Ford is doubling down on trucks and utilities.
Ford's passenger-car portfolio will consist of just two models by 2020--the Mustang and the yet-to-be-revealed Focus Active--as the company's plans to make nine out of 10 cars it sells a truck, crossover or SUV by 2020 begin to take shape.
Cutting its slow-selling sedans and hatchbacks will serve to free up even more capital for light truck and mobility development. Ford Chief Financial Officer Bob Shanks told The Detroit News Wednesday that "Everything is on the table," including abandoning certain products and markets, which is exactly what we should expect.
This would spell the end of the Ford Fusion and Ford Taurus, the latter of which has been the victim of noticeably lagging sales. Fewer than 8,000 units of the Taurus have been sold so far in 2018--a drop of nearly 30% compared to just a year ago.
Ford has already discontinued several passenger models (some more quietly than others). The Ford C-MAX has been discontinued, and 2018 will be the final model year for the Ford Fiesta in the U.S. Lincoln's MKS went quietly in 2017, and we expect the Fusion-based MKZ will suffer a similar fate.
As rumors circulated recently that Ford had exciting plans for making the Lincoln Continental more retro, scuttlebutt in the industry pointed to a very different future for the new large car: one where it exits the market entirely after a very short run.
Today's story does not explicitly reference Lincoln, but it could be interpreted as a sign that the upmarket brand's future in four-doors is as bleak as that of its down-market sibling's.
Eliminating those models will help the company cut nearly $25 billion in operating costs through 2022. Ford announced its first-quarter earnings Wednesday, revealing that its revenue was up 7 percent compared to a year ago, and its net income up 9 percent--both on-target, but not reflecting Ford's new cost-saving initiatives, Shanks said.
While Mustang is a known quantity, the Focus Active will be new territory for Ford, and it may well be the only vehicle in the all-new Focus lineup that Americans will ever get the chance to own. It's essentially Ford's take on the Subaru Crosstrek (which is based on the compact Impreza, not on a subcompact like most of its competitors).