Ford USA: Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, Taurus - So long!

Discussion in 'Auto News' started by R1600Turbo, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. R1600Turbo

    R1600Turbo Premium

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    Ford confirmed today that the only passenger cars they will continue to sell in the USA are the Mustang and the Focus Active (Subaru Crosstrek-ish thing).

    https://www.autoblog.com/2018/04/25/ford-cancels-all-cars-mustang-focus-active/

    That means no more Focus ST or RS for us either. :ouch:
     
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  2. coryclifford

    coryclifford

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    That seems dumb.
     
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  3. RandomCarGuy17

    RandomCarGuy17

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    Well, I only half-meant it when I said this:
    Now I really mean it, the only Fords I'll see myself buying now are used ones. Because there's no way I'll care enough to buy an Escape, Edge, or Explorer. Nor this Focus Active nonsense.
     
  4. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    I wonder if the other domestic car makers will follow suite. I also wonder what contingency they have for an oil price spiking event? I mean these new crossovers are much more efficient than the SUVs a decade ago, but most of them still seem to have a best case scenario 30mpg upper limit unless they are hybrids. Ford's offerings seem, notably, worse than average in terms of fuel economy. It does seem like a risk.
     
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  5. YSSMAN

    YSSMAN Premium

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    It seems like a monumentally stupid decision, but I think there are folks at Ford who’d point to what FCA have been doing, and see that as a success. In their case, they capitalized on cheap gas, and pushed development of new Jeep and Ram products, and have subsequently reaped the benefits of high margin vehicles for the past few years. They killed their car line, and haven’t been hurt yet - in Ford’s mind, why wouldn’t it work for them?

    What a lot of people seem to be ignoring is that Ford has a bunch of really, really old vehicles on their hands. Both the Fiesta and Focus date back to the late 00’s, and the Fusion has bones underneath it that are older than that. Facelifts and minor updates only hold off competition for so long, particularly when innovative designs are coming out of Korea and Japan every other year. They’ve basically decided to ceed all of these sales because they don’t want to run the risk of a low-margin effort not being very successful.

    I don’t think Ford is dumb enough to not have an out (FCA has fallen in that hole), but I don’t think it’d be easy for them to dig out quickly if we had a massive fuel spike. Something like the Focus Active is basically a back door for a “regular” Focus being made available, but since fuel economy gains would be relatively minor, who knows if they’d ever make that kind of choice. White space vehicles leave a lot of room to rollback to “regular” designs as well, and depending on how they’re leveraging their fuel saving tech, we might not have a huge hurdle to jump if a spike came to pass.

    How would I expect their lineup to change over the next few years?

    We’ll, I’d imagine the Fiesta will be dropped in favor of a new EcoSport, and let’s hope we get a legitimate new one, as the one being released currently is already quite old, and lacks a lot of things compared to the competition to remain completely relative.

    A Focus Active is a smart market choice, and I’ll openly admit that I actually like the idea of this car quite a bit. Fuel economy penalties are pretty small compared to the regular hatch, and, it has enough of the features needed to be class competitive once it shows up... soonish? The backdoor for a regular Focus will always be there, but it is a huge shame that we won’t be getting a new ST or RS in the future.

    I’d imagine the Fusion gets replaced with something akin to the Subaru Legacy/Outback, and will likely try to crank some pressure down on the new all-wheel-drive Nissan Altima. As much as a new American wagon excites me, I don’t have confidence in an EcoBoost-powered competitor to have the kind of fuel economy needed to survive a big fuel spike. Still, I’d imagine they’re monitoring the situation with the Regal/TourX closely, as I’d imagine they’d mirror whatever Buick decides to do in the event of something major in the near future.

    Lastly, I’d expect some major development dollars going into the next Escape (based on the new Focus), as well as the new Edge, and probably some kind of crossover to slot between the two. They’ve already announced an EV crossover, and I’d imagine some kind of hybrid effort can’t be far behind. Ford needs to really step up their game in the face of the newer efforts from GM, Hyundai, and Toyota, particularly when it comes to standard features, design, quality, and overall execution. They’ve gotta be a class leader in the same way they were coming into this decade, and I have to admit, I don’t have the highest level of confidence.
     
  6. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    One thing that I see over and over again is the "high margins" made on crossovers. The margins are high because they can be sold for more money relative to production costs, presumably because consumers are more willing to pay more for them than they are for cars of roughly the same footprint.

