By on December 3, 2018

2017 Ford Focus S sedan - Image: Ford

Ford’s decision to abandon sedans and non-utility hatchbacks is quickly coming to a head. While the choice rubbed many of us the wrong way, we attempted to view the situation through the lens of business and urged everyone not to panic if they wanted to purchase a Fusion or Focus sedan before they were all gone.

While we’re still not going to tell you not to panic, you might want to start making some moves if you’re still interested. Michael Martinez, Automotive News’ go-to guy for all things Ford, just claimed that the automaker only has about 12,000 Focus sedans left in its inventory. 

Citing Mark LaNeve, vice president of Ford’s U.S. marketing, sales and service, as his source, Martinez claimed prospective customers might want to “get em’ while [they] can.”

Meanwhile, Ford recently announced plans to tweak production at several of its domestic plants in a bid to lower costs and prioritize SUV assembly. Unlike GM, Ford says it should be able to manage that without having to eliminate any jobs. Basically, any shift Ford ends is supposed to result in staff getting work at a nearby facility. For example, Ford claims it should be able to increase production of its profitable Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs by 20 percent at Kentucky Truck after it reallocates staff from the Louisville Assembly Plant.

However, Ford’s long-term restructuring plan may still result in widespread layoffs. Things have been going rather poorly in Europe and most analysts agree that the automaker will likely cut jobs there before it even considers squashing its U.S. workforce. But the company is looking to save itself $11 billion, meaning it’s unlikely America will emerge unscathed.

Ford has already confessed its salaried workers should be ready to confront unspecified job losses by the middle of 2019. Still, the automaker aims to try and keep the brunt of that restructuring outside of North America. As for the scope, corporate spokesman Karen Hampton said “publishing a job-reduction figure at this point would be pure speculation.”

The automaker currently has 70,000 salaried employees and, while we’re also guessing, we’d expect that number to come down a bit by the end of next year. General Motors aims to shed up to 14,000 workers in North America and mothball five plants to focus on more profitable models and free up cash for electrification and mobility services. We cannot presume Ford will match those figures, even though the automaker’s proposed strategy mirrors GM’s strategy — emphasizing tech while culling less-profitable models.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley allege Ford’s restructuring will likely prove “more extensive” than GM’s. In a Monday note to investors, the team compared Ford’s planned expenses to General Motors’, while incorporating latter’s planned restructuring. “Extrapolated to Ford’s planned expenditure, this could imply 20 plants and up to [50,000] employees,” the team said. “Our estimate of Ford’s restructuring plan involves as many as [25,000] headcount reductions globally.”

The firm said layoffs likely won’t be limited to American automakers. “There are bigger forces at work driving global OEMs to rethink the fundamental idea of supporting increasingly obsolete segments, propulsion systems, and geographic regions,” Morgan Stanley said.

Assuredly. But weren’t we all being promised that new tech and electrification would open the door for a slew of new, high-paying jobs? When are those supposed to show up?

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

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45 Comments on “Ford Running Out of Focus Sedans; What About Jobs?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “Assuredly. But weren’t we all being promised that new tech and electrification would open the door for a slew of new, high-paying jobs? When are those supposed to show up?”

    Sarc or serious?

    • 0 avatar
      Johnster

      And don’t forget the flying cars.

      Maybe we’ll see some flying SUVs instead?

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @28, ask BO.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m a true genius, with an incredibly accurate predictive capability.

      From Cadillac to Guangzhou-Guadalajara Motors (GM), to Ford/Lincoln, Volvo and Acura, to many other predictions on trends on sales volume, design, marketing fail and product quality fail of manufacturers, and the (in)comptetence of CEOs, division presidents or high-ranking execs such as Hackett, Farley, Barra, Ammann, JdN, et al., I’ve nailed more predictions and with such precise details than any other person on earth (on the successful automaker meter, I also nailed Audi, Jeep/RAM, and Subaru), and it’s simply remarkable and incredibly notable.

      Of course, the dynamic duo of John1983Taurus1994FordTempo2003KiaAmantiWannaneUberDriverShadeTreeRomanticWaxjngOnHisLoveLifeonTTAConFriday&SaturdayNghts&often30PostsPerDay and Sporty4CylinderFWDAccordbutHasMkvedOnToEitherALincolnOrSomeInfinitiMonstronsity will soon be along to tell the B&B how my incredibly accurate predictions on such a wide range of matters, made over the course of 7 years now, were “so obvious to anyone!” (even though they took the opposite side of most of my predictions most of the time).

