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