By on April 30, 2018

2017 Ford Focus S sedan - Image: Ford

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]

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125 Comments on “Ford’s Stopping Production of Cars Sooner Than You Probably Imagined...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Moving 200,000 plus and you can’t make money on the Fusion?

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Ford may or may not be making a pittance on 200k sales, but someone looked at the sales trajectory and decided to pull the plug before the hemorrhaging took off.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      It’s not just how many you sell, but how you (have to) sell them. And how many options and Titanium Platinums cheapskates and fleets are willing to take.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        This baffles me too. The Taurus and Fiesta I get, no one will miss them, but Fusions are plentiful. Heck, I’d rather see the Focus and its poison-pill transmission go than the Fusion.

        VW, Subaru, and Mazda all seem to make money on their midsizers which sell at a fraction of Fusion volume. Even Nissan and their fleet queen Altimas seem to still be profitable. Something doesn’t add up.

        • 0 avatar
          Pete Zaitcev

          Subaru reports Legacy crashing in recent years. The only thing that’s saving it is the commonality with Outback. Mazda seems like an interesting example, I’m not sure how they manage.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      could be the only reason they sold 200k is they sold them at a loss

    • 0 avatar
      anomaly149

      A crossover might cost $1,000 more to build (on the extreme outside high estimate) but consumers regularly pay $5,000 more for one.

      Even the c-suite can follow that math.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I suspect the story isn’t that they can’t make money on Fusions per se, but rather that they’ll be able to make more on crossovers.

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      “Moving 200,000 plus and you can’t make money on the Fusion?”

      Actually they can, just not ENOUGH money

      So like many, I’ve been watching this industry for several years and was surprised when I saw this the other day – I shouldn’t have been.

      FORD IS NOT MAKING ENOUGH MONEY.

      Ford’s Return on Assets, or Return on Invested Capital (which should be the same) has been:
      3.75%, 4.18%, 7.33%, 4.78%, 5.90%
      over the past 5 years.

      Those returns would be fine if you were buying a bond or CD, but they are a “poor” for all investors (debt and equity combined)

      How did this happen? Well, SUVs and Crossovers currently command a price premium, and FORD HAS NOT KEPT UP WITH THE MARKET.

      For the 107 SUVs and Crossovers currently on the market (not counting vehicles discontinued), sales have increased, since calendar year 2014, 45% from 5.2 million in 2014 to 7.5 million for the last 12 months ending 3-31-18 (LTM).

      GM is currently selling 14 SUVs and X’s that have increased 40% since calendar year 2014.

      Ford has 8 SUVs and X models that have increased 14% since 2014. (unit sales source GoodCarBadCar)

      FORD FAILED TO SEE THE MARKET MOVE TO SUVS AND CROSSOVERS AND SO NOW HAS TO SACRIFICE CARS TO HAVE ENOUGH CASH TO INVEST IN THIS SEGMENT, which by the way, makes up 44% of the light truck and car market. (7.5 million to 17.2 million – LTM).

      To get a return to shareholders and debt-holders (combined) into the double digits, Ford is aiming for an EBIT return of 10%. See https://media.ford.com/content/dam/fordmedia/North%20America/US/2018/04/25/1q18-financials.pdf

      SUVs and Xs are the road to higher profitability.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Letting the cash-cow Expedition wither on the vine for a decade didn’t do them any favors either.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Those returns would be fine if you were buying a bond or CD, but they are a “poor” for all investors (debt and equity combined)”

        5-7% profit is actually pretty good for a company of this size. Should multi-billion dollar mfg firms be returning 20%? Doesn’t seem realistic.

        “SUVs and Xs are the road to higher profitability.”

        Perhaps. I wonder where the highest organizational costs might be?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Is he confused with profit vs return?

          • 0 avatar
            gmichaelj

            You cant have returns without profits.

            ROIC = [EBIT (1-t)]/IC

            Return on invested capital equals Earnings Before Interest and Taxes times 1 – tax rate, all divided by Invested Capital.

        • 0 avatar
          gmichaelj

          5 to 7 might be ok for the bond holders only, but mixed with shareholders too (all invested capital), it’s too low.

          “Should multi-billion dollar mfg firms be returning 20%? Doesn’t seem realistic.”
          – That’s a StrawMan, I never said ROIC = 20%.

          If you are really interested, examine market returns for bonds and stocks, then weight them, according to how you think Ford should be funded.

