The Ford Fusion May Return as a Crossover ‘Sport Wagon’
Ford’s cars are leaving the U.S., but the Fusion may get something resembling Subaru’s Outback treatment.
Ford announced in April that it is abandoning its entire sedan lineup in the U.S., save for the Mustang and a crossover-like Focus Active. Bloomberg reports that the Fusion may be bound for a similar treatment, according to two anonymous sources within Ford.
"While current Ford Fusion production ends in a few years, we’ll likely continue to use the name because of its awareness, positive imagery and value with consumers," Mike Levine, Ford North America Product Communications Manager, told The Drive. "However, it’s too soon to speculate on what that new vehicle may look like."
Indeed, dealers agree that the Fusion name should continue in one form or another for brand recognition. "They spent hundreds of millions of dollars for brand equity in that Fusion name, not $10 million or $20 million, but hundreds of millions," said Rhett Ricart, one of Ford’s top dealers near Columbus, Ohio, to Bloomberg. "The smart thing is to play on that brand equity."
The lifted sport wagon concept is the same formula that Subaru applied to Legacy wagons to create the Outback in the 1990s when true SUVs first became popular. The Outback is now a mid-size crossover in its own right and Subaru's most popular model. Other manufacturers have followed suit, such as the Audi A4 Allroad, the VW Golf Alltrack, and the Volvo V90 Cross Country, each with varying levels of success.
Ford is already applying this treatment to the Focus in creating the Focus Active. Ford already makes a wagon version of the Fusion in Europe, where it is called the Mondeo. It would be no stretch at all to take this platform, add some taller springs and rugged looking bodywork, then sell it as a sport wagon crossover type of vehicle, both in the U.S. and elsewhere.