Ford Plans to Simplify the Focus as Small Car Production Heads South

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford plans to simplify the focus as small car production heads south

As it announced a less rosy financial outlook for the coming year, Ford Motor Company repeated its promise to rid America of small car production.

Yes, Mexico will take on the task of building the Focus and C-Max as Ford seeks to maximize U.S truck and SUV production. Part of the plan includes offering customers less choice, with a drastic reduction in buildable combinations on tap.

Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to buy a Focus in a color that isn’t black.

Ford laid out its growth plan yesterday, with the automaker claiming that increased spending will put downward pressure on the company’s profits for 2017. Where is the cash going? Well, self-driving vehicle technology and mobility, for one.

Speaking to Reuters yesterday, Ford CEO Mark Fields claimed the company is being cautious as it pursues “emerging opportunities” like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing. Offsetting the increased expenses are cost-saving measures designed to save $3 billion a year between 2016 and 2018. Offloading small car production is part of the strategy.

The automaker isn’t alone in sending small car production south. Compact cars have a smaller profit margin, and U.S. assembly plants better serve their owners by producing high-profit trucks and crossovers. Focus and C-Max hybrid production will depart from the Wayne, Michigan assembly plant, bound for a new $1.6 billion Mexican plant announced in April.

Ford claims the transition of small car production to Mexico should be complete within two to three years. That leaves the Fusion, Taurus and Mustang as the brand’s remaining U.S.-built cars.

Just because Focus production will soon depart the country doesn’t mean Ford will ignore the model. There’s more profit to be squeezed from the venerable compact. For the 2017 model year, Ford claims it has shrunk the model’s buildable combinations from 200,000 in 2015 to just 300. When the next-generation Focus bows, expect just 30 combinations.

Reducing complexity is a key part of the automaker’s small car strategy. Just don’t expect a return of the Mainline and Customline trim levels.

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4 of 50 comments
  • Corollaman Corollaman on Sep 15, 2016

    Tacos SHOULD be made in Mexico, Tacomas in the US

    • See 1 previous
    • Corollaman Corollaman on Sep 15, 2016

      @yamahog That goes without saying, as a matter of fact, I recall reading data that showed that the T100 was the single most reliable vehicle sold in the US./ Even more than any Lexus model.

  • Never_follow Never_follow on Sep 15, 2016

    Glad to see Ford has gone back to the mid cycle defresh model. It was clearly a great success for them in the 90's.

  • Inside Looking Out This is actually the answer to the question I asked not that long ago.
  • Inside Looking Out Regarding "narrow windows" - the trend is that windows will eventually be replaced by big OLED screens displaying some exotic place or may even other planet.
  • Robert I have had 4th gen 1996 model for many years and enjoy driving as much now as when I first purchased it - has 190 hp variant with just the right amount of power for most all driving situations!
  • ToolGuy Meanwhile in Germany...
  • Donald More stuff to break god I love having a nanny in my truck... find a good tuner and you can remove most of the stupid stuff they add like this and auto park when the doors open stupid stuff like that