Bold Move by Ford Mirrors the Change in Industry

Last week, Ford’s CEO, Jim Hackett, announced that in the coming years, Ford would be eliminating their extensive lineup of sedans and coupes.  

Over the past few years, sedan sales have plummeted and left automakers questioning the future of the automotive industry.  By 2022, the only passenger car that will be available by Ford will be the Mustang, which has gained a cult-like following since it’s debut in 1964.

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Time, money, and efforts are shifting to grand interest in SUVs, Crossovers, and the world-famous Ford Truck lineup.  By eliminating their full-size sedan, the Taurus, their mid-size Fusion, and compact Fiesta, Ford will be able to shift their sights to the rising trend of larger, family-friendly sport utility vehicles.  

“We’re going to feed the healthy parts of our business and deal decisively with the areas that destroy value,” said Hackett to NBC News.

Over the next two years, Ford plans on introducing 5 more SUV models to their inventory. Now that factory space at their Wayne, Michigan location is free from producing sedans, they will have the capability to support such a new line of vehicles.  Also in their Wayne, MI factory, Ford plans on bringing back new designs of the formerly dropped styles: The Ranger pickup truck, and the Bronco SUV.

The reemergence of these vehicles underscores the surge in light pickup and SUV sales – and not only from Ford. Automakers such as General Motors, Honda, and Toyota have noticed a large shift in sales in their light truck models.  

However, the real surge in new vehicle sales is coming from the utility sport vehicles and newer crossover vehicles.  In fact, these vehicles account for more than half of the new vehicles sold in America. Light trucks, SUVs, and Crossovers account for almost 65% of sales in the United States for new cars.  So it’s no wonder that automakers are focusing their attention away from sedans and coupes.

While this is certainly a bold move by Ford, they are by no means the only automakers following the trends.  This will only make the industry harder, since the market for SUVs and crossovers will be so heavily saturated.

Other automakers following suit are Chevrolet, who is eliminating the Cruze, to free up factory space in order to meet the demands of the GMC Acadia and Cadillac XT5 Crossover. The fate of the compact Sonic hatchback and mid-size sedan, the Impala, are being reviewed.

Over time, the industry may shift back to a popularity of sedans due to a potential rise in energy prices, but trucks and SUVs are becoming more fuel efficient as technology advances. In fact, the new F-150 is estimated to reach 30 miles per gallon, and the introduction of new hybrids and electric SUVs and Crossovers could take fuel out of the equation entirely.  

Sedans are far from extinct – but America has spoken – and automakers are listening.