By on June 26, 2017

2015-Ford-Focus-06

Ford has plans to halt production of the compact Focus — a one-time juggernaut of a model — for an entire year. But wouldn’t you rather talk about the upcoming Ranger and Bronco?

Of course you would. You’d rather buy one, too, if only the resurrected nameplates were already on lots. Back in 2002, when Limp Bizkit was still on the charts and frosted tips hadn’t entirely disappeared from the hair scene, Ford unloaded 243,199 Focus cars to U.S. buyers. Compare that to the first five months of 2017, where 67,146 Foci left dealer lots in a marketplace where passenger car sales are falling like Brent crude prices in 2014.

It’s against this backdrop that Ford plans to temporarily pull the plug on the Focus. While there’s good reason for the shutdown, the automaker doesn’t seem all that concerned about it.

As the market continues its seismic shift, any chance of the Focus continuing its production life within American borders dried up like a spilled mojito on hat asphalt. First, Ford planned to dump well over a billion dollars into its Mexican operations to free up Michigan Assembly for high-value trucks and utility models. That plan bit the dust earlier this year, with Ford claiming it had kiboshed a plant that was already under construction.

Onward to China! Announced last week, future Ford Focus models will arrive in the U.S. by way of a much less costly Chinese joint venture, making them the Buick Envision of the compact domestic car world. Unfortunately for Ford, there’s quite a gap between the time the model needs to clear out of Michigan and when production restarts abroad.

Speaking to Automotive News, Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of global operations, said the automaker is prepared to handle it.

“We’d prefer not to have that large of a gap, admittedly,” said Hinrichs. “We think we’ll be able to bridge that gap with a combination of stockpiling, and the EcoSport coming in, which will help us have another product in that price band.”

Focus production ends at Michigan Assembly in the middle of next year, while the automaker anticipates a Chinese production start by mid- to late 2019. On the first day of June, Ford had 37,4000 Focus models in its inventory, enough for 54 days of supply.

Retooling the company’s existing Chongqing plant for red, white and blue Foci  “allows us to free up a lot of capital,” said Hinrichs. Between Chinese production and the cancellation of the Mexico plant, Ford stands to save itself one billion dollars.

[Image: Ford]

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148 Comments on “Losing Focus: A World Where Ford’s Compact Car Production Stops for a Year Is Our Reality...”


  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    As I saw last week, frosted tips are still around!

    I’m still disturbed.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      MAGA!!!!!!

      MAGA MAGA MAGA, MOTHERF*CKERS!!!!

      #TrumpTweetsMAGA

      #BaruthBrosOrgasm

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Ford announces Focus production going to Mexico.

        Trump tweetstorms protest and hails meeting with Ford execs.

        Ford announces production to stay in U.S.

        Trump tweets #MAGAwinning!

        BaruthBros orgasm

        Ford moves Focus production to China.

        Donald Trump’s 3D Chess!

        (Check out the Carrier and other HVAC equipment jobs going to Mexico while you’re at it)

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Fake news and those commies didn’t hack the USA election.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Ford announces production to stay in U.S.”

          Ford never said Focus production would stay here, only that something else would be built here in its place.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “Ford never said Focus production would stay here, only that something else would be built here in its place.”

            Bullsh!t

            “Ford to build Focus in China after Trump bragged about preventing Mexico move”

            http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/ford-to-build-focus-in-china-after-trump-bragged-about-preventing-mexico-move/article/2626490

            “Ford has decided to build and import its next generation of the Ford Focus from China instead of Mexico, the company announced Tuesday.

            President Trump had bragged in speeches that he helped end a previous plan to move production of the Focus to Mexico, where the company was scheduled to build a $1.6 billion plant.

            Donald J. Trump
            @realDonaldTrump

            “@DanScavino: Ford to scrap Mexico plant, invest in Michigan due to Trump policies”http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/03/ford-to-scrap-mexico-plant-invest-in-michigan-due-to-trump-policies.html …
            11:44 AM – 3 Jan 2017 ”

            I’m getting sick of the Trumptardian Guard and their enablers.

            Sh!t’s going to fall apart at even a faster rate for everyone but those in the top 95th to 100th percentile , and when it does, those who were the most vocal boosters of Trump the Snake Oil Salesman will be no where to be found, including the Baruthbros.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Lesson: Americans will only buy compact cars when they *have* too, what they *want* are big powerful vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      >>>What 28 Said…the typical Murican drives a way better car than the typical euro, factoring out those few sport versions of whatever that they don’t sell here, which account for .000001% of the market.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        The typical murican does drive a bigger and more powerful car – whether that is a better car is open to debate.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And that’s true of compacts as well, deanst. Focus’ size has left it at a disadvantage in the American market, for sure.

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          If only I could get by with a car like the Focus but instead I am (happily) moving down the road with my family of four and the family dog along. I don’t commute alone.

          So we don’t get by with a little car anymore and need a people mover instead.

