DETROIT -- The Ford Fusion is defying the industry sales plunge, so Ford marketers will extend launch advertising for the restyled 2010 model for a few months.
The Fusion ads are running through December instead of stopping at the end of the summer as previously planned, said Matt VanDyke, Ford's director of U.S. marketing communications. The Fusion launch ads began in February, and the updated Fusion and new Fusion Hybrid went on sale in March.
"It's been such a key driver for us for favorable opinion for Ford cars in terms of the most fuel-efficient mid-sized sedan in America claim and the hybrid story that internally there was support for continuing to run that same advertising throughout the fall," VanDyke said.
Higher Fusion sales also underscore the case for continued heavy promotion.
Through September, Ford sold 134,600 Fusions, up 15 percent from the same period of 2008. Of the total, 11,468 were Fusion Hybrids sold from March through September. Overall U.S. sales were down 27 percent through nine months.
The base 2010 Fusion starts at $20,345 including shipping. The Fusion Hybrid starts at $28,350 including shipping.
To pay for the extra Fusion ads, Ford is increasing the budget rather than diverting money from other marketing efforts, VanDyke said. He declined to give dollar amounts.
The same Fusion ads will stay in rotation. "We didn't change anything," VanDyke said. "They were effective, and they were performing well in the market."