Ford Crossover Company? Report Says Ford to Swap Cars for CUVs [UPDATED]

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

You like Fusions, Foci, and Fiestas? Well, you better get to shopping. Pretty soon, Ford’s car lineup will be down to just two – the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The Blue Oval automaker is going all in on trucks and crossovers, as well as electrified vehicles, as it plans to remake three-fourths of its lineup by 2020. This all comes from a Q1 earnings report.

Not only will 75 percent of the lineup turnover, but four new trucks and SUVs will be added. Ford will start a rollout of battery-electric vehicles in 2020 with the goal of having six on the market by 2022.

It also appears that hybrid versions of the F-150, Mustang, Escape, and upcoming Bronco will be available.

The biggest news, of course, is the shift to a lineup that’s almost exclusively made up of crossovers, SUVs, and trucks. Ford did also say it’s exploring what it calls “white space” vehicles – vehicles that would combine a higher ride height with larger cargo areas – sort of like crossovers do now. We’d imagine that the company is thinking of hatchback-type vehicles here.

Ford is doing this because it estimates that 50 percent of American retail sales will be SUVs by 2020. It’s also reallocating $7 billion of capital investment from cars to SUVs.

To be clear, the automaker’s upcoming BEVs and hybrids may actually not be crossovers — they may be what we’d call “cars.” There could even be a mid-size hybrid or BEV sedan. But it appears that gasoline-fueled sedans are dead going forward.

Ford also unveiled a new driver-assist package in the vein of Toyota’s Safety Sense system and mentioned (in vague PR terms) initiatives to speed up product-development cycles.

Okay, now that the objective facts are out of the way, it’s time for the editorializing. To this news, we say: What the $#%*, Ford?

Yes, we know. The crossover craze can’t stop, won’t stop. Mid-size sedans are in trouble. We’ve covered it extensively on TTAC. But this seems insane. The market for sedans may be shrinking, but it’s not zero nor does it seem likely it ever will be.

The Mustang survives, of course, because it’s an icon, and it remains popular. There might be riots in Dearborn if it was to be cancelled.

But this news means no more Fusion, Fiesta, or Focus. Essentially, Ford will no longer be a full-line automaker. It’s ceding space in key segments (shrinking segments, but still key) to the competition, and it’s also taking a risk – if the crossover craze abates for whatever reason, the Dearborn folks will have no sedans to show.

Maybe the bean counters and internal sales analysts are right, and Ford will benefit from this move. But we’re shocked and saddened over here – Ford’s current mix of sedans and hatchbacks is quite good. Not to mention we don’t want to be doomed to a future where the only choice is crossover A or crossover B.

We’ve reached out to Ford and will update if we hear back. UPDATE: A Ford spokesman provided us with this statement, which is similar to what’s in the report: “Consumer buying habits are shifting from small cars to small SUVs – here and around the world. To respond to the needs of our customers and grow our business, we are significantly expanding our North America utility portfolio while also exploring new “white space” vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities – such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”

[Images: Ford]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • EspritdeFacelVega EspritdeFacelVega on May 01, 2018

    Over at AutoExtremist a reader made the excellent point that Toyota is investing big $$$ in its Mississippi plant to build the Corolla Hatchback (Hatchback!!!). If they can do this profitably, and they can, why can't Ford bring in Fusions and Fiestas from Mexico and make money? Even if the segment is declining, leaving 100k+ sales on the table seems daft. I agree this is more about shoring up the exec team with Wall Street analysts, irrespective of longer-term considerations.

  • Ussamuelmark Ussamuelmark on Apr 04, 2019

    why can’t Ford bring in Fusions and Fiestas from Mexico and make money? Even if the segment is declining, leaving 100k+ sales on the table seems daft. I agree this is more about shoring up the exec team with Wall Street analysts,

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.
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