Ford is Prepared to Cut Models, and They Sure Won't Be SUVs
An evolving lineup that matches consumer demand is the hallmark of any healthy automaker, and Ford has no problem dropping unpopular models.
That’s the message delivered by Joe Hinrichs, Ford’s president of the Americas, who hinted that changes could be in store for the company’s car lineup in the face of a crossover and SUV-hungry marketplace.
Speaking with Automotive News yesterday, Hinrichs said the automaker’s focus is on growing its SUV portfolio.
“Over time, there should be some pruning of the portfolio to support growth in other areas,” he said. “We certainly intend to have a strong car base as well; we don’t know where the market’s going to go. But there will be some pruning over time as there should be in a nameplate and portfolio.”
Hinrichs’ comments come at a scary time for the traditional passenger car. Once the reigning queen of the automotive landscape, the segment has nosedived as more and more consumers choose boxy, do-everything utility vehicles. Sales of midsize cars are down 12 percent year-to-date, representing just 12 percent of the market. Compact cars saw their sales slip 5.5 percent YTD, while subcompacts fell 2.9 percent.
Overall, the passenger car market has retracted by 9.1 percent in 2016.
At Ford, the small-car numbers aren’t any better. Actually, they’re worse than the industry average. Through the end of November, Focus sales are 17.2 percent lower than at this time last year, while the Fiesta is down 26.1 percent. Fusion and Taurus sales have fallen 10 and 11 percent, respectively.
Unfortunately, Hinrichs wasn’t dishing details on Ford’s plan to firm up its passenger car line. The company already builds the Fiesta in Mexico, with the Focus tapped to join it very soon. Already, there’s a plan afoot to
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So it only took Ford how many years (& axing the Crown Vic) to figure out this Taurus does nothing that the current Fusion doesn't already do? BRILLIANT!
I understand shuffling your product mix, but knowing how CAFE standards work makes this a potentially costly gamble. Ford has already announced it will ask for relief from the 2025 CAFE mileage goal. In good conscious this appears to be work both ends of the system for profits. Other companies have reduced the weight of their vehicles while Ford has resisted until the F-150 came out. They should try to invest in meeting future regulations while maintaining a product mix that will satisfy dealers and customers.