Here’s Why Ford Was Right to Kill Cars

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A few years back, decided to eliminate cars– and it was the best decision. Today I'm going to go back and look at 's decision to eliminate vehicles, and I'm going to explain why it was plainly the right one.

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Here's Why Was Right to Kill Cars

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80 Comments

  1. From a business perspective, the move makes sense. That doesn’t change my desire to have a normal sized sedan. I’m in the minority, but the lack of small cars in the US is extremely frustrating.

    1. I love my 2014 Focus, I cross shopped it against the Asian competition at the time and I still think I made the best choice. I mean even to this day, there’s only a few new cars in that price bracket that even seem like they would be an upgrade to me.

    2. 100% agree – I am at a point where I can afford a new car and there’s nothing else than freakin SUVs everywhere…

    3. @Andy Brinegar ever person I know with a truck. Won’t even use it as a truck. Don’t want to get it dirty or scratch it.

    4. It’s hard to celebrate retreating from a competitive market. Furthermore, since their “announcement,” Ford continued manufacturing and selling great numbers of cars outside the US/North America. I recommend checking out the international versions of Ford’s website, where you can right now purchase newly built Focuses and Fiestas, in say the UK or France or wherever. Albeit, Ford says that too will end in the future. We’ll see. In many ways this discussion of cars vs. SUVs is arbitrary and driven by marketing, as nowadays a crappy subcompact car is given slightly taller ride height and a hatch back and called a “crossover.”

    5. @zaco 2121 the size of cars has an absolutely negligible effect on fuel prices man. Supply chain, inflation and global politics drive the price of a barrel. I own a few gas stations.. I’m no expert, but I’ve been setting prices for years.

      I can also say for a fact that large cars have a negligible effect on the roads. They are not made to last forever, but they are absolutely built to support tractor-trailers which can have a wet weight of 80,000 lbs. if the roads are bad in your local area that’s an issue of governance and maintenance, not an issue of whether you drive a 3300 lb Camry or a 4100 lb F150 lol. I also own a trucking company so I am well aware of DOT and municipal trends with respect to our roadways.

      People on the internet love to spread no-context opinions

  2. Toyota and Honda have such a strong hold on the car market I don’t blame Ford for concentrating on trucks and SUVs.

    1. @Ted Archer Had an Subaru Sti ten years ago. All the all wheel drive did was make it heavy. Never noticed any particularly excellent handling, and the steering feel was meh. To be honest, that was the most “disappointing” car I have owned. It was NOT very fast despite the nominal horsepower. It just felt sluggish. The spoiler wing was silly. Never understood all the fanboying about Stis. I actually enjoyed my Focus St more!!!!

    2. @Sia Mean What are you talking about. “Wait until”? They already offer multiple models between the two. Although, like with all Toyots, you get graceless boxes with no style or design. (albeit excellent engineering). Can’t get too excited about the Honda Pilot, either, And, while well made, the Honda CR-V is driven by the kind of utility driver who thinks 55 mph in the far left passing lane is a good idea. I swear they are slower than Prius drivers!

      But anyway, even the Japanese probably sell more SUVs and trucks than cars.

    3. =Here’s Why Ford Was Right

      Doug, stick to cars. business and macro is not your strongest venue.

      capitalization of Toyota , carmaker that builds mostly passengers cars, is bigger than GM Ford and VW combined!
      (end of 2022)

      those are biggest car makers in USA and Germany and in the world!

    4. They do (have a stronghold on it), but if you plot the sales data for the Civic, Accord, Prius, Corolla, and Camry, they’ve all been falling like bricks as well over the past 5 years, despite said stronghold.

      The American car buying has spoken and whilst they’re still selling somewhere like 100k units per year, it’s farrr from their peaks that were well north of 250k units/year.

  3. I’ll always find it ironic that there’s this push towards more eco-friendly vehicles and yet so many vehicles sold are these massive 2 meter long behemoths.

    1. @InsaneBimmer I wouldn’t ay they are OVERALL more terrible, but they most certainly aren’t any better.

      The pollution they cause and the energy used in their production is different, but not any better that’s for sure.

    2. And then to fulfill that eco-friendly model they put a sub 2 liter boosted engine in that giant vehicle that fails in 100k miles because its undersized

    1. @alex west Toyota’s sedans sell well, Ford’s sedans were not selling as well, so Ford decided not to make them since they werent selling as well. Where am I losing you?

