The sedans are strong in my family. My father has one. I have one. My sister has one. You probably know someone who owns one too. In five to ten years though, sedan availability is bound to decrease substantially. One of the first casualties of shifting consumer demand may in fact be one of the segment’s top sellers: the Ford Fusion. While we don’t know the fate of Ford’s current midsize just yet, it’s worth exploring the situation the company faces in the near future and beyond.
Launched in mid-2012 for the 2013 model year, the Fusion debuted to significant critical praise for its superlative driving dynamics and its paradigm-shifting design. A number of auto blogs lampooned the sedan for its emulation of the Aston Martin aesthetic, but six years later we know how difficult it is to confuse the Ford with anything from the British automaker. What the automotive armchair quarterbacks ultimately failed to remember was the legacy of the Taurus and how its heritage influenced the new Fusion. Both cars succeeded by distilling the essence of European sedans into a formula palpable to Americans. Additionally, the 2013 Fusion proved the company could develop a competent and modern intermediate world car without the input of Volvo or Mazda.
Unlike its predecessor, the 2013 Fusion did not offer an optional V6 engine. Its replacement was the 2.0 EcoBoost four cylinder, which matched the 3.0 Duratec’s 240 horsepower rating while offering almost fifty additional pounds of torque. The 1.6 liter EcoBoost slotted under its larger displacement sibling as a mid-tier option, and both were also available on the redesigned 2013 Escape, which arrived at Ford dealerships around the same time as the Fusion. The new engines were the first additions to the EcoBoost family after the 3.5 twin-turbo V6, which originally debuted in 2009 with the launch of the Lincoln MKS.
Ford replaced the 1.6 unit with the 1.5 in 2014 and re-introduced a V6 into the Fusion lineup with the 2017 refresh, although that engine is also a member of the EcoBoost family. The Sport model comes standard with the 2.7 liter “Nano” V6, which is rated at 325 horsepower and 380 Ib ft torque.
It’s pretty clear Ford wants the Fusion to be a sort of Swiss Army Knife for all regions and at all the price points in the midsize segment. For the American market, the Fusion has twelve distinct models and six different powertrain options. All wheel drive is available, making the Fusion just one of two cars in the segment that can send power to all four wheels.
As for customization, the only other vehicle in the Ford lineup with more standalone options is the F-150. Want a basic SE with a moonroof and nothing else? No problem. How about an SE with the 2.0 EcoBoost and Cold Weather Package? Sure, why not?
Did you go to the Honda dealer, inquire about an Accord LX with leather, and get laughed out of the showroom? I’ve got good news: the Fusion SE’s Luxury Package does not require you to step up to the highest trim level.
Or perhaps you’ve decided that a fully loaded Fusion is the only car for you, but the higher spec trim level shares its name with the pit bull that mauled your kitten to death back in 1991. Ford can accommodate you! No need to have traumatizing “Titanium” badges plastered all over your car. Check every major option box for an SE and you’ll exceed the price of a base Titanium by about $5,000!
The Fusion’s customization options could probably be cut down a bit. If Fusion sales were still over 300,000 units annually, the cost to offer all those different builds wouldn’t really be a problem. But global demand is shifting to crossovers. The Fusion didn’t fail Ford. The market did.
Those of you who follow the latest developments out of Detroit know that suppliers recently informed the press of a letter sent to them by Ford which basically states that the company cancelled a redesign for the Fusion. They’ve made public their plans to build something else at the Mexican plant that currently builds the sedan while also saying that any future Fusion/Mondeo made in China will not be coming to America. All signs point to Ford withdrawing from the midsize segment. But is that actually going to happen? And is it worth it for Ford to stay in the game that is currently dominated by the Camry, Accord, and Altima?
Any speculation related to development costs for any vehicle currently in production is at best an educated guess since that type of information is basically classified. But the future of the Fusion and other sedans depends on how much it costs to builds them, so lets play a bit of a numbers game. In her book about the third generation Taurus, Mary Walton cites $3 billion as the amount Ford shelled out to develop the car. Perhaps advances in computer aided design enabled Ford to develop the 2013 Fusion for the same amount of money. How much coin does Ford make on every Fusion sold? For our purposes let’s pick $700. The total number of Fusions sold from 2013-2017 is about 1,375,000. Multiply those two numbers and you get 962,500,000. Did Ford make $962 million from the Fusion in five years? If so, the sedan has recouped just under a third of its development budget. Not good numbers. Then again, Ford uses the CD4 platform on multiple vehicles, including several Lincoln models. That helps recoup the investment, but the question is, how much?
If Ford truly loses money on every Fusion sold then obviously it needs to be cancelled. I find it hard to believe this is actually the case. And I’m also not sure abandoning the midsize segment, even if it is in decline, is a good idea. Ford executives probably still lament the absence of a Ranger in the Ford lineup after the previous generation bowed out right before the midsize pickup segment took off. It would be disappointing for Ford to walk away from the segment it revolutionized in 1986.
|Year||Ford Fusion Sales (US)||Ford Edge Sales (US)||Ford Explorer Sales (US)||Ford Escape Sales (US)|
But sales have dropped off precipitously. Ford’s crossover lineup hasn’t absorbed the loss of Fusions sales, but the F-150 did increase sales by 76,000 in 2017. And one sedan sale does not equal one crossover sold. The MSRP on a Fusion S is $22,120 while a base Edge clocks in at $29,220. Do you really think it costs Ford an extra $7100 to build an Edge?
|2018 Fusion||2018 Edge||2018 Escape||2018 Explorer|
|Front Shoulder Room||57.8||60.3||55.9||61.5|
|Rear Shoulder Room||56.9||60.5||55.2||61|
|Front Hip Room||55||55.9||54.5||57.3|
|Rear Hip Room||54.4||57.5||52.4||56.8|
|Front Leg Room||44.3||42.6||43.1||42.9|
|Rear Leg Room||38.3||40.6||37.3||39.5|
|Passenger Volume (cu. ft.)||102.8||113.9||98.7||151.5|
|Trunk Volume (cu. ft.) / Cargo Volume Behind Second Row||16||39.2||34||43.9|
Here’s a different set of numbers. The Edge, closest relative to the Fusion, beats the sedan in every dimension. And take a look at the Escape, which nearly matches the Fusion, except for the second row, but not by a huge margin. Since the prices of the Fusion and Escape match pretty evenly, its likely they’re both being cross shopped. And Ford obviously isn’t the only automaker in America.
Ford has competition from its own lineup, other midsize sedans, rival compact crossovers, and another segment not discussed thus far: compact cars. The current generation of small crossovers achieved refinement parity with midsize sedans years ago. Compact cars are bound to grow in size and become more refined themselves if they haven’t already. Have you seen the upcoming Forte? Intermediate cars are being squeezed from all angles.
If Ford wants to keep playing the midsize game, they’re either going to have to take the Fusion upmarket or downmarket. Or substantially cut costs. There is precedent. The second generation Focus sold only in America from 2008-2011 reflected Ford’s desire to keep costs down by using the same platform as its predecessor. If you go back and read old reviews of that particular Focus, you’ll find that critics generally disliked the styling and found the interior to be lacking quality materials, but praised its driving dynamics and tech offerings.
