Ford CEO Says They’re Reinventing Cars Not Abandoning Them

Ford held its annual shareholders’ meeting earlier today and, as expected, the company’s executives were grilled about plans to drop its entire sedan lineup in North America.

Automotive News reports Ford CEO Jim Hackett defended the move by saying the company isn’t killing them but rather “reinventing the American car.” He went on to say Ford will give consumers “what they’re telling us they really want.”

Ford’s car lineup will soon be reduced to the Mustang and Focus Active. However, the company has previously hinted at the possibility of other crossover-like vehicles as they are exploring “white space” models that “combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”

Hackett seemed to expand on that earlier today as he said “We don’t want anyone to think we’re leaving anything. We’re just moving to a modern version.” He went on to say there is “an exciting new generation of vehicles coming from Ford.”

Interestingly, Hackett blamed the media for the negative reaction to the company’s decision to drop its sedan lineup. As he stated, “The headlines look like Ford’s retreating. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.”

This is ridiculous as Ford is abandoning the sedan segment where they offered mostly uncompetitive and slowing selling products. This decision could turn out to be a wise and profitable move but trying to play of it off as anything other than a retreat is mostly nonsense.

While a Lincoln spokesperson recently said the brand was “committed” to sedans, Hackett’s comments weren’t very reassuring. He briefly mentioned the Continental and said the model would continue to be offered “through its lifecycle.” However, he didn’t mention if there were plans for a next-generation model.

  • Status

    We’re going to reinvent the car by making it taller and with a hatch!

    • Dr Strangefingger

      Didn’t AMC do that like 40 years ago??? “Facepalm”

      • Status

        They did. In fact, AMC invented the dreaded ‘crossover coupe’ segment decades before it was cool. At roughly the same time, Citroen also invented the equally dreadful ‘4-door coupe’ segment.

    • Stephen G

      Happened…it’s referred to as an “SUV”

  • Dr Strangefingger

    Ford CEO is grilled at annual shareholder meeting, feels need to defend his actions by criticizing the media and tells everyone the sky is not blue.

    Brilliant!

    • Dennis Scipio

      So, in other words people like you are still disappointed over this decision, okay. I can’t change your opinion about that, but whatever.

      • Dr Strangefingger

        Dennis, are you really concerned about my opinion? Seriously dude, this is an internet comment site. To you and others I’m just a few sentences here and there. That’s it. Can’t let that get you down.

        Say your peace and on to the next comment.

        • Dennis Scipio

          Okay, sometimes I may not agree with someone’s opinion that’s different than mine. I never intended to be mean. I’ll learn not to be… passive when It comes to comments like that.

          • Liam Paul

            I just want to add, hold up, let me get my popcorn and soda

        • Loquacious Borborygmus

          You’re more than that to me.
          A Doctor with a strange fingger (sic).

  • Craig

    I wouldn’t trust Hackett to tell me the time of day.

  • Robert Eller

    All I hear Ford execs saying is “Fake News!”

    • RIGHT?HAVEN’T WE HEARD ENOUGH OF THAT ALREADY?

    • john1168

      LOL… I was thinking the same thing.

  • Robert Eller

    What Ford needs to do is bring out a new Flex like model to replace the Taurus for people who want something large but not an SUV, much like what Volvo does with their Cross Country models.

    • pcurve

      I think Lincoln replaced perfectly good Town Car with Flex-like MKT. That didn’t work out so well for them. Taurus was never a good car. It was radically styled car when it came out in mid 80s when people were still on the fence about imports. People don’t want better Taurus. People still buy good sedans. Ford just doesn’t know how to make good sedan and this is them basically throwing in the towel.

  • LWOAP

    Lying SOB. You can’t reinvent the car by making it an SUV or a Crossover. That’s just dumb. And blaming the media for the negative reaction? Talk about sticking your foot in your mouth.

  • LJ

    So Ford is turning into Subaru?

  • Puddingpopper

    Makes great looking class leading vehicles… And keeps them away from one of the largest car markets in the world so they can reinvent, fire your whole marketing department

  • no25

    Sedans are sedans. SUVs are SUVs. Crossovers are Crossover. Etc are Etc. A modern version of a sedan in Ford’s eyes is a crossover. Not a reinvention – or different version – of the original sedan.

