Earlier this week, Ford issued a statement detailing its plans to drastically change the landscape of its vehicle offerings, cutting out all cars except the Mustang in order to focus on trucks, utilities and commercial vehicles. Speaking of focus, while the US market will receive a crossover-ish version of the Focus dubbed the Focus Active (much like the Crosstrek is to Subaru’s Impreza), Ford Canada Communications Manager Christine Hollander definitively stated that the Focus Active will not be coming to Canada.
While we previously reported the likely retirement of the Fusion, it’s a huge move that will see the Focus and Taurus join it in the ranks of retired nameplates, making way for more utilities while also “exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities – such as higher ride height, space and versatility.” So, more crossovers, possibly some with coupe styling.
In order to shed some light on a decision that was no doubt heavily debated, Hollander shared the simple math behind the drastic move: “The car segment in Canada has been declining steadily since 2012 and now makes up just 33% of the overall market. Going in the other direction, SUV and crossover sales have been growing steadily since 2012 and now account for about 44% of all vehicle sales in Canada. And that trend of car sales declining as more consumers choose SUVs is expected to continue. So, we are focusing our efforts on vehicles customers prefer.”
In a smaller market like Canada, even the Focus Active has to be considered against the similarly sized EcoSport and Escape crossovers Ford already sells. Looking at the sales of the Focus specifically, the once-popular compact available as sedan, hatch, and two levels of hot-hatch in the ST and RS was down to 11,937 sales in 2017, its worst year since 2004 and a far cry from its 2012 peak of 27,936. The Fusion, too, is down dramatically, selling fewer than 10,000 units in Canada for the first time since its introduction in 2005. While they won’t disappear from showrooms immediately, each of these cars will not be replaced by new generations and by 2020, only 10 percent of Ford’s lineup will be in the form of ‘cars’, namely the Mustang and the dwindling inventory of sedans and hatchbacks.
Lincoln will likely follow suit turfing the MKS sedans based on the Taurus, but Automobile Magazine is reporting that Lincoln remains “committed” to the MKZ and Continental sedans for the time being.
These changes go hand in hand with cost-cutting measures to streamline the business operations, turning instead to investment in new technologies like electrified vehicles and autonomous capabilities.