  • avatar
    ddr777

    When Toyota is cutting Camry production, you know Ford and GM made the right decision, I mean, what should auto makers do? keep waiting for some miracle?
    I’m in the last 3 month of an Accord lease, dealers are not willing to take my car unless I’m making these 3 payments, it’s very different from 3 years ago, my car residual value is over 15K, on new 2018 EX-L Accord, the residual value is only 13,700 after 36 month, this alone make the new lease very expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      Nonsense, Ford and GM should keep making exciting sedans and hatchbacks with expensive drivetrain improvements so the enthusiast can consider buying one at 50% discount at 3 years old, but ultimately pay sticker for Subaru Forester that they will tell their friends “it has basically the WRX engine you know”.

      yes, /s

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        ^ ^ ^ ^

        You win the Internet.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        “keep making exciting sedans and hatchbacks with expensive drivetrain improvements”

        I wish these manufacturers were making exciting hatchbacks with respectable drivetrain improvements. Instead we were given the Fusion and Focus, good riddance to boring cars with low spec euro engines. Maybe cars wouldn’t have lost so much market share if consumers had a reason to stay with cars. At this point the damage is done, crossovers are taking from cars.

    • 0 avatar
      tylanner

      You cannot compare Ford to Toyota…

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota still sells 350,000 camry’s a year, while GM can barely sell 150,000 Malibu’s a year. What must be distressing to Detroit is that the Japanese also built superior CUV’s, which also sell well.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Why is it, last 2-3 times DW has posted, his comment typing runs out of the side of the comment box? And the ‘Reply’ tab is missing? That is real odd.

      He is a weird BOT?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I think the reason is because he used a long word that exceeded the length allowed for the mobile site version. You can either copy paste his post into your phone notes to read everything or go find a computer.

        The same thing happens when you post a URL.

        In the past I’ve asked for the issue with not allowing mobile devices to use the full site be resolved, never have gotten a response so I gave up. Mobile sites simply suck compared to full sites, I immediately try to change to full site everytime I open a mobile site.

      • 0 avatar
        RedRocket

        It does that when he goes off his meds. Which seems more frequent lately.

    • 0 avatar

      The Camry is still America’s best selling family sedan. This year Toyota will sell around 350,000+ Camrys this year. I should also mention that the corolla is the best selling sedan on the planet.

      Camry – Best selling American sedan 20 years running.

      Corolla – worlds best selling nameplate.

      RAV4 – best selling CUV in America.

      Lexus – Outsells both Cadillac and Lincoln.

      In 2008 Toyota surpassed GM as the world’s top car brand. Last year GM dropped to 4th place just behind Nissan.

  • avatar

    Let Tesla takeover the remains of GM and Ford. These once great car manufacturers simply aren’t competitive in the modern world. Hopefully, one day Tesla will take up the slack. Lets these two dinosaurs go extinct. They just keep making the same mistakes over again.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @akear, you’ve got to be kidding. “let Tesla take over the remains of GM and Ford.”

      Yeah, let’s see how that goes down. You should occasionally read the 10-Q filings of Tesla. It will be funny to watch them open Q1 2019 exports to fill that 400k plus reservations while the global tax credits go away, and no meaningful expenditures for service centers. How many suppliers will be fine when they start shipping cars overseas?

      Even Sir Elon sent an email to all employees that they need to hit “1000 units per day,” which they haven’t, and time will tell. You keep dreaming, but they never hit their production numbers, and how many deposit holders expected to buy a $35k base model with the $7.5k tax credit, along with the reductions in tax credits overseas. More than most fanboys would like to believe.

      Yup, they’re killing it. Nobody else can make an EV.

      • 0 avatar

        GM has just cancelled the Volt because it could not compete with Tesla. The Bolt will surely follow the Volt into the automotive grave. BTW, the Bolt is GM’s slowest selling sedan. They only have sold 9500 this year. People just don’t like GM EV vehicles. In America people will not touch an EV unless it is a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @akear, forgot to mention if you’re so bullish on Tesla, why don’t you pick up some of the 2025 bonds, with a 5.3% coupon and trading at $0.85 cents on the dollar.

      Time to make a killing!

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      GM is doing what it is doing exactly b/c it wants to transform itself for the future of the auto industry (as well as cutting extra capacity before the inevitable downturn).

      Now, whether that transformation will pay dividends in the near future is another question; likely, ROI is years down the road.

  • avatar
    dwford

    They are operating on the assumption that autonomous cars plus ride sharing will eliminate individual car ownership and therefore eliminate sales. Yet aside from some surveys (which we all know are unreliable), there is no evidence that consumers are ready to abandon their personal cars en mass. Heck, Uber and Lyft are nowhere near profitable, despite all sorts of gimmicks like discounted fares and driver pay cuts. And autonomous cars are nowhere near ready – except maybe to operate in perpetually sunny locations like California.

    There’s also no evidence for mass adoption of EV cars, either. These automakers talk like by 2022 we will all be riding in autonomous electric car ride shares. It’s not happening.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    yeah, now Wyane assembly can concentrate on building the Ranger and future Bronco! everyone wants a truck and 4×4 don’t ya know!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Toyota car sales down another 17.7% last month. Honda cars sales down another 8.6% last month.

      Time to face facts – Americans don’t want to buy cars. Automakers are thrilled to sell CUVs built on car chassis and charge more money, meaning more profits for shareholders. Automakers aren’t charities, they are businesses and mass market businesses make the most profit by appealing to the lowest common denominator of their customer base and build from there.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Thank God….

