By on August 31, 2018

U.S. Ford Focus production ended in May, but the automaker planned to import the next-generation Focus Active, a slightly lifted, mildly cladded five-door, in order to have something to sell to entry-level buyers. With the subcompact Fiesta ceasing production early next spring and the Fusion following it a couple of years later, that left very little low-end product for new or returning customers.

Well, scratch a crossoverized Focus off your shopping list. The automaker now says the Focus Active will not arrive on these shores in the latter part of 2019, or any date after that.

After learning this, how many of you are now pricing a three-cylinder, FWD EcoSport? Anyone? Hello?

Ford made the admission during a Friday media conference call. At the heart of the matter is something that was already on the radar when the Blue Oval decided to cull all but one of its passenger car models: tariffs, specifically those placed on Chinese-built vehicles.

According to Automotive News, Ford’s North American president, Kumar Galhotra, doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

“The impact to our future sales is expected to be marginal,” Galhotra said. “Our viewpoint is that, given the tariffs, our costs would be substantially higher. Our resources could be better deployed at this stage.”

Galhotra said the company didn’t expect to sell more than 50,000 Focus Actives annually. To put that figure into perspective, Ford unloaded nearly 30,000 Fiestas in the U.S. through the end of July. Focus volume, so far this year, totals over 84,000. Still, the Active would have been an affordable product Ford could have dangled in front of buyers not interested in warmed-over Indian models with questionable styling and quality. Investors and analysts may have been heartened to see it arrive, too

Recall that CEO Jim Hackett said no customer would be left behind after the car cull. What do existing Fiesta or Focus buyers buy next?

Regardless, money talks, and it seems the 25 percent import tariff imposed on Chinese products this year would have erased much of the model’s profitability. Even if tariffs disappear around the globe, Galhotra claims Ford has no plans to pull a U-turn and bring the Active here.

As for Canadians, they weren’t getting the Active anyway, so expect to hear a bit of chuckling from north of the border today.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

78 Comments on “Ford Snatches Away the Focus Active, Leaving Future Low-end Buyers With the EcoSport and What Else?...”


  • avatar

    Ford has decided that US buyers who favor the features and vehicle types most Europeans desire are no longer worth trying to lure to the Ford brand. Time will tell whether that was a good decision, or a lunatic one.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      Most of the people intrested on European type cars also like paying European type prices. Allowing Mercedes to Charge $40K for its Model C Civic knockoff, while VW is struggling to sell Jettas.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky D

        Only thing is that VW has “Americanized” many of the models they sell here, eliminating much of the German driving dynamics in the process. That may be part of the reason.

  • avatar
    deanst

    So the most fuel efficient vehicle Ford will offer (outside of the useless ecoturd) will be a 26 mpg Escape. These fuel economy rules sure are working out great.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well the Hybrid version of the Escape is due soon and it should be able to at least match the 30mpg combined that the old Escape Hybrid used to do and that 30mpg city is better than many small cars do even if it won’t beat those small cars in hwy mpg.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not an expert on the matter so it’s based on hearsay, but I think with the current standards the F150 ranks more efficient than the Fiesta because of the footprint rule that accounts for the size of a vehicle. Regulations rarely do only their intended consequence, especially after the special interest groups get their tweaking in.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Pretty soon Ford will have nothing left except the F-150, perhaps that’s their goal… Dumb

    I know there’s a bunch of stuff coming, but Ford is so damn slow bringing new product to market that many people just don’t care by the time it gets here

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Honestly, this felt like a crummy idea in the making anyway.

  • avatar
    mjg82

    The next EcoSport needs to hit it out of the park. The 2020 renderings floating around aren’t promising.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    So by not having either small cars that is conservatively 100k vehicle sales yearly they will be forgoing with not equivalent models to be offered in the future? Were they really losing that much money on cars that it makes sense to walk away from that many sales completely?

    Honestly, if I was a shareholder I would really want to know…

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      If you were a shareholder you should have dumped them months ago

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Dropping the cars was designed to make the share holders happy by improving the operating margin. It was not a question of whether they made money but if they made enough money. $500 per car times 100k units would mean $50m in profit which is a good thing. However if that car sells for an average of $15000 that would mean the operating margin is only 3.3% when Wall St wants an overall operating margin of 10%. So by cutting profits they are improving their operating margin which was supposed to make Wall St happy because they believe there is such a thing as bad profits.

      • 0 avatar

        The effect was just the opposite. Ford’s stock is in single digits and is on the verge of junk status. Ford cancellation of their carline maybe the worse move the company has ever made.

        Ford – what a disgrace!

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Unfortunately you are correct in that Wall St didn’t respond as Ford had predicted.

