“So long — don’t let the four-doors hit ya on the way out!”
A surge in SUV and truck demand in the U.S. has forced Ford to take the drastic step of removing nearly all cars from its model lineup. Ford fans will be saying goodbye to the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, Taurus, and C-MAX.
Ford’s rivals, however, are still committed to maintaining their rank in a segment that continues to account for millions of vehicles sold each year. But Ford has decided to cut their losses, and stick to what they know best: trucks, trucks, a few SUVs, and more trucks.
By 2020, almost 90% of Ford’s lineup will consist of pickups or sport utility and commercial vehicles (a far cry from the flying cars Back to the Future Part II predicted). The company’s revamped and pared-down non-truck, non-SUV lineup will consist of just two models: the Mustang, and a new crossover, the Focus Active. In addition to declining sales across the industry, Ford noted that small car sales are taking a major toll on earnings — this move, in addition to rectifying several other inefficiencies, is set to save Ford 25.5 billion (!) by 2022. And while the automaker left Lincoln’s Continental and MKZ sedans off its hit list, those models share mechanical foundations with their unfortunate Ford cousins, meaning their futures, as well as those delightful Matthew McConaughey ads, are also in doubt.
They say the first cut is the deepest, but Ford is not the first automaker to pull slow-selling and unprofitable sedans from its showrooms, a response to buyers’ preference for larger and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Fiat Chrysler ceased production on the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 in 2017, shifting production capacity to Jeep SUVs and Ram trucks.
Across the industry, automakers are expected to continue trimming back on their sedans, coupes, and other passenger car models, shifting more and more resources to their light trucks, sport utility, and crossover utility vehicles. Considering the advances in engines that are more fuel-efficient and with lower emissions, like Ford’s EcoBoost engine, this shouldn’t cause Al Gore any panic attacks.
The sedan is far from dead — but it is becoming less and less relevant to American motorists. It’s not a full goodbye, but it may not be see you later either.