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William Maley

Ford News: Ford Cans Plans for Fusion Redesign

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There is a new twist in the fate of the Ford Fusion. The Detroit News obtained a letter from November that Ford sent out to suppliers saying plans for a redesigned Fusion for North America had been canceled. This follows a report from last month where Ford notified suppliers that it will not produce the next-generation Fusion at their Hermosillo, Mexico plant.

This doesn't mean the Fusion nameplate is going away anytime soon. A source tells the paper that the Fusion and Mondeo (sister model sold outside the U.S.) will be in Ford's portfolio for at least three to four years. This possibly hints that Ford executives are having a rethink as to the future of the Fusion. 

Ford spokesman Mike Levine declined to comment on the letter or future of the Fusion, only saying in a statement, “Fusion remains an important part of the Ford lineup for years to come with even more new fresh features on the way. We will have more news to share in the future.”

Ford reported a 21.1 percent drop in Fusion sales for 2017, continuing a sales decline for a third year. Like other midsize sedans, the reason for the fall in sales is due to the increasing popularity of SUVs and crossovers. Not helping are redesigned models from Toyota and Honda.

“It does make sense. A lot of vehicles on the market right now that are not SUVs are kind of caught in this death spiral. They are on an aging platform and they’re in a segment that’s not showing any growth," said Karl Brauer, industry analyst and executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book.

“Anyone at any high-level point of decision-making is going to ask why they’re spending this money.”

Source: The Detroit News


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Dumb move.  The death spiral comment at the end is spot on.  Ford and others have been complacent about updating sedans and keeping them around without substantial refreshes for too long.  Sure the Fusion has gotten updates in the form of the new V6 Turbo and the Platinum models, but the pedestrian mid-range Fusion is still largely the same one that has been around since it was released.   Of it's primary direct competition, the only vehicle older than the Fusion (2012) is the Passat (2011). 

Platform Changes:

Camry (2011), (2017)

Accord (2012), (2017)

Optima (2010), (2016)

Sonata (2010), (2015)

Altima (2007), (2012), Major facelift in 2016

Passat (2011), Mild facelift in 2016

Malibu (2008), (2013), (2016)

And Ford wants to keep the Fusion around another 3 to 4 years?!  The death of the Fusion becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. 

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But are those other companies actually making money off of them? 

I don't think taking a page ouf of the FCA LX platform's book is all terrible. Do'nt stretch themselves too thin when no matter what they do they'll never beat out the Camry or Accord in sales. They're in a fight for 3rd and how many more units per year is that?  Is it worth a whole new billion dollar platform and car? Okay, billion may be a tad high but a whole new car from the ground up has to be in the hundreds of millions when factoring in all of the labor and new material testing. I just don't see a 5 year cycle being profitable for cars anymore. 

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The platform underpins a bunch of other vehicles too... if they cancel the platform, things like the MKX/Nautilus, Continental, Chinese Taurus suddenly become homeless. The Fusion is also still sold in Europe and China as well.  In the US alone, they sell 200k Fusions and they're all built in Mexico, so Ford can't even blame the UAW for high manufacturing costs.

The way Honda, Toyota, and now more recently GM do it is by making a platform that fills a lot more roles.   For FWD vehicles, Toyota effectively has two platforms... Corolla based and Camry based.  Every FWD vehicle they build is on one of those two.  At Honda, it's Civic / Accord.

Ford has too many platforms and they know it... but axing models in order to consolidate them isn't the answer. 

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I didn't realize Ford had to many separate platforms. It sounds like a much larger expense than universal platforms. 

What do you think they do about it with the hole they're in now? Don't they have some "great" platform in the pipeline somewhere? D6 or something?

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1 minute ago, ccap41 said:

I didn't realize Ford had to many separate platforms. It sounds like a much larger expense than universal platforms. 

What do you think they do about it with the hole they're in now? Don't they have some "great" platform in the pipeline somewhere? D6 or something?

Yeah, D6 I think it was called.

They should have been consolidating things a long time ago.  Even getting it down to Fiesta / Focus / Fusion would have been a good start 7 years ago... 

