Ford CEO Says Automaker Is ‘Reinventing’ The Car, Not Abandoning It

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During its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, Ford Motor Company executives faced questions relating to its contentious recent decision to phase out the Fiesta, Fusion, and Taurus cars in North America, and to pare down its Focus range to just a single model: the crossover-inspired Focus Active. The automaker disagrees with how the decision has been characterized by the media, with President and CEO Jim Hackett saying that Ford is “reinventing the American car” – not turning tail due to faltering sales.

“I wish the coverage had been a little different,” said Executive Chairman Bill Ford. “The headlines look like Ford’s retreating. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

“We don’t want anyone to think we’re leaving anything. We’re just moving to a modern version,” said Hackett, echoing what the automaker said in its Q1 earnings report about exploring “new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes” like the Focus and Fiesta Active models. “This is an exciting new generation of vehicles coming from Ford.”

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In March, Ford announced that roughly 90 percent of its North American product portfolio would consist of trucks, crossovers, and SUVs by 2020. Many of its existing models – including the Escape, Edge, and Explorer – will be either partially or completely redesigned, while two new off-road SUVs – the Bronco and a smaller, unnamed model – will be introduced, allowing Ford to boast that it will have “the freshest lineup in the industry” by the same year.

Many analysts and journalists feel that Ford might be shooting itself in the foot with its decision to phase out the vast majority of its traditional cars in North America, as car segments remain popular with entry-level buyers even as crossovers and SUVs represent an ever-increasing share of total US auto sales.

“This [decision] doesn’t mean we intend to lose those customers,” Hackett said. “We want to give them what they’re telling us they really want. We’re simply reinventing the American car.”

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Ford executives also faced questions during the call about the future of the Lincoln Motor Company luxury division – and specifically, whether traditional sedans will still be a part of its product lineup. Hackett’s response wasn’t particularly illuminating; he acknowledged the uncertainty, but said only that the full-size Lincoln Continental sedan will live out the rest of its planned product life cycle. There’s been no word on a replacement.

(Source: Automotive News)

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Written by Aaron Brzozowski

Aaron Brzozowski is a writer and motoring enthusiast from Detroit with an affinity for '80s German steel. He is not active on the Twitter these days, but you may send him a courier pigeon.

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7 Comments

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  1. As a 3 time Lincoln MKZ hybrid buyer, I watch this website for news on definite ‘obituaries’ on MKZ. Ford switching Mexican plant Fusion/MKZ to Focus is Ford Motor’s decision. Then I will make my decision……buy a competitor Japanese hybrid car made in Kentucky. Electric vehicles are not practical in my area, nor 1300 mile trips to FL. Hybrid is a great compromise for me!

  2. Of course, they don’t intend on losing traditional buyers. They just want us to change what we want to what they are telling us to buy. Sounds like Edsel to me. I will not replace my 2017 Ford Fusion Sport with an electric vehicle. The enemy is you Ford. You want us to buy your electric made in China CUVs or whatever, and we will be happy. Don’t think so.

    • They lost me as buyer, I am a sedan guy and will stay a sedan guy (however I do like some SUVs but only as a second choice) for now.

  3. I am really disappointed. I enjoy driving and I want a compact, fun to drive sedan or hatch that is affordable to buy and own. I was so looking forward to ordering a new Focus when the new model rolled out. Now I have to look elsewhere.

  4. I wanted to buy a Focus RS, but luckily, before I made a purchase I found out about the Focus RS head gasket issue (even if it has been resolved, now there is a trust issue). I ended up buying a Mustang GT Premium. Other than these two cars, I don’t find Ford’s vehicle lineup particularly compelling.

  5. The furniture guy with no previous experience in the auto industry wants to “reinvent” the car. Would this “reinvented” car be a piece of furniture on wheels?

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