Oh No! Maybe There's Some Loyalty to Sedans After All

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
oh no maybe theres some loyalty to sedans after all

After Ford’s decision to cull all passenger cars except the Mustang, Blue Oval brass felt confident that existing and upcoming Ford trucks, SUVs, and crossovers (or crossover-like vehicles) would be more than enough to keep current car owners in the family.

That’s probably wishful thinking. A new survey of Ford sedan owners shows that the allure of other brands — those that still sell sedans — is enough to lure plenty of them away from the Ford flock.

The Cox Automotive survey, first reported on by Automotive News, reveals a fractured community of sedan owners. Half of the Ford sedan owners surveyed said they’d switch brands and purchase a new or used vehicle from a rival automaker when it comes time to ditch their car.

Though Ford owners weren’t a large wedge of the survey’s respondents, their answers show that Dearborn can’t count on light trucks to keep the family in one piece. Higher margins and new-to-the-brand buyers are good, but CEO Jim Hackett specifically said his company wouldn’t abandon car owners. Instead, Ford plans to reinvent the car.

“We don’t want anyone to think we’re leaving anything,” Hackett said in May.

Of the Ford sedan owners in Cox’s survey, only 10 percent said they’d swap their car for a Ford SUV or crossover at trade-in time. Five percent said they’d purchase a Mustang, while only 3 percent said they’d get behind the wheel of a truck. The majority of sedan owners surveyed said they opposed Ford’s decision to ditch all but one of its passenger cars.

Give this finding whatever weight you feel it deserves, as Ford wasn’t exactly facing skyrocketing sedan sales when it sent in the executioner. Quite the opposite. Still, no automaker wants to see customers jumping ship.

However, exactly what vehicles will replace these entry-level and low-end products still isn’t clear. Without something new and semi car-like to show off, what are existing owners supposed to look at and pine for? Right now, Ford’s main focus lies in launching the upcoming Bronco SUV, unnamed “Baby Bronco” crossover, and Ranger pickup. Rumors exist of a five-door, high-roof vehicle bearing the Fusion name — likely a slightly lifted, crossoverized vehicle in line with the future Focus Active.

According to Ford, seven of the nine new nameplates it expects to add over the next five years are light trucks, and the remaining two might be electric in nature. That doesn’t leave the automaker with a lot of product to woo, say, a Fiesta or Fusion owner with.

[Image: Ford]

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  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Aug 27, 2018

    What I hate most when team is fully dedicated to the new product, spends days and nights to overcome challenges and meet deadlines and suddenly higher management comes and orders to stop development, "drop everything you are doing", mothball the project (normally forever) and start working on the new project. Until the same thing happens with the new project.

  • Akear Akear on Aug 27, 2018

    The heat was too hot in the kitchen for Ford. Seat, PSA, Mitsubishi, and Skoda were just too much for Ford to handle. Ford - what a disgrace!

  • Jeff S I haven't seen one of these since the 90s. Good find.
  • William Piper Ditch the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance for starters….Mitzu has probably benefited less than the other two partners and it has shackled any brand creativity moving forward.
  • Tassos I knew a woman in the area, a journalist (at least she claimed to be a reporter of some kind) who owned one of these tiny pickups with a manual transmission. SHe was only 40 at the time, but she must have been hard of hearing, because she would routinely forget to shift and we would go at fairly high speeds in very low gear, which made a huge racket, which did not seem to bother her (hence my deafness hypothesis). Either that, or she was a lousy driver. Oh well, another very forgettable, silly car from the 80s (and if my first and LAST VW, a 1975 Dasher wagon, was any indication, a very unreliable one too!)
  • Tassos Now as for the Z specifically, Car and Driver had a comparison test of the new Z400, a car that looks good on paper, with plenty of HP etc, but, despite the fact that the cars that win in those tests are usually brand new models that are more up to date than their aging rivals, the Z finished DEAD LAST in the test, to my ovbious surprise.
  • Arthur Dailey Sorry but compare that spartan interior to the Marks that Corey is writing about. 'A cigarette lighter'. Every Mark had 4 cigarette lighters and ashtrays. And these came standard with 'a 3.4-liter, 182-horsepower straight-six in the engine compartment and a five-speed manual transmission'. Those do not tick off many of the luxury boxes aspired to by 'the greatest generation'.Not sure about the 7 series but one of My Old Man's associates showed up once with a brand new 5 series circa 1977 and they gave him such a bad time that he traded it for a Fleetwood within a week.