  4. As far as I remember from studies the main thing that it did was alienate a large portion of its customers. They ended up going to other manufacturers to get their cars, sedans and hatchbacks.

    1. While they can at least… every single year, there is a car manufacturer that kills off a sedan. Give it 10 years, and there will only be a select few.

    2. yeap, I got a used Cadillac CTS. Now when I get rid of it. I want a new CT5. Since no American luxury sedans. That’s the only thing around. I wish they still made Lincoln cars.

    3. @Reformed Garbage yeah that’s starting to be true but for European and Asian cars sedans and hatchbacks are as popular as ever. As long as that’s the case there will most likely be localized versions of those cars.

  5. European here… This is also happening in this side of the pond. The Fiesta stops production in a few months (with confirmation that it wont be replaced), the Focus as well stops in 2025 and Ford is looking to sell the factory in Sarlouis in Germany that makes the Focus until now. The smallest car whey will still make is the Puma.
    Not to mention that in the last 2 years they discontinued the diesel options. For years I wanted a brand new Fiesta or Focus with a diesel engine cause I drive a lot (~30.000 km / year). But now… No way I can get a new gasoline engine without it being LPG compatible (and the ecoboost aint…). Yes the Puma is a very very good option… If it cost 20-25.000€ with a diesel engine, not 35.000 with the 1.0 ecoboost…

    1. This is for very different reasons, though. Ford of Europe has been a dog for decades now; massive sales volumes but tiny, tiny margins. The chip crisis, upcoming safety/emissions regs and the need for free cash to invest in upgrading factories to build EVs have all further eroded what little profit was left per vehicle, which is why it no longer makes commercial sense to build the Fiesta. Ford’s decision to kill cars in the US seemed to be more of a business model decision; for Ford of Europe it’s an existential crisis. I’m still not convinced they will be able to make it in the longer term here; they lack the brand cache to compete with the multitude of ‘premium’ brands their £40k EV crossovers will likely compete with, and there will be huge pressure coming from the volume/budget end of the segment from Stellantis and, increasingly, Chinese brands like MG. What a sorry state of affairs…

    2. I think it is different in Europe because they stop selling small cars not because people love pickups but because they got so expensive that people would rather buy few years old bigger car than new fiesta

    3. @dominicrusho The problem with small cars like the Fiesta are clear, not enough profit/unit and an increasing cost factor with the coming EU7 emission regulations. But don’t forget there would be no Puma without a Fiesta, there would be no Kuga without a Focus. So I think it’s kind shooting yourself in the foot through your knee to get rid of all those platforms that you can build several completely different cars over. There is no benefit in narrowing your portfolio down to a truck and SUV manufacturer if you want to keep selling cars outside the US. The mothership in Detroit has long shown a lack of understanding or even willingness to understand the markets outside the US. It shows in their failed stategies in Australia, South America and soon Europe. That’s a lot of cars you could’ve sold to stay relevant in many markets. If the US market has hiccups (just think 2008), then the company is going bankcrupt because it has absolutely nothing to fall back on, nothing affordable, nothing small. That can’t be a reasonable future-proof rationale.

  6. You’ve honestly convinced me of their decision to be honest, I’m still shattered there’s no focus, fiesta and in my case, the Falcon anymore, but if I want a performance sedan or hatch, there’s other brands like Hyundai smashing that market now

    1. @JayBirdDynasty Who said everyone wants a performance vehicle? You’re raging against the wrong person. I didn’t say word 1 about a performance vehicle.

    2. I almost bought a mid 60s Falcon…shoulda got it instead, as the car I wound up buying was a lemon.

  7. I stand by my theory…and this will play out in the next 10-15 years, but not right now. This is a mid-term plan at best to recover the short term hits they were taking. Their customer base has narrowed substantially and more importantly, aged up.

    The significance of the Japanese/Korean models is that they are building a much more loyal customer base from beginning of auto sales life cycle (16+ yr old kids – Civics/Corollas/Fortes) and a picking up the additional life chapter generational cycles while up-branding (Acura/Lexus/Genesis).

    1. @turinggirl Good for you. I want a Bronson Monstrosity that costs as much as a quarter of a house (like my Jeep Wagoneer).

