Ford gives sedans chop in US

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

FORD Aus­tralia plans to con­tinue with its pas­sen­ger sedan and hatch­back line-up, de­spite an an­nounce­ment last week by its par­ent com­pany that it plans to drop such ve­hi­cles from the North Amer­i­can range in the next few years.

In the United States, the only pas­sen­ger mod­els to be re­tained will be the Mus­tang and a cross­over ver­sion of the all-new Fo­cus, called Ac­tive, due next year.

This means cars such as the Taurus large sedan – once Amer­ica’s topselling car – plus the mid-sized Fu­sion, Fi­esta light hatch­back and most of the Fo­cus small-car range will be given the chop, along with some slowselling mod­els from Ford’s pre­mium Lin­coln range.

Be­cause Ford North Amer­ica is planning to im­port the Fo­cus Ac­tive from China, the Mus­tang will be the only pas­sen­ger car made in the home of Ford, with all other plants in the US, Canada and Mexico turn­ing out SUVS, trucks and vans.

In Aus­tralia, Ford is also planning to put most of its mar­ket­ing ef­fort into pop­u­lar ve­hi­cles such as the Ranger ute, SUVS – Ever­est, Es­cape, Ecosport and up­com­ing En­dura – plus the Mus­tang sportscar and Tran­sit com­mer­cial van.

Ford Aus­tralia plans to im­port the next-generation Fo­cus from Europe start­ing late this year, along with one sporty ST vari­ant of the lat­est-generation Fi­esta. It also plans to con­tinue with the mid-sized Mon­deo from Europe for the fore­see­able fu­ture.

Be­cause Mon­deo is closely re­lated to the Amer­i­can Fu­sion, which is about to be axed, it re­mains to be seen if the busi­ness case for a nextgen­er­a­tion Mon­deo can be made in a world mad about SUVS.

Mon­deo sales in Aus­tralia are down 35.8 per­cent so far this year, to 543 units, mak­ing it the sixth best-sell­ing Ford ve­hi­cle be­hind the Ranger, Mus­tang, Fo­cus, Ever­est and Es­cape.

Ford pres­i­dent and chief executive Jim Hackett said his com­pany was com­mit­ted to taking ap­pro­pri­ate ac- tions to drive prof­itable growth and max­imise the re­turns of the busi­ness over the long term.

“Where we can raise the re­turns of un­der­per­form­ing parts of our busi­ness by mak­ing them more fit, we will,” he said.

“If ap­pro­pri­ate re­turns are not on the hori­zon, we will shift that cap­i­tal to where we can play and win.”

Ford said that by 2020, al­most 90 per­cent of the Ford port­fo­lio in North Amer­ica would be trucks, SUVS and com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles.

“Given de­clin­ing con­sumer de­mand and prod­uct prof­itabil­ity, the com­pany will not in­vest in next gen­er­a­tions of tra­di­tional Ford sedans for North Amer­ica,” Mr Hackett said.

“Over the next few years, the Ford car port­fo­lio in North Amer­ica will tran­si­tion to two ve­hi­cles – the best­selling Mus­tang and the all-new Fo­cus Ac­tive cross­over com­ing out next year.

“The com­pany is also ex­plor­ing new ‘white space’ ve­hi­cle sil­hou­ettes that com­bine the best at­tributes of cars and util­i­ties, such as higher ride height, space and ver­sa­til­ity.”

Ford has also re-com­mit­ted to elec­tri­fy­ing its range, adding hy­brid pow­er­trains to high-vol­ume ve­hi­cles such as the F-150 pick-up, Mus­tang, Ex­plorer large SUV, Es­cape and Bronco.

The com­pany’s bat­tery elec­tric ve­hi­cle roll­out starts in 2020 with a per­for­mance utility, and it will bring 16 bat­tery-elec­tric ve­hi­cles to mar­ket by 2022.

The com­pany also an­nounced it now wanted to achieve its tar­geted eight per­cent profit mar­gin by 2020, two years ear­lier than pre­vi­ously an­nounced.

BLOWN FUSE: Ford’s Fu­sion will be one of sev­eral sedans to be dis­con­tin­ued in North Amer­ica, throw­ing a ques­tion mark over the long-term vi­a­bil­ity of the closely re­lated Euro­pean-built Mon­deo.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.