Ford to drop most passenger cars from N. American market

Reduced demand and the need for greater profitability are blamed for cut in model range.

Ford Edge

Gaining an Edge? Image: Ford Motor Corp

In a surprising announcement from Ford's Dearborn headquarters in Michigan, the auto giant's CEO, Jim Hackett, announced that only two passenger cars will appear in its showrooms as the company concentrates on producing SUVs and trucks/pick-ups.

In revealing Q1 2018 figures which showed cost savings that will reach $25.5bn by 2020 - more than $11bn higher than previously forecast - the company stated it was focusing on its most profitable vehicles.

The Fiesta, Fusion, Taurus and CMax models will no longer appear on US and Canadian forecourts, leaving just the Mustang and new Focus - itself a 'crossover' - as the only passenger cars available. The remainder will be SUVs and trucks, which will receive a further $7bn in research and development funding.

The move away from smaller vehicles reflects the dramatic rise, and significant profitability, in North American SUV and truck sales.  However, Ford's latest announcement also follows closely on the EPA's decision to relax recently toughened emissions standards for auto manufacturers for vehicles produced between 2022-2025.  For some, the news may have a tinge of irony as Ford was the only major manufacturer, along with Honda, to support the tougher emissions targets providing there was some flexibility available.