    2. @turinggirl Ford Fusion Energi – mid size car, gets 40+ mpg in hybrid mode, can do a hell of a lot better if you properly leverage the plug-in battery range of 25-ish miles. I managed 3200 miles on 12 gallons of gas over 3 months with mine once, doing a 26-mile commute, charging up the battery at each end. I’d make it all the way to work on pure electric (downhill slightly), charge up for free at work (this is the big caveat, it’s not worth it if paying typical EV charging prices) and then make it 90% of the way home. The only days my engine was actually on for more than 2-3 of my 56 mile daily drives was if it was REALLY hot out and I was cranking the AC. And you can easily get them sub-$20k. Only drawback is the trunk is laughably small because that’s where they put the plug in battery.

    3. @Rick Osborne absolutely a viable vehicle however I would personally prefer a fully electric sedan. For me the fusion hybrid means I still need oil changes and gas and honestly I don’t want any of that

  8. You make some excellent points. I do believe that the pandemic and resulting shortages have hidden some potential issues. With the exception of the Maverick, does Ford have a single decent product with an average transaction price under $40,000? $50,000? Even the Bronco Sport with a 3 cyl engine is pushing the high 30’s. Sure, profits on what they are selling now must be high… loaded with options, expensive MSRPs, no incentives, etc. But what happens when things start to level out? Higher supplies, a small recession, budget conscious consumers… they have nothing to offer.

    I suppose profits are more important than market share, but I do wonder about the long-term implications for Ford… and GM.

    1. @Paul M the new Prius looks awesome. I think it’s genuinely going to be a hit but the only drawback might actually be the ‘Prius’ name. I’m curious to see how much of a success Toyota can turn that into because shifting the culture around car names can be difficult.

    2. They don’t want the poors to be able to afford to buy new cars. This is going to be an issue in the car industry… ahem… the SUV industry. We’ve already seen 72 months become the new 60 months and 84 is the new 72. I promise you that within a few years to a decade that there will be 96-month terms.

    3. this is insightful. Also, with electric cars expected to last longer, with fewer mechanical issues (software is another issue entirely) won’t the time between new purchases expand? Also, as good as the Mach-E is (and it’s really good, especially in the GT trim) it’s irrelevant if Tesla can out produce Ford (and get a car in the drive way before Fords become available). Nobody can compete with Tesla on volume – maybe the big guys can make more vehicles, but to your original point, will they be the ones people want? Also, from an environmental and user standpoint, seems like all manufacturers, save Toyota/Honda(?) are too quickly abandoning plug-in Hybrids – same batteries make more cars and most commutes are short enough anyway. Love your point because it made me think/wonder if this will play out long term. maybe they are in a bad spot regardless as the next recession will show who’s going without pants.

  9. My daily is a 2015 focus that I got with 3k miles for $10k, and I love the small size, sporty feel, gas mileage, and general convenience of having a compact sedan. It’s frustrating that when it eventually goes kaput, I won’t have the same affordable option without some serious wear and tear on other brand models. SUVs and trucks look great and are here to stay, but everyday people can’t afford a low mileage Ford anymore.

    1. I have a 2012 Focus as daily driver. It averages 35mpg. I have had it for almost 6 years and had zero maintenance besides consumables. Transmission sucks, but you learn to live with it. Overall it was a great buy.

    2. Yeah I have a 2012 that’s been out of commission for 6 months waiting on a transmission control module that is forever backordered. I’m stuck with it because it’s not worth dropping now with it being un-drivable and even when it gets fixed I can’t sell it and get anything close to what we paid for it used back in 2013. We’ll definitely be going with another brand to replace it as our high mileage compact commuter especially since it’s left my wife stranded multiple times.

  10. The only concern I have is what about new buyers? The Mav is entry level, but they’re impossible to find. People tend to stick to the same brands, so they’re potentially losing out buyers down the road.

  11. I loved my Fusion, great gas mileage, super comfy and quiet inside and it just felt like a well built car. Once my lease was up they tried selling me a escape. When I told then I wanted a sedan they looked at me like I was crazy. I shopped around and settled on a nissan sentra. 30k miles so far and I love it so far. I will say the fusion had it beat on just an overall solid feel and gas mileage

    1. @Jo Cu I’ve heard that from everyone, but 30k of hard highway and city driving and no issues so far. Fingers crossed

    2. @Tool0GT92 I looked at the civic, but the features I wanted were not included on any of the civic trims. I got all the features on the sentra sr premium, leather heated seats, heated steering wheel, blindspot, auto cruise and a bunch others.

