There have been some big, bold announcements by motor manufacturers over the last few months, and most of them have been to do with electrification and the general demise of the diesel engine.
Although the way the industry is changing is very much behind Ford’s latest big announcement, it’s not harmful emissions that have led to the decision to stop selling Ford branded saloon cars in North America. In fact, it’s being driven by a cost-cutting agenda and the fact that sales of saloon cars are nosediving, as crossovers, pickups and SUVs continue to dominate the auto landscape.
In its latest quarterly financial report published yesterday, Ford confirmed what many have suspected for a while now — that it will not be investing in a next generation of saloon cars for its North American market. Although other markets such as Europe are not shunning cars to the same extent as North America, it’s hard to believe that elements of a cost-cutting plan, which has just had its target almost doubled for the period leading to 2022, won’t be copied to some extent elsewhere.
A key part of the statement from Ford reads: “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.” It goes on: “The company is also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”
The company anticipates that by the year 2020, some 90 percent of its North American portfolio will be made up of pickup trucks, SUVs and commercial vehicles. This is being driven mostly by consumer demand, but also by the profitability of such vehicles.
The bottom line here is that cars are not profitable enough for Ford anymore and that means the end of the Fiesta, the Fusion and the Taurus in North America. All three will be discontinued over the next few years, and the production capacity that it frees up in factories in Mexico and Chicago will be used for other models.
A new-generation of the Fiesta has recently gone on sale around the world and it’s little more than a week since an all-new Focus was unveiled. There’s no suggestion that either of those models are under any sort of threat in markets outside North America, although the Fusion’s European cousin the Mondeo might not want to be making too many long-term plans for its future. – AFP Relaxnews