4.26.2018

The end of the Sedan?



Ford To Phase Out 'Traditional Ford Sedans' Such As Fusion And Taurus In The U.S.

Excerpt:

Ford Motor Co. reported a $1.7 billion profit for the first quarter of 2018, but the company says it's planning big changes — such as phasing out all cars except for the Mustang and a crossover vehicle in the North American market, so it can focus on SUVs and trucks. 

"Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America," Ford said.

The cuts will take place over the next few years, Ford said. Over that time, it will phase out longstanding brands such as the Ford Fiesta and Taurus from the North American market.

Ford says that Lincoln sedans, including the Continental, will not be phased out.

With the planned cuts, Ford will say farewell to the Fusion sedan, of which 43,176 have been sold so far in 2018 — and the Focus, of which Ford has sold 35,046 cars this year. Over the same period, Ford has sold 19,164 Mustangs.

The Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active crossover are poised to become the only cars Ford sells in the North American market. The new U.S.-market version of the Focus will be made in China.
Ford And Chrysler Killing Sedans Is Great News For Their Japanese Competitors
Excerpt:

Ford Motor announced Wednesday that it's cutting traditional sedans from its U.S. lineup, except for the venerable Mustang, saying goodbye to the Fusion, Focus, Fiesta and Taurus so it can double down on trucks and sport utilities. (The Focus nameplate will stick around but in the form of a future crossover utility.)

"Ford realized it can't be everything to everyone, and in today's market that could be okay," said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds. "The key to success is focusing on where your customers are and where your strengths lie, and for Ford doubling down on trucks and SUVs could be just what the brand needs."

Ford is not alone. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles already killed the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 to focus on more profitable Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups. General Motors has been cutting back on sedan production, too, eliminating a shift at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio, that makes the Cruze compact. Reports say the Chevrolet Sonic and Impala could be axed, too, while Cadillac is retooling its luxury lineup to focus more on SUVs.

The Detroit Three say they're simply following consumer preferences, which have shifted squarely in favor of SUVs and crossovers. And they're playing to their strengths, too: None of the domestic carmakers had a leading position in the passenger car market, so they might as well concentrate where they have the strongest following -- and higher profit margins.

Detroit's withdrawal from the sedan market is great news for the foreign-based players who remain: Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Hyundai, the latter of which has particularly been struggling in the U.S. due to its slowness in responding to the market turn to SUVs. With less competition, they ought to be able to raise prices and squeeze a bit more profit out of their traditional cars.
General Motors Sticking With Sedans As Ford Kills Off Most Cars in North America

Excerpt:

On a conference call with reporters to discuss first-quarter earnings, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra laid out why the automaker feels comfortable sticking with its stable of sedans and hatchbacks—for now—even as the market continues to shrink. The company poured a lot of money into refreshing most of the vehicles in question since 2015, and with those expenses in the rear view mirror, Barra believes it has a competitive lineup that won't require a lot of money to update over the next few years.

"The segments are still significant," Barra said, as highlighted by Ward's Auto. "Because we’ve made the investments, we need to deploy little to no capital going forward, so we view [cars] as an opportunity. What you’ll see us do is play very efficiently in a segment that, although it is declining, there is still an opportunity."

She has a point: Sedans and hatchbacks still account for a third of all car sales in this country, and the timing of Ford's exit has far more to do with the cost of redeveloping its aging lineup rather than overall consumer trends. And its decision to maintain the Ford Mustang roughly parallels the way Fiat-Chrysler killed off most of its small cars in 2016 and maintained the Dodge Charger, Challenger, and Chrysler 300, which are all built on the same decade-old platform.

That doesn't mean General Motors won't be making moves, though. The company will reportedly ditch the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact car as soon as this year, and it recently cut production of the Cruze in response to slowing demand. Chief Financial Officer Chuck Stevens added that his team examines the cost of producing each car model on a "weekly" basis.

But despite rumors of their demise, the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, and Impala should survive in the near term, along with the newly-launched Buick Regal and LaCrosse. There's still the question of Cadillac, though, whose CTS and ATS sedans and coupes are among the oldest cars in the GM lineup. Don't forget, former CEO Johan de Nysschen was ousted last week in part because he didn't respond quick enough to the crossover craze.

Comment: I'm a sedan guy! Our Buick LaCrosse has about 12K miles ..... and has gotten 27 mpg over it's short life. I've never had an SUV or a mini-van. I rented a Taurus on a family vacation once - very nice. Sad to see it go!


Our most recent cars:

1988 Crown Victoria

1996 Saturn wagon

2000 Impala

2002 Impala SS 

2007 Buick Lucerne (V8)

2017 LaCrosse
Related:


Below: My brother-in-law is trading in his Caddy for an SUV. Me? I would by a Caddy sedan:

1 comment:

  1. I'm torn on this. If you look back to the 1950s and before, most cars were really built on a higher chassis, so the low riding sedan is really a creature of the 1950s through today.

    That noted, the engineer in me really likes being a little lower to the ground, getting a little better mileage, and the like. Ford needed to rework their lineup, but eliminating it completely simply ignores this, as well as the fact that this is typically a person's first car. If they don't buy a Ford first, they likely won't buy a Ford second, third, and the like.

    Bad move IMO.

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