          A CUV gets the job done. Also NVH is a concern. Not sure what the Focus in like the highway but it would be considered come time to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      eCurmudgeon

      If CAFE suddenly went away, would Ford or GM even make passenger cars at all? Other than, say, the Mustang, Camaro, Vette, etc.?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Probably, but certainly only a few. Dot gov drones, in addition to justification of a pointless existence and lust for power/control, would probably prefer to keep a full lineup in order to preserve current mfg jobs.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        If CAFE went away automakers will build what customers BUY, nothing more, and nothing less. They are a business responsible for making a profit for their shareholders. It is really that black and white.

        If buyers wanted Focii they would have bought a lot more than 67K YTD (and we know those weren’t all retail sales, so the actual number to consumers is even lower)

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Probably true, but as a whole, the compact segment accounts for a LOT of sales to consumers. It accounts for hundreds and hundreds of thousands of sales. No getting around that. And no explaining it away with CAFE, either.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          The powershift transmissions haven’t been fixed yet and this generations model is ending its production cycle. I worked at Ford from 2011-15 and remember corporate very specifically tell us that the ’15 model year focus had been fixed with upgraded parts which turned out to be completely made up. Same problems continue… sucks to see my best friend that I put in a ’14 focus has had recalls that don’t fix the shudder/surging problem while driving at slower speeds. Only has 22,000 kms and this car drives so bad I’m embarrassed that I sold it to him.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Ford has horrible quality control, making vehicles only slightly more reliable/durable than bottom-rung General Motors (aka Guangzhou Motors).

            Ford has the notorious distinction of having some of the worst dealerships and service manager a$$holes working at those dealerships, along with horrible North American HQ customer service (GM’s is just as halF.

            I honestly believe Chinese manufacturers such as GACl, Order, etc., making vehicles as good or better than most GM or Ford offerings within 8-10 years (GM and Ford are increasingly shipping Chinese-produced, with their China-mandated Joint Venture partners, to the U.S., now, anyways).

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I honestly believe Chinese manufacturers such as GACl, Order, etc., making vehicles as good or better than most GM or Ford offerings within 8-10 years”

            great. you go ahead and buy one. and make sure you also get your baby formula and pet food from China.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            You YET AGAIN fail to comprehend what I wrote.

            I’ll never buy any vehicle assembled in China or assembled from a pile of parts that were manufactured in China, so long as I have a choice.

            But GM and Ford apparently have zero qualms about throwing American consumers, workers and the welfare and health of the American Nation under the bus as evinced by their latest and accelerating acts and deeds, and will do so utilizing larger allocations of capital invested in China.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Ford has horrible quality control, making vehicles only slightly more reliable/durable than bottom-rung General Motors (aka Guangzhou Motors).”

            GM scores better on quality surveys than Ford. When was the last time GM had a single model that was recalled 14+ times? I bet it wasn’t 2013 like the latest generations Ford Escape.

          • 0 avatar
            Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

            “You YET AGAIN fail to comprehend what I wrote.”

            Maybe we can remind you of what DW so clearly and eloquently posted, as this may clear up any confusion.

            “MAGA MAGA MAGA, MOTHERF*CKERS!!!!”

            “Ford has the notorious distinction of having some of the worst dealerships and service manager a$$holes working at those dealerships, along with horrible North American HQ customer service (GM’s is just as halF.”

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Americans will buy compacts. They just need to be called “Corolla” or “Civic” to have any legs.

      The Focus went with ‘Mr.Euro’ appeal for this generation but it doesn’t seem to have much staying power.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        A working transmission at launch may have helped.

        Corolla sold 145K units YTD.

        Ford F-series sold nearly 352K units YTD by itself. Dodge Ram 207K, Chevy Silverado 212K.

        Tell me again how Americans will buy compacts.

        goodcarbadcar.net/2017/06/top-30-best-selling-vehicles-in-america.html

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          The American way is buying as much car as you can possibly afford. Starkly contrasted to Europeans who buy as much car as they need.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            … and can afford (sticker and TCO included).

            Petrol was $6 a gallon last year when I was there, although they have the option of Evil Diesel™

          • 0 avatar
            MrIcky

            That gives Europeans a lot more credit than they deserve for car choices. Maybe the American way is not to allow the government to tax your car and fuel purchases to the point where a 1.2 liter diesel seems like a good idea?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d say close to half of the vehicles I saw in Geneva were diesels, and there were no air quality issues in this city of roughly 200K people. I’d add I seldom saw a diesel marked vehicle I would estimate was less than ten years old.

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            Expensive German cars have a larger market share in many European countries vs. US. Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have bigger market shares in Canada vs. US. No, Americans buy their cars like their happy meals – the biggest serving for the cheapest price.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Not all German, I saw about a dozen Dodge Journeys branded as Dodge or Fiat in CRD form.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          The Civic and Corolla are both top 10 selling vehicles. Their combined volume is also slightly higher than Camry/Accord combined volume.