          Personally I do think completely exiting the non-sporty car market is a mistake. That said the Fiesta and C-Max probably shouldn’t have ever came to the US in the first place and need/needed to go.

        • 0 avatar

          A major strategic blunder by the great braintrust of HACK-it and Fartley.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Remember, you’re only looking at the Focus and Fiesta. There’s still the Fusion and Taurus to get rid of as well…

  • avatar
    Ryan

    I was under the impression that the Focus Active was Ford’s answer to the Subaru CrossTrek. If I understood that correctly, I believe not bring the Focus Active to North America is a mistake. A Market exists for lifted Wagon’s that have soft roading credibility. Just ask Subaru, they have a successful portfolio of them. I’ve been supportive of the Blue Oval’s transformation but this is disappointing.

  • avatar
    Keith Tomas

    Ford is stupid. Really. The Crosstrek is owning this market and they blew an opportunity, truly.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Fact is the 25% tariff would have erased any potential profits and there isn’t room to make it in the US would also would cut the profit margin.

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      I honestly never understood the appeal of the Crosstrek. It’s literally an Impreza hatchback with a lift kit and plastic cladding added to make it look more rugged. Everything else is exactly the same. If you want a car, buy the Impreza. If you want a crossover, don’t half-ass it by getting a lifted car, just get the damn Forester (XT, preferably). It’s strange to me that people are buying the Crosstrek and paying a premium for it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I think you can say the same for just about any mini CUV. But they’re selling. Go figure.

      • 0 avatar
        Johnster

        It’s mostly for people who like the rugged looks of the vehicle, and it is very much a niche vehicle. It does appeal to people who like the raised ground clearance compared to an Impreza, and who would have otherwise bought a small crossover. It really didn’t have any competition and I’m not sure that U.S. market would have been big enough to accommodate a rival.

      • 0 avatar

        The “high” sedans are nice for aging folks too. Easier to get in and out of than a traditional sedan by a noticeable amount. Still the same feel and size as what many of them are familiar with.

      • 0 avatar
        HahnZahn

        I have a 2017 Impreza, but really wish I’d have held out for the 2018 Crosstrek. My wife and I do a fair bit of hiking and camping, and I really miss those couple inches of clearance on trailheads. But where I miss them most is actually on surface streets in my neighborhood in San Diego – we have a lot of drainage dips at intersections that require slowing way down, or else passenger cars will scrape. Granted, most people with Crosstreks don’t do much with them, but they aren’t too much more expensive than Imprezas, and the Impreza’s gas mileage is pretty middling, so not much lost there, either.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      This would have only been a half-assed Crosstrek rival, since older folks wouldn’t give it a look due to it not being AWD, and younger folks would turn up their noses because it isn’t a Subaru.

      What people seem to forget is that the Crosstrek has more ground clearance than anything else in its class (other than the Renegade Trailhawk). It actually is capable of “light off roading”.

      Also agree that the Crosstrek is a class of one, and I don’t think the market could accommodate a competitor unless VW actually made the Beetle Dune a serious AWD multi-inch lifted 4 door. Or a new Golf Country. Since VW and Volvo (and Saab) are the only brands Subaru buyers cross shop.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I’m surprised it took this long for Ford to announce this. The entire reason for dropping the Focus was the threatened tariffs on cars imported from Mexico which is why they stopped plans to build it in Mexico and only build it in China. So when the Tariff on Chinese vehicles popped up I expected them to announce the cancellation within days.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    Kia, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai et al just sent Ford more flowers.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      -KIA is now a luxury brand that competes with BMW not Ford
      -Toyota sells well in every country and on every planet. It can’t be bothered with the small insignificant U.S. market.
      -Honda sold so many Civics they ran out
      -Nissan & Hyundai both anounced they will be cutting back on fleet sales. They would not be intrested on Fords business.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        Kia is hardly a luxury brand, but a mainstream brand… like Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis

          No, look at the lineups!
          KIA is basically a poor mans BMW. Selling mostly small and midsized cars and Crossovers. That most people will trade in after 3 years. Buyers want something that looks good in a selfie.

          Ford is basically a heavy duty version of Subaru. Selling big Work trucks, Vans and SUVs that people tend to keep for a long time.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Having the EcoSport (which is underwhelming to say the least) as their only “entry-level” model is just asinine.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This confirms one thing: Ford thinks its’ entry level buyers are absolute idiots.

      • 0 avatar
        mzr

        That was already apparent, just look at the Fiesta. I have a 2014 and it is every bit a penalty box.

        • 0 avatar
          scott25

          Compare the Fiesta to its competition, especially when it arrived on the market here, and aside from the transmission and long-term reliability it’s competitive or near the top of the class in most respects.

