By on January 10, 2018

Have you driven a Ford, lately? I haven’t — but Ford has nonetheless been on my mind. Last week, my QOTD inquired about the upcoming Bronco, and whether Ford would mess up the established Bronco formula. The majority of you seem to think they will. That same day, we ran a post about the cancellation of a Fusion redesign.

And that’s left me with even more Ford questions, and fears about future Fusion fates. Let’s discuss.

The program in question was called CD542N and its goal was the creation of the next Fusion, supposedly hitting lots in 2020. We’ve heard some recent murmurs (unsupported by Ford) that Fusion production would move from Mexico to China — the coffin nails seem to be piling up. At stake are the Fusion, its international variant (known as Mondeo), and Lincoln’s MKZ. The Fusion and MKZ aren’t spring chickens, having entered their sixth model year in 2018. The Mondeo variants (sedan, liftback, wagon) are a year younger, having followed the North American Fusion introduction. What happens now? I have some theories.

Drag it out Back

All three models carry on for a couple more years, perhaps with a face lift for 2019 or 2020. Ford pulls a Taurus method, and gets as much mileage as it can out of the current models. Replacement isn’t necessary in some markets, but perhaps others get a long-wheelbase Focus or the like to satisfy the sedan faithful.

A New Beginning

Fusion (and Mondeo especially) have name equity in their places of sale. Ford isn’t keen on letting this go, and the Fusion and Mondeo are reborn as CUVs in the near future. Fusion X and Mondeo X have nice rings to them, don’t you think? The lineup would seem crowded, but there’s always room for another utility vehicle exercise.

Knock Me Down

Perhaps in combination with the first theory, Ford’s denial that Fusion production would move to China wasn’t just a line. Instead, it’ll use a different location — perhaps the factory where the Mondeo is built in Spain. Or maybe Ford do something with complete knock-down kits (CKD) from some country with excess production capacity — like China.

None of these scenarios leave me with a good feeling for the MKZ, which is a pretty niche and America-centric product. Maybe it moves over to become a Continental-lite at the Flat Rock plant. I don’t have a great answer for that one.

What say you, B&B? Speculate away and share your Fusion fantasies.

[Images: Ford]

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54 Comments on “QOTD: Can You Crystal Ball Future Ford Fusion Fortunes?...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    That’s not a bad looking wagon design. They should run with that, after they lose the UPS Brown paint. I fondly remember falling asleep in the back of the family Ford Falcon wagon as a kid after long day trips. Maybe falling asleep isn’t a great inspiration for choosing a car…never mind.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    I’d be up for that wagon over a SUV/CUV/ABC in a heart beat.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    There’s also the relationship with the Edge and MKX.
    I can’t imagine Ford moving forward with no sedan offerings above the Focus, even in the US. But they should probably look to consolidate a bit. Maybe a single vehicle comes in to replace the Fusion, Taurus and Mondeo.

  • avatar
    Griffin Mill

    My speculation is that they are planning on giving the current platform a face-lift maybe add some updated tech and see how long they can keep selling the current Fusion/Mondeo. They are probably waiting to see if the CUV sales trend is fad, or the new reality of the market.

    Dropping out of the mid-size sedan market entirely is a terribly short sighted decision if/when consumers ever turn their backs on CUVs. Ford will be caught completely flat footed with at least a 36 month development period and no recognizable name plate. They would have to build market share starting from zero. Ford isn’t FCA-Chrysler, they have deep enough pockets to maintain a presence in this segment. Honda and Toyota are committed to the mid-size sedan for at least the next 5-6 years with brand new platforms. Ford should not cede this segment to the Japanese simply because they can make more money today selling trucks.

  • avatar
    Hank

    Could this be a political dance? Trump have Ford a big black eye over production in Mexico (ignoring the nearly a century of Ford production in Mexico). If they think he is a one term president, they could hold of Chinese built Fusions until 2021 and avoid that mess.

  • avatar
    brettc

    Makes me sad that the Mondeo/Fusion wagon isn’t available. It’s a really nice looking car.

    Of course about 9 people a year would buy one, but it gives me the vapours.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Pretty simple decisions to me. Fusion/Mondeo/MKZ are down, but the higher profit Edge/MKX seem to more than make up for it. Ford has to decide if they want to take the Edge/MKX growth and profits to reinvest into the whole platform, or if they want to break off the Edge/MKX to a new platform, or just keep the platform as is.

