Ford Defends Its Move to Discontinue Sedans, Criticizes Media
“I wish the coverage had been a little different,” said Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
At a shareholder meeting Thursday, Ford CEO Jim Hackett and Executive Chairman Bill Ford vigorously defended the company's decision to discontinue all sedans in the company's lineup, reports Automotive News.
Shareholders questioned Hackett and Ford repeatedly about the decision, which will leave the Mustang and a crossover version of the Focus as Ford's only car offerings in the U.S.
Critics view this move as short-sighted since it abandons segments favored by entry-level buyers. It may also leave Ford ill-prepared for a drastic increase in gas prices, though fuel sippers like the Fiesta and Focus will continue to be built and sold elsewhere in the world.
"This doesn't mean we intend to lose those customers," Hackett said. "We want to give them what they're telling us they really want. We're simply reinventing the American car."
Bill Ford criticized the media following the decision's lukewarm reception.
"I wish the coverage had been a little different," he said. "If you got beyond the headline, you'll see we're adding to our product lineup and by 2020 we'll have the freshest showroom in the industry. The headlines look like Ford's retreating. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth."
As for Lincoln, which also has two cars in its product lineup, Hackett confirmed only that the Continental will continue "through its life cycle." There is no word on updates for the Continental except for rear-hinged doors, nor for the MKZ, which shares its platform with the soon to be discontinued Fusion.
"While we are phasing out some nameplates, by 2020, we’re replacing more than 75 percent of our current portfolio in North America and adding four all-new trucks and SUVs – Ranger, Bronco, a yet-to-be-named rugged SUV, and Mustang-inspired battery-electric SUV," Ford spokesman Sam Schembari told The Drive.
"This includes significantly expanding our North America SUV portfolio while also exploring new 'white space' vehicle silhouettes with vehicles like Focus Active that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities – such as higher ride height, space, and versatility," Schembari said.