    • 0 avatar
      namesakeone

      My guess is that the money they claim to be losing is actually the difference between the actual profit on the Fusion sale as opposed to the money they think they can make (or could have made) if each of those 209,623 Fusion buyers sensibly bought an Escape instead. When they kill the Fusion, the buyers will have no choice. Except maybe a Malibu, an Accord, a Camry, an Altima, a Sonata, an Optima, a Legacy, a Passat or a 6.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Oberkanone,
      Not when you are a high cost country. That’s why TVs, fridges, air cons, etc are made in other countries. Consumer appliances (incl cars) are not the industries of the future in post industrial nations like the US, Western EU, Australia, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Sanman111

      Not when they are selling them as deeply discounted as they are. Their model for selling cars is flawed and frankly the bigger reason for this issue. I bought my 2017 Fusion with $7300 cash on the hood, if I financed through FMC at 8% interest. I took the deal and walked over to my credit union to flip that loan the next day. Easy way to score a huge discount and for them to sell at a loss.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Jim HACKett, former steel office furniture executive, will be to Ford Motor Company what Roger Smith was to General Motors.

    Ford could literally not be going all in on CUVs and pickup trucks at the worst time.

    Ford and HACKett are literally buying at the very top, and they are gutting 18 to 25 billion in R&D and platform development for sedans, coupes and hatchback development, while mortgaging their future on the overall trend of the last 8 years.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Ford Australia, if it doesn’t fold still designs sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        since Americans have no problem buying Chinese made Buicks and Volvos, French made Yaris’s and Turkish made HC-Rs, it’s apparent country of assembly doesn’t matter anymore, so as long as they make sedans else where and are able to import them if the tide ever turns, what’s the big deal?

        It was made clear a whole back that they are moving money to electrification since CAFE is looming ever closer, why put money into platforms that will be obsolete in 7 years anyway?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          TwoBelugas,
          Ford Australia designs much for the Asian market. China for Ford hasn’t been a dream run of late either.

          As where a vehicle is made is of not much significance in our advanced economies as more money is made from vehicles away from manufacture. So, vehicle manufacture is not the bees knee of manufacturing.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      High gas prices didn’t push people away from high riders into cars over the last decade, where we saw national fuel prices hover close to $4 for 4 years.

      I’m sure that R&D money was spent on things that can benefit crossovers and trucks…. platforms, engines, transmissions, hybrid tech, infotainment etc.

      Hurling grade school insults and seeking to be the living embodiment of a temper tantrum doesn’t change facts. DeadWeight indeed.™ Please go back into retirement.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        All of my predictions come true.

        None of yours do.

        My analyses are tight. Yours are pulled out of your a$$ at random.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        He’s called some stuff even since he was woke by the ATS dash cluster of doom. Give credit when due.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Past performance is not indicative of future results, especially when it comes to a guy who relies on hyperbole, schoolyard insults, and shotgun blast prediction approaches to making future calls.

          His ATS prediction was based on several elements Cadillac got amazingly wrong for the market. His Ford prediction is based on how Jim HACKett is a MORON. See the difference?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Perhaps, but I think a guy like that become President though :D

            Although I saw only two approaches, the full lineup a la mid 80s Cadillac or true low volume luxury, DW’s more colorful Roger-Smith-Is-Back argument seems to be coming true. Time will tell.

            If DW makes some bad predictions I will call him on them as is fair. His approach to them is part of his, flair and wit. Yeah we’ll go with that hehe.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Sportyaccord, you whine too much and misstate history.

            On these very pages, I predicted:

            1) The fall of Cadillac AND Johann, not just the fail of the ATS, 3rd gen CTS, ELR, CT6 (huge failure in the works).

            2) I nearly perfectly predicted the “outing” of the “clean diesel” scam.

            3) The rise of Subaru as a powerhouse of sales and profit since 2011.

            4) The decline of Nissan into a clear 2nd tier automaker with a disgusting dealer network full of KIA-level (or worse, to be fair to KIA) primordial ooze salespeople.

            5) The fall from grace of Acura (I’ve been as prescient as anyone in the entire auto industry accurately predicting Acura’s struggles in terms of product, messaging/marketing, and other missteps).

            6) The rebound of Range Rover (as early as 2010).

            7) BMW’s fall from grace in terms of its lineup of “ultimate driving” trash.

            8) The incredible success of Audi.

            I could go on, and on, and on….

            You’ve predicted nothing, as you know nothing, yet are too meek to do anything but whine and screech and ask for pamprin.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        sportyaccordy,
        The EU has high gas prices and SUVs and CUVs are all the rage there.

        High gas prices will affect pickup trucks and the large pickup truck station wagons.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        sportyaccordy,
        Gas prices in Canada, Australia, EU are higher than the US and are consistently higher. This affect purchasing decisions.

        In the US gas prices rise, but they do drop, this reduces the effects of consistently higher gas prices. People do buy vehicles that provide better FE when gas prices are high, but the impact in the US is not permanent.

        As for SUVs and CUVs vs fuel economy. I read many comments that CUVs and SUV average FE is the same as cars, this is totally inaccurate. SUV and CUV fuel consumption sits exactly between pickup truck and car/sedan fuel use.

        • 0 avatar
          sutherland555

          Speaking as a Canadian, high gas prices definitely affects purchasing decisions. I personally went with a compact car (Mazda3 hatch) when I could’ve easily afforded a mid-sized sedan or compact CUV. Compact cars and CUVs rule (around Toronto anyways). Gas prices are closing in on all-time highs now too.

