Ford Fusion To Live On As A Subaru Outback-Rivaling Estate

Ford’s plan to kill the majority of cars in its lineup for the sake of SUVs includes ditching the slow-selling Fusion sedan. However, the nameplate will stay alive in a new ‘sport wagon’ being developed to challenge the likes of the Subaru Outback, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

Bloomberg reports that the Fusion name will be used on a “high-roofed hatchback” based on the same underpinnings as the current saloon, meaning probably a jacked-up wagon model that will get a similar treatment with the Focus Active, which is the only version of the latest Focus to be offered in the US.

When Ford announced its plan to drop all cars from its range in order to focus on crossovers and trucks, many dealers were shocked by the news. Worried that customers might defect to rivals, dealers allegedly pressured Ford to keep the Fusion name around.

“They spent hundreds of millions of dollars for brand equity in that Fusion name — not $10 million or $20 million, but hundreds of millions,” said Rhett Ricart, one of Ford’s top dealers near Columbus, Ohio. “The smart thing is to play on that brand equity.”

Ford spokesman Mike Levine declined to comment on the next Fusion’s design change, but confirmed that the name will probably stick around. “We’ll likely continue to use the name because of its awareness, positive imagery and value with consumers,” he said.

Also Read: 2019 Ford Fusion Jumps In Price By Up To $6,190

The reinvention of the Fusion falls in line with how Ford will transform the US-spec Focus into a pseudo-crossover. Ford is looking at ways to keep its sedan customers returning to their showrooms. Kelley Blue Book’s trade-in analysis showed that less than half of Fusion owners remain loyal to the brand. The most popular SUV models considered by Fusion owners are the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, according to the same analysis.

“Ford has a hard time moving people from their cars to SUVs,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst with Autotrader.

Ford’s president of global markets Jim Farley previously hinted at the Fusion’s transformation when he explained that the company was going to offer a “growing variety” of “utility body styles.” He said those new models would “give customers the utility benefits without the penalty of fuel economy.”

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  • ErnieB

    This will be interesting..

    • Bo Hanan

      This is smart. Can’t believe so many car companies let Subaru “runaway” with this market for so many years. Mazda’s going AWD in the 6 too. I say about time!

  • john1168

    This is pathetic! I don’t even know what to say about Ford anymore… There’s really only one vehicle I’m considering from Ford and that’s the next Explorer ST. Yes, I know, an suv. But to be quite honest, I’m preparing to be disappointed by it.

    • Dude

      Dont prepare… just expect it.

      • john1168

        LOL

  • Shane

    Honestly the Outback has really been growing on me because they look amazing and as I get older I’m appreciating vehicles like that more. Would be nice to have an American alternative. I think the Fusion has looked good since around 2010 ( even though they seem to age fast, even though almost everything from 10 years ago has seemed to age quickly with the progression of head and tail lights).

    • Infinite1

      I rather have the Outback any day

  • Six_Tymes

    very interesting, this will be serious competition for both

    • Dud

      You mean the Freestyle and Taurus X?

  • MarketAndChurch

    I actually hoped they would have done this with the Ford Flex… and make it into a Volvo v90 Cross Country type of car. This probably means they’ll have to grow the Fusion in size to make it more roomy. Subaru sold 30,000 less Outbacks then Ford did Fusions, so maybe Ford predicts its Fusion sales sliding even further that they want to make the switch to wagons, or sees, now, for the first time, great potential in this market. I don’t see it, but who knows.

  • :/ Yurr

    Stupid Ford just stupid…

  • Astonman

    “The most popular SUV models considered by Fusion owners are the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, according to the same analysis.”
    Here lies the problem – they can’t retain their customers. Reason? Most probably quality.

    • Dud

      They’re eating cake and having it too.

  • SpongeBob99Swell

    Yet wagons are nowhere near as popular as sedans….

    #GoHomeFordYoureDrunk

    • Victor Ferreira

      While that’s true, the amount of people I’ve heard referring to an Outback or even a Regal TourX as an SUV is nothing short of embarrassing, so they may be onto something here.

