Co's mid-size 2010 Fusion in August has set a monthly sales record for the model for a fifth consecutive month and average transaction prices have been increasing, Ford said on Friday.
The Fusion, a sedan redesigned for the 2010 model year, competes with the high-volume Toyota Motor Corp Camry and Honda Motor Co Ltd Accord in one of the biggest segments of the U.S. auto market.
It's a very tough segment to be in. It's been dominated by the imports over the last several years, Chantel Lenard, Ford's global small and medium car group marketing manager, said in an interview. We are starting to break through and break that grip the imports have had on that segment.
The Fusion has a long way to go to meet the U.S. sales volumes generated by the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Through July, sales of Ford's Fusion totaled 102,756 in 2009, while Camry sales totaled 184,216 and Accord totaled 160,817.
Both the Camry and Accord cracked the top 10 in cars bought under the U.S. government Cash for Clunkers incentive program that ended earlier this week. Ford reported strong Fusion sales in the program, but it did not crack the top 10 list.
Automakers are expected to post the best U.S. monthly selling rate since December 2007 in August on a surge of sales from the clunkers program. [ID:nN28514337] The August sales period ends on Monday.
More than half of the 2010 Fusions sold so far have been in the more expensive SEL, Sport or Hybrid versions, compared with about 23 percent for the 2009 model year, Lenard said. Buyers also have added options at increasing levels, she said.
We are seeing a significantly higher transaction price based on the series and the mixes of the options that we are getting, Lenard said of the 2010 Fusion.
(Reporting by David Bailey; Editing by Richard Chang)