          This decision does not bode well for Ford in Canada. They’re giving up a pretty significant chunk of their sales to competitors who will keep cars in their line-ups. Ford dealership owners must be screaming bloody murder to Ford Canada HQ right now.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      They seem to be all in on a stable regulatory environment. If CAFE changes and does away with the approach angle advantage where will that leave Ford? Assuming that the customers will follow your product mix instead of walking to another supplier who still makes what they want is … trying to be nice … vacuous.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        05lgt,
        Ford will be uncompetitive with SUVs and CUVs, like cars. If CAFE changes the other manufacturers can also change with Ford. It’s not as if Ford is the only company affected by CAFE.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The author used the ter “smart business” decision. It has little to do with smart. I believe its the only decision.

    Producing vehicles irrespective of numbers, 200 000 vs 100 must be profitable. The Fusion isn’t comptitive.

  • avatar
    incautious

    Well Honda has been basically a two car company for years, Accord and Civic. Having said that, It’s a big mistake if Ford stops making the Fusion or something of that size. Having been in business before, giving your competition an extra 200,000 sales really isn’t good business sense. Gas prices are on the rise and will not be getting much cheaper. These next five to ten years are going to be tricky for the automotive landscape.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      It’s way worse than what you state.

      Ford, under Jim HACKett, is surrendering with a white flag, the subcompact, compact, mid-size and large sedan market to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, etc etc.

      Ford has just publicly conceded it is an uncompetitive company and can’t efficiently and profitably be a full-range, global, vehicle producer, in no uncertain terms.

      • 0 avatar
        tallguy130

        I got to agree. As a shareholder I wouldn’t be able to get past the statement that they can’t make money moving 200k plus cars. Somehow everyone else is to some extent, what’s going on at ford that they can’t?

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        If a corporation “specializes”, it’s called streamlining.

        An automaker being “full range” is overrated, and really outdated thinking. Buyers are going to cherry pick the best brand/model for every segment they buy.

        There’s no loyalty across the board. Who fills their garage/driveway with just a single brand anymore?

        And does it take a Malibu or Sonic to make a Silverado relevant? Or does it take Tundras sell Corollas? It makes no sense.

        Now it’s time for automakers to cherry pick.

        Would you take your BMW for engine repair to a general auto mechanic that “does it all” or one that specializes just in BMWs?

        It’s really a better more efficient way to do business, and to shop for businesses.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Maybe, just maybe, being a “full range” vehicle producer isn’t the best strategy anymore. It’s never made sense for any car company to sell every car everywhere, and companies end model lines all the time.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          You really had no problem buying your Accord with the knowledge Honda has no answer for the F-450 pickup dually crew cab 4X4 Platinum Ranch?

          How can anybody consider Honda a real automaker then?

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          sportyaccordy,
          Being a full range auto producer is the success of the top 3 auto manufacturers.

          I think you are being too US centric in your assessment.

          Ford is a global company, it’s struggling (along with GM and Chrysler) in mature markets in comparison to it’s competitors.

          In the US Ford is only competitive in the vehicle segments that are less impacted by technical barriers and import tariffs (chicken tax). This ain’t a good position to be in.

          I also believe Ford is not as competitive with SUVs and CUVs. Full pickup truck station wagon SUVs Ford is competitive because these indirectly benefit from the chicken tax via reduced design and manufacturing costs or shared costs across more models.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I should have clarified. Having a “full range” in every market = not the best idea. The world in general is moving away from midsize sedans and I’m sure the Focus will continue to be a top seller in Europe. People who see Ford pulling its passenger cars from the US market as a harbinger of doom are the ones being too US centric.

      • 0 avatar
        jthorner

        None of those companies (Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen)have competitive entries and/or significant share in the high volume, highest profitability US market segments. Who are the bad business people then?

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Not just in the US. They’re also the top earning entries in the world. Except those obscene profits can be *kept* instead of flushed away on losers.

          I really don’t see a downside. Yet nothing is written in stone. They killed the Ranger, not to mention the Bronco/Bronco II (leaving a gaping hole) and now they’re bringing them back with vengeance.

          Anyone with hurt feelings wasn’t guaranteed to buy a “truck” from Ford anyway. But some will buy a truck (or Mustang) instead of the sedan they were hoping for.

          But don’t expect Ford to layout their long term plan here, but they’re clearly up to something.

          Besides, out-engineering the Corolla, Camry, Accord, ect, can’t be Rocket Science. They just have to think boring, outdated and obsolete. In those segments, US consumers love them that way, and they show good on surveys, consumer reports.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          jthorner,
          I don’t know if it’s Ford are bad business people or they really don’t know how to do business differently.

          As I’ve been trying to state for years now the US vehicle industry is going to break as it’s the most unbalanced globally due to protetection and tariffs.