    No more will focus owners will have to enter a class action lawsuit to get some reimbursement for a half working car….

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Bad choices in a shrinking market will not be rewarded. Powershift dual clutch semi-automatic transmission is a loser. It saddled Focus and Fiesta with a transmission of shame.
    In a market where Toyota can move a total of 700K plus of Corolla and Camry the home team Ford cannot even sustain scale with Fusion and Focus.

    • 0 avatar

      Fusion is much more exiting car than Camry especially in AWD form. The problem with Ford is that once car is out it never improves or updates it leading to slow slide into irrelevance. Fusion is still very good design but how long it can soldier unchanged? It is dead anyway so it does not matter and ICE looks like is also dead and companies will stop spending money on further development of ICE. May be in the end GM and Ford have made right decisions who knows.

      • 0 avatar

        Even when sales are down the Camry outsells the Fusion by more than a 2 to 1 margin. The Camry will eventually outsell Ford’s entire carline, which is not hard to do when the company’s only remaining car is the Mustang.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Camry sales are down 29.9% this month and 9% for the year. The RAV-4 is outselling the Camry by 80K units with a month to go.

      The Prius was off almost 27% this month and is looking at its worst year since 2004.

      The sedan is dead and the pain is everywhere – including Toyota, which also cut Camry production.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The Nov YoY Camry sales look so bad because they pulled out all the stops last year with big fleet dumps and dirt cheap leases to out sell the Civic and maintain that #1 selling car in the US crown. The car was also “all new” then.

        But the fact are the facts and we are transitioning back to a Utility being the best selling passenger vehicle like it was back in the 90’s.

      • 0 avatar

        The RAV-4 is also creaming the competition from both Ford and GM. There is reason Toyota is now the world’s largest car maker.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I wonder how much need there is for new vehicles in general. The quality of 5-year old cars is better than ever. People may not be replacing cars with other cars because there is nothing wrong with their old ones. My wife’s 2006 Acura TSX has 110k miles and looks and runsnalmost brand new.

  • avatar
    ajla

    We’ve come full circle and what a ride it has been.

    thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/01/ford-replacing-ranger-with-f-150-focus-fiesta/

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    I cant wait for the exact same article to be written, only with Ford replaced by GM so I can use it as an excuse to poop all over GM for following consumer trends. I mean, screw these car makers(soon to include Honda, Toyota, ETC) for giving up on low profit cars when they can sell us all overpriced CUVs, SUVS and trucks that we all gladly line up for and scream “TAKE MY MONEY!” How DARE they!

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    When I was car shopping ~6 months ago I saw some good deals on new base-ish Ford Focus STs. Anything with Recaros, etc was still priced higher than the maximum I budgeted myself.

    The Fiesta ST – even with higher miles – is still getting a premium price over the non-performance versions.

    I ended up with a V6 Mustang but still like the idea of a hot hatch. Maybe for my wife’s next car when her MINI finally goes to the great ghost of Lucas Electronics in the sky.

  • avatar
    DougD

    I already did this in 2017 when they dropped the manual transmission in the non-performance models. Bought myself a nice low mile michigan built Focus with a 5-speed. Now just have to make it last until 2028, who knows what will be available by then?

  • avatar
    larrystew

    “Things have been going rather poorly in Europe and most analysts agree that the automaker will likely cut jobs there before it even considers squashing its U.S. workforce.”

    OK, I just did a Google search about Ford of Europe’s sales. Highest sales in 9 years, increases of sales in May of like 5%, so what did I miss? What happened in the last 6-8 months? Seriously. Someone feed me some info.

  • avatar
    427Cobra

    I picked up my Focus ST about 2 months ago… sad it’s going away… such a hoot to drive! It’s making me re-think keeping the ‘vette (’04 Z06) as my “fun” car. But they’re right… people aren’t buying cars these days… I wouldn’t mind a Hyundai Tucson or Kona in my driveway… Had a Ford Edge a few years ago… nice… comfortable, quiet ride… but felt underpowered with the 3.5L V6. Had a Saturn Vue with the Honda 3.5L V6 before that… LOVED the Vue… best car I ever owned. 9 years of ownership… nothing other than basic maintenance in 90,000 miles. My Ram (’16 Ram 2500 crew cab short bed, 6.4L Hemi 4×4) has been reliable, but 3-4 recalls per year.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’d be curious to know recent the ATP of the Focus/Fusion in the fire sale.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Well the Fusion isn’t dead you can buy new 2019s while the Focus assembly stopped back in March. So all Foci are “last year’s model” while the Fusion will be a mix of 18’s and 19’s.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    They cannot run out of Focuses or Foci fast enough. Having driven a number of them with their horrible automatics, small windows, and seats made out of recycled soda bottles they cannot go away fast enough. Maybe the sportier versions are better but Ford wanted top dollar for those and for the most part they are crap boxes. Fusion is different, much better.

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