The Ford Fusion, Focus, C-Max, Taurus, and Fiesta—all on the way out in North America as Ford transitions its lineup to one that is all but entirely dominated by SUVs, crossovers and trucks, the automaker announced today.
In the coming years, only the Mustang and new Focus Active mini-crossover will be in Ford’s North America lineup, Ford said today in a Q1 financial report.
“Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles – the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year. The company is also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.”
Additionally, the company said “Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America.”
One thing Ford did not say is when this will happen, though it’s fair to assume that it will happen relatively quickly. All of those small cars and sedans are pretty old and due for replacements or at least updates that now won’t happen. It’s also fair to say the future doesn’t look bright for some of our favorite performance cars, like the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Focus RS.
The New York Times said yesterday that Ford loses money on the Focus, Fiesta, and Fusion, and Ford CEO Jim Hackett has signaled that he intends to be ruthless when it comes to raising the automaker’s profits. Ford North America’s profit margin was eight percent last year, or 2.7 percent less than what GM’s was.
And on Wednesday, Ford reported even worse financials.
Here’s the NYT:
Net income totaled $1.7 billion, up by $100 million from the same period a year earlier, and earnings increased to 43 cents a share, up by 3 cents. But the company’s profit margin slipped to 5.2 percent from 6.4 percent a year earlier. Profits before taxes fell to $2.2 billion from $2.5 billion. And in every region of the world, Ford reported either a decline in profits or a loss.
In North America, Ford’s largest and most important region, pretax profit was $1.9 billion, down $200 million from a year earlier. Its margin in North America fell to 7.8 percent from 8.9 percent.
Hackett has also said he intends for Ford to go all-in on America’s seemingly insatiable desire for SUVs, introducing the EcoSport this year, in addition to several more SUV models planned for the future. Hackett’s hoping that those models will boost profits that have, in recent years, been propped up by the company’s best-selling F-Series trucks.
Ford’s exit of the North American sedan market is not without considerable risk, since it makes Ford vulnerable to a rise in gas prices, which might send consumers back to cars that aren’t SUVs. Like, you know, sedans.
And then there’s that Focus Active, which is a mini-crossover that would compete with the Subaru Crosstrek. It looks... fine? It’ll have to do, as it will soon be the only car-ish thing in Ford’s North American lineup outside of a dang Mustang.