          How can you blame Ford when government regulation forced the Big 3 to concentrate on large pickups and their pickup truck station wagon siblings.

          What needs to change is CAFE and all other US regulatory and tariff arrangements are removed, restructured (adopt UNECE regulations) so the Big 3 are forced to compete. Until this time they will gradually fail.

          UNECE doesn’t mean European as we in Australia enjoy V8s etc (anything actually). So, please if anyone makes a dumbass comment trying to align UNECE with the EU, pull your heads in.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “giving your competition an extra 200,000 sales really isn’t good business sense.”

      Taking a loss on a high volume model with sales in freefall just to maintain market share is even worse business sense. Ford is losing money on a car seeing 10% annual sales losses in a growing auto market.

      “Gas prices are on the rise and will not be getting much cheaper.”

      Gas prices were way higher earlier this decade than they are now, and yet crossovers/trucks gained market share at the expense of cars anyway. For several years. If customers run back to cars, it won’t be due to gas prices. The F-150 has been the top selling vehicle in the US for god knows how long. High riders are also much more fuel efficient than they used to be. The base F-150 gets 50% better gas mileage than it did 10 years ago.

      At some point we have to stop parroting these blatantly erroneous arguments because this move “feels” wrong and we can’t actually articulate why. Hoping Ford fails is not proof that they will.

    • 0 avatar
      Pete Zaitcev

      People talk about “giving” some 200k sales to competitors, but it’s not a given that those sales would happen even if Fusion stayed (well, since it stays until 2019, we’ll know soon enough). I looked up what happened when Ford exited minivans. The last year of Windstar was 2008, when minivans were declining by 30% every year. And the competitors didn’t see a blip without Ford: Oddysey and Sienna continued to fall. Oddy bottomed out 2 years later at around 100k units. It only started to recover in 2012.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Pete Zaitcev,
        I hope Ford in in the same frame of mind as it was concerning the removal of the Ranger from their line up. Ford stated those who needed a pickup would buy a F-150 or a Explorer or something like that.

        That didn’t occur. If people move away from Ford cars they will most likely buy another car from another more competitive manufacturer.

        I can see the Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi team smiling.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I’m strongly beginning to question Ford’s (and other brands’) intelligence in these decisions. Oh, I fully understand the reasoning as far as adding trucks to the lineup but I honestly believe it’s fueling the bonfire with pine needles; they’ll see a huge leap but the fire will die down even more quickly.

    This, of course, assumes legislators don’t realize what Ford is up to and change vehicle classification so that ONLY body-on-frame models can be called trucks while all others will have to be listed as cars. This so feels like another attempt to dodge CAFE by listing all vehicles as trucks, forcing the truck average fuel economy up by including everything from the smallest and lightest too the biggest and heaviest all in one fleet type. I believe the end result would be, as I described, a momentary flare in sales, followed by a critical drop either due to economic issues (the true trucks market falling out from under it due to a continued rise in fuel prices,) or people simply abandoning the brand due to lack of individuality between models (which is what I believe really is Ford’s sedan issue.) Either way, I expect to see Ford struggling to simply survive by 2025 if they continue this path.

    However, Ford may be holding something up their sleeve. What if, instead of abandoning their cars entirely, they’re clearing the path for an all new lineup of pure electrics and extended range plug-ins? While it may sound ludicrous up front, if they plan on a wholesale platform redesign that lets them build on a fleet of electric skateboard chassis, said cars could potentially revert to more stylized bodies and bring back their heyday of the 60s and 70s where body design could change every couple of years while the platform can remain untouched for a decade, allowing only for advancements in the drive systems. It would be a reversion to body-on-frame designing where the battery pack is functionally the frame and entire drivetrain. Software along could control output, allowing for sport models to be differentiated from economy models and handling could be limited by tire size (and profile) along with suspension software settings. An all-in-one design that could be readily modified to meet any buyer’s desire in appearance and performance far more cheaply than today’s unibody construction can really achieve. Even collisions could be made safer by having the body able to separate from the chassis under high-enough impact forces.

    No, I’m not saying this is what Ford WILL do, but rather what they could do and might do, if they’re thinking far enough ahead.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Ford has been stating that they are bringing out a significant number of electrified vehicles to market in the next few years. So it wouldn’t be a big leap that one of those was an EV sedan/hatch.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      The biggest move in the EV market is in the EU and China, not the US, so I don’t see EVs playing a big role for Ford in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        China, yes, I’ll agree. The EU, not so much. Granted they’re moving faster than the US OEMs as far as manufacturing but I haven’t seen any reports of massive adoption outside of Norway. The biggest issue in the EU specifically is that they’re forced to rely on public charging stations, which means charging at home, a BEV’s biggest advantage, becomes its biggest disadvantage. How that is handled will likely have to be a governmental project for general adoption.

