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Is Honda Proving Ford’s No Cars Decision Wrong

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When Ford decided to pull out of the car market in the U.S., aside from the Mustang, many were disappointed. Many more were indifferent. Most of the Ford cars were a bit boring, with a few bright spots like the Focus ST, and the Fusion Sport that was discontinued for 2020. Ford says that buyers in America want SUVs and there isn’t profit to be had in cars.

Honda appears to be proving that Ford is wrong and Honda’s sales success makes us wonder if Ford made better cars with a better reputation for quality and longevity, would they sell better. Honda is having a very strong year in the passenger car market as Ford winds down its passenger cars.

2019 Ford Fiesta

About 45 percent of Honda’s sales in the U.S. are passenger cars with SUVs like its very popular CR-V making up the lion’s share. The 45 percent of car sales is combined sales from Honda and its luxury arm Acura. Automotive News reports that Honda is seeing gains in its car sales as Ford and other brands are shifting their focus to SUVs. One of the biggest sellers in the car segment for Honda is the reasonably priced Civic family.

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The line includes a coupe, sedan, and a hatchback long with the higher-performance Civic R model. Reports show that Honda Civic sales climbed 26 percent last month to 34,808 units, handily beating the second-place car in the market. The Civic is beating the Toyota Corolla by almost 20,000 units so far this year. Honda execs say that this sales success proves that buyers want passenger cars. Honda has grown its car sales nearly 2 percent, something other carmakers aren’t able to match.

So what gives? Why is Honda successfully with cars and Ford wasn’t? Perhaps Ford was hoping that by ditching cars it could force people to move to higher-margin SUVs. Perhaps Honda is doing well because not only is the civic affordable, it also has a reputation for reliability and lasting a very long time. One analyst says that the Civic has endured the market trend towards SUVs because there is a demand for transportation at less than SUV prices. Ford’s cars just weren’t as popular with buyers seeking low cost and longevity. Why do you think Ford cars failed in America while other brands are doing well?

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Source: Automotive News

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Written by Shane McGlaun

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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16 Comments

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  1. The Focus was a debacle from the start,the DPS6AU transmission ruined a very good vehicle. The Taurus when it returned was a good vehicle but was now very expensive, the exact opposite if what it was intended to be. Ford has been making lots of poor decisions. The Focus should have used the 6F35 transmission it is way better than what was offered. I do think the Fusion could still be viable,the quality is quite good,but it needs a refresh very badly. Ford could make great cars if they got their heads out of the sand.

    • I agree. The Focus and Civic had a complete different customer base. There are still many “Car-centric” customers, but most are either Honda-centric, Toyota-centric, or will buy the cheapest they can find (Hyundia & Nissan have that covered). The Focus never had the Civic image, and with the weak refreshes, whatever it earned withered away.
      Fusion is still around for another year, and is doing alright. The exterior was perfect for 2013, and the changes for 17′ detracted from the look. Meanwhile, the interior still looks like a 2013. It still looks better than the competition, but who wants to trade in a 7 year old car and have the new one look 95% similar?

      I think Ford’s decision will be vindicted when the Bronco and Bronco II hit the market. Bringing the Puma here and refreshing the EcoSport would help as well.

  2. Ford handed Toyota 300,000 units a year when the Ranger was not updated for 10 years. Now they are repeating that boneheaded error in cars.

    • Ford has made so many terrible mistakes in not supporting their cars, and supporting SUV/CUVs/trucks at the expense of their cars. Love my 2017 Fusin Sport. Ford is dead to me. As I and many others predicted car sales will go to foreign manufacturers.

  3. With the fusion and the Mondeo Ford had a really great car and instead of improving it making it even better they decided to walk away from the market look at Hyundai put the new Sonata they’re saying we want that market and they’re swinging for the fences Ford wimped out

  4. The answer is a huge YES! Ford has lost the sedan market that it held over a hundred years ago. The Fusion and Taurus are the best midsized sedans ever, especially the Fusion Hybrid and Energi which are the best of its type. Ford must return to the sedan market instead of giving in to the imports.

