Ford manufactures orphans

Ford Mustang.
Ford Mustang.

Ford America has announced that it plans to drop its passenger sedans and hatchback lines from the North American range in the next few years.

In the United States, the only passenger models to be retained will be the Mustang and a crossover version of the all-new Focus, called Active, due next year.

Gone will be the Taurus large sedan – once America’s top-selling car – plus the mid-sized Fusion, Fiesta light hatchback and most of the Focus small-car range will be given the chop, along with some slow-selling models from Ford’s premium Lincoln range. Guess what is happening to the resale value of those vehicles, now effectively orphans.

The new Focus/Active will be built in China so it will only be Mustang being built in the US, as other plants in the US, Canada and Mexico will be turning out SUVs, trucks and vans.

It is thought that Ford is also planning to put most of its marketing effort into popular vehicles such as the Ranger pick-up, SUVs – Everest, Escape, EcoSport and upcoming Endura – plus the Mustang and Transit commercial van.

In a statement released from Ford Motor Company’s global headquarters in Dearborn, Ford president and CEO Jim Hackett said his company was committed to taking appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of the business over the long term.

“Where we can raise the returns of underperforming parts of our business by making them more fit, we will,” he said. “If appropriate returns are not on the horizon, we will shift that capital to where we can play and win.”

Ford said that by 2020, almost 90 percent of the Ford portfolio in North America would be trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles.

“Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America,” the company statement proclaims.

“Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles – the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year.

“The company is also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities (SUVs), such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”

Ford has also re-committed to electrifying its range, adding hybrid powertrains to high-volume vehicles such as the F-150 pick-up, Mustang, Explorer large SUV, Escape and Bronco.

“The company’s battery electric vehicle rollout starts in 2020 with a performance utility (SUV), and it will bring 16 battery-electric vehicles to market by 2022,” the statement says.

This is a fairly brave mission for Ford, as if the SUV bubble bursts, then the company is left with very little to attract the buying public, and will end up like GM a few years ago, offering cash-back to attempt to gain market share again, while at the same time endangering profit margins.