    This has me wondering something. Even the admission of 'high margins' has an appearance of 'overpriced' to me. Is there some sort of unspoken agreement between automakers to not cut those margins? It seems apparent that we will be inundated with crossovers to the point where they are a large majority of cars sold in the not-to-distant future. Will that not incentive somebody to cut those margins to increase market share in such a crowded field? It seems like it would only take one car maker doing this to cause the whole crossover 'high margins' thing to cascade down to 'normal margins' especially once cars are out of the picture as a relative bellwether of how expensive a crossover should be. Ford would seem especially susceptible to this without any cars to differentiate its crossovers with.

    I mean it's just a thought experiment, but it's occurred to me a few times.
     
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  7. Tornado

    Tornado

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    I've often wondered when someone in a position of power in the government (be it federal or one of the more influential states like California or New York) would finally say "enough is enough" and eliminate any light duty truck differentiation in fuel economy standards (among other differences they have in regulations). If Ford doing this is not enough to make it considered, I'm guessing GM repeating the process on their model lineup certainly would be.


    The Japanese makes are going to laugh themselves all the way to the bank either way. Again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
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  8. SecretAgentZero

    SecretAgentZero

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    My bet? California, sometime by the end of 2019.
     
  9. R1600Turbo

    R1600Turbo Premium

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    Exactly my thoughts. Koreans too...
     
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  10. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

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  11. Factor41

    Factor41

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    It's not that they won't be making them anyway - Europe will still be getting all of the regular Focus variants which have been engineered as a "global car", so if they do need to re-introduce them, it'll just be a case of tuning existing cars for the USDM (which, from what I can gather, just means softening up the suspension and putting in a sloppy auto 'box).
     
  12. Aceofsquares

    Aceofsquares

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    Its like they got rid of their history.
     
  13. Turbo Racer 48

    Turbo Racer 48

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    I think there's merit in your thought.

    One would think that this ultimately has to follow the rules of demand and supply..

    Crossovers have higher margins as they have perceived uniqueness. If everyone has crossovers then prices will naturally fall towards cars....

    I suspect this strategy is also driven by Fords need to find funds to move more into the 'mobility' part of the business as all auto companies are doing.

    Its quite a gamble should fuel prices spike unexpectedly in the next few years.
     
  14. SestoScudo

    SestoScudo

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    When it comes to capitalism who cares about history or tradition its all about the $$$.

    Hence why as a Ferrari fan too I hate Sergio Marchinone so much. All he is ever doing is desecrating the brand.
     
  15. FT-1

    FT-1 Premium

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    So Ford is assuming new drivers should hop straight into a C-segment car with an elevated driving position? :confused:
     
  16. GTvsForza

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    Well, at least they're not scrapping the Ranger.
     
  17. Joel

    Joel Premium

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    In some ways I'm not all that surprised. When you drive by a Ford dealer the lot is already 50% trucks and 40% Escape/Explorer/Edge.
     
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  18. Dopplegagger

    Dopplegagger

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    Looks like I will never own a Ford again. Good going Ford!
     
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  19. Eggstor

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    It's disappointing, but not surprising. Passenger minivans are already all-but-dead in the US, with only Fiat Chrysler, Honda and Toyota making large-scale efforts (and Kia and Ford of Europe making small efforts). FCA has already abandoned all but the subcompact, full-size and pony car (with a full-size model) car markets, and Chevrolet (and perhaps Buick given the LaCrosse is just a rebadged Impala) will be abandoning the full-size market after 2018.

    I wonder what that does for the refreshed-in-2017 Lincoln MKZ and the new-for-2017 Lincoln Continental, the two Lincoln cars. The MKZ is made alongside the Fusion in Mexico, while the Continental is made alongside the Mustang.
     
  20. Dopplegagger

    Dopplegagger

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    Both the Continental and the MKZ are to be discontinued. There were rumblings a few weeks ago that Ford was already killing the Continental, apparently those rumors were true. That announcement will be coming shortly.
     
  21. SPhilli911

    SPhilli911

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    I bought a Fiesta ST a few years back from a dealer which almost exclusively sold trucks and SUVs. In fact, the sales people seemed to be thrilled to have a car order for a change. When I asked about it they said that in the area people are only buying trucks, they don’t stock cars on the lots so much anymore, but will custom order cars from time to time if there is a demand (like me).

