Ford has previously made it known it’s hedging its future on an extremely profitable line of trucks and SUVs, as well as heavy investment into connected cars and cities. But the automaker made that official, as it announced Wednesday it would be abandoning all of its traditional sedans and hatchbacks for the North American market.
In its quarterly earnings call, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said the company would offer only the Mustang and new Focus (in SUV-like Active trim) in North America. This effectively kills the Fiesta and Fusion ranges, while the new Focus arrives sometime next year — likely sourced from a plant in China. The Taurus and current Focus sedans were due to expire this year, too.
Ford does have to keep an eye on its fuel economy averages, though. Hackett confirmed the 2020 Bronco SUV, which will share components with the 2019 Ranger pickup, would get a hybrid version. The Bronco is set to compete with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner. Jeep added a 48-volt mild hybrid system to the 2018 Wrangler, but it’s unclear if the Bronco will get a similar system or a plug-in hybrid format. Hybrid versions of the F-150, Escape, Explorer and Mustang have previously been announced.
With Ford now getting out of its loss-making sedan business, however, the company could be on a better track to invest in new technologies. It’s already made further investments in its mobility services this year, as well as being fully invested in its “smart city” concept for the long-term.
Ford reported its first quarter net income for the year at $1.7 billion, up 9 percent year over year. However, its mobility division reported losses of $102 million for the quarter, which the company attributed to a one-time $58 million investment.