    I’d probably keep things as is; Edge/MKX are within weight range of their competitors and growing in sales at a healthy clip. IF it ain’t broke…..

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Yes the Fusion is down but in 2017 it sold roughly as many units as the MKX (soon to be Nautilus), Edge, MKZ and Continental combined.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        1, not true, at least for the US. Fusion sold 209K, that combo you listed sold 212.

        More importantly, Fusion lost 100K/33% over the last 3 years with no turnaround in sight. Volume is irrelevant in that context; Ford should not throw good money after bad.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      They’ll keep the Edge/MKX on the new Fusion platform, but the Fusion name will go away. After the successful re-introduction of the Continental name, the name of the new Fusion sedan will be the Fairlane.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I don’t think people have fond memories of Fairlanes. Plus if it grows it will step on the Taurus’ toes and be in the large sedan death zone. They need to consolidate the Focus and Fusion…. call it… the Contour :D

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    My crystal ball tells me that brown wagon will be arriving stateside. It will carry the 2.3 turbo from the Mustang and be offered with the manual transmission and optional AWD. Major components and final assembly will be USA. Warranties will be extended to 10yrs/120K and it will sticker for $28K.

    The Escape will implode upon itself before this mighty exemplar of automotive perfection.

    Whoops, wait, that’s not my crystal ball–that’s my crack pipe.

    • 0 avatar

      That Mondeo Vignale is on the closer side of $50k, I believe.

    • 0 avatar
      kmars2009

      Don’t you mean your crystal meth pipe? LOL. The Blg 3…if they’re even called that any more…are fools for building in China and shipping here. The American people are only going to put up with so much crap from China. They will eventually boycott those products.
      On the flip side, the UAW has done this to themselves. I mean $40 plus per hour, and $40-50 thousand dollar cars? Give me a break! I’ll gladly buy Korean, and save some cash!
      The Big 3 should hang their heads in shame!

  • avatar
    dwford

    The new Regal points the way forward for the Fusion. The Regal doesn’t come in sedan form at all, only hatch and wagon. Ford already has these body styles in production in Europe as the Mondeo. Why not bring them here??

    • 0 avatar
      legacygt

      Let’s see how successful the Regal is before we expect it to set the standard for the industry. My sense is that it has been a long time since another automaker has looked to Buick to help define the path forward.

      • 0 avatar

        Legacygt has it right on this one.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          That would be the strangest thing – Regal is successful enough to inspire competitors in it’s class. Sedans turn into hatches that still look like sedans.

          • 0 avatar
            1998redwagon

            the minivan killed the wagon
            the cuvs killed the large sedans

            let’s not report what happened. anyone care to take a guess at what is NEXT?

            somehow i doubt the regal will spark a “disruptive change” but at least it is a step in the correct discussion direction.

            at some point cuvs/suvs craze will be replaced by a different phase. but they will not be eliminated for a few phase cycles.

            what is next depends on more than just what looks cool and/or unique. some of what’s next will be due to changes in fuel prices, aging demographics (body flexibility issues and willingness to spend $$$), and the perceived need for a vehicle.

            who knows, the next big trend could be mass transportation!

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Sedans already look like hatches. Might as well make them hatches and gain the added utility.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            1998redwagon I’m not seeing it. America’s crumbling infrastructure alone will keep crossovers hot with their bigger sidewalls and wheel travel. And things like the easier ingress and better cargo space and apertures will never be a disadvantage.

            Only way things will change is if EVs really grab hold and upend car design. But even those are being made into crossovers to sell more.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    This is what happens when you really make a statement with a design. Where do you go from here? The Fusion is a very attractive car, one of the best designs out there. Any major change would have to be another statement and it would be a big risk. When the buying public is moving away from sedans you aren’t going to want to put out a new design that no one wants. You’ll have spent all that money on a car you’re just going to kill before the refresh. So why not hang onto the current design until it’s no longer profitable?

    If they gave us a Fusion Sport wagon and priced it anywhere close to the sedan, it would without a doubt be my next car.

  • avatar
    anomaly149

    The US Fusion is essentially identical to the foreign market Mondeo. The Mondeo has some more options (manual, diesel) and occasionally some nicer features (aluminum hood), but it’s literally the same car. If they change the factory, don’t expect it to be any nicer.

    Gut says probably import from China to everywhere, and put the Mexico and Europe capacity towards SUVs.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Cars are niche. Put it and the MKZ on the Mustang platform.

