Was discontinuing them the wrong call?
The Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus were solid sellers a decade ago. Gasoline was expensive at the time and many Americans were eager to ditch their thirsty SUVs for something far more fuel-efficient. Today, gas prices have dramatically dropped, SUVs, crossovers, and pickup trucks dominate once again, and small cars like the Cruze and Focus are dead in America. Was killing them off a mistake? As we always like to say, numbers don't lie and a new report from Edmunds seems to prove this. Having been over a year since GM and Ford made their respective announcements, Edmunds did a survey analysis of Cruze and Focus owners and the results are quite interesting.
A total of 42 percent of those owners have not only opted to stay in the car segment instead of jumping onto the SUV bandwagon but are also flocking to the competition for their next vehicles. Twenty-three percent of Cruze owners and 31 percent of Focus owners who traded in their cars bought a new one from a competitor.
This analysis indicates that, in the long run, GM and Ford could hurt from losing these customers because they simply don't have the right product to sell them. Another potentially troubling sign is that brand loyalty for Cruze and Focus owners has steadily declined in the last three years, from 40 percent in 2016 to 33 percent through last September for Focus former owners, and 57 percent to 45 percent for the Cruze in the same period. Former owners have since been buying the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla.
Interestingly, some have even opted for a Jeep Renegade or Compass, Hyundai Kona, or Subaru Crosstrek rather than a small crossover from Ford or Chevy. Again, brand loyalty is dropping.
But there is good news for Ford and Chevy. The data reveals that so far this year 21 percent of Cruze owners traded in their car for a Chevy SUV, while 18 percent of Focus owners went for a Ford SUV. However, these are buyers who have bigger budgets and not everyone is in that same position to upgrade.
So unless Ford and Chevy come up with affordable alternatives fast, they could potentially lose those Focus and Cruze owners for good.