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Ford Could Be Screwed If Car Owners Don't Switch To SUVs

Canceling all sedans and hatchbacks is a huge gamble.

A few months ago, Ford announced its bold decision to kill off all of its non-SUV and crossover models except for the Mustang and Focus Active. In the aftermath of this decision, cars like the Fiesta, Focus, Fusion, and Taurus will all be discontinued, which means current owners won't be able to replace their cars with another Ford unless they switch to an SUV or crossover. According to Automotive News, a recent study may point towards a massive flaw with Ford's plan to kill of its car models.

The Cox Automotive study asked current Ford owners if they would consider buying their next vehicle from Ford. Among the Ford sedan owners, half said they would switch to a new or used car from a competitor for their next vehicle and only 10% said they'd buy an SUV or crossover from Ford. 5% of the surveyed owners said they'd buy a Mustang, while 3% said they'd buy a Ford truck. Luckily for Ford, the survey group was pretty small - just 2,697 responders, only 104 of whom owned Ford vehicles.

Though the sample size is small, we could easily see Ford having a difficult time convincing current sedan and hatchback owners to switch to SUVs and crossovers. Ford is starting to replace its sporty ST hatchbacks with SUVs, but it isn't what we'd call an easy transition for current ST owners. For example, the new Edge ST starts at over $43,000, a huge price increase over a Focus ST, which starts at around $25,000. Ford already has a difficult time retaining customers, with around 53% of Fusion owners switching to a different brand, according to Kelley Blue Book data. General Motors may take advantage of Ford's decision by continuing to sell sedans and hatchbacks.

Ford does have plans to introduce new SUV models to replace the discontinued sedans. One such model is a rumored electric SUV that could bring back the Mach 1 name. Automotive News reports that a redesigned Mustang should arrive in 2021 with a new rear-wheel-drive platform. This new platform should accommodate all-wheel-drive as well as hybridization. This could help expand the Mustang's appeal, which seems necessary now that it is one of the brand's only non-SUV or crossover models.

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