          It isn’t truck good, but it isn’t “Americans won’t buy it” bad either.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Combined YTD volume rounding up for Corolla is 317K units. The three trucks cited were 771K units, if Sierra is added it is 854K units. This is nearly 3:1 in favor of full size pickups to top ten compacts (and both compact models are down 16% YoY).

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            OK, but that’s still 317,000 sales, 28. What sane company walks away from that?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            For two models of two competitors known for their introduction and dedication to compacts in America. The market of people who choose these because they *want* them and would not choose a larger/more powerful vehicle if they could for whatever reason is small.

            Imagine if a compact model were offered with supreme refinements but still carried the weaker drivetrain and cost as much as the ATP of a cited pickup with all incentives. Out of ten Americans, how many *choose* the compact?

            My vote is 30%, tops. I’d also argue this number would decrease if parking practicality were not an issue (prob to 20%).

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Then 30% of the auto-buying public would prefer a compact. That translates into hundreds of thousands of sales. You have to be foolish to just flip that market off (or you can try the half-cocked FCA approach, I suppose).

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            …The Civic and Corolla are both top 10 selling vehicles. Their combined volume is also slightly higher than Camry/Accord combined volume.

            It isn’t truck good, but it isn’t “Americans won’t buy it” bad either….

            Ahhh, but how many of those Corollas and Camrys went to rental fleets? Camry has been the fleet leader in terms of total number (not percentage) for 3 or 4 years now – over 60K units a year to Avis, etc. etc. etc.

            Seeing a lot of Corollas at the rental counter these days.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            317,000 Very skinny profit sales. Automakers would rather push consumers into something else and use that plant capacity to build things they make money on.

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            Americans with buy a “compact” if you make the interior long enough. Since most US parking spaces are large enough for a full-size pickup truck, there is very little downside to making the wheelbase long enough for adults or rear-facing child safety seats to fit in the back seat.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “Ahhh, but how many of those Corollas and Camrys went to rental fleets?”

            Good question, and worth noting – lots of trucks and SUVs are sold to commercial and government fleets versus consumers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @APaGttH

            True but trucks go commercial contractor/rental/fleet too, probably in a greater percentage than Civrolla sales go to fleet.

            @Freed

            The segment is certainly not abandoned, but in this quick and dirty math it is much smaller than the market for not-a-compact.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            the problem is that Civic and Corolla buyers aren’t really reachable. Their method of car shopping is going to the same dealer every three years or so and saying “I want a silver one this time.”

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            I agree George B: make the interior longer.

          • 0 avatar
            bertvl

            @28-Cars-Later – “no air-quality issues” in Geneva, you say? Just because there isn’t a permanent smog like Beijing doesn’t mean there’s no problem, for example:

            Pollution hits emergency levels in Geneva
            https://worldradio.ch/news/2017/01/26/pollution-hits-emergency-levels-in-geneva/

            Go to the Chamonix region an hour away and you get some of the worst air quality in Europe.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bertvl

            Thanks for the link. On one of the tours, the guide speculated the “lack of pollution” was in part due to the high tree-to-citizen ratio which was either 2:1 or 3:1 (I can’t recall which).

    • 0 avatar
      YeOldeMobile

      I’m a bit of am outlier, I want a fairly small car since I only need to move myself around.

      But most cheap compact cars aren’t what I want in terms of interior. Something like the Focus has never been on my radar.

      • 0 avatar
        hpycamper

        Agree. Have never liked driving big cars. Will be sad if car companies buy into this idea that all Americans want are trucks, SUVs and big cars.
        BMW succeeded selling small cars here in the past, so it can be done.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Americans *are* buying compacts – hundreds of thousands of ’em. They’re just not as popular as they were a few years ago. The “blame CAFE” argument is bunk.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        My argument is not they won’t buy compacts, it is by-and-large they will only do so when they have too for practical or economic reasons. I drove a Saturn today, not only because I have one and like it, but because it is easier to maneuver and park in the urban death maze.

        I would prefer to drive my Pontiac but I am wary of *more* parking damage from the unwashed proles I’d like to hunt after work.

        s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a0/c1/67/a0c167e62232d1955a3a0daf2e159683.jpg

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I don’t think anyone could actually tell if you were making the “no one buys compacts anymore” argument – which is rhetorical bunk. Of course people buy them. They’re just not as popular as they once were.

          Same for a lot of other automotive segments I can think of.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I argue by-and-large they will only do so when they have too for practical or economic reasons.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            And you’re absolutely correct. If compacts had a golden age, it was the 2008 recession – people had to buy smaller, cheaper cars, but the models that were produced were radically better than any small cars ever made before. They had to be because buyers were used to larger, better-performing vehicles. With *very* few exceptions, contemporary compact cars have very little to apologize for when it comes to quality, safety, or being good to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            I agree with 28, people who *want* a small car are getting fewer and fewer, and those that need a car in this price range will probably buy a used midsize or CUV instead. I’d rather drive a used Terrain than a new Sonic, I know that much, and I’m not a CUV person.