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What I find ironic in all of this...'twas Mulally's One Ford strategy that was supposed to consolidate platforms globally. I guess not enough.

I think it be dumb for Ford to let the Fusion rot on the vine or axe it completely.

1. It sells better than just OK. Its #3 on the sedans list. 200 000 plus sales. 

2. The Edge is also on this platform. The Edge sales are OK. There is an economy of scale just with those two models on that CD4 platform. 

 

For future development, a Fusion replacement could be on a more flexible platform to house the next Fusion, the next Edge, an SUV above the Edge but below the Explorer and a CUV below the Edge to replace the Escape. 

With just the Ford brand, that would be 4 models a Ford Fusion could house. 

There is still a market for sedans for another decade. The Fusion has made a name for itself with just 2 generations. What a waste of a nameplate if FoMoCo decides to neuter it and eventual kill it off by letting it rot on the vine...

Just like how they let the Ford 500/Taurus rot. 

GM did the same thing with the Impala. The W-Body Impala/Lumina did little to help the super Epsilon Impala succeed. GM let the W-Body rot which in turn hampered the future success of the name plate that is Impala. Ditto for the Malibu. 

With that being said, Ford broke free with that nonsense and established itself with the 1st generation Fusion. The 2nd generation Fusion even more. Now Ford is ready to let go of that momentum go? What a shame...

 

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They are already going to kill the Taurus, now they want to kill the Fusion and have Focus-Mustang as their only 2 cars?  And the Mustang platform globally is no doubt their lowest volume platform are they going to kill that too?  No way do they drop the Fusion/Mondeo, they aren’t that stupid.

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29 minutes ago, smk4565 said:

They are already going to kill the Taurus, now they want to kill the Fusion and have Focus-Mustang as their only 2 cars?  And the Mustang platform globally is no doubt their lowest volume platform are they going to kill that too?  No way do they drop the Fusion/Mondeo, they aren’t that stupid.

You've got a point... Fiesta is gone soon in the US also.  That would leave just the Mustang and Focus.  That's not really sustainable for a full-line brand. 

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1 hour ago, Drew Dowdell said:

You've got a point... Fiesta is gone soon in the US also.  That would leave just the Mustang and Focus.  That's not really sustainable for a full-line brand. 

It isn’t even sustainable for a niche brand.

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Maybe they're changing the name of their midsize car.

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Unless they're changing it to Taurus, that would almost be worse. The Fusion had good brand recognition and respect.

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We've seen it before.  Sometimes putting your ear to the tracks loses something in translation.

 

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What a terrible decision.  The Fusion is still a solid car and I would have to assume it is more profitable than the Focus.  I was worried about the moves Hackett would make and it seems like he's making all the wrong decisions so far.  However, reading the tea leaves, I can see the following scenario:  The Chinese Taurus could possibly be brought over along with the Focus, while the Continental moves further upmarket to become a true flagship.  MKZ would either be a smaller Continental or possibly Mustang based.  

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Yes, the Fusion is dead. Already saw the writing on the wall a year ago......Models are dropping like flies

But what is missing is a bigger issue: Ford as a Company is hurting much more than you think- just wait and see.......

 

But I will say this- as a person who respects and loves the rich history of my Dearborn based company- I am concerned......

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3 hours ago, TaurusSHO said:

What a terrible decision.  The Fusion is still a solid car and I would have to assume it is more profitable than the Focus.  I was worried about the moves Hackett would make and it seems like he's making all the wrong decisions so far.  However, reading the tea leaves, I can see the following scenario:  The Chinese Taurus could possibly be brought over along with the Focus, while the Continental moves further upmarket to become a true flagship.  MKZ would either be a smaller Continental or possibly Mustang based.  

Sadly-it would be. The Fusion is a solid car- and one that is grown on me well since I kinda hated the new look years ago. Hackett's job is going to be  tough one-stopping some of the bleeding. Ford cannot have too many down sales of their models....and their cars are killing them right now. When I drive by the Wayne Plant (home of the Focus at moment) I have never seen so many cars just sitting there...and the local dealerships can't move them...even with some pretty good rebates....this on top them cutting way back on how you can configure your Ford, one thing I loved that they still did....