          The Ecosport was an overpriced turd from day one.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          My ST would like a word with you. How they engineered a FWD shifter that is better than any of the Miatas I owned blows my mind and it is the most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel to include a Viper, 458 Italia, B13 SE-R, twin turbo RX-7, and an E30 3 series that had about 6000 miles on it.

          My only beef is that we don’t get the new one so I can’t flog this one like a rental for 2 years and lease another one since I’ll have to keep it.

          I had hoped that the whole tariff bit would sort out so that Ford could import cars like the ST variants and sell them in limited numbers without having to keep a NAFTA zone plant running, but doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

          I own an F150 as well (2015 XLT) and I love it. It is my modern Brougham. I roll around in quiet comfort and shut the world out. It’s a magnificent vehicle…60k now and zero issues and I’m certain it would whip the Fiesta in a drag race (until the road got twisty anyway), but some days I don’t want to drive a truck.

          But anyway, any automatic econobox sucks. Always has, always will. The 3 cylinder Fiesta is better than the powershift. I’d have gotten one of those if the shifter was as good as the STs and beefed up the suspension.

          I don’t really want a Mustang though and I am the one guy that is not really a GTI fan so I’m not sure where I’ll go from here. I liked the WRX but I’d spend a fortune making it look like I’m not 22.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            Fellow FiST owner here and I agree that it is far from a penalty box.

            I also am not a fan of the new GTI. Test drove one before I bought the FiST and I was underwhelmed. It’s just too refined and the steering was numb. It would be good for an only car as it can do everything pretty well. It’s just not nearly as raw and fun as the FiST.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        They all but shouted that keeping the first generation Focus in the US with one hideous re-style while the world got two extra generations before letting us back in on the fourth.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    Ford is shrinking their way to profitability just like Studebaker did in the mid-60s when they shut down South Bend, quit making most of their products (including trucks, which is the opposite of what Ford is doing) and moved everything to Hamilton, Ontario. Didn’t play out very well…

    • 0 avatar

      Ford and Studebaker are entirely different corporate structures, but there are a few deeper similarities. Studebakers big problem was always trying to keep the shareholder happy. Dividends paid out even during years of heavy loss in the depression. Ford hasn’t gotten to that level of crazy, but not everything that is good for stock is good for the company… it’s the danger of stock companies. At least Ford has the private family shares that can intervene… if they have a good plan.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    V
    I
    C
    T
    O
    R
    Y

    One less car imported from China.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Sort of throwback to the days of the Model T and Henry Ford. “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black”. Today we have “you can have any body style you want, as long as it’s massive, has flatbed and gives us an absurd profit margin”.

  • avatar
    dwford

    What the desk salesman fails to understand about the car business is that customers value consistency in an automaker. RIP Sergio couldn’t understand why the Dart and 200 didn’t sell: it’s because customers didn’t trust the company to stand behind the cars by continuing to produce them. And they were right! Customers continue to buy Honda and Toyota because they KNOW that 5 years from now, there will be a new version of their car being sold, and that their trade in won’t be a worthless orphan. The Detroit automakers seem to know this for trucks, but can’t seem to transfer that lesson to the car side. So every few years nameplate are tossed aside in favor of something new.

    It is shocking what a bad turn Ford has taken recently. Everyone complained that Mark Fields was no Alan Mulally, but at least Fields had a game plan for the next generation of all of Ford’s products, and the funding for them. Now, everything is in limbo, and the best management can come up with is “we have great stuff coming.” Uh, no you don’t. There’s no prototypes running around other than the Explorer, the Escape/Corsair, and possibly an EV. Nothing else is on the road. You got nothing. Meanwhile, all the cars Ford already spent the money to develop for the US market have been cancelled for the US.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Worse comes to worse Ford could make office furniture since they can’t hackett it making cars. I can see it now an Aspire collection for those businesses starting out, a Fairlane collection is the mid price line, and the Zephyr is the executive collection. The Fusion collection combines modern with classic and the Escape is a collection for those who want non traditional.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    I was raised Catholic but not much of a religious man anymore. But every night, I pray to God that our government will not bail out Ford when it comes asking for that in 4-5 years after the next economic downturn.

    I know I haven’t been a great Christian but I really hope God takes mercy on my soul and hears this poor wretched man”s cries. And so it was said. Amen.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I pray as well no more bailouts. Better to sell to the Chinese or Indians than to go thru another Government bailout–this includes all manufacturers not just autos. Hopefully Hackett is successful with Ford. I understand discontinuing products that are unprofitable but this might be short sighted.