            The people who *want* a small CUV are evidently gaining traction. I’d be willing to bet that the EcoSport will make money for Ford, where the Focus and Fiesta likely dont. I bet the Trax makes money where the Sonic, Spark and Cruze probably don’t.

            Unless you’re Toyota and can count on plenty of mindless minions leasing your (dated and not very good) compact, or Honda where they’re at their best with small, fun-to-drive cars, the compact car market looks pretty grim. Honda can afford to invest in the Civic because its one of their signature cars. Toyota can slap some new facias on its compact and squeak by with another decade, being bought because they’re SO RELIABLE AND LONG LASTING (yet are turned in 3 years later, which blows that reasoning out of the water).

            If either had a F-Series or Silverado/Sierra-like profit machine that sold more in a month than their compact did in a year, they’d be inclined to neglect the compact as well. They’d probably transfer production to a country with lower manufacturing costs to try to squeeze as many drops of profit they could from what they do sell. Sound familiar?

            Can’t wait for the “but when gas prices go up, they’ll he sorry!”
            Because F-Series and Silverado/Sierra were replaced by the Focus and Cobalt as their respective maker’s best sellers during the last gas price hike, right? Wait, no, the awful terrible disastrous big trucks still sold quite well and still made money, where sales of small cars barely moved the needle.

            Sales of smaller S/CUVs did go up, eclipsing those of their larger brothers, but Ford, GM and FCA have plenty of smaller CUVs that get decent mileage and already sell pretty well.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @freed

            I agree with those points.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Unless you’re Toyota and can count on plenty of mindless minions leasing your (dated and not very good) compact”

            Come back to earth John, you’ve shot yourself into orbit again and it’s a distraction from the rest of your argument. The Corolla is an appliance, but it’s an excellent one. If you don’t care about cars you’d be far better off stumbling into a cheap Corolla offer than a Focus. The Corolla’s flaws are largely limited to niche enthusiast criteria and are immediately noticeable on a test drive, so if a customer is OK with that the car will otherwise perform as intended with few surprises and will be worth more than average whenever they turn it in. It’s an honest, useful tool for the masses and therefore little wonder it sells well.

            It is also little wonder why an enthusiast would run far from a Corolla. What isn’t clear is the resentment you feel about it. Spicier alternatives are readily available from several other automakers, so feel free to buy one of those and tip the sales scale back towards your preference.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Unless you’re Toyota and can count on plenty of mindless minions leasing your (dated and not very good) compact”

            Wow. Look at the hypocrisy of this guy. The Corolla is dated? It has LED headlights. The Focus has the modern version of candles for headlights. And should we talk about the absolute garbage transmission the Focus has?

            The Focus is the biggest pile of trash on the road. Quality is horrendous and it’s at the bottom of the compact car heap in every appreciable category. But go ahead, keep bashing Toyota and their North American produced Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Last I checked, the small car segment was bigger than the pickup segment. Facts are always useful when you want to build an argument.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Check again. There may be more compact models to choose from, but they DO NOT outsell trucks, not even close.

          The reason we have plenty of choices is that many import manufacturers got their start in small cars (Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan) and therefore consider them important to their product lineups. This does not mean they sell more (in other words, are more popular) than trucks.

          Ford’s F-Series is the highest selling vehicle in the world. Yes, its sales in North America are enough to allow it to outsell cars like Corolla that are sold in virtually every market in the world.

          http://www.carmag.co.za/news_post/50-best-selling-vehicles-in-the-world-in-2016/

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            Sorry, you failed the reading comprehension test. I said compacts outsell PICKUPS, not trucks.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Surprisingly, deanst is largely correct when looking at GoodCarBadCar. You do have to lump a few subsegments together to get “small cars”–compacts + subcompacts + warm hatches rounds to 1.1 million YTD. Pickups also round to 1.1 million YTD. Include subcompact CUVs in “small car” category (which Tim does for his site)and it’s 1.3 million.

            The difference, though, is trend. And probably per unit profit.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Ford’s F-Series is the highest selling vehicle in the world.”

            The F-Series is not a vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Please show your math on how the “small car segment” sold more than 854K units YTD (this figure doesn’t even include Tundra, Titan, and midsizers).

          • 0 avatar
            deanst

            https://www.nada.org/nadamarketbeat/

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Domestic Light Vehicle” is not defined, is this CUV/SUV?

            “Total Car” is slightly over half of “Total Light Truck”. I cannot accurately define “Domestic Light Vehicle” but if we say small car segment is under “Total Car”, “Total Light Truck” easily outsold it.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        Yep. Gas is $1.88 here this week. I predict in a few years gasoline will jump to $3.50+ and millions of Americans will be surprised and caught flat footed filling up their large vehicles. Cue the gas pump interview on the local news…

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      This. I’ve long maintained that American’s never lost the love for large, powerful vehicles. When politics got in the way and took away their full sized cars, they migrated to full-sized SUV’s and pickups. With this proliferation, the remaining car owners felt small and insignificant and started buying crossovers so they could sit higher in traffic (which continues to get worse and worse). Add to that the moo-my wagon stigma for the otherwise highly ergonomic mini-van, and you have the perfect storm of SUV desire, particularly among women who make most of the car buying decisions.

