Ford’s shift toward selling predominately trucks and SUVs in the U.S. took another step Wednesday as the company announced it would not replace its long-running Fiesta, Fusion, and Taurus sedans with new versions. The Ford Focus will survive, but only as a tall-riding hatchback.
“Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America,” the automaker wrote in a note to investors Monday.
It's unclear what the announcement means for the future of Lincoln sedans, which are based on Ford products.
"MKZ remains an important part of the Lincoln lineup. Continental also remains an important part of the Lincoln lineup and is experiencing record sales in China. Beyond that, we don’t comment on speculation about our future product plans. We continue to evaluate the premium car industry for Lincoln in China and the U.S. but don’t have any news to share today," said Ford spokesman Michael Levine.
2020 Ford FocusEnlarge Photo
Instead of new sedans, Ford will offer its Mustang sports car and a new tall-riding Focus Active hatchback—based on the next-generation Focus—starting next year. Levine confirmed that the next-generation Focus sedan, regular hatchback, and wagon won’t make it stateside.
The Fiesta will end production in May 2019 after nearly a decade on sale in the U.S., according to Ford. The Fiesta’s demise largely can be attributed to cheap gas and increasingly affordable electric small cars.
Getting rid of its Taurus sedan may be a harder proposition for Ford loyalists. The Taurus helped revive the automaker in the 1980s and was a linchpin for Ford throughout the 1990s. Sales waned in the early 2000s and the Taurus was discontinued before coming back in 2008. Production of the Taurus will end in March 2019, according to Ford. It’s unclear if the Chicago plant that produces the Taurus will continue to produce a police cruiser based on the Taurus, or if that will end too. Ford offers a next-generation Taurus in China, although it’s unlikely that model will be imported to the U.S.
Ford didn’t say when the mid-size Fusion sedan would end, but that it would sunset in the “next few years,” according to Levine.
The company’s big bet on SUVs and trucks is geared toward appeasing investors wary of slow-selling sedans and impatient with Ford's turnaround and new CEO, Jim Hackett.
In its financial statement, Ford announced sweeping cuts of $11.5 billion from its operating costs, and said the company posted a $1.7 billion net income in the first three months of 2018, up 9 percent from the same period last year.
The company also scaled back future spending from $34 billion by 2022 to $29 billion.
For new car shoppers, that’ll likely mean fewer available configurations for some of its SUVs and crossovers.
The company said it would consider new models to fill “white space” but didn’t specify what those would be other than that they’d likely be crossovers and SUVs—not more sedans.