On Wednesday, Ford announced a new, more aggressive cost-cutting plan that will have a significant impact on its U.S. product lineup.
110 years after it began production of the first mass-market automobile, the Model T, Ford is exiting the mainstream passenger car market in the U.S. and Canada.
In the next few years, Ford will discontinue sales of the Fiesta, Fusion and Taurus and standard hatchback and sedan versions of the Focus. The Focus Active, a compact quasi-crossover, will be the sole version available here.
The Mustang will be the only traditional car to remain in Ford’s North American product line and the only non-truck built in the U.S.
The announcement came during the company’s first-quarter financial report.
“… Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America. Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles –the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year. …”
The Fiesta, Focus and Fusion will remain in production at foreign plants for sale in other markets, but it is likely the Taurus has reached the end of the road.
While only Ford-branded cars were covered in the announcement the future of any Lincoln cars is dim. The MKZ and the Continental share the Fusion platform, which is being moved to China. Lincoln’s U.S. car sales were down nearly 32% at the end of the first quarter. It currently ranks eighth among premium automakers with less than half the deliveries of rival Cadillac.
Ford currently gets about 70% of its total turnover from crossovers, SUVs and the F-series pickup, about the same percentage as Lincoln gets from its utilities.
The new plan aims to reduce Ford’s costs by $25.5 billion by 2022. The goal of the earlier plan was $14 billion. The company says it will bring its profit margin up to 8% by 2020, two years earlier than previously expected.
Investors seemed to be pleased with the more aggressive plan. Ford stock was up 2.7% to $11.41 in after-hours trading.
Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the site contact form.