      I’m proud to say I don’t own a single SUV, and my wife drives a Super Crew F-150. The only vehicle I currently covet is a 2018 Lincoln Navigator L, and only because I can’t buy a RWD, suicide-doored Continental. (I would also go for a RR Wraith, Bentley Mulsanne or S65 AMG, but have no hope of ever affording one. The Lincoln is a strong maybe, especially a pre-owned one.)

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “When politics got in the way and took away their full sized cars…”

        Nonsense. People stopped buying “traditional full sized cars” a long time ago. The segment’s been dying slowly since the ’90s. Why? Because, as you say, they began buying pickups and SUVs instead.

        If there were a market for full size cars, more would be built.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Yep, there’s not much need for the traditional full-size car anymore. Look what happens when they bring them out.

          XTS – rental/livery
          SS – no buyers
          CT6 – “I’ll buy it used.”
          Conti – “I’ll buy it used.”
          Taurus – rental
          Impala – rental
          Avalon – old people’s last car*

          There was a good long time where the full-size sedan existed alongside these burgeoning SUVs. Consumers had their pick, and they were no longer interested in the sedan.

          *This is the buyer that’s left for the full-size sedan. They’re on their last legs.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Most of those are terrible though Corey. The “full size” W-Impala did quite well until it went fleet only.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Actually, I’d put any of them in my driveway if I needed a big sedan (well, maybe not the Taurus, unless it had the EB). But if they’re terrible, then I’d say there’s a reason, and it’s this: it’s a shrinking market, so if you are ABC Motors, do you put your money into developing cars for this market, or one that’s growing?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Some have argued the D4 Taurus is a good buy, i would disagree and those genuinely interested in it seem to go to Explorer more often than not. The model has too many flaws IMO to get a serious nod, despite reasonable pricing at 27,3. If the previous D3 were continued and enhanced, I’d say this was the buy in this category.

            SS is a good model, but ATPs like a luxury model which I don’t think it happens to be. Zero promotion from GM and the fact parts are/will be rare hurt the model’s sale-ability.

            CT6 for the most part will be subprime then junkyard fodder faster than people may think. This thing was built to fail.

            Avalon was reasonably successful until they tried to turn it into a tight feeling “sport” sedan.

            I’ve never driven an Epi II XTS/Lacrosse/Impala but I do know from the auto show they seemed like baleen whales with limited visibility and the correct versions (V6) start at 36 with dest.

            Never experienced Conti but this seems to be the buy in this grouping, but 44,7.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            @Corey

            You did leave off the 300 and the Charger, but I get where you’re going with this.

            300 – livery, niche
            Charger – rental or Hellcat

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            I actually forgot those two!

            Charger – police or rental or hellcat.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Freed

            In your example, why put any money into anything at all if you’re going to do it half-assed? This is my perspective.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I wouldn’t say those cars are necessarily half-a**ed. I know what you think of the CT6, but engineering-wise, it’s pretty damn slick. If they would make the 3.0T standard and make the interior 99% as nice as the one in the Escalade, they could sell it all day at $70,000, no problem.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            “If they would make the 3.0T standard and make the interior 99% as nice as the one in the Escalade, they could sell it all day at $70,000, no problem.”

            Still $30,000 short of the Escalade’s asking price!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Taurus was incredibly half-assed. Changing the Avalon from comfortable and floaty to Laguna Seca for Gram and Gramps was pretty half-assed.

            Conti was probably done reasonably well but I can’t comment. I can say a LWB Taurus CD4 without, say AWD to get you into the Conti, might sell better than the D4 Taurus. SS as a model I think was probably well done, but the half-assed part was in GM not wanting to sell the thing.

            I’ve read on these hallowed pages GM is purposely not putting money on the hoods of Impy/Lacrosse/XTS in order to sheer the few sheep who are willing to buy them. Smart from this perspective, however not so smart when you lose a sale on Malibu to Camcords et al because Impy is too pricey and the Malibu is in eighth place as of April. Offer the 36K Impy closer to the loaded Malibu price point (LTZ 28,420) and convert some Malibu sales to Impala sales as a switch car.

            Apr 17 Impy: 25,235
            Apr 17 Malibu: 52,369

            http://www.goodcarbadcar.net/2017/05/america-20-best-selling-cars-april-2017-sales-figures.html

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      It’s all fun and games until the next run up in oil prices. Unless you believe “it’s different this time”.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Agreed.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          “Taurus was incredibly half-assed.”

          Beg to differ.

          No it wasn’t. Back in the mid to late 2000s when it was being readied for market, and even when introduced in 2010, it was a really decent full size.

