updated 7/31/2006 11:05:05 AM ET 2006-07-31T15:05:05

Ford Motor Co., in an effort to keep promoting its Fusion mid-sized car, plans to put 600,000 toy cars into Kellogg Co. cereal boxes starting Sunday.

The boxes, each containing a Fusion Hot Wheels car, will be distributed out of discount retailer Target Corp.'s stores nationwide. Fusion photos will appear on each box, the nation's second-largest automaker said.

The Fusion toys will be inserted in boxes of Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Krispies. Ford said one red model with the Target logo will be among them, and whoever gets that box will win a real Fusion.

Continued promotion of the Fusion, one of Ford's better-selling models, is a priority for Mark Fields, Ford's president of the Americas. In a recent interview, he said Ford used to roll out a vehicle, then stop promoting it.

"We used to do the launch and abandon, which means advertise it for three or four months and then move onto the next product," he said.

"In the case of the Fusion, it's a new nameplate. We need to make sure we continually have the right care and feeding of that nameplate so that the awareness builds over time," Fields said.

Fusion sales have grown in most months since its introduction last October, peaking 14,940 in May and dropping slightly to 13,691 in June.

Dearborn-based Ford sold 71,089 Fusions during the first half of this year, still far short of its main competitors, the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Toyota sold 211,131 Camrys during the first half of 2006, while Honda sold 174,871 Accords.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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