    • 0 avatar

      I foresee both a Lincoln on the Jaguar XJ aluminum platform, and a Mustang-based liftback sedan in your future.

      Both have 5.0s.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      This would surely be its death. It would be bigger, heavier, more cramped, less fuel efficient and slower.

      I do think a Mustang sedan, badged as either a Ford or Lincoln, would be pretty sweet. But from a business standpoint such a move is boneheaded. All midsize/large sedan segment sales are in free fall and while the SS had some flaws it was basically this, and it failed.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    If Ford puts a car in front of me, I don’t care how nice it is or the model, and they build it in China it will never be on my list for consideration.

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      “If Ford puts a car in front of me, I don’t care how nice it is or the model, and they build it in China it will never be on my list for consideration. “

      You don’t say why, but overall, I think that attitude is too bad.

      There are a lot more jobs at Ford and GM besides assembly line jobs – which I suppose is the thrust of your objection. (but perhaps not)

      I’m not an expert in how many employees it takes to make a car, or in how much they are all paid, but assembly line workers contribute only about 4% to the cost of a vehicle (according to the Canadian Auto Workers). http://www.caw.ca/assets/pdf/590-Auto_Price.pdf

      Of course much of the car’s cost will come from suppliers, who may or may not operate in China, whether or not the car is built in China, by Ford or Toyota, or whoever.

      But you’d do much more to support the American economy by buying a US-branded car then by buying a Foreign-branded car made in the US. Since there is so much overhead that revenue from a vehicle supports.

      Unless of course you are saying you’d only buy a US branded vehicle assembled in the US. Which is strict, but I could see that (as an Economic Patriot)

      Question: How does one underline or bold in the comments? Didn’t that feature exist at one point on this site?

      • 0 avatar
        JDG1980

        For skilled people with college degrees, there are plenty of other jobs. But auto manufacturing is one of very few jobs that can provide a family wage to high school graduates without specialized skills. For that reason, it’s particularly important to our society. I’d much rather support irreplaceable well-paid blue-collar jobs than replaceable white-collar jobs.

        • 0 avatar
          gmichaelj

          “I’d much rather support irreplaceable well-paid blue-collar jobs than replaceable white-collar jobs.”

          Well, I think that ship sailed when the SS NAFTA pulled out of port. Those jobs are going south over the long term.

          Also, not all overhead jobs require college educations, like secretaries.

          Anyway, I think (based on the CAW report) probably no more than about 8% of new car cost goes to blue collar wage/benefits(supposing Suppliers make approx 70% of parts (Autoline McElroy) and pay less than Big 3 (so say 1/2 for Big 3 blues and 1/2 for supplier blue collars) 4%+4%.

          For that 8%, one sends a lot more to Foreign-branded headquarters. Which wont get spent at restaurants or local hardware stores in the USA

        • 0 avatar
          gmichaelj

          Also, to be clear, I favor withdrawing from NAFTA and other “free trade” agreements with other countries.

          Those agreements largely put US citizens at a disadvantage to foreigners who will work for food. the benefits of “free trade” go to the 1%.

          Also, I favor an end to immigration, and HB-1 visas for the same reasons.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Most people don’t care about this. Keeping those jobs will only add to D3’s competitive woes in the passenger car space. Those jobs won’t do much good when the effects of keeping them prompt layoffs. And many of those jobs are replaceable- by robots. If we really want to help these people we need to stop treating them like brain dead children and help them find other things to do for money that are actually in demand. Healthcare may not be as “manly” as working at an auto plant but then there’s nothing manly about putting your pride ahead of your bills.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    It’d surprise me if this model went away altogether. More likely, it’s just going to be made elsewhere.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Given the waning appeal of mid-size sedans Ford is looking to avoid a low-margin price war. They will most likely make it overseas and import just enough to satisfy demand without resorting to any deep discounting.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The problem with the idea that the would build them in Spain is that like the Mexican plant they told the companies that supply it that it was ending production after the 2020 model year as well.

    Overall I personally think there is still too much volume to walk away from. As I mentioned previously the Fusion accounts for half of the US volume on that platform.

    The other important thing about the Fusion is the fact that it is officially now the only plug in hybrid in their line up and it will be the only hybrid in their line up in a few weeks as production of the C-Max comes to a close. At least around here the Hybrid and Energi are popular and they are popular with people who work in the tech industry that are often thought of as being in the import demographic. Additionally those Hybrid and Energi versions are usually seen with the Titanium badge around here. Ford specifically noted that they would soldier on the Flex despite its very small numbers because it is in fact popular with the SoCal demographic that are considered import intenders. Additionally the Taurus is going away and they have just introduced both a Responder and Interceptor grade police version that was supposed to give them a police sedan when the Taurus goes away.

