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Ford adds 1,400 workers to meet Fusion demand

Thursday, 29 Aug 2013 | 1:12 AM ET
A 2013 Ford Fusion
Getty Images
A 2013 Ford Fusion

With demand for its new Fusion surging, Ford has started additional production of the popular midsize car.

1,400 workers and a second shift at the automaker's Flat Rock assembly plant just outside of Detroit are enabling Ford to ramp up supply of a car that has helped the company post its strongest U.S. sales since 2006.

This year, Ford sales in the U.S. have climbed 12.9 percent, outpacing the industry as a whole, which is up 8.5 percent, according to AutoData.

(Read more: Ford Europe boss says Western Europe auto sales stabilizing)

Meanwhile, Ford's market share is up 0.6 percent to 16.2 percent, placing the automaker within 2 percent of General Motors, which has been the top selling automaker in the U.S. for decades.

Fusion gaining on Asian models

With Fusion sales up 13 percent this year, Ford finds itself wrestling with tight supply of a car it re-designed for this model year. In fact, in some parts of Florida and California, Ford is down to 12-16 days' supply of certain Fusion models.

Ford cranks up Fusion production
CNBC's Phil LeBeau and Alan Mulally, Ford Motor president and CEO, discuss how the automaker's expanding production in Detroit is creating jobs and boosting the economy.

Automakers typically like to have 60-65 days of supply of vehicles.

One market where Fusion sales are particularly strong is California, where the Ford brand has edged within 0.1 percent of catching the Honda brand for market share in the golden state.

(Read more: Ford lowers mileage estimate for C-Max Hybrid)

With the supply of Fusions available expected to increase by 30 percent, many in the auto industry think Ford's top selling car can catch popular Asian models that have long dominated the American car market.

The Toyota Camry is the number one car in America, but its sales are down slightly in 2013. Meanwhile, the Fusion is the fifth best-selling car in the U.S. this year.

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.

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  • Phil LeBeau is a CNBC auto and airline industry reporter based in the Chicago bureau and editor of the Behind the Wheel section on CNBC.com.

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