        However, in the US, the biggest noise in BEVs is Tesla; everything is compared to Tesla in one way or another and is always used in opposition to Tesla in most conversations. What those other brands do on their own tends to slip under the radar so we honestly don’t know how well they’re doing until someone decides to declare that other brand’s superiority over Tesla–which tends to be limited.

  • avatar
    redapple

    sportyaccordie needs to retire.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      DW sock account? Truth hurts, don’t kill the messenger.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      redapple,
      If all are in accord with each other, there will be no progress. Different views (so long as they are realistic) and ideas have been what moves us forward.

      Being a onesy impact progress, as you are seeing with Ford in the US.

  • avatar
    Prado

    So what’s the plan for Hermosillo, if they ax the Fusion? Capacity is around 300k a year. I’m wondering why they didn’t move the new Focus production down to Mexico.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    It used to be that car makers slavishly pursued market share. Now it seems like market share is nice, but we need to make money.

    Everyone is parroting the wrong lessons of 2008. Many of you are still talking about filling in every market segment and having something economical to sell if there’s a fuel crunch.

    The real lesson of 2008 is that the automakers with some money in the bank were able to really press their advantage coming out of that fuel crunch. People did not wholesale switch to economical vehicles- instead they bought fewer cars period.

    My belief is that this is like station wagons. The station wagon was basically ceded to Subaru. Now passenger cars are being ceded to Honda, Toyota, and the Kia/Hyundai twins. In about 10 years, Ford of Europe or Buick will bring back a sedan to test the waters. There’ll be a lot of breathless excitement here on the forums, they’ll sell about 2000 and the rest will turn into lot orphans.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    The biggest beneficiary here has to be GM. The Malibu should see a substantial uptick in sales, being the only domestic midsize sedan left for the buy American crowd and the default choice for government fleets replacing Fusions. GM hasn’t said anything about axing the Malibu AFAIK. The loss of the Taurus probably helps the Impala’s business case a bit too.

    I personally don’t think I will ever own another car, unless its a specialty vehicle like a Challenger or Camaro. When I bought it our Terrain offered the interior room of a full-size luxury sedan in the footprint of a midsized sedan with a small MSRP premium over a midsized sedan and the airy greenhouse of a full-size SUV. That a strong appeal.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    As a corollary to what Mr. Dead said, the people buying passenger cars are generally more attuned to engineering than those who buy utility vehicles. Ford, GM and FCA cannot match Honda and Toyota for engineering, therefore they market to the bozos who are impressed by physical presence and an implicit promise of a life style change. By ending production of passenger cars, they are conceding that their engineering departments are inferior.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “therefore they market to the bozos who are impressed by physical presence and an implicit promise of a life style change.”

      Anyone want to help out with this blade Zipster just buried in me?

      I still think Honda’s internet reputation is way overrated though.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      “the people buying passenger cars are generally more attuned to engineering than those who buy utility vehicles.”

      says who? the Camry and Accord buyers? I’m sure they are really interested in if their cars have direct versus port injection, or if their cars have double wishbone or McPherson struts.

      Sure.

      • 0 avatar
        Zipster

        Why do you think they are selling so many Civics? Is it because they love the style? By most parameters, utility vehicles are grossly inferior and there are educated buyers who know that.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Yep, decades of unreliable Honda transmissions is a true indicator of engineering excellence.

      Toyota on the other hand purposefully under-engineers their cars for the sake of simplicity (not a bad thing).

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        The “under-engineered” thing is exactly right, with German cars on one end and Ford in the middle. Reliability surveys don’t account for using old tech, including using cassette players (Lexus) while the rest of the market including Kia had standard CD players.

    • 0 avatar
      jthorner

      The Toyota Corolla and Camry products are great for their target markets, but are hardly examples of awesome engineering.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        jthorner,
        Have you heard of the term “fit for purpose”? We use this term in engineering.

        Toyota excels as a “fit for purpose” product.

        I’ll use Ford aluminium wunder trucks as an example. The F Series are “fit for purpose”. So are the steel pickups, so there is no real advantage in the aluminum pickups other than a technological difference, which in amounts to very little.

        The same goes for our midsize diesel pickups in Australia, they are as “fit for purpose” as a US full size pickup. There is no real advantage in a full size pickup versus a global midsize pickup.

        Don’t confuse engineering with technology.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I promise you the average Camry/Corolla buyer does not give a lick about “superior engineering”. Average car buyer doesn’t know a differential from a double wishbone suspension. Not to mention many folks who owned sedans in the past own crossovers now, which are engineered at the exact same (if not higher) levels as their sedan equivalents. Very bad post.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “As a corollary to what Mr. Dead said, the people buying passenger cars are generally more attuned to engineering than those who buy utility vehicles. ”

      I might at a “these days” to this thought as it may be more accurate.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        As recently as a few years ago Camry and Accord buyers were called lemmings for buying what everyone else at their work buys.

        Today the stubborn holdout of the sedans are admired as “appreciator of engineering” by some.

