Even while crossovers and SUVs continue their salesroom surge, taking ever more market share away from cars, the small- and midsize-car segments remain important. Many automakers see small, affordable cars especially as a means of building loyalty with customers, getting younger, less-affluent buyers hooked on a brand now so that after they’ve moved up in the world, they might choose to start buying bigger, higher-margin vehicles from the same brand.
Yet on the heels of the all-new, 2019 Ford Focus‘ introduction in Europe and Asia, and the reveal of an updated US-market Ford Fusion, The New York Times reports that Ford’s leadership is debating whether to continue selling small and midsize cars in their own home market. Ford loses money on each domestic sale of the Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus, and Ford Fusion, according to the newspaper’s sources.
That the Ford Fiesta could be facing the ax in the US comes as no surprise; it’s already known that the Blue Oval has no plans to bring the all-new, seventh-generation model here, and continuing to sell the sixth-generation Fiesta while sales languish would be a questionable choice. It had been rumored that the Ford Fusion could be on its way out after news broke that a redesign program for the midsize sedan was canceled, although there are other reasons that an automaker might cancel a redesign program, and an updated version of the current model was introduced shortly after.
Up until this point, however, the Ford Focus seemed at no real risk of cancellation. Last year, Ford announced that the all-new, fourth-generation Focus for the US market would start production in China in mid-2019, after the new small-car plant Ford had planned for Mexico was aborted. Whether produced in Mexico or China, the automaker would save money on each Ford Focus built thanks to both countries’ lower overall production costs.
US Ford Focus sales dipped more than 6 percent to 158,385 units last year – little more than a sixth of the F-Series’ total US sales over the same stretch. The compact car managed to outsell the midsize Ford Edge crossover by a comfortable margin.
The New York Times says that Ford spokesperson Bradley Carroll declined to comment directly, and said only that “the entire company is intensely focused on improving the operational fitness of the business to deliver profitable growth with improved returns.” With the full-size Ford Taurus’ future also looking grim, conceivably, it could mean a Ford lineup without any US-market cars outside of the two-door Mustang.
(Hat-tip to Jalopnik)