In our last edition of Buy/Drive/Burn, we looked at some midsize V6 sedans of Japanese origin from 2007. In the comments most of you decided the Accord was worth a Buy, but complained that you’d rather spend $28,000 on a V6 Altima than the larger and nicer $28,000 V6 Maxima. Go figure.
Anyway, on to the American midsize sedan triumvirate of 2007!
Ford debuted a new concept in Shanghai today, one that might hint at the vehicle that will be filling in for the Fusion (Mondeo in Europe) as the automaker continues removing all traces of the sedan from its lineup. While the Evos is intended to become the manufacturer’s default midsize for the Chinese market, it seems to possess many of the aspects promised on the long-awaited Fusion Active — the presumed successor of the venerable Fusion sedan.
Though the car itself resembles something closer to the Mach-E or perhaps a lowered version of the Chevrolet Blazer. The Evos’ general shape exists somewhere between a crossover and a traditional passenger car, much like the Subaru Outback the Fusion Active has been assumed to be targeting. But it’s not a perfect fit and Ford is keeping many of the details to itself, making it very clear that the concept will be the blueprint for future models and not necessarily a snapshot of something that’s production-ready.
Specifically, the Ford Fusion — the last domestic Blue Oval product with four doors and a trunk to remain in production. Until July 31st, that is. That’s the date Ford ceased manufacture of the sedan at a Mexican assembly plant.
The end of production was confirmed by Ford via Ford Authority. Next up for Hermosillo Assembly is the Bronco Sport — a retro-styled, decently modified Escape launched alongside the body-on-frame Bronco last month. Quite a looker in its final generation, the Fusion fell victim to consumer anti-car sentiment and strategic product planning.
As vehicle production rates begin tipping back towards normalcy, the pandemic continues to rattle supply chains. The wheels of industry may be in motion, but they’re not yet in sync — making a comeback difficult for some players.
Ford dealers report a shortage of replacement parts needed for repairs, with some components taking over to a month to arrive at service centers. Against this backdrop, the automaker issued a technical service bulletin telling dealers to check for coolant leaks in the cylinder head of the 1.5-liter EcoBoost engines found in the Escape (MY 2017-19) and Fusion (2014-19). The repair notice dropped in April, though Ford owners have complained about fluid leaks for a couple of years after a shocking number of owners noticed their engines were overheating — only to find that one of the cylinders was hoovering coolant.
Here at TTAC World Headquarters, talk of sedans is never far away. While automakers have decided the three-box bodystyle is an afterthought, and while consumers aren’t helping by choosing cargo capacity over tradition, we still lust after a nice trunk.
Over at the Blue Oval, this summer’s shaping up to be a grim one for workers whose hearts bleed at the thought of such a noble bodystyle fading from the company’s lineup. July in particular will be painful for longstanding Ford employees who harbor fond memories of the Maverick, Granada, and Contour. Also: the Fairlane, Custom, LTD, Galaxie, Crown Victoria, Escort, Taurus, Fiesta, Focus, Falcon, Fairmont, Tempo, and Five Hundred.
Ford covertly patented the Stormtrak name in Europe at the tail end of 2019, potentially foreshadowing a new model that will undoubtedly bring all-wheel drive and some unnecessary body cladding. Our extended family over at AutoGuide noticed that the filing coincided with U.S. spy shots of a new midsize wagon with an abundance of ground clearance.
Could this be the aggressively-named lifestyle and activity vehicle Ford devotees have been waiting for?
Despite the best efforts of Hackett & Co. to turn the Blue Oval into a car-free enterprise, the Ford Fusion continues to sell apace. In fact, the sedan outsold some of the company’s biggest SUV nameplates in 2019, including the Edge. Seriously. The only models to outsell the Fusion last year were the F-Series, Escape, and — by a hair — the Explorer. This helps explain why it hasn’t yet gone the way of Focus and Fiesta.
While it’s still around, there is ample reason to look and see what buyers are taking home in a base-model 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.
Ford may be phasing out the Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans in the near future, that doesn’t mean you won’t see some the next time you’re visiting the dealership. Last week, the company announced a recall of 103,374 vehicles in the United States, 4,002 in Canada and 1,023 in Mexico due to bunk seatbelt anchor pretensioners.
According to the notice, increased temperatures generated during deployment of the driver or front-passenger pretensioner could degrade the tensile strength of the cable below the level needed to effectively restrain an occupant.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, but it still hurts to learn that Ford’s modern-day take on the ’60s family performance sedan will die with the 2019 model year.
While the automaker’s doomed Fusion nameplate will live on for 2020, the brawny, all-wheel drive Sport variant will not. The automaker confirmed the model’s discontinuation on Monday, meaning performance-minded Blue Oval breeders must now turn their attention (and lust) to the brand’s ST-badged crossovers.
Recalls to prevent cars from rolling away from their owners have become commonplace, and Ford is no stranger to the phenomenon. Last year, the automaker recalled 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to replace vulnerable automatic transmission shift cables that could leave the car in the wrong gear, regardless of where the driver positions the shift lever.
On Wednesday, Ford announced a recall for the exact same problem, plus a second one for a similar issue. While the Fusion makes up the bulk of the affected vehicles, the brand new Ranger pickup also finds itself on the receiving end of some unwanted PR.
Stop the presses. Ford’s Fusion sedan, a member of the passenger car crowd Ford sentenced to death last year, will at least outlive its non-Mustang stablemates.
While American-market Focus and C-Max production has already dried up, followed soon by the Taurus and Fiesta, Ford was never clear on when exactly the Fusion midsizer would bite the dust. The exact date of its impending death remains a mystery, but there’s now assurances from Ford that Fusions will continue rolling into dealers until at least the 2020 model year.
The decision to ditch all passenger cars save for the Mustang didn’t lead to immediate pain among Ford’s American workforce, but it soon will. As the automaker’s restructuring plan has only just begun, Ford found itself spared from the kind of vitriol flung at rival General Motors, which recently outlined a workforce reduction of up to 15,000 employees.
But pain is coming — to Ford’s Van Dyke transmission plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Unlike the Midwestern workforce switcheroo that followed shift cuts at two plants last month, it doesn’t look like every worker will find a new home this time.
Automatic transmissions that shift into park but don’t actually end up in park are one of the greatest automotive sourges of our time. Of all automakers, Fiat Chrysler and Ford seem to have the worst luck with this.
On Wednesday, Ford Motor Company announced a recall of roughly 550,000 Fusions and Escapes to prevent the vehicles from getting loose, though some wonder why the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration didn’t step in earlier to force the recall.
Wednesday’s Bloomberg report, which claimed the current Ford Fusion will undergo the “sport wagon” treatment for its next generation, didn’t come as a shock.
Though unconfirmed, Ford admits it’s likely we’ll see the Fusion name applied to a new vehicle. Given that Ford’s stable is already packed to the rafters with crossovers and SUVs both current and promised, it isn’t surprising to hear the nameplate might soldier on with a larger cargo area, existing platform, and a raised roofline (but not *that* raised).
Are you feeling any stirrings here? Any stirrings at all?
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