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Automakers and their executives rarely like to divulge information regarding future goings on, but the board of directors at Ford sound like they're getting a little antsy about chief executive officer Alan Mulally and his plans for 2014.
According to Reuters, as news of Mulally's possible departure to Microsoft continues to swirl, Ford's board is looking to push the affable executive to make a decision about his future sooner rather than later. Apparently, the board is growing concerned that this will-he/won't-he drama may end up distracting the media from covering Ford's other big news events next year - items like the debut of key all-new products like the Mustang and F-150.
So far, the picture for Mulally's eventual successor remains fuzzy, but it's understood that the leading candidate remains the company's chief operating officer, Mark Fields. Just recently, we heard that Mulally will stay until the end of 2014, but a few months ago, Ford seemed open to the idea of him stepping down earlier than that.
The attractive new 2013 Ford Fusion has done wonders for the brand in the highly competitive midsize sedan segment - the vehicle is up nearly 22 percent compared to last year. But that sales momentum may soon hold steady due to low inventory levels of the new Fusion across the United States.
According to a report in The Detroit News, citing automotive data and Ward's Auto, Ford currently has a 39-day supply of the Fusion. That might sound fine, but a normally healthy average is about a 60-day supply. If Ford were to stop production on the Fusion today, there would only be enough vehicles available to get through another five weeks of sales, according to the News.
Currently, Ford produces the Fusion at its three-shift assembly plant in Hermosillo, Mexico, and will add production at its facility in Flat Rock, MI later this year. A Ford spokesperson told The Detroit News that when Flat Rock production comes online, the automaker will need to rush new stock out to the regions with the most demand for the Fusion. Ford has doubled its coastal retail market share, with huge amounts of growth in areas like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami, the News reports.
In an apparent shot back at Ford's increasing market share of electrified vehicles and claim that it accepts more Prius trade-ins for its own hybrids than any other car, Toyota has flexed a muscle and played the numbers game to put the Blue Oval in its place.
Leaning on its hybrid market dominance in California, the Japanese automaker stated that six out of 10 hybrids sold in the Golden State are Toyota models. And it keeps coming: Year-to-date through May 2013, Toyota sold five times more hybrids than Ford. One of every two hybrids in California is a Prius model. In addition, Toyota notes that it has sold 1.5 million Prius vehicles in the US, 90-percent of which are still on the road today.
Want more? We'll let Bill Fay, Toyota's group vice president and general manager of sales lay the smack down: