Do read our earlier article in the ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ series here.
Now you may wonder why Ford Fusion was considered in the series. Yes; Fusion sales numbers were dismal – But, as a model it was much ahead of its time. The Fusion for that matter can claim to be India’s first ‘crossover‘ car. Ford had termed it as an ‘Urban Activity Vehicle’. The Fusion nameplate referred to its combination of small hatchback, MPV and SUV design features. Also its economical operation from its B-class underpinnings; enhanced maneuverability from its four-meter footprint as well as enhanced roominess, accessibility, passenger and cargo volume from its tall configuration.
In the Indian market; there was no real competition for the Fusion back then barring estate versions of the Fiat Palio and Maruti Baleno Altura. The Fusion boasted a mix of 1.4 litre petrol and diesel engines and there was also the more powerful 1.6 litre gasoline option. The 1596cc 1.6L DOHC four cylinder four cylinder in-line Multi-Point Petrol Injection engine used to generate a maximum power of 99.6 bhp at 6500 rpm and a maximum torque of 146 Nm at 3400 rpm and was mated with a five speed manual gearbox. On the other hand, the 1399cc 1.4L TDCi SOHC four cylinder two cylinder in-line High Pressure Common Rail Diesel engine generated a maximum power of 68 bhp at 4000 rpm and a maximum torque of 160 Nm at 2000 rpm and was mated with a five speed manual gearbox. Fusion was an extremely practical car and its ground clearance of 198 mm could rival some of the well-known SUVs too. Ford Fusion was available in four variants which were 1.4 TDCi Diesel (2007-2010), Diesel Plus (2009-2010), 1.6 DOHC Petrol (2004-2010) and Petrol Plus (2009-2010).
Ford marketed the Fusion as The-No-Nonsense-Car; going by its name, it was a very practical car way ahead of its time, and was popular mostly among enthusiasts. Let us see how the model fared in the years it existed in the Indian market –
Fusion registered its highest yearly sales in 2008. It was primarily due to the introduction of the diesel engine in 2007. The unavailability of the diesel engines initially was a big miss from Ford and had an impact on Fusion’s sales.
The model struggled in terms of sales throughout its lifetime. It averaged 162 units per month in a segment where the competition (hatches) were easily faring >1k units/mth average.
Ford’s positioning of the vehicle was questionable. The buyers termed the vehicle to be pricey as it was a ‘hatchback’. Fusion was fighting the likes of Swift and the i20 for volumes. But in reality; Fusion was way ahead in terms of practicality & value for money.
The model actually lost out in terms of the negative word of mouth pertaining to high maintenance cost, low mileage and bland looks.
The feeble sales volumes meant that Ford had to let go the model and it was finally discontinued by end 2009 and the stocks were liquidated by 2010.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Fusion even led the way to the iconic ‘Ecosport’ which was launched in India by 2012.
There are some cars which try to create a segment of its own and have very special characteristics. Ford Fusion was definitely one of them and we can say that though it is now gone; but not forgotten for the attempt it did. – Auto Punditz