Ford investing $1.2 billion in Mexico to build the 2013 Fusion
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Today’s announcement of the $1.3 billion investment in the Mexican Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant in preparation for the new 2013 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ did not go into specific detail as to exactly what that large chunk of money will be spent on but with such a sizable investment; we would expect that it is a pretty broad expansion of some sort. In addition to being a large amount of money to spend on a plant upgrade, the move will also increase their workforce by just shy of a third which would also lead us to believe that there are some substantial changes in store for Hermosillo.
The 2013 Ford Fusion is expected to rock the midsized sedan segment, which is already one of the top segments in the US in terms of annual sales. The Toyota Camry led that segment in sales for 2011 but with the introduction of the classier looking and far more efficient 2013 Fusion – Ford aims to steal back the title of having the bestselling car in the United States. In a segment that was once dominated by drab designs and plastic-laden interiors, the new Fusion features a luxorious exterior design with interior comforts to match. Most importantly, the Fusion is also projected to be the most fuel efficient midsized sedan sold in the US with a lineup of fuel friendly models including standard EcoBoost gasoline versions, a traditional hybrid and a plug-in electric hybrid model.
The announced investments in the Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant makes me question how many 2013 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans will be built in the United States. Around the time that Ford came to terms with the UAW, it was announced that the Flat Rock Assembly Plant near Detroit would begin handling “overflow” production of the new Fusion and MKZ. In short, when the demand of these two models exceeded the capacities of the current production facility (Hermosillo), the Flat Rock plant would begin building those sedans to help meet the demand. However, with such a massive investment and increase in workers planned for the Mexican Fusion/MKZ plant, we have to wonder just how much overflow there will be.
We can expect that once completed, the Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly plant will have an increased production capacity from what it does now so there would (in theory) be less need for overflow production for the 2013 Fusion and MKZ. On the other hand, the 2013 Ford Fusion looks like an incredible vehicle so we could see sales skyrocket from where they already are with the current Fusion. The reason that all of this matters is that with Mazda’s plan to completely pull out of the Flat Rock facility, there was a question as to whether the production of the Ford Mustang alone could keep the Flat Rock plant afloat. That question was seemingly put to rest by the announcement of Fusion overflow production but if Hermosillo is expanding substantially, will Ford still be able to keep the home of the Mustang running on its own?