Ford still has a competitive vehicle in the Fusion. The Accord and Camry may be newer, but all the Ford really needs is a new transmission and some interior upgrades to match them. And perhaps some more standard equipment too. As Paul has pointed out numerous times, the Camry spent fifteen years on the same platform. With the right updates, the Fusion can too.
If the Fusion does end up on the chopping block, it will at least have gone out on a high note. It entered the automotive world in similar fashion. Ford built a proper successor to the Taurus by keeping its mission of bringing European driving dynamics and styling to Americans intact. And in some ways it even aped the bull, by being equally accepted across the pond.
C: When are you going to realize you don’t matter anymore?
M: Maybe not. But something has to.
This brief exchange between smarmy tech bro C and Ralph Fiennes’ M in Spectre really highlights where the Fusion finds itself in the automotive world of 2018. Even if it doesn’t make sense to cancel the sedan, Ford will most likely carry out its mission in an upcoming vehicle. Automakers may currently be hell bent on partially burying the past and the present. And there may be justification in mourning what came before. But enthusiasts of all stripes would be wise not to fall into a complete state of despair, because the future looks mighty interesting.
Excellent analysis and great quote usage from Spectre, even if it is my least favorite of the Daniel Craig Bond films (yes, I even like Quantum of Solace more)
When FCA discontinued the Chrysler 200, I was absolutely shocked. But then I realised Chrysler’s only real global volume brand is Jeep so it made a little more sense. Jeep would still survive even if crossovers fell out of fashion overnight.
But the Fusion?! I mean, yes, the mid-size segment is tough. And yes, it’s barely alive in markets like Australia and the UK. But axing the Fusion? When the Taurus continues to shuffle along, against all odds?!
Despite the scuttlebutt, I’m fairly sure the Fusion will continue and will just switch to a different factory in a different country. The Taurus will get the axe… Apparently even the China-exclusive new Taurus isn’t selling well. I’ve heard the Focus might be pushed upmarket and so I could see the Fusion getting pushed up further too.
Gotta commend Ford for offering that many trim levels and powertrains, by the way, even if it doesn’t make a whole lot of business sense.
Those of you who don’t like crossovers, I have some bad news. They ain’t goin’ anywhere. They’re loved by shoppers, young and old. And what is even more astonishing is how globally they’ve become accepted. Even Europeans are dropping their compact MPVs for crossovers. Markets like India and Brazil love them too. Even the Chinese are getting on board.
Despite this, I still have that lingering feeling crossovers could wane in popularity and that any automaker that drops conventional passenger cars will then be left at a serious disadvantage. The Japanese have been hugely successful because they commit to a segment and somebody who bought a Camry, no matter whether it was in 1985, 1995 or 2005, will know they can still get a Camry and that it will probably be a good buy based on their experience. Imagine if Ford dropped the Fusion, then brought it back in 10 years and had to re-educate the buying public all over again.
You make a good point about Edge profit margins vis-à-vis the Fusion, but the sales stats also show the Edge hasn’t been picking up what the Fusion has lost.
My suggestion for automakers thinking about withdrawing from the mid-size segment? Replace your sedans with jacked-up wagons, à la the Outback. They split the difference between car and crossover by offering car-like styling with crossover-like ground clearance. And, should sedans return to favor, it’s easy to introduce a sedan back to the model line–it’s not like suddenly offering a Grand Cherokee sedan or anything.
Who knows? Outback-style crossovers could be the next big thing.
Exactly. Ford of Europe developed the Mondeo wagon, exactly the same as the Fusion. Bring it to the US, jack it up, put some cladding and call it something like Fusion Country Squire, who knows?
GM has been listening to your suggestion. Witness the new Regal, *not* available as a sedan but available as a fastback-style hatch (a la Audi A7, BMW 4-series Gran Coupe) and as an Outback-style “TourX” wagon. While I prefer my wagons to not have undergone the outdoorsy makeover, I could see a Regal TourX ending up in my driveway a few years from now as there aren’t a lot of better options in wagon-land currently.
Makes me think of this article that ran in Jalopnik yesterday; “Buick thinks half of Regal buyers will get the TourX – If they don’t call it a wagon”
Interesting. In the UK we get the Vauxhall Insignia Sport Tourer as the ‘normal’ version and the Country Tourer which matches the TourX with that extra cladding, all-wheel drive and slightly greater ground clearance (20mm/0.8in).
Like the current Ford Mondeo/Fusion it’s huge though.
The Regal was the first thing coming to mind when I saw William’s comment
Just out of curiosity, what draws you to Quantum of Solace? I don’t remember much about the movie other than the excellent car chase scene in the intro and…that’s pretty much it. I even forgot who the Bond girl was.
That being said, all of the Daniel Craig era Bond films have a baseline quality to them, and he may have even aped Sean Connery as the best 007.
Here is my ranking of all the Craig films:
2. Casino Royale (very close second, but the film spent too much time with the Vesper Lynd stuff at the end)
4. Quantum of Solace
The bond girl actress was Olga Kurylenkyo, with a cameo of the then new Fiat based Ford Ka.
Relatedly, I find the entire Craig era that rebooted the Bond film quite analogous to the reinvention the auto industry had to go through and still finds itself in. Contrary to the glory days, self-reassessment is a crucial element. Also, things won’t be the way they used to be anymore.
And it appears I’m a traditionalist, because besides Casino Royale I’ve found every subsequent Bond installment disappointing. The cars, however, not so much.
An excellent, humorous write up. For some (probably not many, maybe just me), this generation seemed compromised by it’s styling. An Edge looks less appealing to me from the 1st Gen Fusion that I owned than it does from my parent’s 2017 Fusion. The new ones are certainly well-done but I feel like I look up at everything, even Miata drivers, if I have the seat adjusted for my 6 foot frame.
In recent decades manufacturers have offered multiple sedans, each in a narrow range of configurations. In the Fusion Ford may get to the point of offering a single sedan in a wide array of trim levels and powertrains. Suddenly it’s 1959?
Which may not be bad. If you keep everything you have but keep adding new models in new segments you become pre-bankruptcy GM with an impenetrable knot of platform variations.
The other benefit of sticking with this platform for a long term is the chance to continually build on the vehicle’s quality and durability, which is ultimately the only way to have a fair fight with the Japanese nameplates.
“The other benefit of sticking with this platform for a long term is the chance to continually build on the vehicle’s quality and durability…”
Exactly. Do what VW and the Japanese have done, ride the learning curve as far as you can making incremental improvements regularly. make each one better than the last. Soon Ford would have a reputation for a bulletproof car. I think GM should do the same.
After expense all the tooling the marginal cost of another unit is pretty low so profitability should be good too.
Good analysis overall. Midsized sedans are on the downswing presently. Ford’s toying with the idea of axing the Fusion all together now that they have the new CEO.
