Ford's Stopping Production of Cars Sooner Than You Probably Imagined
The biggest automotive news story of the last week was Ford’s decision to abandon almost all passenger cars in the North American market. Whether you think it’s a smart business decision as consumers shift toward crossovers or a colossal misstep, you were probably envisioning a gradual phase-out as the company bolsters its domestic truck and SUV lineup for 2022. Well, you thought wrong, because Focus production ends this May.
Fortunately, you’ll have a little more time to snag a Taurus or Fiesta before those models are also killed off. Taurus assembly is slated to end in March of 2019, with the Fiesta murdered a couple of months later. After that, you’ll be stuck with whatever dealers have left on the lot and the venerable Mustang coupe. Americans will also have access to a Focus Active imported from China. But it’s as much crossover as it is hatchback, doesn’t start importing until the middle of 2019, and won’t be available in Canada at all.
When Ford announced the plan to dramatically reduce its car lineup and bolster truck production, it didn’t give a concrete timeline for specific models. We just knew that everything would be different by 2022. However, a tweet from Automotive News’ Michael Martinez outlined the discontinuation dates, which Ford later confirmed as legitimate.
The only foggy patch involves the Fusion, which is supposed to stick around for a while longer. Our Fusion’s European counterpart, the Mondeo, has been seen sporting upgraded panels and was originally slated for a complete redesign for the 2021 model year. But plans for that appear to have been postponed, if not scrapped entirely. It now seems that the Mondeo will get a visual refresh sometime in the near future and end production shortly thereafter.
Meanwhile, the Fusion’s midlife refresh was canceled last November. It’s definitely dead, but the exact moment when the automaker’s boot heel will crush its larynx is unknown. As sad as this makes us, Ford claimed it was losing money on the Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta.
That’s a little hard to imagine, considering the brand moved 209,623 examples of the Fusion within the United States last year. But the number does represent a significant downturn in sales after its peak of 306,860 units in 2014. Ford is likely hoping to get ahead of the market before it loses further interest in traditional autos and capitalizes on the profitability of trucks, crossovers, and SUVs. It’s also trying to cut costs in a market that is looking less friendly overall these days, while making moves in China.
Fortunately, Ford has said Lincoln will remain committed to cars. So, if you want a Ford-made sedan, and don’t mind spending more money, the MKZ and Continental will be there. But we aren’t entirely confident of how long that will last, because Lincoln’s car sales aren’t exactly strong, either.
[Image: Ford Motor Company]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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