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Doug DeMuro Says Ford Was Right To Kill Off Its Cars: Video

It’s been a few years since Ford announced its decision to discontinue all of its sedans in the U.S., leaving the Ford Mustang as its only “car” on sale in that particular part of the world. This move wasn’t made without considerable controversy – in fact, many Blue Oval fans still lament the decision – but it was also one made with an eye toward trends. With sedan sales declining in the U.S. for years now, Ford simply exited a segment that was not only losing steam, but also one that may no longer exist at some point in the future. Instead, FoMoCo simply chose to instead invest its resources in growing segments like crossovers, SUVs, and pickups, and is even shrinking its European passenger car lineup – a move that mega-popular YouTuber Doug DeMuro has defended in a new video.

It’s now been roughly five years since Ford announced that it would be discontinuing all of its cars – save for the Mustang – in the U.S., including the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus, a decision that was met with a tremendously negative response from many. For obvious reasons, this is one of the biggest Blue Oval-related stories in recent memory, especially since some of those models – chiefly the Fusion – were selling rather well at the time.

As Doug DeMuro notes in his video, General Motors followed in Ford’s footsteps roughly one year later, and over the past five years, the passenger car market has continued its sales freefall. He believes that the consumer shift toward crossovers, SUVs, and pickups is a permanent one – not a temporary change of preferences – and as such, others have followed Ford’s lead in that regard.

2022 Ford Focus

The other important aspect of this decision – focusing on making great, popular products – has also paid off big time, with new models like the Ford Bronco proving to be smash hits with consumers – along with other enthusiast-focused vehicles such as the Ford F-150 Raptor. In the meantime, more mainstream offerings like the Ford Bronco Sport and Ford Maverick are attracting former sedan owners at a high rate, while The Blue Oval has also invested in various other products such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E with great success.

While this explanation likely won’t satisfy the sedan faithful, it does make it easier to understand why Ford made such a controversial and monumentally important decision five years ago. There are still plenty of us that long for the days when we could buy a brand new Blue Oval sedan from our local dealership, but ultimately, nixing them certainly seems like the right move from a business standpoint.

We’ll have more on Ford’s changing lineup very soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford business news and 24/7 Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. marrtyy

    Of course they had a right. But the decision was made too soon. There was still demand for cars. Just look at Stelantis? Kia? Toyota? Honda? They’re making a living off of carscarscars.

    Reply
    1. Michael K

      Too Soon? They had to make that decision to repurpose the factories and workers to build the new stuff.

      Reply
    2. Jorge

      A cheap factory in mexico exclusive to 4 sedans, if the smaller vehicles weren’t being made there already would have solved the issue, and had sales of up to 1 million vehicles, i dont thinks all sedan buyers went to suv, trucks, ect… they went to toyo,hon,kia. Just like the minivan, only the ones that made good vans survived, toyo, honda, kia,
      It was more lack of effort and giving up on segments, i would have a gm/ford minivan and a sedan for crusing on weekend, gm/ford

      Reply
  2. crabbymilton

    Exactly. FORD wanted to go in a different direction than the rest. However, many of us aren’t convinced that it was the right thing to do.

    Reply
  3. Alan

    To the point….Ford/Lincoln decided to become expensive truck makers. Not practical or desired by me, so I buy elsewhere. Making statements the buying public don’t want sedans aimed at brainwashing your desires by limiting your choice. I just shop elsewhere.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      They never said NOBODY wants sedans, just that it’s a contracting body style segment that is profitless to just make them to make them, so it was best to exit and put resources into growing and profitable segments.

      Reply
  4. David Dickinson II

    I think killing off sedans was a mistake for a few reasons: 1) They are still 20% of the market. That is a big chunk to just give up on. 2) Sedans are entry-level vehicles for young people. You can develop brand loyalty by selling them their first new car. 3) Being profitable on lower margin items gives your organization business discipline that pays off across the organization. 4) Times change. In a high interest environment, cheaper sedans may make a comeback. 5) If you really care about the environment, smaller and lighter vehicles are the “greenest” and have the lowest cost of ownership over the long-term (which is probably why Ford killed them off).

    Reply
    1. Drew Ford Retiree

      David, I totally agree with you. Not many people understand your 3rd point. To be blunt, Ford has been running away from its cost problems, hiding under the umbrella of large margin trucks and SUVs. Well, the margins on SUVs are shrinking… as witnessed by Ford’s lack of commitment to Escape and Edge (core CUV products with the most competition). Also, a car will always be more energy efficient than a CUV/SUV because of aerodynamic efficiencies of a smaller frontal area, weight efficiencies of less mass, and lower rolling resistant tires.

