Ford is killing off almost all of its cars and sedans in North America because modern buyers walk around in a crossover-obsessed haze, but the Fusion may stick around—kind of. Bloomberg reports that the Fusion name, at least, may live on in the form of a Subaru Outback-rivaling sport wagon.
Bloomberg cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter in reporting that the Fusion name will be pasted onto a sport wagon once the sedan dies off in North America over the next few years, along with all of Ford’s cars other than the Mustang and a Focus variant. The story said the reported new Fusion will be a “high-roofed hatchback built on the same mechanical underpinnings,” but didn’t say whether it would have any of the current Fusion design cues.
Ford spokesperson Mike Levine wouldn’t address the wagon speculation when Bloomberg asked about it, but said Ford will “likely continue to use the name because of its awareness, positive imagery and value with consumers.”
The name seems to be particularly important to dealers. While the Fusion as we know it is dying off because buyers have stifled sedan and small-car sales in recent years with their crossover and SUV crazes, dealers were quick to remind Ford just how much was invested into the Fusion name. From Bloomberg:
By early next decade, only the Mustang pony car will remain in Ford’s U.S. lineup. Worried that customers will defect to rivals, dealers have pushed to retain the Fusion name, which just four years ago was such a strong seller that Ford had to add a second factory of production.
“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, whose showroom is near Columbus, Ohio. “The smart thing is to play on that brand equity.”
The thing with “wagon” or any other term in the automotive industry is that they’re loose, to the point that some automakers try to call four-door vehicles “coupes.” A wagon could be anything from the wagon we know and love, with a low stance and stretched hatchback roof similar to the sketched Fusion image above, or it could be a lifted, plastic-cladded, all-American crossover that, for some reason, has “sport wagon” in its name.
The latter is probably true, no matter how good a Fusion wagon would probably look. After all, look at how Volvo lifted its V90 wagon for the American market in 2017, and look at what Bloomberg’s sources are saying the competition is for this new Fusion—the Subaru Outback.
“Sport wagon.” Sure. Hop into my four-door coupe and tell me all about it.