Ford is shifting gears in what could be one of the biggest changes to the industry in decades. The company has announced it will move away from producing sedans and hatches to concentrate on what sells; trucks, crossovers and the Mustang.
Ford announced in their recent quarterly call that their future car lineup will consist of only the best-selling Mustang, and a new Focus Active (which will be a small crossover). This car lineup will compliment their trucks and crossovers in North America. It signals the end of the Fusion, Taurus, Focus, Fiesta and their RS and ST variants.
On Wednesday, CEO Jim Hackett said that American automaker will not be producing the next generation of those sedans. This news is just confirming months of reports that have flooded in lately about the Ford brand considering cutting some of its unprofitable car models.
"“We’re going to feed the healthy parts of our business and deal decisively with the areas that destroy value,” Hackett said. “It’s been easy to identify what’s wrong and what we need to do about it. The hand-wringing maybe that has been around in our business is gone. We’re starting to understand what we need to do and making clear decisions there.”"
In a state written on Medium, Jim Farley, President of Global Markets, said that Ford were adapting to the new market. Cutting the line up to focus on better vehicles, ones that are more connected and ones that will receive regularly refreshes to keep up with the evolving automotive space.
"“So the changes we’re making now are dramatic — we’re replacing more than 75 percent of our lineup with smarter, more connected vehicles, and we intend to deliver these vehicles with improved speed and quality. At the same time, the average age of our vehicles will drop to just more than three years.”"
The company has said that the 2019 models of the Focus, Fiesta, Taurus and Fusion will be the last of its lineup. The new Ford Ranger and the expected return of the Ford Bronco will fill out the 2019/2020 line up. Consumers can also expect a Ford EV to debut sometime in 2020 as well.
With the majority of sales (up to 85%) being trucks and SUVs, it is not far fetched to see why this decision was made. While enthusiasts will moan about the potential loss of the RS and ST variants of Ford hatches, it seems that their buying power isn’t quite enough to make up for the lagging mid-size and full-size sedan sales.
I do like the Fusion but, in the bigger picture, this decision makes a lot of sense. It’s all about noticing the trends in your brand or business, and acting accordingly. It’s really practical, actually. Sad, nonetheless.
The Ford Mustang and the F-150 are the company’s breadwinners and with consumers shifting their priorities; so it was only a matter of time. The appeal of the Focus rests with the RS, not exactly attainable for all. And if anyone has ever driven a Fiesta, they will know that it is far from anything special.
Who is really going to miss the Fiesta? Not me, that’s for sure.
We want to hear from you! Let us know which models you will miss and your overall thoughts on Ford’s decision to tighten up their lineup.