      • john1168

        The Regal Tour X isn’t selling well at all but somehow Ford thinks they can do it…ugh…

    • john1168

      “#GoHomeFordYoureDrunk”

      Couldn’t have said it better myself! Explains things perfectly 🙂 LOL

  • eb110americana

    “So I said to Mr. Ford, ‘Listen, I know you sell hundreds of thousands of sedans a year, but that doesn’t grow the brand.’ Ford’s got problems, and I’ve got solutions. ‘Mr. Ford,’ I continued, ‘Have I got a proposition for you!’ And this is where things got really exciting. I looked him right in the eye, and said with concern, ‘How are we going to fix this?’ And then you know what I said?! ‘With crossovers! That’s how!’ Just like that!

    “‘Fiesta-sized subcompacts not selling? Crossover. Big SUVs hurting CAFE? Crossover. Mainstream sedans stealing sales from the Honda and Toyota? Crossover. Compact cars too affordable? Crossover. New buyers too young? Crossover. Vehicles too exciting to stay out of the automotive magazines? Crossover. Inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace? Crossover.’ Let me tell you people, being a multimillionaire consultant is hard work, but God I love it. Now if I can just get them to turn the Mustang into a Prius-fighter, my job will be complete.”

    • Mike anonymous

      LMAO, “Inappropriate sexual conduct in the workplace?.. Crossover.”,..

      … and Ohhh my gosh, no. Turing the “Mustang into a Prius-fighter”, Please do not give them ideas.

    • john1168

      “Now if I can just get them to turn the Mustang into a Prius-fighter, my job will be complete.” ” As long as they make it a crossover, it’ll work 🙂 LOL

      Love the sexual misconduct comment:) LOL

  • Lloyd Anthony D Peters

    Do it. And make an ST Version. Because the world needs more fast wagons. Regardless of body cladding. Lol

    • Mr Hahn

      Ford needs to make an RS version!

  • Mr Hahn

    Ford already sells the Fusion wagon in Europe. Just bring that here with a lift kit and body cladding and offer manual standard in the base model and watch these things sell like crazy. Sell it with active AWD standard. Call it the Fusion Active.

  • Harry Nimmergut

    The reason Ford can’t retain current customers has nothing to do with Fusion quality. It’s in the top 3 of midsize sedans and I know, I own one (a ’17). Turning the Fusion into an “Outback” (which is about to take a huge sales hit, due to the Ascent) won’t keep customers, either. Improving the design of the Escape might. The Fusion Active, like the Focus Active, would/will be a WAY overpriced CAR. The Regal Tour X would be its closest competitor and while that’s doing OK at the moment, due to newness, it’s nothing to crow about. You can’t find one (IF you can find one at all) for under $40K. Bottom line: MORE Ford stupidity.

  • Rocket

    Nobody builds everything in the US. And unlike the foreign brands, Ford will never be able to operate a non-union plant un the States. The UAW would never allow it.

  • Leconte Dave

    What’s next a Mustang sedan ?

    • Mike anonymous

      Please, people… stop giving Ford ideas (Because we know if they somehow see this, they’ll run with it), & A Mustang Sedan, goodness I hope not.

      • john1168

        Too late…LOL They’ve already thought of doing a 4 door Mustangs but thankfully decided against it. They would have screwed it up…

        • Mike anonymous

          Sorry, I apologize that it’s taken me a while to reply, it’s just that I got to about “already thought of doing a 4 door Mustang”,. and that I think my heart MAaaY have stopped there for a few minutes… maybe hours, (I’m not sure anymore).

          ———————————-
          …lol don’t do that, you nearly gave me a heart attack when I saw that. Yeah, thank goodness they decided against that. I defiantly agree, it would have tarnished the Mustang name (and image) in my personal opinion.

          • john1168

            LMAO… sorry for scaring you:) Your AED for your heart is in the mail:) I agree it was a good idea NOT doing the 4 door Mustang.

  • Infinite1

    I rather have the Outback

    • Mike anonymous

      agreed

  • Rocket

    12 people? You’ll have to excuse my skepticism, but I’m not buying it.

    As for the union issue, GM already considered trying a non-union plant in the southern US. The UAW threatened to strike at ALL domestic plants if they tried it. The plan never went any further. It would be no different for Ford.

  • john1168

    LMAO!!! Good one:)

    • Mike anonymous

      (lol) Why thank you good sir, much appreciated.

  • Paul

    It may well be a decision that comes back and bites them in the butt.

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