    So at this point I can’t see them walking away from a car that attracts a demographic that probably wouldn’t consider any other Ford. I also see it hard to walk away from their best selling “green” car when they keep saying that they are expanding their “green” car line up. It would also mean walking away from 1/2 the US volume of vehicles on that platform. On the other hand if they aren’t doing a new design it makes zero sense that they would move old tooling to a new plant.

  • avatar
    George B

    I predict that Ford does a face lift of the current Fusion, delaying a full redesign. It still sells in reasonably high volume so there’s no reason for Ford to end production. Too bad, because the current model badly needs thinner A pillars made from high strength steel.

  • avatar
    grrr

    You can split the market for this car three ways and remove the need for it to exist:

    1) Family type buyers naturally gravitating to CUVs
    2) Create a four-door Mustang for performance type buyers who want a little more practicality (eg ex-Aussie Falcon buyers)
    3) Merge the mid-size and large sedan offering into one (ie Fusion / Taurus) that can cover both consumer and commercial (police, taxis etc) markets.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    I think that part of the reason for ditching the sedans is due to
    1. Poor reputation among Sedan buyers – always forced to sell more car for a lower profit than Camry or Accord because Boomers minds are still in the 80’s
    2. The limiting constraint of dealership lot/floor space – why load up the lot with lower profit sedans if you can sell higher profit SUV/CUVs?

  • avatar
    Mike-NB

    I know that I have no way to convince anyone that this is true, but in late 2015 I started online shopping for a replacement for my soon-to-be-bought-back Passat TDI and if a Fusion wagon was available that is quite likely what would be in my garage now*. I figured that there could be some hotter variant of the Fusion coming and the internet was abuzz with that too. Then, in January, Ford revealed the Sport variant with the 325HP engine. That was a surprise. I figured that the best we could hope for was the 2.3L EB from the Mustang.

    So I put my money where my mouth was and bought a Fusion Sport, right?

    Ummm… sort of. I fell in love with the new Lincoln front-end styling on the MKZ. That put the hook in my mouth. What set the hook was the 3.0L twin-turbo engine. So that’s what is sort of in my garage these days.

    Bottom line for me is that I love sedans and will likely be one of the last diehards to give them up. “From my cold, dead hands!”

    I don’t really have any predictions for sedans except that they will continue to decline in favour of CUVs. If we’re lucky, they’ll survive on the edge until people come to their senses.

    If we’re allowed to talk about dream cars, how about the Fusion Wagon Sport? One word: ‘sold!’

    * In the interests of honesty, my garage does not currently contain a ’17 MKZ. A few weeks ago I had an wee bit of a run in with one of the large population of deer that live in the area. Unfortunately she survived but was dispatched to the great pasture in the sky a bit later. A look at the MKZ showed it to be surprisingly damage-free. A closer look showed a few cracks and dents. The repair estimate, mostly because of the required new headlight assembly? $7K CDN. Jesus…

    Long live sedans!

  • avatar
    Sceptic

    Fusion will disappear. It will be Mondeo worldwide. Assembled in Europe, China and possibly US.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    As a Fusion owner I don’t see Ford walking away from the segment all together. In 2014 when I was replacing a very well used 1998 Accord the Fusion was hands down the best mid-size at that time. I’ve also driven the all new Camry and Accord this year and neither would get me to trade-in a my 4 year old Ford. So, while the design is dated somewhat it’s still competitive all around IMO. Maybe I’m biased but I just don’t see the Fusion as a vehicle that should be put out to pasture.

    My prediction, Ford keeps stamping out the Fusion into the 2020’s and literally lets it die on the vine like they did with the old Taurus. Sad, but that’s their M.O. Ford builds a winner sedan every 20 years or so and in-between they do nothing.

    • 0 avatar

      I also afraid that Ford will start decontenting Fusion as it did with Taurus. For some reason Americans cannot appreciate nice cars preferring instead crap like Camcord and Altima.

      I wonder how Ford is going to sell Mondeo in Europe if they do not update it, or they gave up on Fusion like GM did on Opel? Last time they killed Scorpio because it continued on dated platform with weird restyle and it was competing with premium cars from German big three.

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