I’m not convinced Ford *can* or even should go upmarket with Fusion, though. As it is, Fusion’s about the nicest mainstream midsized car in the U.S. market today, especially when you get to the Titanium spec (let alone the Platinum spec, which Ford frankly needs to axe to give Lincoln some breathing room).
I think the bigger issue is that the 2017 refresh was much too light of a refresh. My husband has a 2017 Fusion Titanium, so I can tell the difference between the trims (look at the daytime running lights-higher spec have the light at the top of the light opening, lower spec like a sleepy eye at the bottom) and the 2013-2016 versus the 2017 versions. But, at a quick glance, it’s hard to tell unless you know what you’re looking for.
The market for people that want this version of Fusion is dwindling, because the majority of them have *already* bought one. The same basic car’s been around since 2013, and the current one’s close enough to the previous one (2013 version I mean) that a 2013 or 2014 owner wouldn’t feel there’s enough of a change or upgrade to warrant swapping cars. The 2013s were really nice. The 2017s are really nice.
And taking the cars downmarket? Terrible idea. A big part of why Ford’s had success with it is because Fusion offers a value proposition not available from anyone else in the mainstream midsized field. Taking it downmarket puts it in a league Ford fought for years to get out of.
On a broader note, though, I have grave concerns about the new Ford CEO. Mulally ran a tight ship, and it showed in the company’s products and messaging. The product started to stagnate under Fields at the same time as refreshes lost some of the coherent “Ford DNA” Mulally insisted on.
And now? An Edge ST? Confusion on which products are even going to be around in a year or two? A bunch of stuff that’s been around for five years? The messaging around the Ford brand is getting awfully muddled and confusing, which is telling me the 11th and 12th floors are reverting back to the old days where it was just dogs pissing on trees.
I don’t think the new guy understands brand coherence or DNA at all. I think they’re looking at products in isolation, not as pieces of a brand strategy. I hope I’m wrong, because otherwise Ford’s gonna have a rough time for a minute.
Ford has also gone perhaps too far in the current fad to put the same corporate “face” on every car in the lineup. The Edge, which was pretty striking with the 3-bar grille in its ’07-’15 generation, came out of a major restyle looking rather homely with the new nose styling. It also doesn’t work as well on the current Focus as did that car’s original look for ’11 (except in the RS/ST but that’s a niche model). And over at Lincoln, from the front end it’s basically impossible to distinguish an MKZ from a Continental, which is A Problem.
Regarding the Fusion, I think the question is how long they intend to run this generation. I agree that the 2017 refresh was far too light, though there’s something to be said for not messing with a good thing. But I think that, Camry’s abnormally long generation notwithstanding, if they intend to compete in this segment they can’t run an 8 year product cycle with a light refresh in year five.
The overall look of the current Fusion/Mondeo is very like the 2007 Mondeo, apart from the grille. There are other differences (e.g. the crease line now goes over the front wheelarch rather than blending into it) and it’s larger, but nothing really that obvious.
I forgot how much visual lineage the current Fusion/Mondeo shares with the previous iterations of Mondeo, despite being a totally new platform. I had the opportunity to sit in that vintage of Mondeo when I was at Ford, and I was impressed with it at the time; enough so that I said Ford “should be selling this instead of the Taurus.” Heh, turned out (in some way anyway) others thought similary!
Also, I miss the dragon’s eye look that Ford had going in Europe and gave us with the Fiesta.
Ford has also gone perhaps too far in the current fad to put the same corporate “face” on every car in the lineup. The Edge, which was pretty striking with the 3-bar grille in its ’07-’15 generation, came out of a major restyle looking rather homely with the new nose styling
I agree, in the very un-PC words of Bill Mitchell regarding the lookalike 80s GM designs, “it’s hard to tailor a dwarf”. It’s inaccurate that smaller cars can’t look good, but the underlying truth of that statement applies to the application of styling that works well on one model, and not working well on a model of totally different dimensions/proportions. The sheer look worked great on the early Seville and 77 B bodies, but looked very clunky on the X/N/A/H bodies to follow, same goes for the pure design of the Fusion Fusion and the later spread of it’s themes to everything, from Fiesta to Edge.
However the 3-bar shaver grille look prolipherated the lineup just as badly. Remember circa 2009 when the Fusion, Taurus, Taurus X, Flex, Edge, Expedition and F-series all had it? Even the Crown Victoria was slated to have it, and the Focus and Explorer only differed in the number of bars.
My recollection of the opinions, and indeed my personal opinion, at the time was that the 2013 Fusion was a welcome departure from that theme alone, unfortunately little did we know it would come to proliferate the lineup even worse, even the Mustang wasn’t spared in this cycle.
Note the Crown Victoria did get the 3 bar shaver grille, but only on the 2012 models that were for export to the middle East.
Suffice to say that I’m the kind of curmudgeonly old fart who will be caught in a crossover about thirty seconds before I’m seen in a brougham. I loathe the damned things, compromises that do nothing well. And I’ve owned three SUV’s in my life, two Jeep Cherokees and one Grand Wagoneer. Owned during the housing boom, when my late wife was making her living as a real estate agent. Amazing what you have to go thru when the client wants to see the view from “way over there” in the new subdivision, but wouldn’t consider the prospect of actually walking thru the dirt and mud. Patti’s driving habits on the street drove me to distraction, but damn could she off-road!
I can see reaching the point where I don’t even consider a new car anymore (and based on finances, a new car is rapidly disappearing as a consideration for me), preferring to look at something used that I really WANT to own and drive. And the odds are very good that said car is not going to be one of the current hot sellers.
Sheep, I ain’t. Contrary has always been a much better definition for me.
Enough personal grumping. What I’m seriously questioning with the way the current automakers are leaning, is, “Is it really a wise decision to completely give a still profitable automotive category to the Japanese Big 3?” While I’ll admit, times are a bit different (trucks are running damned close to cars in mileage nowadays), I can still remember the last time Detroit decided the future was “trucks, trucks, trucks, to hell with spending money on those damned cars” – twenty plus years ago. The Japanese were more than happy to keep updating their cars and taking market share while Detroit was laughing all the way to the bank. That year.
Until, all of a sudden, you couldn’t give a pickup truck away (at that time, due to gas prices). And suddenly Detroit is on year twenty of the Cavalier, while the Civic is putting out the best cars Honda ever did.
Due to having to keep the stockholders happy, Detroit has always had a complete inability to look at what’s going to work next month. They’re too fixated on this month, hell, this week.
FCA has already dropped the 200, I’m wondering how much longer the Charger/300 has left. Ford is acting like the Fusion is history, and lots of us have been wondering how much longer the Taurus has left. All GM needs to do is follow the same path with the Malibu and Impala, and we’ve just given the Japanese and Koreans the entire market.
And, if the day comes that suddenly crossovers aren’t hip anymore . . . . . . .
“And, if the day comes that suddenly crossovers aren’t hip anymore . . . . . . ”
Oil is currently cheap and plentiful. I’m curious what FCA will do if oil supplies tighten and prices rise. It seems to me that the market can change very quickly and what will auto companies do when they base their offerings primarily on trucks and crossovers.
