Strange Animal Prowling the Streets of Michigan Points to Future Ford Fusion

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
strange animal prowling the streets of michigan points to future ford fusion

When Ford lined its domestic passenger car offerings against a brick wall, gangster-style, and unleashed its 50-round drum, one nameplate was singled out for potential preservation: Fusion. Actually, another name was supposed to live on in the form of the overseas Focus Active, but the Blue Oval kiboshed that model’s boat trip.

Acrimony over the Focus, Fiesta, and Taurus’ North American death ran high, perhaps more so than that of the doomed Fusion sedan, but the latter model’s name seemed to hold a special purpose. Recall back in the summer of 2018, when sources told Bloomberg that Ford intended to develop some sort of Subaru Outback fighter under the Fusion name. Spokesman Mike Levine backed up, to some degree, the name-preservation side of the story.

Real, physical proof of that program may now exist.

How else to explain recent spy photos of a stretched, high-riding Focus Euro-wagon mule on the streets of Michigan?

Sporting bizarre hindquarters , plenty of black tape, and a modest boost in ride height, the modified Focus is clearly hiding something beneath its conspicuous clothing. A stretched Focus platform? A tweaked version of the existing Fusion platform? Ford won’t say.

What is clear is that not every Ford passenger car owner plans to gravitate to a crossover or SUV at trade-in time. CEO Jim Hackett did say, not long after the passenger car massacre, “We don’t want anyone to think we’re leaving anything.”

“We want to give them what they’re telling us they really want,” Hackett said during that May 2018 shareholders meeting. “We’re simply reinventing the American car.”

The test mule spotted in Dearborn is the best evidence yet that the closest thing to a new car Ford has up its sleeve is a high-riding wagon/crossover-type vehicle, potentially carrying the Fusion name. Hell, given what Ford chose to do with its Mustang nameplate, you can be sure there’s no qualms in the Glass House about resurrecting the name of a well-known midsize sedan for something somewhat different.

As for the Fusion we all know today, that model’s lifespan is expected to run out in 2021. Interesting timing, as anyone’s best guess for a new Fusion product reveal, given the appearance of a test mule, is later that same year.

[Image: Ford]

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 02, 2019

    The Outback beat the goat. And all the Mr Canoeheads cheered! They know those retractable roof rack rails are standard, baby. A Fusion AWD very-slightly lifted wagon ain't gonna beat the goat. Just read Professor Moonbeam Jimmy Hackett's interview with Automotive News today. Whoa! The man is on a trip down deNial with Contribution Margin at the helm. Whoooo-eeee! Yessir. Mach-E to the rescue, glub, glub, gurgle. Farley?! The damn thing sank!

  • Akear Akear on Dec 03, 2019

    It looks as if Ford culling its passenger carline has already cost them market share. I think in the long term it will cost them about 1.5% market share decline, which will put them dangerously close to falling behind Toyota in US market share. Doesn't Ford realize there is a relationship between sales and being profitable.

    • See 1 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 04, 2019

      Ford really screwed the pooch with the Focus/Fiesta transaxles so between those and the Fusion the real question is was it even a profitable venture after incentive spending? I'm sure they also think Mock-E will help them regain the lost market share... we'll see :)

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