  • avatar

    With the possible exception of the Fiat 500 is the EcoSport the worse vehicle for sale in North America? With a 0-60mph time of around 11 seconds the EcoSport is certainly one the slowest vehicles around. I would like to see a drag race between a Mirage and EcoSport.

    Ford – what a disgrace.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Offering this thing always seemed like a hedge, as though Ford didn’t want to 100% commit to the whole “only SUVs, trucks and Mustang” message. I’m not totally surprised it’s not coming after all, but I am surprised they reversed course on it so quickly. Doesn’t really inspire much confidence that any of the other vague “car replacement” products Ford teased will come to fruition.

    This company is such a hot mess. That clown Hackett’s sole reason for existence was to boost the stock price, and this car-killing scheme has totally failed to do that. If anything, it appears to be doing the exact opposite as the stock slowly keeps sinking. Probably because investors can see that any potential profit margin savings are already being wasted on Bill Ford’s stupid train station and mobility vaporware.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The best answer here is for Ford to take the mustang platform and build a midsize RWD car. Give it a frugal V6 and make an available V8. They would have a car that fit everyone’s needs in one and make this whole plan reasonable. An Accord sized RWD car, it fills the need for basic transportation all the way up to enthusiast car if optioned out.

    This is the best option that works for everyone, it would sell great in America, would fill the massive hole in Australia’s market and Europe would just continue being a headache.

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      For once I completely agree with you, except ditch the V6 and make it an EV, 4 cyl Hybrid, or V8. AWD available.

      RWD and fun to drive yet practical is the only way to be the anti-crossover and have a unique product to sell.

    • 0 avatar
      CarShark

      I think it’s a decent idea. The 80s Fox Mustang shared a platform with a bunch of different cars, but once the family cars moved to FWD and the T-Bird/Cougar to their own platform, the Mustang was left by itself. You’d think with platform sharing being the order of the day, there would be some other looks-first car they could put on there.

    • 0 avatar
      forward_look

      Well, it would sell to American cops, maybe. And some of the over-70 crowd (but not me).

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      If they built such a car, I’d own it.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Put a Fairlane or Galaxie badge on it or a Lincoln star and a Continental badge and I won’t go straight to the “special offers” section of the website.

        It’s not crazy. The Fox was Ford’s K car.

  • avatar
    scott25

    I feel like this is just Ford admitting that current Fiesta and Focus customers are last-time Ford buyers, especially the Powershift owners. How does a Fiesta or low trim Focus owner moving into a small, slow, horrendously ugly vehicle of questionable quality like the Ecosport that oh by the way costs $10,000 MORE make any sense?

    • 0 avatar
      forward_look

      I’m a current Focus powersh!t owner, and I’ve driven a Fiesta on the Autobahns (in the slow lane) and quickly learned to watch my knees getting out. I tried a Fiesta automatic here (need it for the spouse) and… no thanks. Ecosport looks worse. I don’t think I can get the hatch .. um, tailgate, whatever.. open in the garage and get groceries out. The extra $1000 could be a slight problem too.

      Have you driven a Mazda lately? Maybe there’s a Mazda in my future. Maybe they will buy Ford at the fire sale.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Henry and Walter are spinning in their graves.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I won’t miss the automatic in the Focus and Fiesta. Focus is very cheaply finished and one can hardly see out of the windows. Also it is very uncomfortable. I haven’t driven the current Fusion but even without a Fusion there is plenty of good midsize cars to select from. I don’t believe Ford’s future depends on cars but they do need to add a competitive subcompact crossover.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    They should have sold the stripped down, non-hybrid C-Max here years ago. It’s a comfortable height for us olde timers and rides and drives great.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Agree about the C-Max. Great ride and comfortable.

  • avatar
    Fusion2010

    No customers left behind… right…

    Well as the owner of my 3rd Fusion and 2 bought brand new, I will not be buying an Ecosport thing, or an escape or any other of their SUV’s. I like my sedan especially with AWD and will NOT buy an Ford SUV just to stay in the Ford family.

    So count me as a left behind customer and a lost sale for them because of the lack of choice of any non SUV products.

  • avatar

    America can survive without another Ford POS.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • MrIcky: “more displacement, less turbos” – which competes against mileage, possibly driving up...
  • FreedMike: There’s ruching, and then there’s this: https://i.pinimg.com/origin...
  • Menar Fromarz: They are rapidly becoming the Ford of the mid 1920’s. Maybe they will just offer the F150 in...
  • Stanley Steamer: Boring is cheap. All those extra creases means more steel and higher tooling costs.
  • dal20402: Failsegment. If you’re going to sacrifice dynamics for packaging, which is the purpose of FWD, then...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States