By on March 25, 2015

2013 Ford Taurus SHOThrough the first two months of 2015, U.S. sales of non-Mustang Ford brand cars are down 2% to 91,026, a marginal loss of 1813 units. The overall Ford brand car lineup tumbled 6% in the month of February despite the Mustang’s 32% year-over-year improvement. The five non-Mustangs slid 11%, a loss of 5592 units to 45,234. The Mustang was Ford’s third-best-selling car, contributing another 8454 sales.

That February result was more in keeping with the Ford brand’s recent car sales disappointments. But we can’t be surprised to see Ford’s car division falling after 2010’s 22% improvement, 2011’s 14% jump, the 7% increase in 2012, and 2013’s 10% uptick. Ford’s share of the overall passenger car market increased to 10% in 2010, climbed to nearly 11% in 2011 and moved past 10% in 2013 again. Mustang aside, the results we’re now seeing from Ford’s cars reflect the age of the lineup.

The Fiesta arrived in 2010. A refresh and an ST variant produced no measurable benefit but may have stymied greater losses. Sales tumbled 11% in 2014 and are down 20% in early 2015. The Fiesta is America’s fourth-best-selling subcompact through the first two months of 2015, and its market share in the category is down to 10.4% from 14.1% in 2013. 2015 is its sixth model year.

Ford USA passenger car sales chartWe’ve yet to see the impact of the 2015 Focus’s refresh. Sales are up 16% so far this year thanks to a stronger-than-last January, but February volume tumbled 12%. As is the case with the Fiesta, the arrival of a halo ST didn’t lift all boats. Focus volume decreased 5% in 2013 and 6% in 2014 even as its category grew 5% and 3%, respectively. 2015 is the current generation’s fourth model year.

The Ford Fusion’s U.S. sales were down 5% in the first one-sixth of 2015 even as overall midsize car volume increased modestly. The Fusion trailed the top-selling Toyota Camry by more than 17,000 sales heading into March. It’s one of the fresher faces in Ford’s U.S. car lineup – 2015 is its third model year. But the Camry, 200, and Sonata have all been redeveloped more recently, and an all-new Kia Optima and Chevrolet Malibu will be out before the next new Fusion.

The C-Max? Sales are down 22% so far this year after sliding 22% in calendar year 2014. It accounts for just 2.3% of Ford brand car sales in early 2015, down from 3.2% at this stage a year ago. Like the Fusion, 2015 is its third model year.

Meanwhile, though often revised, the Taurus, reviewed earlier this week by one Jack Baruth, has been around under one name or another on its D3 platform for a decade. Overall Taurus sales are down 20% this year. Taurus sales plunged 22% in 2014, including a 7% drop in Taurus Police Interceptor sales.

The all-new Mustang is the natural booster of Ford car sales volume, but as we look ahead to what will likely be another challenging period for Blue Oval cars regardless of the Mustang’s impact, keep the model timelines in mind. (Ford has also pursued fleet sales much less aggressively than had been the historical norm.)

As for Lincoln, well, those numbers are frightening. 2014 sales of the MKS and MKZ slid 2%, but the early 2015 results show the pairing is off last year’s two-month pace by 26%.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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49 Comments on “Ford’s Graying Car Lineup Relying On Mustang To Boost U.S. Sales Numbers...”


  • avatar

    If I was working at Ford, you can bet, every single car rolling out of their factory would be a car everyone would want, fanboys of other cars would hate and Jeremy Clarkson would be forced to show respect too.

    FORD IS DYING because their product is BORING.

    The Mustang, the F-150/SVT Raptor and a few variants of their small cars (the ones with a ridiculous amount of power) are the only things keeping them afloat.

    I’m actually anxious to see them end up losing so many sales on Lincoln that they are forced to cut them like they had to with Mercury, just to say I told them so.

    Meanwhile: Chrysler’s having no trouble at all moving $50,000 SRT and $70,000 HELLCATS.

    I’m not saying that every car has to have a twin-turbo V8, a supercharged v8 or a quad turbo 4-cylinder…

    I’m saying that THEY NEED TO BE OPTIONAL.

    “o p t i o n a l”…

    The MKS, Navigator, MKZ, Taurus, and Fusion deserve to fail.