Not likely. The US is pumping more than ever, and exporting in growing quantities.
And CUVs are getting mileage not much worse than sedans. And hybrid versions can get really good numbers. It’s not 1980 anymore.
I’m not thinking in terms of oil and fuel mileage, but rather what happens when the day comes that crossovers are as unhip as minivans?
It may not be “cross overs” exactly, but relatively taller vehicles are here to stay, for a number of reasons. The average age of drivers is creeping up all the time, and frankly, they’re just more comfortable. And as AVs become more common, kids are going to be happy to sit in a vehicle that has plenty of space.
Yes, there will be low sedans, but I’m utterly convinced that they’re never going to be the vast majority that they once were. Too many downsides.
I could see Ford going to a one-sedan strategy but that would probably be the Focus, which doesn’t need to grow a single inch in length but needs a serious space-utilization rethink. That could even be a no-sedan strategy taken literally, if the next Focus were hatchback-only, in standard and raised-body versions.
I for one think it would be a mistake to abandon the market that the Taurus made relevant for domestics back in ’86, but money talks. Just the same, I can see the argument. I bought a ’13 Fusion last year as I needed to replace the Crown Vic, didn’t have time to wait for exactly the right car to come along, and didn’t want a crossover because I’m not a fan of SUVs and their ilk. Came to regret that decision a few months later when I found out my wife was pregnant and we found ourselves with a sedan and a coupe. With as much gear as is currently required for a tiny human, even the generously sized Fusion seems a little claustrophobic, and there are times I find myself wishing I’d gone for something like a CX-5 or a Sportage instead (especially since the wife is now driving the Fusion anyway).
Congratulations, Chris. But my advice? Skip the crossover/SUV and just suck it up for a minivan. In my experience one or more children tend to follow a first and if you are the kind who keeps a car for awhile, those kids get bigger and make friends. Having a decent 3rd row plus room for cargo will become huge. Anyone who could be happy with a Crown Victoria should have no trouble transitioning to a minivan, which is no more uncool. 🙂 In fact, is the minivan becoming the full sized sedan of the 2010s?
My sister didn’t listen and bought a Tahoe back in the 90s. She thought it would be plenty big as a replacement for an XJ Cherokee. She eventually traded the Tahoe for a Suburban because they needed the extra room, even with only 2 kids. (OK, need may be a bit strong, but you get what I mean). It is a real freedom to be able to throw small bikes or strollers or whatever in the back, just because you can.
Thanks. I’m 37 and my wife is 36, so while there could be a second (jury’s still out on that one) we’re in mutual agreement that 2 is the limit. And at least right now the minivan seems overkill for just one. Also my wife is of the “wouldn’t be caught dead driving one” mindset. It’s going to be a wait and see game anyhow; the Fusion is staying around for a little while as the first to be replaced will be the now completely impractical Kia, and as that one is paid off, its replacement will be a cash purchase probably of similar vintage (wow daycare is expensive). I’m thinking wagon if I can find a decent one, as I rather like them. When it comes time to move on from the Fusion, now *that* would be the to minivan or not to minivan question…
I would start looking for a used minivan. I am sure your wife will get over it soon enough. I have several friends that had wives or husbands who were of the “would not be caught dead in a minivan” types. A year or two of trying to stuff/remove a butt ton of crap into their sedan or SUV every time they had to schlep little Bobby or Joan somewhere, cured their aversion to a minivan. In fact all of them came to love the things due to it being so much easier to get things/people in and out.
I have no kids or wife but drive a 8 passenger minivan as a semi daily driver (i have a pick up also that I switch back and forth with) and it is so versatile.
Look at a Mazda5 if you are truly adverse to a traditional looking minivan.
The idea of a Mazda5 has crossed my mind more than once. Not easy to find, but then again neither are a lot of other cars on my mental list (Mazda6 wagon, Subaru Legacy GT wagon that hasn’t been flogged mercilessly, Volvo V70 that doesn’t have 829484938 miles on it, etc.)
We “got over it” when we went on vacation and rented a minivan for two weeks in Canada. We were right about the same age as you then and had an SUV and a sedan at the time. It was the perfect way to try it. (With two kids at the time, one a baby) When we returned we started looking for one and bought one. And then another when that one bit the dust. We don’t have either van anymore for various reasons but still consider getting another regularly…
This has been a good discussion about Ford; I hope someone there who matters will read it.
I do not want a sedan, SUV or CUV. I prefer coupes and wagons so what do I know? Ford has nothing for me other than Mustang or a Mondeo wagon (which I can’t get).
Anyway, I read yesterday that the replacement for the current Explorer will be a RWD vehicle and will be introduced for the 2020 model year. The platform will be one that will accommodate RWD, FWD or all AWD.
Could that upcoming platform be the basis for the future Ford sedan (replacing both Fusion and Taurus)?
I read the same article. Seems like that site has a source at Ford that is pretty reliable. I don’t think any of their scoops about Dearborn have been wrong so far.
But those rumors about the new platform have been circulating around the internet for quite some time. Apparently that platform (codename CD6) is meant to underpin everything midsize and up. That leads me to believe the Fusion will stick around and just receive a delayed redesign.
If the CD6 really is for everything midsize and up, that means the Chicago and Ontario plants that build the Explorer and Edge are going to be retooled to accommodate the new platform, and either one could potentially fit the Fusion on their line. So when Hackett was asked what is going to happen to the Fusion if it isn’t being redesigned and not coming from China and he replied “I’m giving you a hint,” he could be talking about Fusion production moving the the US or Canada.
Just a couple of random thoughts:
I had no idea there were 6 different drivetrains available in a Fusion, I thought the number was 4.
I have never tried to “Build and Price” a Fusion much beyond the “basic” models but I sure would like to know how it was possible to come up with some of the examples used to illustrate the volume of available option configurations. In my experience, there is a sort of template somehow built into the “B+P” software that “penalizes” deviation from that template by making you take another option or option group that maybe you weren’t convinced you needed/wanted.
Can someone tell me: is there a reason why car manufacturers now have at least 1 car color they have decided to charge extra for?
Funny that a picture of the Ranger appears in this write-up as all indications are that Ford is about to re-introduce the Ranger as a mid-sized truck. Unlike it’s Chevy competition, the Ranger will only be available with 1 engine and 1 transmission: the 2.3 Eco boost with automatic transmission.
“Can someone tell me: is there a reason why car manufacturers now have at least 1 car color they have decided to charge extra for?”
Because they can and it’s profit. At least at Ford, Mulally’s big thing was allowing people to option up to the stars because each box was more money in Ford’s pocket. The “special” paints are just another function of that. There’s no way it’s costing $595 per car to paint a Fiesta ST in Platinum White or [Whatever the new one is called] Orange.
“Funny that a picture of the Ranger appears in this write-up as all indications are that Ford is about to re-introduce the Ranger as a mid-sized truck. Unlike it’s Chevy competition, the Ranger will only be available with 1 engine and 1 transmission: the 2.3 Eco boost with automatic transmission.”
