Two Of Ford's Once Most Popular Models Are On Borrowed Time

Industry News / 15 Comments

Times are changing and the Blue Oval's CEO is keenly aware of reality.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, who's been in the automotive business for over 30 years, has seen plenty of vehicle body style trends come and go, and now it appears he'll soon be ordering the discontinuation for two of the Blue Oval's crossovers. What are those models? The Escape and Edge. But the real issue is this: the two-row SUV segment, Farley believes, is oversaturated and it's time to get out.

We've known that the Edge is not expected to be redesigned once the current generation is discontinued but the fact that the Escape also appears to be heading for permanent retirement does come as a minor surprise. Ford has not officially commented on the future of both vehicles at this time but an announcement could come fairly soon specifically for the Edge.

Last redesigned for the 2015 model year, the Edge has remained mostly since its 2019 facelift. That's the first clue of its imminent departure. It's built at the Oakville, Ontario assembly plant alongside its more luxurious and expensive corporate cousin, the Lincoln MKX, which will be dropped as well.

2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Front Angle View Ford
2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Rear Angle View Ford
2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Dashboard Ford

A Different Approach

Ford needs this manufacturing plant for upcoming electric vehicles and it'll be temporarily shut down for the necessary re-tooling. As for the Escape, which first hit the market back in 2001 and is now in its fourth generation, its spot in the lineup has been taken over, more or less, by the more off-road and outdoor-focused Bronco Sport, which rides on the same platform. The Maverick small pickup truck also utilizes this setup. See what Farley means by oversaturated?

Motor Trend says Farley wants to place greater emphasis on pickup trucks, commercial vans, and three-row SUVs. The Bronco Sport-Maverick combo negates the need for the Escape. But there's another key reason behind Farley's logic: electric vehicles.

Dropping the Edge and Escape would not only create space in the US market lineup but also free up funds for more EVs (which the US government wants) and other areas of R&D. Farley further believes that so-called "specialty EVs," such as the Mustang Mach-E, are the way to go in an already crowded segment. This approach will allow Ford to build EVs that differentiate themselves from competitors. The Mach-E already does so in terms of design and driving personality than its most direct rival, the Tesla Model Y.

2023 Ford Escape Front Angle View Ford
2023 Ford Escape Rear Angle View Ford
2023 Ford Escape Central Console Ford

Numbers Don't Lie

Edge and Escape sales have been steadily declining over the past few years though this can partially be blamed on the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, the Edge sold 138,514 units in 2019 compared to last year's total of 85,465. The Escape was even worse at 241,387 units sold in 2019 and 137,370 in 2022.

Farley understands the need to free Ford from being in a segment that's both overcrowded and a waste of money. One of the many tasks of a CEO is to always be looking ahead, which requires getting the data, studying market trends, and making decisions. A three-row Edge debuted last month for the Chinese market but we've had no indication it's coming to the US. Our Edge, we predict, will be dropped next year after big discounts were announced last fall. The Escape might still have a few more years left in its current state.

2021-2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E Forward Vision CarBuzz
2022-2023 Ford E-Transit Cargo Van Front View Driving Ford

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2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Front View Driving
2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Front Angle View
2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Rear Angle View
2019-2023 Ford Edge ST Dashboard
2023 Ford Escape Front Angle View

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