          I still would take it with the Ecoboost over the 300 back then.
          Only choices were the Avalon, with its poor drive. The Azera…no way in 2010.
          Impala…hell noback then.
          Buick..talk about the old man’s car.There were the Chrysler cousins,but they road like boats to me…and their 6 was not good and their hemi poor gas.
          Take the SHO again in a heartbeat.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        …or an economic downturn happens.

        Unfortunately, the last one we had also involved a large spike in gas prices.

        • 0 avatar
          MrIcky

          Everything I’m reading seems to indicate that there are a lot of new stabilizing forces to oil prices and it’s unlikely that they’ll go up significantly for several years. (deep sea oil cheaper to produce, shale oil cheaper to produce, opec tried to drive prices up and failed-losing market share AND $ per barrel so a double whammy, opec is showing signs of fracturing, etc.)

          Don’t claim to be an expert on this, but it doesn’t look like oil will be the kickoff for the downturn next time.

          • 0 avatar

            Fracking seems to act like an engine’s governor on oil prices. When the price goes up over $50/bbl that will bring many wells in the so-called fracklog back into production. Also, American frackers have worked hard at reducing costs and some can be profitable at $30-$35/bbl.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “It’s all fun and games until the next run up in oil prices”

          “…or an economic downturn happens.”

          These canards again. An economic downturn or fuel price spike won’t increase small car sales nor make them magically more profitable. It might increase their market share, but so what if little to no money is made.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            They have to sell *something*, danio, even if it’s lower margin, and they’ll be happy to do so.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You really don’t get how this is business is today, or just really want to to be something other than it is. Selling something at a loss is not better than selling nothing. The reality of it is that automakers will sell fewer high profit vehicles with that small car plant capacity which is better than several narrow margin small cars. Even a discounted truck or SUV can equate to 6-10x the profit of a compact car. With automakers not wanting to expand capacity, it makes sense to use it wisely.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        If compact cars suddenly became popular, and trucks stopped selling, then it indeed would be “different this time”.

        Last I checked, the best selling vehicle during the gas crunch(es) was still a full-size truck with a big blue oval on it.

        Nevermind the fact that we have more oil at our disposal than EVER with new technology and as mentioned, OPEC has shot itself in the foot and lost it’s grip on the world’s oil prices.

        But yes, gas will be $17/gallon next week and the Mitsubishi Mirage will topple the F-150 in sales.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          “Last I checked, the best selling vehicle during the gas crunch(es) was still a full-size truck with a big blue oval on it.”

          Check the records of Ford sales during the recession and tell me which Ford actually sold *better* by 2009.

          Hint: it wasn’t the F-150. Yearly sales of the F150 dropped by 270,000 – that’s ********TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY THOUSAND********* – from 2007-09.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            Hint: it wasn’t the F-150. Yearly sales of the F150 dropped by 270,000″

            Impossible to know as Ford does release specific model sales when it comes to the F-Series brand.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “Last I checked, the best selling vehicle during the gas crunch(es) was still a full-size truck with a big blue oval on it.”

          Citation needed.

      • 0 avatar

        The 1970s weren’t the first time there was a run up in oil prices. As easily recovered deposits in Pennsylvania played out over a century ago, there was enough of a concern about oil supplies that at GM, Charles Kettering put a lot of effort into research on alcohol as a fuel (which, if I recall correctly, had a historical role in the development and adoption of tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive). Urban legends say that John Rockefeller supported Prohibition as a means of suppressing the industrial production of alcohol fuels.

        It seems like every time there has been an “oil crisis”, new discoveries and new extractive methods end the crisis and create glut.

    • 0 avatar
      Higheriq

      Serious question: Are you just now figuring this out?

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    So, Sergio was just ahead of his time?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If so he blundered his way into it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Sergio has the one thing that has kept Chrysler alive as it has been passed around like a passed out co-ed at a frat party for the last 15 or so years.

        Jeep.

        Take away Jeep and Sergio has next to nothing.

        • 0 avatar

          Somehow you managed to be misogynist and misandrist at the same time. Doesn’t a “passed out co-ed” have her own agency? And should we be using sexist terms like co-ed in 2017? Are fraternity houses the loci of most gang rapes? Following that narrative has cost Rolling Stone magazine millions in defamation suits.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Sergio has cheap, high MPG cars he could bring to our market *if* there was a sudden change and sales trends decided to go in opposite ways than they have been for some time now.

          Barring that, he has RAM and Jeep, and plenty of brands with which to rebadge and market their current crossover lineup, should that become necessary.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            It’d take a few years to bring those models into American production, John.

            If there’s another downturn, FCA’s in trouble…if the downturn is a double dipped with higher fuel prices, they’re really in trouble.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    There’s only one thing worse than a new Focus, and that’s a 50 week old sun-dried Focus sitting in a stock yard being passed off as new.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Killing it permanently would the better choice. Why let it surfer an ugly death, while probably taking a loss on it.