Not indications, confirmed for 2019, complete with page on Ford.com. They had the Ranger at NAIAS this year, and AFAIK it’s confirmed that they’ll be building them in Wayne at the plant current producing the Focus (production of which is moving to Mexico).
I remember those back even in the 70s. Ford had “Metallic Glow” colors then. My mother came close to buying a 74 Gran Torino painted in “Ginger Glow” that was an extra cost color. “It is a special paint that never needs waxing” according to the salesman. Oh yes, how many times have we heard that one.
The next-generation Focus for North American will be produced in China. Any performance versions will be sourced from Europe.
2.5 NA I4: base engine
1.5 Ecoboost I4: extra cost option on base/SE (not much more power on the 2.5 but gets better mileage)
2.0 Ecoboost I4: standard on titanium, extra cost option on SE
2.0 NA I4 + Electric: standard on Hybrid
3.0 Ecoboost V6: standard on Sport, not available elsewhere
That’s five. Not sure what the sixth is.
I watched Alex Dykes review the Fusion Energi the other day, and he considers the Hybrid and plug-in electric Fusion variants to be separate powertrains, and I agree with that categorization.
I totally forgot about the Energi. So that’s six indeed.
The Ranger is scheduled to get the same diesel as used in the Transit, it like the Colorado diesel is just coming post launch.
I can sort of understand why the sedan market seems to be dying.
I have a 2008 Ford Focus. It’s a blast to drive. But, I can’t put anything in the trunk.
I went to buy a plastic tote from Wally World and it won’t fit in the opening to get in the trunk.
Every new (to me) car I looked at had the same issue. The actual opening is to small to actually put anything in that comes in a decent sized box.
So last week I bought a Kia Soul It was the closest thing I could find to a station wagon. It’s technically considered an SUV
The “decent sized trunk with tiny opening” is a plague brought on by the current vogue towards fastback styling. Finally manufacturers are seeing the light and just making the damn things functional hatchbacks (Kia Stinger, Buick Regal, BMW 4-series gran coupe, others).
Our Kia Forte Koup actually has a generous trunk for being a compact 2-door, but the opening is sized such that you can’t fit anything remotely large into it.
I noticed the fast back being part of the issue.
I drove the salesman nuts at a Chevy dealer. I didn’t drive anything without looking at the trunk first.
I don’t think he understood my problem.
It’s not just for shopping either. Putting a cat carrier or cooler anything in the car is difficult. And there just aren’t any inexpensive station wagons built anymore
And there just aren’t any inexpensive station wagons built anymore
There are, they just call them “crossovers”. I’ve long said that the modern CUVs are pretty much station wagons that the manufacturers don’t want to call station wagons. They might be a bit higher, and have more SUV-like styling, but in terms of their design and purpose they’re station wagons.
Lots of online hand wringing, not just here, but it’s reality.
One reason, posted above, for buyers going to Utes: “I can’t put anything in the trunk.”
I think Buick Regal is the ‘test market’ for seeing if wagons can sell, and Ford could bring Mondeo wagon/hatch to replace Fusion sedan.
The car business is in the biggest period of change and upheaval since Henry’s Model T. It may not seem like a crisis, because they’re all making money, but it is, and Ford is in the worst position of the Big Three. Just look at their stock, which has been drooping all year, compared the strong growth in both GM’s and FCA’s stock. The stock market is all about predicting/anticipating the future, and Ford’s looks the dimmest of the three.
Ed, I appreciate your attempts to divine the profits of the Fusion, but it’s a bit more complex than that. Here’s the bottom line: scale, and transaction prices.
Scale is essential, especially so in a vehicle that doesn’t have a high intrinsic profit margin. Unless you can build a sedan like the Fusion in steady 300k+ or so units per year, with a dedicated big and ultra-efficient factory, like the three Japanese do, you’re screwed. There’s simply no way to succeed. Toyota, Honda and Nissan are steadily elbowing out the competition because they have the scale and ultra-efficiency to do so, even at very aggressive pricing levels.
Marchionne saw that some years ago, and that’s why he wisely got out. He knew there was no his sedans could ever compete with Camcordia without that massive scale. And now Ford is realizing the same thing. Maybe they can eke out a bit of profit, but it’s just a distraction. There are so many competing demands on automakers now with EVs and AVs and mobility and everything else, the only smart thing is to focus your attention on what is really critical, not what appeals to a dwindling group of buyers.
Ford needs to slim down very substantially; their overhead is out of line with their income. So eliminating marginal programs, even if they still sell moderately well, has become an essential matter. Ford is in crisis, and it will be interesting to see how they navigate it the next 5 years or so. GM is in much better shape, and FCA is making as much or more profit as Ford, hard as that might be to believe. Ditching their sedans was one of the smartest things FCA did, and Ford is undoubtedly seeing the writing on the wall with the Fusion.
Thanks for this response Paul, I envy your knowledge of the auto industry.
Regarding scale: isn’t the movement towards modular platforms supposed to mitigate the effect of scale on per unit profit as it relates to vehicle manufacturing? Toyota’s TNGA, Volkswagen’s MQB, and Subaru’s new modular setup make me think that developing a diverse group of vehicles isn’t as hard as it used to be. Although this could be related to your points about efficiency as it relates to Ford.
I’m now wondering if the opportunity cost of continuing the Fusion is just too high when they could utilize a plant for something else. And I’m sure Ford’s relationship with their suppliers is another issue. My understanding is that the Americans car companies typically have a less harmonious relationship with their suppliers compared to the Japanese.
Modular “platforms” reduce development costs of some of the crucial components. but there’s a whole lot else that goes into each specific car than some of these shared components.
So by “scale” I mean the actual manufacturing, which is the bulk of the cost. As well as purchased components (supply chain), advertising, marketing, parts support, compliance, etc… All these costs have to be divided over the number of units .If the profit margin per unit is low, it’s an iffy proposition.
My key point is that modest volumes work with a higher profit vehicle, but not with a commodity sedan. The only way to make a commodity sedan work anymore is to have really massive scale. Toyota, Honda and Nissan will do whatever it takes (in terms of incentives) to keep their massive factories running at high utilization rates. Without that, it just isn’t working anymore.
Ok, thanks for the clarification. Everything you just said makes a whole lot of sense, and I’m guessing most consumer products operate in a similar way.
No wonder sedan sales are down! Just look at the size of the trunk lid in the past 15 – 20 years in the Mid-size category, – it keeps shrinking to the point of not being usable! (Exhibit A – Ford Taurus from year 2000 vs. Exhibit B – current Ford Fusion). That’s why consumers are abandoning sedans and moving to crossovers. And manufacturers are laughing all the way to the bank!
According to an article on Bloomberg.com, a Ford “insider” has said that the debate within Ford is whether to ditch the Fusion entirely, or move it upscale so that it can sell in smaller volumes but at higher prices.
If the car survives, Ford cannot continue to offer the current level of options, colors and trim levels. That is not sustainable.
If the Fusion continues, a Lincoln version would still share the platform. Ford would also most likely take a page from Honda’s playbook. The current CR-V, Civic and Accord all share the same basic platform, which no doubt spreads costs over a wider base.