    If not “fail” – the Fusion deserves to have their sales cut in half by the Camry, Accord and Sonata.

    …and stop naming them with 3-letter names. IT’S STUPID.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ford isn’t dying and you are losing your tenuous grasp on sanity.

      • 0 avatar

        OK – if you say so.

        Tell me how they are doing 5 years from now.

        If they are doing BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE I will GLADLY concede.

        If they aren’t… Then you owe me an apology.

        2020… the clock is ticking.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Doing better than ever before and dying are two separate things.

          You are one of two things:

          1) A huge troll that understands this but makes intentionally misleading statements anyway (probable).

          2) A huge troll that is as oblivious to reality as you are to the concept of video stabilization (also possible).

          • 0 avatar
            catachanninja

            He’s a Chrysler fan boy who thinks having the brand perform so badly it couldn’t be given away is actually a sign of success.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I don’t think Ford is dying but the product is a little boring save the Mustang and low volume things like the Raptor and upcoming GT. GM suffers from the same thing to an extent. Chrysler offers an “interesting” product line for the time being, although just from what we hear about Jeeps new same stupid CUV thing in three different models I won’t be holding my breath on remaining interesting forever.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The product line will continue to be less boring. A Fusion Sport not coming out after the refresh would shock me. The next Explorer/Aviator will be RWD/AWD. Hopefully, and I won’t hold me breath, that platform spawns a Ford and Lincoln sedan (Galaxie and Continental please).

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Source? Not because I necessarily don’t believe you, I just want to be sure. Especially about the RWD Explorer/Aviator (seriously? It’s been 10 years since that vehicle left, and for good reason) thing.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well the RWD based Explorer/Aviator wouldn’t be BoF. Think Durango, ML, X5, etc. Don’t think of the old ones. My source would be Derek and Ford engineers. Derek never mentioned the term “Aviator”. Just unnamed RWD Lincoln crossover that shares a platform with the Explorer. I’ve heard multiple Ford people call the Lincoln version “Aviator”. I don’t know if it’s out of habit or if that’s the name.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          For is too heavily concentrated in profits (and even volume sales) in trucks. They’re even more concentrated in light pickup sales than GM.

          They also have not done well on the reliability front, and this matters in terms of consumer perceptions, and consequently, sales success, with the passage of time.

          I have noticed Ford seems to be far more aggressive on price when it relates to their bread and butter passenger cars than they have been in a long, long time, and this strikes me as the condition brought about by the fact they increased headcount, pay & other overhead more aggressively than many competitors over the last 4 years, and if I’m right about their aggressive pricing, this is likely the consequence of having to try and at least maintain unit sales volume to defray those higher capex costs.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Wow!
          Am I missing something? Isn’t it recent news Ford was gaining market percentage of the US and their stock was shooting like a rocket into space?
          So what ever happened to that awesome Fusion? Is it gone? Is it considered old now? Out of date?
          What about the really nice looking Edge about to begin deliveries?
          Lincoln has the MKX and the MKC looking brand new, or recently introduced.
          Hell…I don’t think the Explorer should be considered old even!
          How much memory retention does everybody have here?

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Ford is moving toward the position of being America’s performance company – Mustang (GT, GT350, GT350R), Focus (ST, RS), Fiesta (ST), F-Series (Raptor), Ford GT with who knows what else is in the pipe line.

      Although I do agree Ford needs a mid-size RWD performance sedan in there somewhere as long as it can be priced to compete with the Charger in its various guises although I bet a Fusion ST and RS variant would capture a few sales as well (People fondly the SVT Contour as a sweet handling car).

      • 0 avatar

        “Ford is moving toward the position of being America’s performance company – Mustang (GT, GT350, GT350R), Focus (ST, RS), Fiesta (ST), F-Series (Raptor), Ford GT with who knows what else is in the pipe line.”

        LOOOOOLLLLL HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

        That’s the best one I’ve heard ALL DAY and it’s only 9:44 AM.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Well time to put up or shut up BT.

          What does FCA’s US division have outside of the Charger, Challenger and Viper?