    The less CAFE-friendly Fords will more than make up for any fines.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      So…Ford just flips the bird at 161,000 sales (which the Focus is on track for this year) at, say, $18,000 a pop. That’s around $3 billion in annual revenue.

      Explain to me how that makes business sense.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Revenue is nice but profitability is better.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Which means the best move is to enhance profitability, which you do by cutting costs. That’s what Ford’s doing. Best move would have been to make this car in Mexico, but that didn’t happen because of political nonsense.

          But you don’t just toss that kind of sales volume in the toilet and cancel the model.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The option was to spend a billion on a new plant in Mexico which would have taken many years to recoup. Even if they were able to make $1,000 per unit which is probably way high that only means about $16 million in profit. Building it in China to increase the profit for vehicle and forgoing the billion dollar plant investment means that the Focus can survive. Building it in Mexico would have meant less profit in the long run. So since production is down, use up some of that capacity to build up a bit of inventory and take the short term loss of revenue instead of a larger longer term loss.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            If I were Ford, I’d prefer a plant under my sole control, in a country that doesn’t have a bunch of nukes pointed at the city my headquarters is in.

          • 0 avatar
            joeaverage

            If I was Ford (or any other company) I’d rather not help a competing country hone their industrial production skills… Maybe it is all pointless in 2017, maybe they know as much as we do. And maybe Ford being a multi-national company at this point doesn’t have a “home country” despite what my F-series driving friends thinks…

      • 0 avatar
        deanst

        Because they hope to make trucks and SUVs at, say, $35,000 a pop instead.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          Let them keep hoping, right? Last I checked, F-150 was being outsold by Fiat’s super hot 500L. Facts are fun to manipulate and make up as you go along!

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Last I checked, F-150 was being outsold by Fiat’s super hot 500L”

            Anyone that quotes F-150 sales numbers is making facts up.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          That’s right. Focus profits are likely in the low hundred-millions, or another rebate or incentive away from red ink.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            …and your company would turn up its’ nose at a product line or market segment that generates “low hundreds-millions” profit?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If my company put up billions to come out “ahead” low hundred-millions, yes definitely. Noses fully turned up.

            It’d look for better “Return on Investment” investments. Something or somethings with available 4-Low and skid-plates if possible.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    The Focus in the US market is a slow selling car that makes zero profit. No wonder it won’t be available for a year – if it were a profitable best seller you can be sure Ford would find a source of supply during the gap year.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      If anything, watch for their profitability to go up.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “If anything, watch for their profitability to go up.”

        Not with the massive cut in quality that Big Al is responsible for. Plus, the Focus was garbage when built here. Moving production will mean it will have the same or worse quality than anything from British Leyland.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      If it were profitable you can be sure Ford would keep the old line running until the new one is working at normal speed.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Well nothing fires up consumer demand like a “Made in China” label. They’ll be flying out the door when shoppers see that.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I wonder how many supporters of a certain political figure will start buying made-in-America Toyota pickups when they figure out their Rams and Silverados are Hecho En Mexico. The strangeness of this life never ceases to amaze me.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Me either, like how an American company that builds some vehicles in Mexico is still an American company, and the profit made by those vehicles is not sent to Mexico, but kept right here.

        Then there is a Japanese company that builds vehicles in the U.S., but is still a Japanese company. Profits from sales of U.S.-built trucks still go to Japan and don’t stay here.

        Btw, Toyota builds trucks in Mexico, too.

        And politics have absolutely nothing to do with any of this, unless it fits your narrative that supporters of a certain president are all idiots. They might be, but no worse than those who supported a certain rival in the past election, one that belongs in a federal detention center, not a federal governing building.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          John, given that you know who lost his s**t over Ford *theoretically* making more stuff in Mexico, but hasn’t lost it over them making the same stuff in China, I’d say the politics are worth talking about, at least.

          And then there’s this: worst case scenario, a bunch of Mexicans *end up* in L.A., but China could *erase* L.A. Who poses the greater existential threat?

        • 0 avatar
          joeaverage

          Don’t the profits get split between the suppliers, the shareholders and the parent company? The shareholders are scattered across the world, right? However the taxes presumably stay closer to the shareholder’s home. Also their spending.

          Oh – and don’t forget all those employees who are making a salary or wage wherever the factory is.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “Well nothing fires up consumer demand like a “Made in China” label. They’ll be flying out the door when shoppers see that.”

      I’d say that you are giving buyers too much credit there even in the age of MAGA.

      Ram has outsold Chevy trucks and they are Italian owned with a head office in the Netherlands, oh and most if not all HD’s hecho en Mexico.

      The Focus is an appliance and as we see by Walmart sales, buyers don’t care where their appliances are made as long as they are cheap.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    We used to have ‘starter’ homes, cars, jobs, etc. Now we have sub-prime loans and mom’s basement-forever.

  • avatar
    SV

    Too bad about the longer wait. I was interested in the next gen Focus ST to replace my ’13 but not if it’s at least 2 years away.

