Nobody knows better than auto manufacturers that a major industry shift is taking place. Consumers are moving away from sedans and towards SUVs and crossovers in huge numbers. Automakers are happy to accommodate the shift considering utility vehicles typically have a higher profit margin than their sedan counterparts, but what does this seemingly permanent change in taste mean for the future of sedans?
While still one of the brand’s most popular models, sales of the Ford Fusion have been steadily declining over the past few years. So far in 2017, Ford has sold fewer Fusions every month than it did in 2016 except for in September when it beat its 2016 number by less than 1,000 units. The Fusion is on track to be outsold by both the Escape and the Explorer in 2017 for the first time since 2006. The Fusion isn’t hurting because it’s a bad car, but because we just can’t get enough of crossovers.
While Fusion sales drop, a new rumor has popped up that Ford might be ending production of the Fusion in North America. Sources have shared with Automotive News that Ford is informing its suppliers that the next-generation Fusion will not be built at the Hermosillo, Mexico plant where it’s currently built for the U.S. market.
“We have no plans to export the next-generation Fusion/Mondeo from China to North America and Europe,” a Ford representative said in an email to The Drive. What we call the Fusion in the States, most of the rest of the world calls the Mondeo. “Fusion/Mondeo are an important part of the Ford car lineup. We will have more information to share about the next Fusion/Mondeo at a later date.”
This statement can mean a few things. It could mean the next-gen Fusion could be imported into North America from somewhere else (but not from China), the Fusion could be discontinued and replaced with a different sedan for the U.S. market, or it could be discontinued in the U.S. with no replacement and Ford bets more chips on the crossover craze.
It’s also possible that the rest of the world will get an updated Fusion/Mondeo while Ford continues to sell the current-generation Fusion here. Ford is currently doing just that with the Taurus which has been sold in its seventh generation in China since 2015 while we’re still stuck with the long-in-the-tooth sixth-generation Taurus. However, if Automotive News’ sources are to be believed, it sounds like Fusion production in Mexico will end altogether by the end of the decade.
While competitors like Honda and Toyota are holding strong to the mid-size sedan segment with the new Accord and Camry, Ford could be the first major manufacturer to turn the other way on sedans and focus more on the crossovers and SUVs that print money. With the Fiesta and C-Max both on death row in the U.S. and the Taurus having a questionable future, the next-gen Fusion could be a make-or-break car for Ford should the brand decide to sell it in its home market.