          GM has the Corvette, Camaro and SS

          Neither has a legitimate Raptor competitor (as in turn key production vehicle), neither has a small performance car competitor. Ford has the SHO as well but its sort of an odd duck in the full-size segment but its there.

          I’d say they are making good on what they have planned. Ford has a performance vehicle in most every segment they sell in.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            If you count the Fords with a non-poverty sized engine, your left with the Mustang.
            Additionally GM also has multiple engine configs for the Camaro, same for FCA’s challenger, charger, and GC. And unlike Ford they aren’t skimpy on the displacement,

          • 0 avatar
            raph

            @ Hummer, the engine isn’t the only metric for performance. The ST cars and RS car are every bit a performance vehicle that the Mustang, Camaro and Challenger are.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Big Truck ,
      I doubt FCA is keeping the lights on with the hellcat and 50,000 dollar SRT as for Ford they are in the middle of an old car lineup but their F150 plain jane trucks keeping the lights on. I doubt all of fords cars midsize and up only come with a lowly one engine choice of a 4cyl.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      BTSR bloviating and bragging = Yawn.

      The Nassau County cops are getting donuts – go do your smoky burnout.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Ford needs a Fusion and Escape refresh. Good thing the new Edge should be hitting dealerships in significant volume soon.

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s the cycle of automotive life – as cars age the sales tend to weaken. Ford has a steady schedule of refreshes so and updated Fusion and Escape should be along soon. We know they are finishing up a new large sedan, and the new Super Duty is in its way. I’m not worried

  • avatar
    Chicago Dude

    Why would anyone buy a Ford right now? We have been beat over the head with all the talk about how bad the infotainment system is and Ford has gone ahead and announced a newer, better, not-awful version. Except that the new version isn’t available in cars until the end of the year and the hardware is different so you can’t upgrade.

    Infotainment sells cars and Ford more or less started this game, so they should know as well as anyone how bad an idea it was to show off the new leaps-and-bounds better system, get it covered in the press, and then tell everyone they have to wait a year to get it. What did they expect to happen?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      What’s wrong with MFT? It works really well and is extremely stable.

      • 0 avatar
        gasser

        This reliability may, or may not, be true. However the perception is that the infotainment is a POS and it IS being totally replaced for 2016. I am thinking of a new Fusion Hybrid, but I don’t want the hassle when my wife can’t get the electronics to work. So…..on to 2016 models, or to a Honda Acccord Hybrid.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          It will work. There will be no issues. She will have to press the touchscreen three times to connect her phone to MFT. From the home screen, there is a “connect phone” button. It will find her phone if BT is on and basically do the rest.

          Not choosing a car because you’ve heard that the infotainment system was buggy over three years ago is strange to me. My C-Max has almost 40k miles on it over almost three years. MFT has given me problems zero times. In those three years I have syced my phone to MFT on an almost statistical significant amount of MFT equipped vehicles. Zero issues.

          • 0 avatar
            Chicago Dude

            It’s a perception problem. You can’t get me into a showroom to try it out, because I’ve heard from everyone and their publisher about how awful it is.

            Now, some segment of the population has also heard that the new one is great. You aren’t getting them into the showroom right now. Depending on when they plan to buy their next car, you might not even get them into the showroom ever.

  • avatar
    319583076

    Initially, I thought that was a Taurus. Then I thought it must be the new Mustang. Then I realized I’m not sure…and I’m not interested enough to resolve the mystery.

    Is anyone at Ford reading this?

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Fords have a serious reliability problem. Fiesta made the Consumer Reports 5 worst cars list. I owned one, it was the car from hell. The powershift auto even when not broken is a poor transmission. Perhaps they are getting a little dated, but they need to fix their cars.