    Fact of the matter is trucks and SUVs are big sellers here in Murica, but it’s still weird to almost completely phase out cars from a brand.
     
  22. GTboyz

    GTboyz

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    Guess Ford saw Thanos as an inspiration.
     
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  23. Pupik

    Pupik Staff Emeritus

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    I think I'm at the only dealership in America which has two Focus STs and Fiesta STs with no obvious "market adjustment" increase. So I don't sound like a shill, it's located in a place that rhymes with "klaxon" in the great State of Tippy Hippy.

    I can see why they're shedding the Fiesta and Focus; there's not much margin on them and if the demand suddenly increased in the wake of expensive fuel, they could probably ramp up production of Canadian-spec vehicles in a jiffy.

    But killing the Fusion puzzles me...it's a little long in the tooth but I figure it's a great fleet vehicle, of which sales would default right to Malibu/Impalas and into GMs pocket, since FCADJRamouthpentastarfiatdesoto isn't in that market anymore. Many of the various constabulary agencies in the US have switched to SUVs, but many will still just go to the Charger; even older than the Taurus, but more fun.
     
  24. Rinsky

    Rinsky Premium

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    It's not shocking to me. Cars have been a dying breed here in the US for quite sometime. Americans have always been fixated and their big trucks & SUV's

    I work for Ford at the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville Kentucky where we build the F-250 through F-550 the Expedition and Navigator. Our order bank sits at 100 thousand Vehicles a month at a price starting at $50.000 to over a $100.000 per vehicle.
    We are Ford's most profitable plant in the world. So with that being said I can see why Ford is going where the money is. Trucks & SUV'S in the US market.
     
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  25. Jump_Ace

    Jump_Ace Staff Emeritus

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    No more Found On Road Dead cars? Woot!



    Jerome
     
  26. Joel

    Joel Premium

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    I think they're planning to discontinue them (Focus/Fiesta/Taurus/Fusion/C-Max) here as well.
     
  27. Pupik

    Pupik Staff Emeritus

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    Mexico, then.

    Viva NAFTA, though we're supposed to call it THE WERST THING TO HAPPUN TO AH-MERICA and not anything to do with trade on an as-needed basis.
     
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  28. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

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    Perhaps. But I think you could also argue that it would not make sense to engineer their products as 'global' anymore if they are not targeting the US market. It would be like Ford in the pre-'10s again where the product portfolios are pretty regionally-specialized. For those not located in the US, Ford made some pretty nasty stuff in the 80s & 90s (a few exlusions apply) for the US Market. Ford has a habit of these cycles where they make a really game changing vehicle or business decision (let's say the first gen Ford Taurus for this example) which is lauded, celebrated, sells well etc. And then they become complacent, crack open a beer, and watch the company go down in flames over the following decade (or several). It's pretty damn frustrating.

    (*Former owner of multiple Ford products, including 2x Merkur XR4tis, a 1991 Mustang 5 liter coupe, and a 2003 Mach 1*)
     
  29. Eggstor

    Eggstor Premium

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    There's another consideration Ford is making (and Fiat Chrysler already has made) - the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standard. It's a "footprint"-based formula (the shorter the wheelbase and narrower the vehicle, the higher mileage it has to hit) with different standards for cars and "light trucks". SUVs and crossovers fall into the latter, even if the only changes from the cars on which they're based are ride height and perhaps the rear cargo area. By 2025, the CAFE mileage (which is roughly 25% higher than the EPA "sticker" mileage) will go up from an average of 41.4 mpg for cars this year to an average of 56.0 mpg, and from an average of 30.0 mpg for "light trucks" this year to an average of 40.3 mpg.

    Given the mileage hit for turning a car into a crossover isn't nearly the difference between the two CAFE standards, and that the efforts to squeeze every last drop of gasoline out of the average "light truck" haven't quite kept up with that effort in cars, it's not surprising Ford and FCA are going down the road they are.
     
  30. Factor41

    Factor41

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    Maybe, but I'm guessing that the term really just means they're able to more easily change suspension/driveline/trim configurations on the same platform - once you've sussed that out for one generation, it'll probably become the norm. Ford still has a pretty big market to cater for in Asia too, and I believe the UK specs are different to the rest of Europe (in more than just the side the steering wheel is on) so with the flexibility required for all that, they should be able to stick on some different dampers and a US-appropriate interior to make it sellable.