Remember how the automotive industry shook when news came out that Ford was cutting virtually all of its traditional car lineup (minus Mustang?) Taurus, Fusion, Focus and Fiesta were all cosigned to the guillotine, with the company revealing that it was focusing the bulk of its resources and marketing power on SUVs, trucks and electric vehicles. Have you ever wondered why Ford chose to make the bold move it did? A new statement from a Ford executive appears to add some clarity to the subject, while also painting a very compelling and convincing picture on how it’s already helping the company navigate its way to a rosier future.
In an interview with the folks at FordAuthority, Kumar Galhotra President of Ford North America and Vice President of Ford Motor Company pretty much revealed that the classic phrase “money talks” played a very key role in Ford’s decision to bail out of the traditional car market in North America. “The key here is, not just for us, the sedan segment itself has been in decline for a very long time, and that decline has accelerated over the last few years.” While that might seem a bit ambitious of a statement at first glance, going for a drive past our favorite dealerships in Metro Detroit does indeed confirm that sedans are rapidly going out of fashion, and are perhaps going the way of discarded moon shoes and beanie babies.
In their place is a rapidly growing army of crossover and utility offerings that offer more space, better technology, and higher profit margins for automakers. Galhotra elaborated further, explaining “Our industry is very resource-intensive – we have to create a particular product and the factory to build it, and all the tooling and our suppliers – that can run into the billions of dollars. The question then became, in that environment, of a finite amount of capital, where do we want to invest that capital? Do we want to invest it in a declining segment or do we want to invest it in a growing segment?”
In short, Ford listened not only to consumer demand, but also the message delivered by its profits when it made the decision to go all in on utilities. Ford customers appear to also support the decision too if recent sales related news is to be believed. Sales for the F-150 pickup still remain ahead of its rivals, while the Escape and Explorer have proven to be reliable bread and butter models for the company.
However, the star of the moment right now is the upcoming Bronco lineup When Ford unveiled both the standard Bronco and the smaller Bronco Sport a short time ago, they shattered expectations, and the company pulled in thousands of pre-orders for the duo. The standard Bronco model is supposed to make its appearance this coming spring, and is arguably one of the most important launches that’s currently on the company’s calendar. The Mach-E is also another important launch for the company, and this electrified Mustang CUV would be the first formal Tesla competitor that the Dearborn auto giant has ever offered. Ford is hoping that these models and more will help offset the immediate financial impact that the sedans left with their departure, and it appears that they could indeed succeed in that, if initial pre-order numbers and the sheer hype are to be believed.
And for buyers thinking that the can get their sedan fix in Europe, not so fast. While the European market has always had different dynamics versus our market, things are also changing over there too. Ford Europe is trying to add more crossover models to its roster, and while the Fiesta still remains a European delight, recent entries like the Puma and the axing of the Mondeo indicate that CUVS and utilities are also going through a period of rapid growth and expansion in that part of the world.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.