Ford getting out of the car business



I see Focuses (Foci?) and Fusions EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME. How are they not selling?

They sold really well. There’s just a lot more profit and revenue in trucks and crossovers.

… because those people will pay anything, err i mean they’re really high priced. It has been a few minutes since I got to watch someone’s truck wars.

The difference between now and then is a lot like stusser points out. Back then, SUVs and trucks meant giant gas-guzzlers. Now, the majority are extremely fuel efficient, and many are increasingly hybrids or even electrics (at least, there are plenty of the latter nearing production). Size is also different. While there are still those ginormous monstrosities like the Navigator, the Expedition, and the Suburban out there, in numbers, and even more Pilot/Atlas/Highlander sized SUVs, there is a virtual explosion of smaller SUVs and crossovers that are about the same overall mass as a traditional sedan, albeit with rather different overall proportions.

Today’s auto tech allows you to turn out SUVs/crossovers that are as fuel efficient as compact cars, but because the focus on anything other than a specialty luxury model like those sold by high-end European marques is on comfort and looks, not actual automotive performance, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper to make something that will sell. To make a sedan sell you have to either cheap out, which then makes people just say screw it and buy a much nicer SUV, or make it a performance luxury machine like an A4 or a C300 or a 330i, and then hope you can convince people to buy it for $50k+. The Germans have a market there already–those badges do sell (or rather, lease)–but Ford or Chevy? No one is going to buy a Ford sedan that costs that much. Even the Fusion Sport, which is a generally competent all-round sport sedan with over 300HP, AWD, and on paper solid performance characteristics, can’t get off the lot at ~$40k.

I feel like this is what GM did before, and then they totally collapsed when gas got expensive.

Why would the Fusion sport go for $40k when my wife bought her standard fusion with Bluetooth for about $26.

Now I know you are a fan of performance, but in much more of a pragmatist. I frankly don’t give a shit about HP (and my last two cars show that!). And for me this means I would never even consider a Ford product. And Ford was probably the best domestic for decent sedans. Dodge cars feel exceedingly shoddy, and Chevy is fine, but a bit small and cramped compared to Ford. The Fusion is just a solid all around car, and there isn’t a domestic to take the place.

They may think that they will increase profits because people will move from cars to SUVs in the Ford line. I, however, wager they bleed market share to Toyota, Honda, and Chevy.

Oh, I agree, this won’t help Ford in specific competition, as their products, while solid, are not especially or uniquely attractive, outside of the Mustang line.

The Fusion Sport has a V6 making about 320HP, AWD, and standard features more appropriate to entry-level luxury cars, hence the price tag. And that’s it’s problem. You are spending nearly as much as you would for an Audi or a BMW, but you’re getting…a Ford. And the interior is where it really falls flat, compared to the Germans or the Japanese in general (and the driving dynamics can’t escape the basic Fusion-ness of the platform, which is fine, but not as athletic as say an A4).

If gas prices go up they can look for alternate sources of income to pay for it, such as their unprotected neighbors. Haven’t you watched Mad Max or Road Warrior?

I need to fill up my Ford Expedition. Just walk away.

Pretty much.

Did something change in the leadership over at Ford? They were the only company to not need help last time.

Alan Mulally retired in 2014, replaced by Mark Fields. Fields was replaced recently by Jim Hackett, a guy who has been active in autonomous car stuff and car sharing concepts. Seems they are definitely looking to reshape the paradigm in some way. I think it looks weird because the shift to SUVs was tried before, and wasn’t that successful in the short run, but two things need to be kept in mind. One, the market did shift to SUVs and crossovers, it just took the development of better vehicles, and two, those better vehicles now are as efficient in general, or close to it, as what they are replacing, and thus the biggest obstacle to success in this sort of shift is being heavily mitigated if not eliminated.

It’s pretty clear though that the 20th century way of making and selling cars is dead. Every manufacturer is now getting into subscription programs, sharing, autonomy, electrics, and other things that make traditional auto ownership an endangered species.

Henri, rolls over and goes back to sleep.

So much this.

7 year loans, leases, etc. I don’t care about the sticker price since I am only paying 300/month for this big ass car.

I mean, I prefer SUVs because I am 6’5" and I can actually fit in them. Recently I was on a work trip and had to rent a full size sedan. 5 cars later I drove off in the upgraded impala.

Not really, no. Here is their fuel efficiency list.

Of note their more efficient cars are:
Ford Fiesta
Ford Focus
Ford Fusion Hybrid

One of those isn’t sold in America and two others were just announced to be faded out.

About the only good news was this:

The company also announced that it is committed to developing “new propulsion choices,” indicating it would add hybrid powertrains to the F-150, Mustang, Explorer, Escape and upcoming Bronco. It also announced it will produce an EV starting in 2020 that will be a “performance utility,” and that there will be 16 battery-electric vehicles by 2022.

So it sounds like they recognize they still need to be competitive with fuel efficiency, but again, developing models like that takes time so they are banking short term that the price of gasoline doesn’t change so drastically that customers prioritize it as a purchasing decision more highly.

They have 8 year loans now too!

Well, I was referring to SUVs in general, but yeah, a Fiesta is going to have better MPG than a crossover, as the latter will be heavier at the very least, and people are demanding more power as well as AWD. But I do think that if you look at SUVs/crossovers across the board, the gap in fuel efficiency between the cars people are buying (which isn’t the Fiestas of the world) and the things they are buying, the SUVs and such, has closed a lot. It’s a different situation than it was ten or twenty years ago IMO.

But yes, subcompacts will get better mileage than a compact SUV. But even when gas prices shot up, historically, Americans have been hella reluctant to drive small cars.

Absolutely. I purchased a used car about a year ago and it’s amazing that you can base searches on something like “vehicles with over 30-mpg highway” and have hits for nearly any type of vehicle. There are so many technology changes that have helped that in a huge way.

I guess my point is, some of Ford’s vehicles fell into that range, but many of these they are keeping do not.

That site is pretty cool by the way. I should have linked to 2018 but this is a cool way to view by Make/Model and compare between brands.

My dealership calls me every 2-3 months telling me they can get me a new car for the same monthly price I am paying now. That’s pretty much the extent of their pitch, and when I tell them I drive my cars into the ground and the approach they’re suggesting will have me on a car payment until I die they… just call again in a couple of months.

I love not having a car payment. I wound up with one prematurely because I stopped for a school bus and the person behind me didn’t, totaling both cars.