In an historic move, Ford announced it would phase out production of all small cars and sedans in the “next few years,” keeping only the Mustang and the upcoming Focus Active — which it characterizes as a crossover.
Ford predicted that by 2020, almost 90 percent of its portfolio would be trucks, SUVs and CUV and commercial transportation like vans and police cars.
A first-quarter earnings release stated that this is part of a strategy of “building a winning portfolio and focusing on products and markets where Ford can win. Given declining consumer demand and product profitability, the company will not invest in next generations of traditional Ford sedans for North America,” the OEM wrote in the release.
“Over the next few years, the Ford car portfolio in North America will transition to two vehicles – the best-selling Mustang and the all-new Focus Active crossover coming out next year. The company is also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility.” Automotive News reported that all Lincoln sedans are safe for now.
Ford car sales in the US were down 13.7 percent through the end of March and 14.2 percent in 2017. “We are committed to taking the appropriate actions to drive profitable growth and maximize the returns of our business over the long term,” Ford CEO and President Jim Hackett said in a statement. “Where we can raise the returns of underperforming parts of our business by making them more fit, we will. If appropriate returns are not on the horizon, we will shift that capital to where we can play and win.”
Granted, the line between a crossover and a traditional station wagon or hatchback vehicle has been blurred these days – as evidenced by Ford calling a vehicle a crossover and car in the same sentence. Ford’s larger cars can weigh more and take up more of the road than some of its smaller crossovers. But on the whole, it appears as though repairers and insurers might encounter greater severity based on Ford’s existing pricing model and the dimensions of the SUVs (bigger panels, for example, could incrementally boost labour times, and higher curb weights might lead to more aluminium being incorporated).
Repairers and insurers also should expect changes to Ford’s existing line-up. The company plans to have refreshed 51 percent of its vehicles by the end of 2019 in a process that began in 2017, and it boasted of 11 launches in 2018. It’s just another reason why you need to check Ford repair procedures online on each vehicle – the instructions could be updated based on new refreshes, new models or even midway through a production run.
This article courtesy of John Huetter of Repairer Driven Education (RDE). Check out their website at; http://www.repairerdrivennews.com/ for this and many other informative and educational article on the collision repair industry.