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6 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

You've got a point... Fiesta is gone soon in the US also.  That would leave just the Mustang and Focus.  That's not really sustainable for a full-line brand. 

And we're not even sure about the Focus.....

And just going crossover would not be the best either.....the Ranger and Ecosport simply can't make up for the Fusion. At this stage- I would rather see them dump the Focus (with the already battered rep) and invest what money they can into the Fusion to give it some good life....they could still pull some more MPGs out (and a few more trim levels) to make up for the lack of a compact.....

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15 hours ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Yeah, D6 I think it was called.

They should have been consolidating things a long time ago.  Even getting it down to Fiesta / Focus / Fusion would have been a good start 7 years ago... 

Wouldn't it have had to been like 10 years ago to start working on platforms like that because 7 years ago is about when they were all new? Now, they're really far behind. 

What are GM's platforms? 

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To me, they should move the Focus and Fusion both up a little, size-wise, to kind of fill some gaps and just have Focus, Fusion, and Mustang for cars. They don't need anymore because cars don't sell anyway. They really need to be able to put them both on the same platform too, along with the Escape and Edge. All of those should be on the same platform like Drew has said. 

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Well, Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo/Fusion have been the 3 core car models of the international One Ford script for a long time now...entries in the core of the market---B/C/D segments.   The Taurus and Mustang are niche models independent of that. 

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I do think mainstream sub/compact/midsize cars and CUV's can all be built on a single platform these days like VW, Toyota, Subaru, Honda have all been working towards.

The problem to me has been lack of investment, both the Focus and Fusion/Mondeo are relatively dated.  It's a wonder the Focus is still a top 10 selling global vehicle.  It still has a lot of potential.  Look at what happened when the new Civic arrived  to replace the dated and mediocre previous generation.  The old one was meh, the new one has sent Civic sales through the roof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, frogger said:

I do think mainstream sub/compact/midsize cars and CUV's can all be built on a single platform these days like VW, Toyota, Subaru, Honda have all been working towards.

The problem to me has been lack of investment, both the Focus and Fusion/Mondeo are relatively dated.  It's a wonder the Focus is still a top 10 selling global vehicle.  It still has a lot of potential.  Look at what happened when the new Civic arrived  to replace the dated and mediocre previous generation.  The old one was meh, the new one has sent Civic sales through the roof.

 

I think Ford has neglected their core car lines for a while in their obsession with trucks and CUVs/SUVs.  

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1 minute ago, frogger said:

I do think mainstream sub/compact/midsize cars and CUV's can all be built on a single platform these days like VW, Toyota, Subaru, Honda have all been working towards.

The problem to me has been lack of investment, both the Focus and Fusion/Mondeo are relatively dated.  It's a wonder the Focus is still a top 10 selling global vehicle.  It still has a lot of potential.  Look at what happened when the new Civic arrived  to replace the dated and mediocre previous generation.  The old one was meh, the new one has sent Civic sales through the roof.

That's just the the pickle Ford is in.  The Fusion is still objectively a very good car.  Even dated in appearance, I would pick one over an Optima, Sonata. It's never going to crack the Honda / Toyota duo, so being in third place in the market is going to be the best Ford can win. 

The problem is that the visual design is old and Ford hasn't been going anywhere new with the latest releases, so there is no "new" Ford Fusion out there for people to get excited over. 

Even a new front clip / rear clip, and visually updated interior would probably be sufficient for it to live on.

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1 minute ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

I think Ford has neglected their core car lines for a while in their obsession with trucks and CUVs/SUVs.  

Seems like the current Explorer might have close to a 10 year run too.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Even a new front clip / rear clip, and visually updated interior would probably be sufficient for it to live on.

Yeah the masses don't care if they're running some new high tech suspension and platform. They just want something new looking. 

The LX cars have done this phenomenally and I honestly think more vehicles should do this a little more(maybe not to the extent of the LX cars but stretch things a year ot two further than "normal"). Trying to be overly competitive is going to financially hurt these companies trying to do major refreshes every 3 years on low margin vehicles. 

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