When Ford launched its configurator site for the 2013 Fusion
midsize sedan, it did so to both promote the car and to gauge interest in packages that prospective buyers wanted. To its surprise, nearly 25 percent of those visiting the Fusion configurator site
built cars with the technology-rich Driver Assist package.
For Ford, that trend represented a departure from the norm, as high-tech content hasn’t historically been a deciding factor in the purchase of a midsize sedan. Make technology previously available only to luxury car buyers affordable, and the shopping criteria can indeed change.
Ford’s research shows that buyers now want features like MyFord Touch and a rear view camera system in a midsize family sedan. Moreover, features like a Blind Spot Information System, Lane Keeping Aid, automatic high beams and rain sensing wipers (all part of the Fusion’s optional Driver Assist package) become interesting if priced for the masses.
Ford thinks its found a pricing “sweet spot” for the new Fusion
, as a mid-range Fusion SE can be configured with MyFord Touch, a rear view camera, the Driver Assist package and Active Park Assist for $29,885 including a $795 destination charge.
The automaker is quick to point out that getting the same suite of features from BMW would require the purchase of a 760Li, which prices out at over $140,000. A Mercedes-Benz S550 is a relative bargain at just under $100,000, but that doesn’t include an active parking assist system.
Yes, Ford is aware that it won’t lure a single BMW 7 Series or S-Class Mercedes customer with its 2013 Fusion
, but that’s beside the point. Just as Henry Ford once made the automobile affordable to the common man, the company that bears his name appears intent on doing the same thing with vehicle safety systems.