The 2017 Ford Fusion, since photo albums for the 2018 and 2019 models show a “Your search has no matching results” message on the Ford media website. It’s fine, really.
Image: Ford

The Ford Fusion sedan, like all of Ford’s small cars aside from the rough, tough, still-selling Mustang, is fighting its inevitable death by inching along on a slow, indefinite conveyor belt that Ford will eventually decide to unplug. Slow and indefinite that planned death will be, too, as made evident by Ford itself.

Ford announced a year ago that it would “phase out” all of its small cars aside from the Mustang and Focus Active, which eventually got the chop, too. It was bold move that began an even more confusing trajectory for the company, even in a time when new-car buyers are flocking to crossovers and SUVs.

Here, a year later, the phasing out is set to begin. Ford said this week that the top Fusion Sport trim will die this year, along with its $40,015 base MSRP, all-wheel drive and turbocharged, 2.7-liter V6 engine good for 325 horsepower. The company’s messaging on the rest of the Fusion lineup was, well, confused.

An automaker spokesperson told Automotive News that production for the Fusion lineup would end next year, before going back on the statement and saying the Fusion will live through “at least” 2021. From the story:

Ford will build the Fusion at least into the 2021 calendar year, a spokesman said. The spokesman previously told Automotive News that production would end in the 2020 calendar year, but on Thursday said that information was incorrect.

The news of the Sport trim’s death marks the end of what could be considered a failed last-ditch effort to save the vehicle.

Amid declining sales, Ford made the Fusion Sport the centerpiece of its 2016 Detroit auto show display. It used media personality Ryan Seacrest to reveal the new trim — part of the Fusion’s midcycle freshening — in a callback to its 2012 elaborate celebration in New York’s Times Square for the second-generation Fusion.

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Oh, Ford. Just let the Fusion die in peace. It wants to explore the world, maybe visit Paris with the time it has left. It doesn’t need this kind of drama in its life right now.