DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford hopes the redesigned Fusion will finally trounce the Camry.
The Fusion has become Fords best-selling car since it went on sale in 2005, and its one of the top-sellers in the country. But Ford hopes the sexier styling, improved fuel economy and features like automatic parallel parking on the 2013 version will help it pass the perennial leader, the Toyota Camry.
Ford enlisted American Idol host Ryan Seacrest to introduce the redesigned sedan alongside CEO Alan Mulally in New Yorks Times Square on Tuesday.
Ford also plans events in Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, and on the lawn of its headquarters in Dearborn, Mich.
The publicity blitz underscores the importance of the Fusion to Ford, which is rolling out the car to U.S. dealerships this month. The midsize-car segment is the biggest in the U.S., making up half of all car sales so far this year. Its also one of the most hotly contested. Three of the Fusions biggest rivals – the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Chevrolet Malibu – are also new this fall.
The Fusion starts at $21,700, which is less than the Camry and in line with the new Altima and Accord. But the price rises quickly. A top-of-the-line Fusion with Fords automatic parking system, lane departure warning, navigation and other goodies is $34,580. An Altima with similar features is $31,950.
The base engine, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that gets up to 33 miles per gallon on the highway, is carried over from the old Fusion.