Ford said it plans to produce 3.4 million vehicles this year, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. The company said it will hire 3,500 new workers and add shifts at its Flat Rock, Mich., assembly plant, which will produce vehicles bound for the West Coast.
The midsized Fusion is enjoying strong demand in California as consumer trends shift toward smaller cars, the newspaper said.
Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said, however, demand is also up for other types of vehicles.
"This is much different from the recoveries of the past," he said. "We are getting to play both sides of it, in smaller cars and [sport utility vehicles] and in full-size trucks."
"Fusion sales were a little slow out of the gate, but now that it is out in the showrooms it is doing really well," said Jeff Schuster, an industry analyst at LMC Automotive.
Sales of the Fusion are soaring in California, with 7,000 sold in the state this year, up 118 percent from the same period of 2012, the Times said.
Autodata Corp. said Ford has sold 808,000 vehicles in the first four months of 2013, a 12.7 percent jump over the same months of 2012.
Ford's market share increased to 16.3 percent in January through April, up from 15.4 percent in the same period of 2012.
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