At this point, the Fiesta and Taurus are definitely going away in North America. The North American Focus will be made in China. If the Fusion is discontinued, that leaves Ford Division with two passenger car offerings in North America – the Mustang and the Focus. That seems hard to envision, but anything is possible these days.
I don’t see how they can move it upmarket successfully. They already offer it in Lincoln-level trim versions. And they still have the problem of scale.
My bet is that they ditch it altogether. They don’t have the scale to successfully compete against Toyota, Honda and Nissan, who are muscling the weaker cars out of this segment by their huge scale and resulting efficiencies.
By move it upmarket I think they are meaning that they are dropping the lower trim models, not that they are truely going to go beyond the Titanium level of trim. Around here the top trims seem to make up a good portion of the sales already, particularly on the Hybrid, Energi and AWD versions.
Yeah, my understanding matches this assessment. Ford might just drop the base model for more well equipped trim levels.
The problem is still about scale. if they can’t keep the factory utilization rate high enough, theta strategy will fail. And the evidence suggests that retail demand for the Fusion, even the high trim models, is weak. That really is the essence of the whole problem; low retail demand.
I haven’t heard of any talk of the Mustang getting the ax, and I can’t imagine they sell nearly as many Mustangs as Fusions. It’s going to an even more boring automotive future if a car that sells ~200k units a year is too low of volume.
I would imagine moving it upscale might mean making it a bit nicer, and then raising the price a bit more above that to try to make it more profitable. For whatever reason, it never seemed like the Fusion was big in the fleet market, so there probably isn’t much of a reason to keep those lower trim levels around.
You keep talking about scale but the fact is the Fusion made up 50% of the sales of vehicles on that platform in 2017 after all was said and done.
According to the numbers Mike posted above the Hybrid and Energi made up at least 25% of the Fusion’s volume and the CAFE and ZEV credits they generate have some value either for sale or banking for their own use later. Around here the Hybrid and Energi are pretty popular and they skew heavily to the Titanium trims with a good bit of other added options.
I think long term they do need to do a lot of rationalization of the Fusion from cutting the permutations offered to returning to a longer life cycle. There was a time when the majority of their car platforms were on a 10 year cycle with a refresh at the 5 year mark. The Fusion marked a departure with the first gen lasting from 2006-20012 with a refresh in 2010 and the current gen being scheduled to run from 2013-2020 with the refresh in 2017. As you’ve said many times it is all about the volume and returning to a 10 or maybe even 12 year cycle for the basic body shell would go along way to improving profitability.
Todd: The Mustang is a special case. While the Ford GT may be the equivalent of the Corvette on the international racing circuit, when it comes to domestic sales Mustang is Ford’s Corvette. The Camaro can disappear with a minimum of wailing (as it has done in the past). Ford risks doing a lot of image damage if they stop the Mustang. And, as the Probe days showed, there’s some very definite standards as to what is a Mustang.
Likewise, there are very definite standards as to what makes a Corvette. The more that I hear that the C8 is going to be a radical change in that concept, the more I hear that GM is going to hedge their bets by keeping the C7 in production, too.
I see both cars being kept on as long as they’re at least a break-even proposition. And even if they dip slightly on the wrong side of the ledger, there’s a lot of F-150 and Silverado profits to subsidize them.
It will be interesting to see the route that Ford takes. No doubt GM is watching this closely. The new Chevrolet Malibu hasn’t set the world on fire with its sales, even thought it’s hardly a bad car.
I can see the lower heights alone turning passenger cars into a niche. I love the way my 2017 Honda Civic EX sedan rides and handles, but everyone – including my wife – has remarked about “how low it is” when they enter.
It’s to the point where I really can’t ask my 83-year-old father to ride in it. We have to use our 2014 Escape.
Yet my soon to be 91 y.o. uncle only drives sedans. Sonata Hybrid replaced Genesis after he got rear ended in the traffic jam.
Also to be considered are the S. Korean offerings. I was at the Auto Show this last weekend and was really impressed with the Sonata/Optima lineups. Really good looking cars with every bit the fit and finish and technology of any of their competitors. They were missing some of the accident avoidance features but the equipment available for much less money was very impressive. Hyundai/KIA also have a pretty amazing performance sedan with the Stinger that is coming soon. They have to be siphoning off sales in the midsize category. The cars were getting a lot of look over and door slams at the show.
What about the future of Ford’s hybrids and plug-in hybrids? Ford’s C-Max hybrid was meant as their Prius-fighter. But it never sold well. Green Car Reports says they’ve already terminated the C-Max plug-in and the hybrid is going very soon.
Hybrid and plug-in Fusions are their only other hybrids. GCR says they sold 50K hybrid Fusions and 8K plugins in the first 10 months of 2017, not bad compared with 90K Priuses in the same period. It’s got to help their CAFE numbers.
I suppose they’ll last until the Ford Model E series comes out next year, which is rumored to include pure EV and hybrid drivetrains, in compact and crossover forms. Model E is one of several big bets they have on the future.
(By the way, when Tesla announced a Model E to go with their Models S and X (SEX, get it?) Ford threatened to sue over the name. So Tesla reversed the E into a 3.)
I suppose they’ll last until the Ford Model E series comes out next year, which is rumored to include pure EV and hybrid drivetrains, in compact and crossover forms. Model E is one of several big bets they have on the future.
From reports I have read, an electric CUV will be built in the plant in Mexico that currently builds the Fiesta starting in mid calendar 2020.
I believe that I’ve heard that Ford is working to revive Escape Hybrid, after seeing success of RAV-4 and since Nissan Rogue is also available as a hybrid, at least in the States.
Canada doesn’t get Rogue Hybrid nor Avalon Hybrid, nor Buick TourX.
This is correct. Escape hybrids and plug-in hybrid test mules have been spotted around Detroit.
That makes sense. The first-gen Escape Hybrid was the first US full hybrid when it came out as a 2005 model. Ford developed all the hybrid technology themselves, and ended up cross-licensing some patents with Toyota to cover technology overlaps. I know someone who bought one and he had a good experience with it. I was surprised and disappointed when they dropped it.
Yes there is no 2018 C-Max Energi and the order book closed on the Hybrid version last week. While not a bad car it missed its window of opportunity as people quickly forgot about $4 gal gas prices.
I do expect them to put the Hybrid power train back in the Escape because it was dropped in part to allow the C-Max some breathing room. Ford is probably noticing Toyota’s success with the RAV-4 Hybrid too.
But the fact remains that the Fusion did make up a good chunk of the use of that e-CVT that Ford invested a lot of money to design and tool up to build in house. (Interestingly with the Ford units disappearing from the Asin factory Toyota has abandoned the Prius’ linear architecture and adopted the parallel architecture used by all of the generations of Ford e-CVTs) So stopping production completely or limiting the vehicles it is offered in will put pressure on fully amortizing those costs.
However Wall St largely ignores “one time” write offs, and I believe that the announcements of the impending death of the Fusion was largely related to the then impending release of lower than expected results. In other words they announced that they may be dropping it to cushion the blow to the stock price they were expecting from the disappointing results.