    I wonder if demand for the Focus would be higher if it weren’t for the awful Powershift trans. Sales of this generation were quite strong at first but I would not be surprised if word of mouth made the decline worse than it would have been otherwise. If the next gen has a conventional auto it will almost certainly be an improvement reliability-wise, regardless of where it’s made.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I think the demand would certainly be higher if not for the Powershift reliability concerns. I drove a 2016 and thought it worked very well, but my question is, “For how long?” Based on the recent track record, I eliminated that car from my buy list.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Focus sure enough volume to maintain production.

    The problem is it can’t produce them competitively.

    If Focus production will come back …… maybe. Ford will need to use a lot of robots.

    The US is in an unique position which it will find harder to hang onto. Large vehicle production.

  • avatar
    kcflyer

    just brought home a new civic ext with manual transmission this past week. Wifey liked the looks of the Focus but like GM, ford refuses to make small cars with adequate leg room for four adults. So the civic was compared to the Fusion and Impala. Those are the smallest cars offered by ford and gm that pass the sit behind myself test. Thus the civic was a bargain and we didn’t have to settle for a slushbox.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Good. These vehicles are an albatross for Ford, and pretty much guarantee the buyers won’t own another Ford for at least a generation. The Focus in particular has been a boon for Corolla & Civic sales, and probably the Cruze too.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Is this poor planning one of the reasons Fields got canned? Seems odd that this would be done on purpose. So basically next year they will be running the plant on overtime to build up supplies, and count on the EcoSport to steal some sales anyway.

    It seems like all of Ford’s next generation products are coming about 2 years later than ideal. Where’d all that profit go if not into these new products? It certainly didn’t go to raising the dividend.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Focus is a global product. It wasn’t developed for CAFE. It wasn’t even developed primarily for the US market. It was developed because in the rest of the world there is a demand for small cars.

    In those ancient days of 2002, with Limp Bizkit, frosted tips, and a honest-to-God (and occasionally to other people) Republican in the White House, Honda sold 313k Civics. In 2016 they sold 367k. So much for segment collapse.

    The current Focus debuted in 2011. It was hampered at the start by a bad transmission and infotainment system, and its reputation never really recovered. Its competitors have been updated. It hasn’t.

    In other words: build an inferior car, don’t update it, and your market share will drop like a stone.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Europe has a “knockoff” version of CAFE, eerily similar in some dark ways.

      Despite a poor Focus intro, the Corolla and Civic had been and still are the Coke and Pepsi of compact sedans. I seriously doubt any car can change that. So when the cola segment collapses and Shasta and Springfield colas bite the dust, Coke and Pepsi might even gain sales.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Outside the US smaller cars are not regarded as penalty boxes, and can’t be dismissed as existing only to satisfy governments. (Diesels, on the other hand…)

    Honda and Toyota might gain sales when competitors drop out, but that hasn’t happened yet. And they are far from immune to (good) competition: Hyundai and Kia have gained sales. In fact, Kia quadrupled its Forte sales from 2009 to 2016.

    Face the facts: Ford made an inferior car. The market rejected it.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      In the last 30 years, has any compact been able to break the Corolla/Civic strangle-hold on the US compact car market, wedging itself in between? Besides the Sentra, has any come close?

      It was losing proposition for the Focus anyway, wouldn’t you say? Especially now with demand for non Toyota/Honda compact cars dwindling?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Europe doesn’t so much get involved in what automakers produce/sell/import, nor necessarily set guidelines for automakers to “satisfy”. If European car buyers have the means to pay the extra taxes for bigger, higher displacement cars, gas or diesel, plus don’t mind highly taxed fuel, Europe doesn’t exactly “care” what automakers bring to market.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Reading many of the above submissions illustrates how out of tune many are regarding the demise of US Focus production.

    CAFE has nothing to do with it.

    How many Focus are sold a year in the US?

    The wank belief that the US only wants large vehicles has little to nothing to do with it. And is highlights the poor assessments made of the US market by some TTAC’s commenters and even writers.

    The US made Focus is confronted with two significant challenges.

    1. Lower than expected quality against competition.

    2. The US IS not competitive enough a manufacturer of vehicles.

    The US is only competitive in segments that are protected/controlled or subsidised.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      …”The US is only competitive in segments that are protected/controlled or subsidised…”

      @BAFO – Since you’re obviously bringing up US pickups (and vans), including the Titan, Tacoma, Tundra, F-series, Frontier, Ram, Ridgeline, NV, Econoline and others, why do successes and failures vary so dramatically given the same EXACT “protection” and subsidies?

  • avatar
    geo

    Releasing a vehicle that’s a huge hit until consumers realize that the transmission has serious problems, then decontenting and refusing to update until the model dies, while refusing to fix the transmission. Doesn’t sound like Ford at all.

  • avatar

    The Focus quality is about to get even worse!

    Ford is rubbish.

    Who in their right mind is going to wait a year to buy this dung?


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