Ford Kiboshes the Fusion's Redesign: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Everyone who’s excited about the next-generation Ford Fusion, take one step forward.

Not so fast, guys.

A new report lends weight to rumors that Ford Motor Company isn’t all that enthused about letting its passenger cars wither on the vine while buyers look elsewhere for riper, fresher fruit. Fruit with a cargo bay, to be clear. It seems the Ford Fusion’s redesign program is now off the table, turning the model’s future into a giant question mark.

Death becomes Fusion?

According to a document obtained by The Detroit News, Ford has stopped planning for a next-generation Fusion as it decides where it wants its product portfolio to go. The letter sent to suppliers in November states that Ford has cancelled the CD542N program, which would have created a redesigned 2020 Fusion.

Late last year, we reported that Ford was angling to move Fusion production from Mexico (where the sedans sometimes pick up a big stash, man) to China, future home of the Focus. Ford brass refuted the claim, saying no future Fusion will hail from the Orient. At the same time, sources claimed Dearborn informed suppliers that Mexico and Spain won’t build the thing, either. With American factories earmarked for high-margin trucks and SUVs, that leaves… who?

Suddenly, the Fusion’s future resembles a homeless man warming his hands over an oil drum fire beneath an interstate overpass. Has the automaker come to the realization that waning sedan sales aren’t something worth pursuing? (Fusion sales in the U.S. peaked in 2014, falling significantly every year since.)

In a late-year interview with Automotive News, CEO Jim Hackett cryptically implied the Fusion had no future. Advances in fuel-saving technology, he said, were stripping passenger cars of their sole reason for existence. It’s well known that Hackett wants to cull models from Ford’s lineup.

While all available evidence points to a funeral for the Fusion, don’t don the black garb just yet. Another source told The Detroit News that the company plans to keep the current model around for three or four more years. The Fusion’s a lot like Fiat Chrysler’s LX vehicles in that sense, only those models — most of them, anyway — at least have a semi-solid future. It’s also possible the Fusion nameplate will return, just not as a sedan.

In response to the latest report, Ford spokesman Mike Levine told The Detroit News, “Fusion remains an important part of the Ford lineup for years to come with even more new fresh features on the way. We will have more news to share in the future.”

In the meantime, maybe y’all should get your hands on a Fusion Sport, a variant that’s surely destined to become a low-end collectible.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 04, 2018

    Is it possible that Ford cancels CD542N because it is switches to new modular platform that also optimized for BEV? If thats true then it makes sense to cancel redesign of old platform which would be short-lived anyway.

  • Lichtronamo Lichtronamo on Jan 04, 2018

    Daniel Howes at Detroit News had an interesting column today. It started with Sergio was right. And then this: "Traditional car segments, particularly for mass-market volume brands, don’t rank high. And year-end sales numbers won’t help. Ford-brand cars closed last year down 14.9 percent, reports Autodata Corp. GM’s Buick car sales slumped 51 percent on the year; Chevrolet car dropped 16.1 percent; Toyota’s namesake car brand dropped nearly 10 percent, and its posh Lexus car lineup surrendered 23.3 percent last year. Yet in December, Ford sold nearly twice as many F-Series pickups (89,385) as it did cars across its entire U.S. lineup (44,871) — evidence that Ford is coming late to a game its previous management team, under ousted CEO Mark Fields, mostly chose not to play." His general take on the reports of the demise of the Fusion in NA is that its an inevitable move that prior CEOs were not prepared to make.

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