My father in law suggested a Fusion when we were looking for a newer Focus last year, the lack of a manual transmission killed that option for us. But obviously when Ford axed the manual in the Fusion they weren’t too worried about me and the other 45 people who would want one two years later.
To be honest if we’re stuck with an auto box we would go for a Edge over a Fusion, so they may well axe the whole thing. I wonder what Pa will drive for his demo when it’s gone? He drove a Crown Vic forever, then briefly a Taurus and it’s been Fusions for the last few years.
Fortunately for Ford, F-150 is The Franchise.
Sadly, perceptions being what they are, and human nature being what it is, it’s going to take YEARS of excellence from not just Ford but GM too – COMBINED with years of trust-killing debacles and missteps from Honda/Toyota before perceptions change in the mass-market midsize sedan segment.
And I don’t see that happening. Even though it’s easily arguable that the bloom has long ago fallen off Toyota’s and Honda’s rose, they’ve done enough things right since their peak days in the early 90s, that Camcords will remain the default choice for a midsize sedan.
Even if the Fusion is better.
I expect GM is watching and weighing their options as this all plays out.
Some excellent comments, all around. Paul’s in particular about cost reminds us of Marchionne’s comments shortly before he announced the Dart/200 would be dropped: FCA does not have the resources to develop a “full line” of vehicles.
The big three are seeing CUV sales increasing and sedan sales stagnant or falling, so they feel they need to offer a CUV in every size category. Developing both a CUV and a sedan in every size category would be stunningly expensive, so they cull the sedans and go where the growth is by concentrating resources on CUVs.
Ford is so hot to offer more trucks and CUVs that they are federalizing old product. The Ranger has been in production since the 2011 model year and the Ecosport has been around since the 2013 model year.
Ford is so hot to offer more trucks than Wayne Assembly will need to be shut down within a few months to reconvert it from building a unibody platform back to BoF for the Ranger. That retooling will take a year, just as it has at FCA’s Sterling Heights plant to convert from the 200 to Ram pickups. Meanwhile, the next gen Focus isn’t due to start production in China until 2019, so Ford will go a year with no Focus production.
Speaking of the next gen Focus: word is it will be longer, with a longer wheelbase. I already have trouble recognizing at a glance a Focus sedan vs a Fusion because they look so much alike. Making the Focus even larger will narrow the difference more.
Pix of thinly disguised samples of the next gen Focus reveals it has, for the first time ever, the gas filler on the left. On a hunch, I looked up the specs for the current Mazda3. Sure enough, the current Mazda3 has a longer wheelbase and longer overall length than the current Focus, and the current Mazda3, for the first time ever in the history of the 3, has the gas filler on the left. My hunch is Mazda is becoming as much a development house as a car manufacturer as we now have Mazda2s badged as Toyotas and Miatas badged and Fiats. I would not be surprised if the next gen Focus is nothing but a reskinned Mazda3, because licensing the platform from Mazda would leave more money for Ford to use developing more CUVs and trucks. Then the only question is, after a year of shoving Fiesta buyers (the Fiesta is also clearly a dead duck in the US) into Ecosports and shoving Focus buyers into Escapes, will Ford even bother restarting marketing of the Focus?
Remember when Marchionne said the Dart and 200 were being dropped? He said at that time that Dart/200 production would be restarted as soon as a “partner” could be found to build them cheap enough. The Dart was already in production in China, badged as a Fiat. The US Dart/200 tooling could have been moved to China and the cars built cheaper, Never happened. The Chinese version, the Viaggio, was also dropped and the plant was converted to build more Jeeps.
Of course, the end of the Fusion in North America would also spell the end of the MKZ and Continental as the Lincoln iterations, with their tiny volume, would be uneconomic on their own.
So, there you have the 2020 Ford lineup: Ecosport, Escape, Edge, Explorer, Expedition, Ranger and F series, and their Lincoln iterations.
Just because the filler on the new Focus is moved to the same side as the Mazda 3 is not enough evidence that Ford is going to use the Mazda 3 platform. I very strongly doubt that, as the Ford and Mazda partnership is well over, and Mazda is now well in Toyota’s extended family.
Just because the filler on the new Focus is moved to the same side as the Mazda 3 is not enough evidence that Ford is going to use the Mazda 3 platform.
I agree the evidence, the filler location and the Focus supposedly growing a bit longer wheelbase and length, all shared with the Mazda3, is thin, but it wouldn’t be the first time Ford has bought a car from a direct competitor to fill a slot Ford did not give a high priority to, like the rebadged Nissan Quest they sold several years ago. Then there is Toyota sticking it’s badge on a Subaru.
The Focus even looks a little like the Mazda3
The Focus is still a big seller in Europe. The Chinese-North American Focus will share the same basic platform with the European Focus, from what I’ve read. There is likely enough volume that Ford doesn’t have to share a platform with another manufacturer to make it feasible.
The new Fiesta is a rebody of the previous one. Since the outgoing Focus is, like its little brother, already an excellent car that doesn’t require much intrinsic redevelopment, it stands to reason Ford will save cost in the same manner.
Then there is Toyota sticking it’s badge on a Subaru.
Because Toyota owns a big chunk of Subaru, right?. Mazda, and Subaru are both part of the Toyota alliance, right?. I don’t see them selling Ford anything anymore. Those days are pretty much over. It’s not in Toyota’s interest. They’re out to dominate the sedan market, and they’re well on their way.
Ford still owns about 2% of Mazda, the last I heard so the ties are completely broken.
While Toyota is certainly set on keeping the best selling car crown on the Camry’s head and are willing to do pretty much anything to keep it they are a global supplier through subsidaries or companies they have a large stake in. Their Aisin and Denso companies continue to sell to the likes of GM and Ford.
So no I don’t think they are going to try and rule the world by not selling competitors product whether it is components, shared development or complete vehicles. As long as they make a profit at it it would be silly to do otherwise.
Toyota is the new GM in so many ways, from fleet dumping to give the Camry the lead in the final month of 2017 to providing components to anyone willing to purchase them through their subsidiaries or companies they control.
scoutdude: how much do you want to bet the next Focus will/will not be Mazda 3 based?
Mazda, and Subaru are both part of the Toyota alliance, right?. I don’t see them selling Ford anything anymore.
While Toyota and Mazda have had a technology sharing agreement for several years, because Toyota wants Mazda’s “Skyactiv” engine technology, the capital investment was not announced until August 2017, almost certainly years after Ford had defined the 2019 Focus platform, so a Mazda/Ford platform sharing arrangement would have predated Toyota’s capital investment, when Mazda was willing to sell or license just about anything to bring in some cash.
While the Chinese JV, Changan Ford Mazda, was split a few years ago, both Ford and Mazda remain partnered with Changan in separate entities. An agreement to share a Changan production line between Mazda3 and Focus would have also predated the Toyota capital investment, and given both parties a greater volume over which to amortize the tooling expense.
