Despite ditching sedans, Ford will add enough new trucks and utilities to grow their lineup by 2023
Ford made major waves when it announced it was eliminating sedans from its lineup. A natural reaction to what the firm believes is a permanent shift in consumer preferences. While cutting sedans and reducing cars to the bare minimum, Ford will actually be adding more models overall, reaching a total of 23 vehicles by 2023.
Hau Thai-Tang, Ford's EVP of product development and purchasing, told The Detroit News that "This is not us shrinking and reducing our size in the marketplace. It's all about reallocating resources and capital where we can win, also consistent with some of the consumer trends we're seeing."
Hau Thai-Tang even broke down some of the numbers that point to what Ford was doing wrong behind the scenes, spending more money on cars than trucks in 2015, and equal amounts on SUVs and cars when consumers were already flocking to crossovers. That has been addressed and starting this year, Ford will spend 80 percent of its capital on trucks and utility vehicles. Ford has seen the writing on the wall and one of the key goals is to avoid a stale lineup and shrinking sales that it's experiencing now. Ford's current lineup averages out to an age of 5.7 years. The aim is to bring that down to 3.3 years by 2020 with an injection of new and redesigned models.
While there may be a window with a shortened lineup and those sedans winding down, Thai-Tang added that Ford will have nine new nameplates in its lineup by 2023, seven of those trucks and utility vehicles. Ranger and Bronco will be two of those (and a 'baby' Bronco perhaps), but apparently another nameplate making a revival will be one currently in use on a sedan. While the Taurus badge would be fitting for a large SUV, sources within Ford have hinted that the Fusion name will return as a high-riding hatchback model in the style of the Subaru Outback. The Focus name will be sticking around anyway, the Focus Active slated to arrive late next year as the most mildly crossed-over hatchback with cladding. Other names in the pipeline according to trademark filings include Maverick and Timberline, so we'll see which of those stick and what new naming magic Ford has in the works.
While Ford is getting out of the sedan business, other automakers aren't taking the same drastic measures, GM indicating that the market is big enough to still compete in, Subaru hedging its bets with sedans and hatchbacks that deliver better efficiency, and Volkswagen likes them for their aerodynamic and weight advantages in EV applications. However, with Ford investing heavily in engineering-efficient and cost-saving modular platforms and production, reviving sedans won't be nearly as much of a challenge as a shift to this predominantly truck and utility lineup.