  5. Ford handed Toyota 300,000 Ranger units a year when the Ranger was not updated for 10 years. Now they are repeating that boneheaded error in cars.

  6. Looked what happened when Iran attacked Saudi Arabia’s oil field. Price on a barrel of oil will spike upwards 10%. If and when there is a war in the Middle East—Barrel of oil will skyrocket to $100–higher if the Strait of Hormuz is blocked by sunken tankers. This even when the US is energy independent –thanks to President Trump. I remember the long lines waiting to getting gasoline in 1974 & 1979.

    I’m glad I have my 2018 Toyota iM which gets 38 mpg combined city & highway.

    • To Adithya Ramachandran RAV4 has a hybrid model & the Corolla was redesigned. Their sales didn’t tank. 2020 Escape is a crossover–
      To Japan Sucks–GM Chevy Cruze—–Canceled Ford canceled their cars. FCA—300 & Charger Looks like Japan Sucks will be buying used cars from now on.

  7. The new Escape is essentially a Car, and with an affordable Hybrid trim, fuel economy will no longer be a concern. The Escape hybrid will also get a combined mpg rating greater than the Civic with more interior volume and AWD. Once the CRV hybrid comes out, I expect civic sales to plummet.

  8. I hate to break it to you guys, Ford has been going downhill with cars since the mid ’90’s. Their designs, engine choices and alot of other things that they have done has cost them major revenue and their rushed products and lack of quality has continued on ever since. It’s not just Ford though, GM has had their share of failures lately, since they follow basically the same trends. The true problem is (and Ford is famous for doing this) Ford is so desperately trying to focus on being a European car and a Chinese car, that it forgets that it’s American market is not interested in those kinds of cars. Americans still want American cars and we want to have the options of having coupes, sedans, station wagons, SUVS, and trucks. We like our rear wheel drive cars and all of that kind of stuff and there is still a huge market for these kinds of things. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a market for Front wheel drive, hybrid, electric vehicles because there truly is, but to completely focus on that, when not everyone is on board with that idea is a huge mistake. The other thing is, the problem isn’t that people don’t want sedans, the problem is that manufacturers don’t make sedans people really want anymore. We are honestly tired of the cookie cutter boring front wheel drive ecoboost 4-cylinder sedans that Ford is putting out with a trillion and one recalls and overpriced from the start.
    You know what would be really nice? A simple Ford lineup that looks something like this:
    Ford CD6 Platform RWD based setup
    Mustang: If the mustang grows to the size of a Challenger, so be it. that’s honestly not a bad thing. Here’s what needs to happen with the mustang though if your going to do that. Think along the lines of the current gen mixed with the SN95/New Edge. taillights need to evolve a bit, The base engine needs to be the 3.0L from the Explorer ST 400hp/415tq, The Standard GT needs the Bullitt 480hp 5.0L but upgrade the torque to 445 to deal with the added weight, Interior needs to be a more modern version of the SN95/New Edge interior but with some of the stuff from the current mustang. etc. Honestly getting rid of the GT350/GT500 wouldn’t be bad and going with the Mach 1 and Cobra names with a 520hp naturally aspirated cross plane crank 5.2L V8 and a Predator 700+hp 5.2L Supercharged V8 would be awesome with an AWD setup on the 3.0L V6 twin turbo car. Drop the 6-speed manual and just leave the 10-speed auto and the 7-speed DCT available and the car would be fine.

    Falcon: Same thing as above (powertrain wise) but in a 4-door coupe to combat the Charger. The CD6 platform should work fine for this vehicle and it should not look like a 4-door mustang.

    Explorer: There is no reason why a CD6 explorer should not be able to compete with a Durango or a Jeep Trackhawk. Drop the same engines in this SUV as the two cars above and tell dodge to kick rocks!