There would be nothing wrong with a Mazda3 based Focus. I have had a bone to pick with Mazda styling ever since the end of the Protege5 in 2003, but every review I see raves about Mazda road manners. A Mazda with less tortured styling and a Ford badge would be on my short list, but, as I speculated above, we may well never see it.
In this article on Toyota’s investment on Mazda, and Mazda’s investment in Toyota, Mazda management claims they retain complete autonomy, which would imply the ability to make other agreements with other companies, rather than be a complete slave to Toyota, for a paltry 5% equity stake.
scoutdude: how much do you want to bet the next Focus will/will not be Mazda 3 based?
lol….I was going to suggest, if I were a betting man, a ticket to the Packard Plant tour, not insignificant as they charge $40/person, but I’m not a betting man, so I didn’t suggest it.
@ Paul I didn’t say that the next Focus was going to be 3 based, just that I wouldn’t rule out Mazda platforms showing up outside of the companies that Toyota currently owns outright or has significant interest in. You keep talking about scale and scale is something that Mazda has struggled with for some time.
Just like GM in the 70’s Toyota makes money on the sales of so many mfg’s cars. Denso and Aisin products are everywhere. The list of auto mfgs that don’t use at least some of their products is much shorter than those that do.
Ford did not rebage the Nissan Quest, it was a joint venture and they used a number of “Ford” components or components not used on any other Nissan.
A little more to chew on wrt the Mazda3/Focus possibility:
-the next gen Mazda3 is due for introduction in 2019, same year as the next gen Focus.
-pic of a Mazda3 mule with the current gen body on the next gen platform. You can see how the gas filler has been moved forward and up from it’s position on the current car. The leading edge of the relocated filler door is almost directly above the wheel hub.
As close as I could find of a broadside shot of the new Focus. The gas filler is mounted high, with the leading edge of the door almost directly above the wheel hub, just like the Mazda.
The Edge (and Lincoln MKX) currently share the CD4 platform with the Fusion. So if that whole platform goes away, Ford needs to whip up a new CUV to slot between the Escape and the Explorer.
Also, if they completely prune the CD4 platform, I’d argue Lincoln dies with it as a brand. Take away the MKZ, Continental, and MKX and you have a brand with only two models: the small MKC and huge Navigator.
The Edge (and Lincoln MKX) currently share the CD4 platform with the Fusion. So if that whole platform goes away, Ford needs to whip up a new CUV to slot between the Escape and the Explorer.
Eliminating the sedan variant does not imply elimination of the CD4 platform, just the elimination of the costs associated with making a sedan variant, the same way as two door and station wagon versions of 4 door sedans were killed by most manufacturers years ago.
FCA dropped the Dart and 200, but the Cherokee, which is on the same platform, carries on.
Great analysis and points for discussion Edward!
You raise some excellent questions that I honestly don’t have any quantitative answers to.
I don’t see the Fusion going away in the next few years, but after that who knows. Regardless of the Fusion’s profit margin and declining sales of the overall midsize segment, there is still a strong demand for midsize sedans and the Fusion remains a strong seller and a competitive entry.
While CUVs/SUVs are more popular now, until they outnumber sedans by a wide margin I don’t think they are going anywhere anytime soon. We’ll have to see what the long-term future holds.
It will certainly be interesting to see how it shakes out, but so will the apocalypse, which I’d also prefer to not personally witness.
It is very interesting to point out Fusion, a good product with various packages including powerful engine, hybird and all-wheel drive, is failed at the market. One thing did not mention the public perception about reliability of Ford products in general. This is why Camry and Accord, with low interest finance, good reliability and strong resale value march to triumph. As Edge which comes from Fusion, it has even lower sale despite it is a midsize SUV and highly rated by consumers report. To make matter, Edge is not seen as common as Fusion in government fleet.
The way this discussion is going brings my mind to the early years of auto production in the USA. Car brands were kit cars. The Dodge brothers made parts for Ford. Cars were assembled from parts made for and used on multiple brands.
Are we heading for something like that? Ford makes the trucks and other brands sell the vehicle with some distinction added or subtracted to make it different. Toyota makes the cars. Subaru makes the CUVs. Ford & GM share and developed nine and ten speed automatic transmissions; will all manufacturers use them?
It does not sound inviting. Glad I’ve got my ’90s real, distinctive cars that I plan to keep for decades because I don’t like what I am feeling from this thread.
I’ve fantasized about something like this for some time, as there’s no real reason for corporate platform differentiation anymore, as the principals of what makes a good chassis/suspension are even more homogenous than the exterior designs now a days. If there were a basic chassis supplier all automakers could use, they could simply package their unique sheetmetal interiors and drivetrains(though, many of them are mighty homogous as well) to it. Maybe we could even buy the chassis direct and have a body 3D printed any way we wanted!
Back to reality however, the trouble is it was easier for coach builders to build a body when all they had to conform to was a simple ladder frame, and not a monocoque. Not to mention the various certification and regulatory burdens they’d still have to contend with.
Speaking of the death, or not, of the sedan,
Eating lunch in the Wendy’s in Plymouth last week, I saw a 4 door sedan, completely swathed in padded, flat black, camo drive by. Given events of the last year, it almost certainly was not a Mopar or Ford. Nissan, Toyota and Hyundai all have development centers in the area, so it could have been from one of them.
My hunch is, it was a 2019 Impala, in spite of the Impy being on GM’s “status review” list. The Impy is expected to be on the same platform (stretched Epsilon) as the LaCrosse, which was released a year ago. The LaCrosse, alone, does not have anywhere near the volume needed to justify it being a one-off for that platform, so, in spite of rumors to the contrary, looks like the Impy may carry on, if, for no other reason, to add enough volume to recover the investment in the platform.
No, I will not “bet” on this either.
I bought my first car over 42 years ago; it was a 2 door sedan. A few years later I briefly owned a 4 door Alfa, and over ten years later (also briefly) owned a BMW 528. That’s it, no other sedans, though several 2 door hatchbacks, one 4 door hatch (Prius, not really a sedan, right?), a couple of wagons, an SUV, a 2 seater, and a few pickups. Sedans? I don’t know, whether as a single guy, a family man, and now with an empty nest, they never seemed relevant. My wife had two cars before we started making joint automotive decisions, and she never owned a sedan either.
The Fusion became the Mondeo or vice versa, UK car program fith gear put the Fusion/ Mondeo around a track and were quite disappointed in it, all the dynamic abilities of the older model Mondeo were gone, it simply didnt steer well anymore.
After 5 trucks, I’m back to sedans. Ford’s next Focus is being built in China. They dropped the Fiesta in the USA. An F150, won’t fit in my driveway. But, everything’s so expensive. We pay the most for everything in this corner of the US. But most people don’t know or care. I’ve owned a Ford hat for 40 years. They’ve built the best 4 cylinders for many years. What I read in forums,. Quantum,, is supposed to be a *Direct* Sequel to *Casino Royale*. It starts with a chase. I thought the recent 007 films. Have advanced his story,,plot line much faster. “Skyfall* was tough, seeing it in the theater. But all he needs his Aston DB, his Walther PPK, & another ,, job for Queen & Country. cheers 🙂