Ford has announced it will stop producing all of the cars in its line up for North America with the exception of the Mustang, and the Focus Active.
In a statement released today Ford executives say the company will "transition to two vehicles", focusing instead on SUV's and Trucks, and also commercial vehicles which the auto giant says has become the staples in its vehicle line up. Ford execs say there has been a steep decline in demand for traditional sedans, and hatch backs, and the company is going to focus on the vehicles that are most profitable.
Right now Ford sells six sedans and coupes in North America: the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, C-Max, Mustang and Taurus. #
Lincoln products share Ford platforms, and while nothing has been officially stated on the future of cars in the Lincoln line up, it seems logical and likely that traditional cars will be purged from the Lincoln line up too.
Ford restated its plan to bring hyrbid electric power to the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and upcoming Bronco. Ford projections indicate SUV's could make up as much as 50-percent of the entire North American automobile market by the year 2020. There are also new full electric projects in the works. Ford is hoping it can pass hybrid leader Toyota and become number one in that category by 2021.
The change in focus for the company is not expected to have a major impact on jobs in Canada because most Ford operations in Canada are already supporting the production of trucks and SUV's. Company officials insist the Ford brand is still strong and point to overall sales growth as proof, saying the company is looking at operations around the world and will be cutting costs and will be "decisive" when taking action to make the company more competitive.
Along with the F-150 Pickup, Ford's Mustang appears to be the the most resilient product in the Ford lineup. The Mustang has been around in various forms for 54 years now. It's retro styling has kept it popular with older drivers, and new technology and performance enhancements have made it popular with a new generation. With the addition of hybrid technology on the horizon it looks like the Mustang at least will keep one Ford foot in the car pool.
While the decision to focus on SUV's and Trucks is raising some eyebrows, few are questioning the short term wisdom of focusing on the most profitable products. Only time will tell if the decision will be right in terms of the long game.
Ford executives are projecting $25.5-Billion in savings from cost cuttting and new efficiencies through their new plan by 2022.