Why are Ford America killing off all their sedans and hatchbacks?
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The writing was on the wall for a while.
Cars like the Taurus and Fusion sat on the shelf for a long time with only minor updates and facelifts, while other models copped a much greater amount of attention. Now there's confirmation from the other side of the world that Ford's North American line-up is in for drastic changes.
The blue oval's American range currently includes the Taurus, Fusion (what we call a Mondeo), the Fiesta, the Focus, and the Mustang. Out of those, only the Mustang and the Focus are set to survive. The manufacturer recently released their first-quarter results, and buried within the text was the line that they would "not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America."
“We are committed to taking the appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of our business over the long term," added Ford CEO Jim Hackett.
With the boom in interest in SUVs and utes continuing to prosper worldwide, manufacturers are understandably shifting manufacturing and business-case focus onto the more 'practical' platforms. Ford's American arm, however, is clearly going the extra mile.
History has a way of repeating itself, and this case is no different. Ford, along with their key US rivals from Chevrolet and Chrysler, have done this before.
During the first SUV boom in the '90s, the trio of manufacturers cut funding towards traditional three-box sedans. Not long after of course, they all had to be bailed out ... Was that because of a lack of focus — pun not intended — on sedans? Maybe (manufacturers cited the GFC and unions at the time), but there's little doubt that the market in 2018 is a different beast than what it was.
That said, fuel in America is cheap as chips at the moment, which some have connected to the hike in SUV sales. Another financial crisis or fuel crisis (which with their, uhh, 'unstable' Government is entirely possible) and they could be back at square one again.
All of the aforementioned models will remain in other markets (even the Taurus, which has popularity in the Chinese market); with the Mondeo, Mustang, Focus, and — as of last week — the Fiesta all assured for New Zealand.
However, Ford New Zealand have already confirmed that the Fiesta will only be available here in top-spec ST trim. Combined with the death of the Falcon, and one wonders if Australasia's isolated market is also in line for some spring cleaning?
It's not too extreme a thought, given our most recent set of registration data. Out of New Zealand's 15 most prolifically registered new cars in March, 2018, only three were traditional passenger cars — the Holden Commodore, Toyota Corolla, and Suzuki Swift. The rest were utes, SUVs, and vans.
We'll just have to wait and see, but if you're a firm fan of sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons, perhaps the lesson here is to vote with your wallet. Because one day they could ... well ... disappear.