Ford Product Development Center
16 June 2002
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MERCURY FUSION CONCEPT
Metallic dark blue and matte grey with grey leather trimmed interior
The ever-expanding definition of "truck" took a new direction with the 1995 Fusion. A concept developed by Andy Jacobson, then Ford's Director of Design for Commercial Trucks, it was an idea he calls "a 'melding' of small truck and car virtues". Andy remembers Jim Donaldson, Ford's Vice President for Trucks at the time of Fusion's development, coining the name "cruck" for the idea. Today it would be described by the fashionable term "cross-over vehicle".
Developed and constructed at Ford's California Concept Center, Fusion is based on a small front wheel drive platform (probably a Fiesta) and was originally conceived to meet the needs and aspirations of two widely different markets: young people and active retirees. Showed originally as a Ford, it was later rebadged and shown as a Mercury - the antithesis of the Grand Marquis - and it retains its Mercury badging today.
Fusion is designed to blend the toughness of a mini-sport utility with the attributes of a passenger car. It is not only practical but also looks good. The design concept was perhaps unique in that the rear window (in reality no rear window exists!) and quarter glass were both removable and the rear portion of the roof has a folding fabric sunroof. When the Fusion sunroof is opened the entire rear is open to the air, but still retains its roof supports and pillars. Even long and tall loads were to be accommodated by the expedient of removing various portions of Fusion's glazing.
The exterior is primarily finished in matte grey plastic cladding for ruggedness and easy maintenance. The body's upper area and roof are finished in sparkling metallic dark blue paint which carries over to the interior's exposed tubing seat frames. "Tubing" is the interior's motif, with the seats, instrument panel (non-functioning) and center console all built around tubing framing. Seat materials were chosen for easy maintenance and some are intended to be reversible, a quick-change interior environment. Rear seats fold forward for maximum storage area. The glass area is extraordinary for a package this small.
Fusion rides on 15" 5-spoke alloy wheels with P205/55ZR-15 Goodyear Eagle tires. Drilled brake rotors are visible through the spokes, however a good look at them reveals they are concept-designers' "magic" disc brakes. There are no calipers; good old production front disc/rear drum brakes from the platform on which Fusion was built reside in the darkness beyond.
"Cross-over vehicles" are the current rage, with every manufacturer developing and promoting active lifestyle vehicles that also are practical and comfortable for everyday driving. At its debut Fusion may have been a "cruck" to some but today it's a cross-over, perhaps the first of its kind.
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