        What a dramatic reverse of fortunes that was. LOL.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “the people buying passenger cars are generally more attuned to engineering than those who buy utility vehicles.”

      Around here it’s people that can’t afford (or don’t want to pay the premium of) a CUV/SUV. Don’t get to self-congratulatory over there lol.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I will reserve my judgement on Ford for the next few years till I see what happens. Vulpine could be correct in that Ford is not telling us everything because it has plans for an electric fleet of cars.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      The Focus going forward globally will have R&D amoratized over a smaller volume. Thereby reducing profit on the ones they do sell in Europe and China.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Not likely, Ford sold 1 127 000 Focuses globally. The US sold only 158 385 and Canada 11 000.

        So, looking at the numbers I don’t think the US is really a consideration in the scheme of things. The Focus is not designed for the US market. The US version is “Americanised” which means reduced in quality to sell cheap. This might have been it’s downfall.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        https://www.statista.com/statistics/202769/worldwide-production-forecast-of-the-ford-focus/

  • avatar
    mike978

    The Focus going forward globally will have R&D amoratized over a smaller volume. Thereby reducing profit on the ones they do sell in Europe and China.

  • avatar
    denster2u

    What I can’t believe, first and foremost, is that Bill Ford and Family signed off on this massive overcorrection in the product portfolio. Bill mortgaged the Blue Oval for Alan Mulally, but Alan’s vision of “One Ford” was just the opposite, diversifying and expanding product choices, and leveraging global R&D, with shared platforms in multiple markets. Since Ford builds and sells Fiesta, Focus, and Fusion (Mondeo) around the globe, how can they NOT make money, even at lower volumes? Of course they CAN make money, just not ENOUGH. Hackett is now repackaging Ford into a bad sub-prime mortgage, convincing Wall Street and it’s share holders that their value and return on investment will only go up from here. Come the next downturn in the economy, and/or spike in fuel prices, Ford will be lucky to survive. The Ford deathwatch begins now…

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      denster2u,
      I don’t think “One Ford” was an issue, but the vehicles Ford offered were overall.

      Ford and GM are regional in the way in which they operate globally, where their competitors operate globally.

      The outcome is very European small Fords, which are not the best for the US or even Australia. The Mondeo is the same.

      I do beleive Ford, GMs and FCA do make good engines, but this day and age it ain’t hard to produce an engine.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    Even low trim line 2018 Fusions have $3,500 incentives in our area right now. With other discounting, advertising costs, rental fleet sales, etc. I find it easy to believe Ford is loosing money on these and “making it up in volume”.

    I don’t think Ford has made a profit on US sedan sales for at least a decade now.

    “Doctor, it only hurts when I play skip rope.”
    “Patient, stop playing then. That’ll be $90.”

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    Ford was right in 2006. They hocked everything, and then looked smart in the crash. They were the only American survivor, right?

    Maybe they see something now…probably one of the items mentioned above, that do not involve quality issues of any sort. Big picture stuff. They are not too worried about quality. Yes, they see something now. Major change in market. Chasing vanishing profit on declining market share, toxic if a loser in that market.

    Just read Rouge coffee table book. Will look next to find why it failed as an organized coordinated vertically integrated zone.

    As a potential Ford customer, I want a AA but not ready to buy just now. haha, and maybe 2 years away, for real. Some unrusted runner in some rural area. Keep the carburetor original but not the brakes.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m NOT a potential Ford customer but I agree that Ford is doing the right thing here, and should have done it in 2009 when GM and Chrysler died.

      Imagine how far ahead Ford would be today, even though Fiatsler has made a terrific comeback since 2009, while GM just staggers along like the zombie that it is.

  • avatar
    CapVandal

    Ford has been bragging/complaining about how profitable the F-150 is, At some point…put up or shut up. Trouble is, all that overhead has got to be allocated. Allocate it all to the F-150.

    • 0 avatar
      CapVandal

      Plus the stock has been dead money for years.

      • 0 avatar
        CapVandal

        FWIW, profit per vehicle is an estimate. At some point in the future, the estimates can get better. But without future volumes (which are inherently estimates), profitability is a guess, since no one knows the per vehicle fixed costs.

        In addition SG&A is our $10 billion — more than profit. Some of that is an allocation.

        Maybe all this means is the F’s have less volitility– sense risk. Dealers, advertising etc are in part paid for by the ill fated sedans. How much of this cost actually disappears is a guess. I’m sure the cost accounting is as good as possible, but it is an estimate until a model is discontinued.

        Gross, adjusted profits maybe less, but net all in is hard.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      CaapVandal,
      The F-150 isn’t as profitable as Ford makes out. It cost them a ga’zillion dollars to design, develop and produce the F-150. Remember all the plants needed to be changed, new techniques developed, etc.

      Now Ford complains about commodity prices affecting their profits and Ford is the only auto manufacturer complaining. Was moving to aluminium a wise choice by Ford?