    3. oof, from a fusion to a sentra? You poor man. I don’t think Nissan makes a product that I would drive even if it was given to me for free. I’d sell anything of theirs asap. Plenty of used fusions on the market, and we both know how much better a car it is lol. Get the hybrid and it’ll even do better than the sentra on gas

    4. @Rick Osborne lol everybody is so rough on my sentra. It was the best price for the most features. I’m over 25k miles now I haven’t had any issues. Plus I was getting the new car when dealers had no inventory and used car prices were thru the roof. I would have loved a new fusion, but didn’t have luck finding one and unfortunatly I needed a new car (fusion got tboned)

  12. Now that Ford has “split” into two different companies (ICE and EV under different banners), the EV side of the business should bring the Fusion back as an affordable EV that gives the Bolt a run for its money.

  13. I switched from a lifted truck that was almost impossible to park to a compact car that I can park anywhere and I never think about gas anymore! I realized I never used my as a truck and I could just rent one for $19.99 a day from U-Haul.

    1. Lifted trucks aren’t that hard to park. I ran a Ram 2500 with a 7″ lift on 37s for 12 years. Only time I had trouble parking was in Manhattan. I booked 6 weeks in advance and got parking a block from Times Square.

  14. The only car of theirs I miss is the Fusion, but knowing how easy it is to build off of EV platforms, I can see it returning as one of those if there is enough demand.

    1. Actually, I’ve read that the name *is* returning, although not on a traditional sedan. Supposedly, the next fusion will be a lifted wagon in the style of a Subaru Outback or Audi Allroad.

    2. My dad (in a fusion) got t boned on the driver side a few years ago and was physically fine, all thanks to the fusion. Plus it had a sweet interior

    3. It would absolutely make sense for a sedan to return as an EV, even if it is a bit more bloated and crossover-like. Basically take the Mach-E, tone down the styling a bit, make the roofline a bit lower, lower the power/increase range, and call it a Fusion.

    4. Have you seen the china-market fusion (mondeo) that they released recently? Man that thing is sweet. Cars are still all the rage there, as opposed to SUVs

  15. I get it from a business perspective but I’m still wondering if this will be a short sighted decision. If SUVs and trucks become uncool to the general buyer (already uncool to me) or gas prices double or triple where does that leave Ford?

    I truly hope they are secretly maintaining or increasing r&d on smaller cars so they can pivot quickly when the market eventually does.

  16. I miss the Fiesta so much, my dad had a rental one randomly for a couple weeks when I was in middle school and up to then, the most powerful car I have been in was a V6 RAV4. I was blown away by how quick and zippy the thing felt knowing it had an engine no stronger than my dads 05 Accord. Just my luck that Ford decides to stop selling them now that I have money for one and I got to scrounge and delve for a used ST in todays market smh.

  17. I remember thinking it was good decision back then. Ford had just come out of the DCT issues with the focus. The Taurus before it had massive transmission issues also. I remember thinking, “Ford can’t make car for it’s life, but the trucks seem ok”. Also they had just launched the co-developed 10 speed transmission.

  18. I think their move was great. I work as a valet for airport parking so Ive driven damn near every consumer vehicle, ford’s quality has gotten so much better than where it was in the recent past. Their cars truly feel nice to drive and don’t feel like junk. Every Ford car from the last 4 years are truly solid vehicles. I just think there is still a market for hatchbacks and small cars, part of me wishes they would bring back the focus and fiesta, at least as a sports car, because those are some of the best cars and are always a treat to drive, and almost nothing compares to a nice focus RS or ST, or a fiesta ST, they are truly unique and would be insane competitors to cars like the Civic Si/Type R or the gr Corolla, etc you name it.

  19. “When practicality starts triumphing over adrenaline, that’s when we’ll know we petrol heads are a dying breed”
    -Jeremy Clarkson

    1. Yes – but – The real problem is declining manliness. People “just” want the “BUCKET” list vehicle. The SUV is the conformist / mindless vehicle of choice. My “stupid” 370z can fit camping gear for 2 for a week, and it’s done gravel roads – I love how people give me these SNOB mean mug expressions for NOT “fitting DUDE BRO!”

    2. @07wrxtr1 The SUV fits people’s needs. Why does the average joe who doesn’t care about performance need a 370z? A SUV does any practical job better than 370z.

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