America’s love affair with crossovers is causing an April massacre as Ford has finally confirmed plans to kill all sedans in North America.
The announcement was made with little fanfare as it was tucked away in the company’s first quarter financial results. Buried underneath various statistics is a rather blunt statement that the company will “not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America.” Instead, models such as the Fusion, Fiesta and Taurus will be phased out over the next few years.
The company isn’t abandoning cars altogether as the company will keep the Mustang. Ford also confirmed plans to launch the all-new Focus Active in North America next year. Additional crossover-like vehicles are possible as the company noted it is exploring “white space” vehicles that “combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”
In a statement, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said “We are committed to taking the appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of our business over the long term.” He went on to say the company will ‘play where it can win.’
The decision to eliminate the entire sedan lineup in North America is drastic to say the least as even Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided to keep the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger when it decided to focus on trucks and SUVs. The news is also a reversal of the company’s previous strategy as Ford had plans for a next-generation Fusion as late as October 2017.
It remains unclear if this is a genius move or a blunder of monumental proportions, but the answer will likely come down to gas prices and customer acceptance of electric and electrified vehicles.
Ford is hedging its bets on the fuel front by adding “hybrid-electric powertrains to high-volume, profitable vehicles like the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and Bronco.” The company also has plans to launch 16 battery-electric vehicles by 2022.