      The B&B rant and rave about the advantages of aluminium, but high tensile steel offers nearly the weight savings and is much more competitive to use.

      Door, hoods, trunks, etc is where Ford should of started.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        @BAFO – You’ll be relieved to know the aluminum F-150 is still the most profitable car in the world. Commodities and expense of changing its metal body is overstated and really dwarfed by the avalanche of profits, likely prepaid by the previous generation’s obscene income.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          carbuzz.com/news/most-profitable-cars-of-all-time-the-ford-f-150

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            $13,000 per truck is low for this day and age. They’re making the huge profits through economy of scale, not through profits per vehicle. How about showing us what the profit per truck is for GMC, Chevy or even Ram?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            GM and Ram trucks aren’t fair behind, as the #2 and #3 world’s most profitable, figure around $10K per.

            $10K plus is still a lot and likely 2X more than 20 years ago, when the top producers were the same group, followed by German cars.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’re guessing, DM. Show us the numbers.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Henry Ford II liked to say: “Small cars equal small profits.” The modern interpretation of that would be “Cars equal small profits.”

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s all anyone cando is guess. Automakers don’t publicly announce their net earnings model to model. It would be hella embarrassing for some makes on too many cars, especially “Big 3” autos and a certain Tundra we won’t mention.

            The Titan we can tell is a loser just by looking at it, but industry experts can “guess” with extreme precision and GM and Ram should be right behind Ford.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Bull. You yourself linked a website that clearly stated the profits on a Ford F-150 in January of 2017 so you could make your point. If you could do that, then you can find out what the rest of them get. Now, PROVE that the Ford gets the most profit or retract your statement.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The article never mentions an official number.

            “…the figures stated here aren’t exact…”

            That’s per the link within the article (highlighted in red). That number is based on a statement by Ford CFO Bob Shanks claiming 1 Billion in losses in 2014 when F-150 production (divided by 75K units lost) was stopped by retooling for the aluminum F-150.

            Again, automakers never release actual figures, but insiders do investigate and read between the lines, for totals that are very accurate and as close as anyone can get.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/11/top-12-most-profitable-vehicles.html/12

            This is an older article but the top 12 cars hasn’t changed in the last 20+ years.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Seven year old article; I can’t accept that data as valid today, despite the apparent point that the F-150 has been the top-most profitable. I’m willing to bet the top twelve HAVE changed, multiple times, over the last 20+ years. Of course, I can’t prove you wrong but you can’t necessarily prove yourself right.

            On a per-vehicle basis, I’d almost bet that any vehicle that doesn’t put any money on the hood to inspire sales probably makes more profit per vehicle than the F-150.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            The TOP 12 don’t change. Like I said it’s all based on estimates anyway, more often true than not.

            Show where they’re not, since you’re the one challenging…

            Yes if we had the actual data from automakers, yeah they might trade spots, here or there, back and forth, but the top 12 would still be in the top 12 regardless, with occasionally #13 dipping in.

            But what’s the dif? Is this a criminal case, Counselor? Why so anal?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “But what’s the dif? Is this a criminal case, Counselor? Why so anal?”

            Why? Because misinformation is why we’re in such a sorry shape in this country today. Americans on average are living a lie, and most of them don’t know it.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Again not “concrete evidence” but from a site you might find familiar, the previous 20 years to the article/study, they remained constant, not switching places.

            Sheeple are purdy consistent.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/the-12-most-profitable-vehicles-since-1990/

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Re: the truth about cars . com /2011 /11 /the-12-most-profitable-vehicles-since-1990/…

            Just because collectively it was the most profitable over the course of 20 years doesn’t necessarily mean it was the most profitable EVERY year during that time.

            I will grant that the Ford was the top selling truck over that time but if other trucks sold with a higher profit margin but didn’t sell as many, that doesn’t mean that the F-150, in and of itself, is the most profitable truck on a per-unit basis. Keep in mind that over those decades, Ford trucks were among the most fleet-centric trucks too. Ford has never had the reputation of the longest-lasting trucks, though–that honor bouncing between Chevy and Ram over the years.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Speaking of “misinformation” no one can prove F-series isn’t the “Longest Lasting Truck”. That info based on current registrations, except that assumes an equal amount/percentage (of used trucks, per brand) are exported to Mexico and beyond.

            Never mind grey-market Raptors found all over the world.

            We lose at least a million used trucks to Mexico every year, through legal/illegal exports. Think about it, pickups are around 1-in-8 new vehicles sold, but around 1-in-20 on the road.

            And remember which is traditionally the most stolen truck. The F-series has been the #1 stolen vehicle of all cars. They’re stripped (2016 bodies/interiors/engines bolt right on to ’99s and up) or simply driven into Mexico, no checks.

            Mexico loves and devours our used pickup (and also needs parts), especially luxo trim, lifted Super Dutys, which are not big sellers in Mexico “new”.