      The reality was the Ford walked away from its highest customer satisfaction-rated vehicles… Fusion and MKZ… despite plenty of volume to keep one assembly plant at full capacity and shared powertrains with the aforementioned CUVs. Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia were the benefactors of Ford’s white flag.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Point 3 also sounded good to me, then it reminded me of Daimler Benz’s experience in the 1990’s.

        Each time they became uncompetitive as competitors improved and new entrants appeared (Lexus etc.) MB retreated upwards … suddenly DB mgt realized they weren’t competing against cars but against boats, private planes, vacation homes, etc.

        This brought them to a Point 3 reckoning “to be competitive at the upper end we need to be competitive at the low end”.

        So the invested in Smart, A-class, B-class, and have poured money into them ever since trying to be competitive… yet it was like pouring water into the desert.

        All that effort for those segments just drained capital and talent.

        I’m not saying DD Point 3 isn’t sometimes true, I’m only saying there are case studies showing sometimes it isn’t.

        In Ford’s case, we have Maverick, Mach-e and Lightning, none of which may have been developed if Ford continued pouring its water into the sands of the sedan segment.

        Reply
  5. DAB

    I certainly don’t comment on here much any more if ever. Heck, I barely come to Ford Authority any more. Reason? No cars. Nothing but boring, gas guzzling trucks and SUV’s that I won’t buy any time soon.

    In my opinion, Ford gave America the big middle finger when it came to cars/sedans. So guess what? I’m giving them the same in return. At this point, I will never buy a Ford product again. And guess what? I don’t refer Ford any more. So me and the other nearly 3 million people who purchased sedan’s in 2021 will continue to buy from others.

    Reply
  6. Forever Sedan

    I mean, if you stop making cars, of course you’re going to be selling SUVs & truck at a high clip… THAT’S ALL YOU MAKE for a consumer to buy!

    Reply
  7. JE

    Doug Demuro is completely wrong. Although sedans sales declined, they will never reach zero. There will be always someone who doesn´t like SUV´s or crossovers and who doesn´t need a pick-up truck and that number will probably never go under 20 or 25%. A good slice of the market. MB, BMW, Audi or Tesla, among others sell sedans succesfully. Why can´t Ford? Ford sell SUV´s or crossovers because that´s all they do. But they also let a whole market segment go that now buys with other brands. Market is cyclic and the tastes that today are in, tomorrow will be not. That happens not only with cars, but with everything (see clothing for example). Letting a whole market segment go is never a good decision and specially when the competition is tight. Those that went to other brands looking for a sedan may never go back to Ford when market trends change again. Because they will. That´s been happening during the whole mankind history. So why wouldn´t it be happening again? Another issue is that in the case of EV´s, sedans will always offer more range than SUV´s or crossovers due to the weight, resistance to the wind and height of the break-even point. You can´t go against the Newton´s Law. Ford/Lincoln should at least have kept one sedan. The Fusion/Mondeo wasn´t selling bad. And there are still many brand new sedans with several other brands.

    Reply
    1. Frank Prickett

      I agree!

      Reply
    2. RWFA

      LoL why trucks and SUV’s?

      Ford is just applying Sutton’s Law to the car biz.

      Sutton: “…because that’s where the money is.”

      Reply
  8. eRock9202

    There’s one aspect people keep forgetting about this whole situation: obesity in the USA. Right, wrong, or indifferent, an obese person is going to have an easier time rolling in and out of a CUV, SUV, or truck than squatting in and out of a sedan. Until this epidemic begins showings signs of subsiding, manufacturers will only have two choices: increase sedan sizes over the next several decades or push your customers to larger vehicles. Once again, right, wrong, or indifferent, it is what it is.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      This is a very good observation.

      (PS I never thought of truck and SUV segments as being the automotive equivalent of sweat pants before. 😉 )

      Reply
    2. Lealand

      there are no lies there. I’m a big guy but I have no problems with passenger cars but a buddy of mine is morbidly obese and I treated him to a ride and drive track day event. He was literally choking when he put a helmet on and rode along in an SS sedan. He was supposed to drive a GT500 but couldn’t even fit in the car with a helmet on. He only really fits in his SUV.

      Reply
    3. Lurch

      Yes, and we can thank the EPA for that. Gas guzzler taxes apply to cars but not trucks. You would pay a penalty if the old school Lincoln Town Car came back, but not if Ford revived the Excursion.

      Reply
  9. MIKE BARANOWSKI

    Bunch of dumb @sses. All they did was hand over all the sales to Honda, Toyota and the rest. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    All they see is quick profits. Not everyone wants a truck or SUV. I am very happy with my Toyota Avalon. Thanks Ford.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      (For a moment I thought I read Solaris.)

