The future of the Ford Fusion has become difficult to predict, with a report from December asserting that the mid-size car will be imported to the North American market from China starting in 2020. Ford denied that report, while some pundits began to wonder whether the Fusion would even carry on past that date.
Now, The Detroit News reports that the North American Ford Fusion’s redesign program, CD542N, has been canceled. But while that could mean Ford has decided to axe the mid-size sedan after the current model reaches the end of its life cycle, it could also mean that the automaker felt it didn’t have the right product.
The news of the canceled program comes from a confidential letter sent to suppliers in November that The Detroit News managed to procure. Ford spokesperson Mike Levine declined to comment on the letter, saying in a statement only that “Fusion remains an important part of the Ford lineup for years to come with even more new fresh features on the way. We will have more news to share in the future.”
The letter only pertains to the Ford Fusion sedans that would have been built at Ford’s Hermosillo factory in Mexico, and to the Ford Mondeos that would have been assembled in Valencia, Spain. Despite being nixed for the North American and European markets, the redesign will move forward in the Chinese market.
Should a new redesign program be launched for the North American Ford Fusion and European Mondeo, it’s unclear what that might look like, but signs point to a larger vehicle. Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett said in December that customers generally prefer a “bigger silhouette,” and that “if you can get rid of the difference [between small and large vehicles] because of fuel, you start to relieve the pressure of what kind of portfolio you have to have.”
In other words, new innovations in fuel saving are largely what’s facilitated the continuing consumer shift from cars to crossovers and SUVs.
At the same time, the Ford Focus is expected to grow in size as it enters an all-new fourth generation for 2019, splitting the difference between the compact and mid-size segments. With the Ford Taurus selling so slowly, and Ford’s compact set to add a few inches to its waistline, the Taurus could be axed while the Fusion swells.
Or, Ford could always take our advice and replace the Ford Fusion with a new rear-wheel-drive mid-size car named “Falcon”. We’ll keep our fingers crossed.