            I know 2 of my sold Super Dutys went straight to Mexico, and my old Ram is still around.

            GM trucks are not big sellers in Mexico (new), Ram always outsells them combined.

            The “Longest Lasting” thing is good for an ad campaign slogan, but far from factual.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You demand the “Beyond The Shadow of a Doubt” thing here, so I can’t help you. I doubt anyone can, maybe a team of doctors.

            If this was a Civil Case, this would be a “Slam Dunk” for me.

            But in the end the F-series slam dunks for the top spot of profitability, Of the 108 Billion since 1990 for the Ford/GM/Ram, Ford made about 50 Billion.

            It’s “safe” to say the F-series is about untouchable for the last 28 years.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            autonews.com/article/20111123/BLOG15/311239991/1193

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The issue I see with Frod’s plan is it’s ability over time to remain competitive in the SUV/CUV segments. Most SUVs sold are car based.

    Well, Ford better hope the chicken tax and other forms of protection remain bolstering the “artifical” pickup segment.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I really don’t see how this is an epic failure on the part of Ford when one views it in the context of gas prices.

    I worked for GMAC for 5 years + and had 4 different company cars. I get that they are GM and not Ford, but I kinda feel like the premise is the same.

    I put 78k on an 08′ Impala with the middle V6, 3.0 I believe. Fine car, got 30 mpg with snow tires was fine in the snow and what not. Next up was an equinox with a 4 mil and AWD. Was a decent enough CUV, it averaged 27 mpg. The next Equinox same figures.

    I really don’t think 30 to 27 mpg is going to be the death knell of the consumer when and if gas prices reach back to the $4 per gallon figure.

    My eyes tell me the public does not buy ‘cars’ anymore. Yesterday when I walked out of the gym, the parking lot was littered with CUV’s, the ubiquitous CC pickup, and only a handful of cars. This makes sense for Ford to move on.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      No doubt. European pay 2 or 3 times more for fuel, but do most hammer themselves and their families into subcompacts?

      Heck no.

      Ford is just ahead of the game. Trunks are really overrated anyway and all autos should “hatch” in the back, opening fastbacks at a minimum.

  • avatar
    thenerdishere

    Any news on the C-Max hybrid? That’s one that I could put in my driveway.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      Better hurry to your local Ford dealer then. It’s being taken behind the barn, if production hasn’t stopped already.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The last C-Max has already left the building. The Energi was discontinued after the 2017 model year and the last order date for a standard C-Max was several months ago. So if you want one get it now if you can actually find one.

  • avatar
    Grenade

    How can Lincoln still have cars but Ford not? Do they not realize the Lincoln cars will require engineering also? The savings will be minuscule if they are still engineering Lincoln cars but not sharing them with Ford. It will be saving less than GM did killing Pontiac. Yawn.

    • 0 avatar
      delerium75

      I’d guess they’d be Mustang based, probably with AWD available and probably slotted in the lower and middle segments of the luxury market. The days of expensive American sedans seem to be numbered, replaying the death spiral of Eldorados and Mark coupes. I think the folks looking to spend 70-80K+ on a domestic are far more likely to buy an SUV/crossover than a Connie or CT6. There just seems to be a psychological limit of what folks want to spend on an American sedan and I think that tops out around 60K-ish. Above that number, Germans and SUVs/crossovers seem to dominate.

  • avatar
    smapdi

    Here is what I don’t understand. If Ford drops cars because SUVs have higher profit margins, but they cost more to the consumer, then what stops the car shopper from moving to a competing brand and Ford not gaining anything? Why do they assume if the Fusion or Focus aren’t available, I will spend $5k additional on an Escape or Edge? Why wouldn’t I just move to Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Nissan…. All they are doing is positioning themselves to surrender a market just like when Toyota took over the midsize pickup segment when all but Nissan abandoned it. If someone had the extra $5k for the SUV, and wanted the SUV, they would have bought it….

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    @smapdi – It used to be you took the good with the bad. But then again, why? No Ford has to be taking a loss on sedans and there’s really not a good reason not to send sedan customers packing.

    As much as that sounds like Ford is shooing themselves in the foot, many Ford customers will still buy a Mustang, CUV, Ranger, Bronco, or even an F-150 instead.

    But what’s so wrong with Ford dealers kindly referring (stubborn) sedan customers to the Honda dealer next door for example? “…hey ask for Melissa, tell her Chuck sent ya…” Maybe that Honda dealer will reciprocate and refer truck buyers to you.

    Who knows?

    Except I see this happening all around. Companies specializing within their market. Hair salons only doing men/boy’s hair cuts (not barber shops), Repair shops only working on “Big 3” diesel pickups, others just doing Power Strokes, and I know of one shop now only working on 6.0 and 6.7 Power Strokes from now on, sending the rest packing.

    Why the obsession with taking every possible sale away from your competition, at any and all costs?

    Doesn’t it make you wonder how profitable Ford would be if they focused on just the “gravy”?


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