      Reply
  10. Mick1

    Sedans, especially AWD like SUV’s could have been a winner.

    Reply
  11. Larry

    It was a big mistake. They should have kept the 2 hybrids they had. The Fusion and the C-Max. They could have major make overs and look like the cars like today. And could electrify them. Toyota has hybrids for over 18 years since the
    Prius came out. Look how many they have now. Ford is only making SUV’s and trucks that I, for one, can’t afford except the Maverick in which only a few people were lucky to get their hands on. When my Focus that I had for 11 years gives out I will buy a Toyota unless Ford screws their head on right.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Ford’s Hybrids existed for 3 main reasons:
      1. To help CAFE
      2. To meet CARB requirements
      3. To keep a hand in the tech and develop an IP portfolio.

      The raison d’être for the hybrids of tomorrow will be quite different than those of yesteryear.

      Reply
  12. Tyrone G

    Ford’s problem was that management was unwilling to have a minimal sedan presence, they could only function if they built all 4 classes of sedans. They killed Focus with thepowershift debacle, but the Fusion has a stellar reputation and strong sales. If management could figure out how to build Fusions and Edges on the same line, like Honda and Toyota will when platforms are the same, they could have kept both lines.

    Reply
  13. Bruce Holberg

    Ford has a limited amount of development money. Do you spend it on platforms in a growing segment or a shrinking segment? That’s a no-brainer. Of course they’d have a bit more cash to spend if they didn’t have to fund all of these recalls and warranty claims. Maybe add Michigan Central Station to that list.

    Reply
  14. Mike says...

    Ford was dying… to survive it had to cut to the chase and build whatever was most profitable. This decision meant abandoning upwards of 20% of the market, not a small number. Good point made earlier that all builders need to contain costs and improve productivity to survive. The F150, Bronco and Maverick will not be the easy turn for ever and change is the only thing that is guaranteed. Obviously Honda, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes and Hyundai et al are doing just fine with sedans in their portfolio. It is foolhardy to criticize traditional car customers for not embracing SUV’s, rather it speaks to Ford’s desperation for abandoning them. Global markets, especially Europe will always want and need small, smart and efficient cars. Similar case for any one, any where that lives in a metropolitan city. Ford is doing well for the moment but it will be temporary at best if they continue their high stakes product ‘segmenting’ strategy. Ford could diversify and become a major part manufacturer and technology leader rather than only a vehicle builder…. now that would be a game changer.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Ford was a major part maker and it almost sank them.

      It was once as diverse as glass, vinyl, climate, chassis, seats, IP, springs, forgings, fuel tanks, electrical, electronics, etc.

      Bundled up as ACG and spun out as Visteon, given a book of business from Ford to help it as it sought business from other OEM’s, failed so badly at that, began decline an dissipation, and nearly failed.

      In order to prevent Visteon’s full collapse, Ford took back some plants into ACH and later sold (also gave) them to its leading component and systems suppliers.

      Visteon eventually filed Ch 11. (Similarly happened with GM/ ACG/ Delphi.)

      Ford has no remaining direct competence in the parts business. It is a vehicle designer, systems integrator, vehicle assembler and marketer.

      To do what you suggest would be an even bigger gamble and dissipative distraction than using the opportunity provided by electrification to consolidate, transform and then regrow the business.

      Reply
  15. Lurch

    I prefer compact hatchbacks. I seriously considered the Focus, including the ST, but the quality just wasn’t there for reasons already mentioned here. Ultimately I went with a Mazda3, formerly a corporate twin of Ford but now gone in its own direction for a few generations. Unless I need a truck, I doubt I’ll ever consider Ford again.

    Reply
  16. Mel Cannon

    Having been born into a family of loyal Ford owners and a Lincoln owner for 30+ years, I went car shopping last week. No left-over new Continentals (Reserve-AWD) to be found anywhere, came home with a new E450 4matic Benz. Sorry Lincoln, I won’t be back until you build something that doesn’t look like a soccer team hauler.

    Reply
  17. Tony

    The untitled green car in the article is a European Focus ST 2.3 Ecoboost 280ps 2WD in manual or auto.

    Reply
  18. Bill

    I can understand leaving the large & compact sedan market. They still should have kept the Fusion going. That segment is still a decent percentage of sales. There are still people wanting mid-sized sedans and not a Bronco Sport because we never leave the pavement.

