DEARBORN - Despite cold, windy weather and a threat of rain, more than 2,000 Ford employees and a host of news reporters flocked to World Headquarters Tuesday for a lunchtime rally to celebrate the launch of the all-new 2013 Ford Fusion. Click here to watch video of the event.
The celebration in Dearborn was one of five rallies held throughout the country. Four other events took place Tuesday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami. Click here to see pictures from all of the rallies.
Judy Curran, vehicle line director for the Fusion, welcomed the crowd assembled in Dearborn.
“We set out to design a vehicle that would be great in design, great in fuel economy and great in technologies, and our employees delivered,” she said. “This is a global vehicle, and it was developed by a global team.”
Curran was followed on the stage by Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development.
“Alan (Mulally) announced fuel economy on the Fusion Hybrid in New York this morning – 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway and 47 mpg combined. That makes it the most fuel-efficient midsize sedan period,” he said to a rousing round of applause. “Just to put that in context, that’s four miles per gallon better city, eight miles per gallon better highway and six miles per gallon better combined fuel economy than the Toyota Camry Hybrid. So it just blows them away.”
After highlighting the powertrains and technologies available with the new Fusion, Nair shared more good news related to Ford’s midsize sedan.
“We just announced that we’re going to be building the Fusion right here in Southeast Michigan at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant,” he said. “That’s 1,200 new jobs and $555 million of investment right here in Michigan.”
Lew Echlin, Fusion Marketing manager, followed Nair’s remarks by providing some insight into what motivates customers to leave one vehicle brand and opt for another.
“The No. 1 reason that Toyota Camry and Honda Accord customers get out of their cars is because they want something different,” he said. “My friends, do we have something different here?”
Echlin also announced Dearborn’s participation in two Random Acts of Fusion.
First, he randomly chose nine employees to receive a loan of the Fusion. And second, he revealed an employee challenge to participate in the world’s largest game of Red Light Green Light for a chance to be included in Guinness World Records.
The game was chosen because of its association with the Auto Stop-Start technology that will be offered as an option on the all-new Fusion with EcoBoost. The fuel-saving technology switches off the gasoline engine when the vehicle is stopped in congested traffic, at stop signs and traffic signals then seamlessly restarts when the driver releases the brake pedal. It can provide up to a 10 percent improvement in overall fuel efficiency, while providing a corresponding drop in tailpipe emissions.
In order to qualify for the world’s largest game of Red Light Green Light, there had to be 250 participants and the game had to end with one winner. Click here to watch video of the game.
“The number to beat was 250 and I’m very excited to announce a total of 451,” said Michael Empric, adjudicator for Guinness World Records, who was on hand at the event to verify the record. “Ford blew it out of the water. It was an amazing achievement.”
Empric said he was impressed by the crowd that turned out for the Fusion Rally. He was also impressed by the vehicle itself.
“I think it’s incredible,” he said. “I don’t drive a lot living in New York, but if I had a car I would love to drive a Fusion.”
In addition to the reveal of the new Fusion and a chance to participate in setting a Guinness World Record, employees who attended the Fusion Rally enjoyed music from Back Seat Drivers, free T-shirts and a hot dog lunch.
A Faces of Fusion mosaic created from photos of 2,700 employees who posed with the car was supposed to be unveiled at Tuesday’s rally but due to heavy winds it had to be postponed. Instead, the building wrap – which will be placed down the west side of the Ford World Headquarters Building – will be hung over the next few days.
Employees who participated in the photos were given a T-shirt with the mosaic of the Fusion on the back. If you were one of the 2,700 people who took part in that and would like to find yourself in the Faces of Fusion mosaic click here.
Overall, the Fusion Rally was a resounding success.
“I think it’s great – a perfect day actually,” said Yitah Wu, Global Design. “It started a little cold but it gave a lot of people here in Dearborn an opportunity to express their excitement for the new product.”
Felicia Miles, Office of the General Counsel says she enjoyed the camaraderie.
“I think it’s awesome,” she said. “It brings everyone together to celebrate this great event.”
Tim Cassar, Powertrain Installations Group, said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he came to the rally, and he was pleasantly surprised.
“It was a lot of fun. I can’t believe they came up with a good idea like the Red Light Green Light game to break the world record,” he said. “That was pretty cool.”
Cassar says he “loves” the new Fusion.
“Love it, love it,” he said. “I’m a huge fan. It’s a very nice car.”
And finally John Nuar, Electrical Purchasing, who won the Red Light Green Light Game and walked away with a trophy for his achievement described the rally as “a great time, a great event and a great promotion for the company.”
If you would like to see photos and tweets employees shared during the Fusion Rally click here.