    Ford Truck Platform

    Ford Ranger: Great truck, crappy engine choice. 3.0L Twin turbo V6 and a diesel V6 should be all that is offered in this truck. 10-speed auto, a Trail rated variant (Raptor) and a few other trims should do the trick

    Ford Bronco: should be F150 based with a 5.0L V8 only! 4×4 lifted, off road SUV

    Ford Expedition: While some would argue that two F150 based SUVs is unnecessary, the Expedition would lend itself more to the street driving while the Bronco would be a street-going off roader.

    Ford F150: It’s time to bring back the Lightning, a trail rated off road pickup (not the stupid, pointless, Raptor) Go back to offering more than one V8 engine under the hood, get rid of the 3.5L Ecoboost V6 Raptor engine, make the 5.0L the base engine in the truck and offer a V6 Turbo diesel. This is a truck, not a Prius.

    Ford Super Duty : Fine by me!

    Ford CD6 Platform FWD based
    Ford Country Squire Wagon: Same as below but in a station wagon (like Ford Flex but nicer)
    Ford Thunderbird: Full size Ford Sedan with heritage styling and a big twin turbo 3.5L V6 ib a FWD architecture rolling to the tune of about 430hp/435tq with an AWD setup.

    Electric Ford Vehicles
    Ford EVOS: a sexy, mustang like gull wing door, crossover concept that should be brought to life
    Ford Atlas: The concept for the more current F150 but fully electric. This way Ford does not destroy the lineage of the great
    Ford F150 pickup
    Ford Mach-3: From way back around 1993, Ford created a prototype, which later became the style of the 1994 Mustang
    called the Mach 3. This could be an Electric Ford Roadster designed to hunt the Tesla Roadster.
    Ford 427 Interceptor: Another great unused idea. The 427 Interceptor concept was a mean looking machine, This could
    very well compete in the high performance electric sedan market with similar styling to the big boxy looking bad
    boy car
    Ford GT90: A Ford Electric Supercar

    Another thing that sells is performance and accessories. For the Mustang, the Falcon, the Explorer, the Bronco and the F150, Ford Performance, Steeda, Roush and Mountune need to have a huge presence with these vehicles. If outside and aftermarket upgrades are frowned upon by manufacturers and lawmakers, then its up toe Ford Performance, Steeda, Roush and Mountune to make upgrades for these cars that are not only 100% street legal, but warranty safe, affordable and worth while. Tunes, intakes, exhaust, other performance upgrades, suspension, brakes, styling, wheels, etc. All of these things need to be offered from the factory as options, lights, grilles, graphics, seats, steering wheels, stereo systems, etc. All of these need to be affordable options and options that will allow the consumer to personalize their vehicle without having to worry about warranty issues and all of that kind of stuff. This is the kind of stuff that Ford should be offering to it’s customers. Get rid of all of these ecoboost engines and those stupid clutch type FWD transaxles and all of those sorts of things. Let’s go back to cars that are mostly straight Forward. Offering cars like the ones mention above will help turnthe auto industry around.

  9. Great article!!!! Yes the current trend is toward SUV’s/CUV’s but there is still a market for cars as this article nicely points out. And to basically walk away from it, they are handing it over to the Japanese. Did they (along with GM) learn anything from the experience of leaving the mid-size truck market? Once you cede territory it’s hard to woo back buyers. They are in turn introducing (forcing) buyers (who still want a car) over to the Japanese risking converting them into loyal Toyota/Honda/Mazada/Nissan buyers. If “Ford is hoping that by ditching cars it could force people to move to higher-margin SUVs” they will be solely mistaken. I have no desire for a big SUV/CUV/pick up.

  10. This is quite funny actually. It could also be said that Toyota along with most other Foreign makes here in the US are proving Ford wrong, and for that matter GM as well.

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