    Reply
  19. Matt M

    My wife, a Ford employee, is ready to move on from her Continental but she does not want an SUV. She will likely buy from another manufacturer. Not to mention the quality of her continental is abysmal, and the dealerships suck.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Somehow this comment seems implausible.

      Reply
      1. Kerry

        implausible maybe but at least she can now move up to a new Cadillac CT5 to replace the Continental.

        Reply
  20. jerry e

    What I don’t get is Ford does still make sedans… only for Europe & Asia. And they look good & sell well. Why should it be so economically hard to refit a couple of high-end trim models to USA standards and offer them here? Surely if they can make money on relatively low volume Mustang sales, they should be able to do the same on similar volume of high trim Mondeo or Focus hatches.

    Reply
  21. Andy

    So maybe it was the right decision. But it’s not like they redoubled their efforts to the models they kept.

    The Bronco Sport and Escape are turds. The Explorer is a turd. The Edge is on life support. Broncos and Mustangs aren’t high volume vehicles.

    The ironic thing is that Bronco and Mustang are historical names because there was a mass market version the average man could afford.

    Now they are super expensive niche vehicles. They are purposely narrowing the Ford customer base instead of widening.

    Bring the new Chinese Mondeo, Evos and Zephyr here.

    Reply
  22. MarkV

    If Ford can keep producing Mustangs, then Lincoln should have been allowed to keep the Continental in both regular and coach door! Continental is just as much if not more of an icon than the mustang. Besides, leaving the Continentals would have helped with the YTD sales which as we all know needs all the help it can get. So why not utilize the ’24 Mustang and give us a proper long wheelbase Lincoln LS V-8??

    Reply
    1. Lealand

      When the S550 Mustang was in development I remember hearing a rumor the car gained weight in part for a Lincoln variant. When the Polestar 1 came out I kept thinking. Well there goes Lincoln’s Mark XI. What could have been, especially if they had developed a GT350 derivative with all-season tires, a crossplane crank 5.2L V8 hooked to the 10 speed auto. What a fantastic Lincoln that would have been.

      Reply
  23. Mark B

    Another angle to look at, although maybe minor in the overall scheme, is motorsports. For decades, brands showcased their products…mostly cars as the old “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” philosophy. I guess that’s changed? Other than the NASCAR truck series, or possibly the Paris to Dakar or Baja series, most races still seem to be cars. Ford to varying degrees, still completes in car races. With the exception of the Ford GT which is a car, but clearly not for mainstream sales, I guess the Mustang is it.

    The issue with this scenario, is that Ford doesn’t even sell that many Mustangs as a total of it’s entire product line. So, maybe now it’s not a one-for-one, example: I see a Mustang win in NASCAR or the new IMSA GT4 series and it inspires me to buy and Edge, or maybe even an Ecosport? Really?

    I guess marketing products has become far more convoluted than I can ever possibly imagine.

    Reply
  24. Steve

    Many liked the Focus, Focus ST and the Focus RS which they drooped with nothing to replace them. Those sales were lost to other brands. Making an electric vehicle and calling it a Mustang was a big mistake, that car weighs over 6000 lb and is a boat anchor with poor handling not in the tradition of the Mustang as a sports car. They should call it something else.

    Reply
    1. phoneman91

      You are correct–the Mach-E shouldn’t be called a Mustang. Silly marketing. I had at first thought that the Ford ICE cars were cancelled so as not to compete with Ford’s new forthcoming electric cars. But it seems that Ford has no plans at all for sedans. That decision plus the +20 billion invested by Ford in electric vehicles will kill the company in the long term.

      Reply
      1. Sammy

        It should have been called Pinto E instead of Mach E. After all most EV’s catch on fire. Just tradition of the Pinto legacy.

        Reply
  25. david venesky

    Ive owned and still own a Ford galaxie 1959 and wont part with . I was very well built and is a joy to drive now, only on sunny days. A sedan. Ive owned 2 ford gran torino sedans, an 86 crown vic that i just sold for $7500 on craigslist and ive owned a 2012, 2015 and a 2017 ford fusion. Fusion has been the most dependable car Ive ever owned. I have to keep my 2017 because Ford no longer sells them in the USA. Fusion has been trouble free and I have all the technology I could ever ask for. And sinc 3 is fantastic. My next Ford will be a mustang and I hope it will give me the dependability of the fusion. If I could buy the chinese built mondao, I would. Fusion was a fabulous product and I love them . Im not a truck guy as I drove pickups for 30 years and never want to look at another one ever.

    Reply
    1. Joe

      Can you go to China and buy a Mondao or Zephyr and have it shipped back here to the states? I’m sure there could be ways/ loopholes around this.

      Reply

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