  • avatar
    eManual

    It’s too bad Ford and Mazda aren’t together anymore. Ford is forcing Eco-Boost, while Mazda has the simpler (i.e. more reliable) Sky-Active motors. I would strongly consider the Mazda engine in an MKZ or Fusion if it was quieter and road smoother than the Mazda 6. I’ve also not been impressed with Ford seats in the Mercury Milan and the previous generation Taurus/Sable.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    I have held onto my F stock because those w/more knowledge said Mullet Boy knows what he’s doing. So far I don’t see it. Maybe Someone else can explain how Ford is playing the long game here. I hate to sound remotely like DeadWeight.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      I think the long game for Ford is F-150 and trucks, that is where they make their money cars seem to be a lineup filler for the big 2. Gas will go up again so maybe their cars will sell more than their trucks as a percentage in growth but the trucks keep the lights on. I am not a Ford fan or a truck guy but it seems they trade on we did not get a gov handout and they seem to have the best trucks out there based on sales.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Therein lies just one of their major problems; they net something like 8 grand in profit on each pickup truck sale, while netting (in a favorable sales environment) something closer to $800 on their average non-truck sale.

        When overall conditions deteriorate, the unit profit on their truck sales will shrink, and if history is any guide, unit profits on passenger cars will pretty much evaporate.

        We haven’t even touched on warranty costs, fixed costs related to UAW contracts, new facilities built or assemblyman retooling, etc.

        The auto industry is very cyclical and very capex intensive, which people tend to ignore during boom times.

      • 0 avatar
        bomberpete

        I hope you’re right, and on paper I think you are. But as Hemingway said, “pretty to think so.” The thought of all those Ecoboosts engines failing in use – especially in the F-150 – will be like automotive Ebola.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    They need to fix their giant intruding center stacks and interiors in general… Probably axe the Aston grille on everything too… People see faces in the front of cars and no one wants a sad frowny car…

  • avatar

    I’m wondering if this “newer is better” rat race actually the way to go. Look at Wrangler, for instance. That thing was introduced in 2006, received an interior update in 2011 and new engine in 2012. That’s it, that’s all it took for it to making sales recors every year. Closer to home, didn’t the outgoing Escape sell better than its replacement?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Wrangler is pretty much it’s own segment. If you want a Wrangler you don’t really look at anything else. The segments that Fiesta, Fusion and Focus play in are hyper-competitive, if they’re not keeping up they’re dead.

  • avatar
    wmba

    A Ford dealer is not a friendly place to visit for a car buyer. You wade through literally hundreds of F150s that are taller than you are just trying to find an actual car, which the salesmen don’t want to show you anyway. Trucks I have no interest in whatsoever, they’re just soul food for people whose life is otherwise awful and want to control something big. Here I exclude TTAC readers who actually seem to use them for purposes other than commuting and cruising around in a daze.

    Why bother with the cars when the salesmen only perk up their ears if you want a Mustang GT?

    Ford around here could benefit from having two lots, one for the truck universe, the other for cars.

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      I agree about Ford dealers, but one could say the same about Chevy, Chrysler and to a lesser extent Toyota and Nissan.

      I have seen several 2015 Mustangs in the wild. I like them, though they are BIG!

      While the styling heritage is somewhat Euro-monotonous, stripes and bright colors willAmericanize them nicely.

    • 0 avatar

      Last time I visited dealers in the town, Ford’s was the ghettoest. But appearances could be deceptive. The Jeep dealer that I bought from looked outwadly normal, but turned out to be populated by lying, cheating weasels. That dinky Ford place could be full of nicest, most caring salesmen and technicians. But most buyers will never know.

  • avatar
    bomberpete

    Fusion needs a better naturally- aspirated base engine than Duratec. Not everyone buys into their Ecoboost snake oil. Honda and Toyota get those sales.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    I drive a Fusion (designed by Mazda) and couldn’t be happier.

    There is nothing wrong with Ford’s product line. Outwardly, it’s all gorgeous designs. BUT it’s not reasonable to expect 5-12 percent growth every month. And it’s surely not reasonable to expect the Stang to save Ford’s sales figures. It’s not 1964 anymore. The Stang will never sell 250k units/year ever again.

    My biggest beef with Ford is likely common: its reliance on turbos. Ford’s PR machine promoted its turbos as have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too wonder mills. But real-world fuel economy has been disappointing.

    Ford turbos meet their promises in the Fiesta, but little else. The Fusion turbo’s economy is constantly panned. The Stang’s turbo is actually LESS efficient than the 6-cyl in magazine testing. And let’s not even mention the thirsty turbos in FoMoCo trucks.

    And even the Fiesta turbo is costlier than the bass engine, so what’s the point??

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