    • Nihar

      The reinvention of the sedan is the sportback. Why not make one that rides at a Crosstrek or Focus Active ride height?

  • MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE SHOWN US THESE “EXCITING NEW GENERATION OF VEHICLES” FIRST. CAN’T BLAME THE “MEDIA” FOR BAD PLANNING.

  • Sometimes I just need something to peel off with and that handles very well…this can only be had with a car with its inherently better dynamics and lower center of gravity…

  • eb110americana

    If Ford were a little company like Mazda or something, that would make sense, as they may not be able to support sedan and crossovers in each size class (sub-compact, compact, midsize, full size). But Ford already sells the EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Flex, Expedition, and Transit Connect–not to mention their Lincoln platform mates. What more is Ford hoping to add?!

  • Dr Strangefingger

    Yeah baby!!!!!

    • Zandit75

      I find it funny that my comment required moderating!! Someone’s name shall not be spoken!!

  • Perry F. Bruns

    “We’ve told them what they really want and now we’re listening to them telling us what we’ve told them they want.”

    • eb110americana

      I feel that way about the overabundance of silver/gray car colors. Most people would not buy a car that was too big or small or fuel-inefficient for their needs. But if you like a car and there are only 4 kinds of silver ones on the lot, chances are you will probably take one of the available colors rather than buy a competitor’s model because you “wanted red.” Then manufacturers claim that they must offer more silvers, as that’s what sells. So it’s black, white, 3 different shades of silver, and one, maybe two primary colors (red or blue usually) if you’re lucky.

  • Astonman

    It’s not a Hackett decision as much it’s the Board’s decision. The shame is they didn’t deliver through with quality sedans that people wanted which now forces them to exit the segment. That is not a media issue – that’s a Ford management issue. The Fusion was not a success compared to it’s competitors but it sold very well compared to other vehicles. To sell 200K and deem it not profitable…I’m speechless.

  • Bash

    wtf, we shall be expecting a Taurus SUV then.. are they doing the same thing Mitsu did with the eclipse?

  • john1168

    Am I reading correctly? The next Explorer will be made in China for the US??? If so, I won’t buy it. Where did you read that?

    • FactChecker90803

      Fake News, the next Gen Explorer will be build in China for the domestic market to avoid the import, vat, displacement and luxury tax’s.

  • Cobrajet

    Hackett is the swamp.

  • DGC

    Yes, let’s alienate 25% of our buyers so they can go elsewhere…. Good plan!

  • Stephen G

    While nobody’s been paying attention, “cars” have gone to hell in the last 30 years. They’ve gotten smaller, cramped, difficult to get in and out of and they all ride like s**t. I wanted a Jetta wagon diesel and the salesman told me zero towing, not even a 1K lb utility trailer. And, I don’t need a console the size of a refrigerator next to me. That’s why trucks and SUV’s are so popular. My 2006 Saturn Vue with the Honda V6 has served me well in comfort, utility (it’ tows 3500 lbs routinely), efficiency (I’ve gotten 28mpg on the highway) and reliability (250K miles so far). There isn’t a car on the market that could do what my Vue does. When the day comes the replacement will surely not be a Taurus, Fusion or Focus.

    • Loquacious Borborygmus

      They’ve gotten smaller, cramped
      Maybe some of the loooooooong sedans of the 70s, perhaps but anything else?

      • Stephen G

        Sure longer…My 72 Dart was a 6 passenger car because it was “longer” than a 2016 Dart.

  • DJ

    Ha. That was the first thing I thought. “Its the Fake News”

  • Cobrajet

    Dodge already reinvented the American car the right way. It’s called the Charger.

  • Cobrajet

    They call that the malaise era, when it is even more malaise for GM now than it was then.

  • Cobrajet

    The Chrysler LX platform is what truly re-invented the American Car.

  • FactChecker90803

    Hackett spent thirty years with the Grand Rapids-based office furniture company, Steelcase. He joined Steelcase in 1981 holding a variety of sales and marketing positions. In 1994, Hackett was named CEO at age 39, making him the youngest leader in the history of the company. He held the position for nearly twenty years before retiring in 2014. During his tenure, the company eliminated nearly 12,000 employees as part of a downsizing and restructuring of the business.