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Ford Says No New Cars in U.S. Except Mustang, Focus Active XUV

Lincoln remains ‘committed’ to MKZ, Continental

In 1909, William Crapo Durant made an offer for General Motors to buy Ford Motor Company from its founder. Henry Ford agreed as he was still paying per car on the Selden Patent, and figured his future was in farm tractors, anyway. The deal fell through when Durant failed to procure financing.

Ford didn’t quite get out of the car business when it released its first-quarter earnings Wednesday, but it did take a few steps closer to selling almost nothing but sport- or crossover-utilities, pickup trucks and commercial vehicles.

The company “will not invest in future Ford sedans,” CEO Jim Hackett said in a conference call with Wall Street analysts after market hours Wednesday. The only cars Ford will renew for the North American market are the Mustang, which is to be replaced with a new model in calendar 2020, and the new Focus Active, which, anyway, the company describes as a crossover SUV. It will be based on the new Focus lineup revealed this week at the Beijing auto show.

But Ford remains “committed” to the Lincoln MKZ and Continental, a spokesman said Wednesday night. There were no details forthcoming on the schedule for updating those two premium sedans.

Ford says the Taurus and Police Interceptor sedan will end production in March 2019, with the imported Fiesta leaving the market in May of next year. The Ford Fusion, which gets a facelift for the 2019 model year, its second in three years, will not be replaced, which means it probably has until 2022 or so, depending on sales.

Given the wholesale shift from sedans to SUVs and CUVs in the U.S. and Canadian markets, the Ford marque is going in big on what Jim Farley, executive vice president and president of global markets for the Ford Motor Company, calls “new silhouettes.” Ford is choosing the “much higher-performing” [in terms of profitability] utilities and not “traditional-silhouette sedans that tend to be commoditized.”

Crosstown rival Fiat Chrysler already has thinned its sedan lineup to the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, and Alfa Romeo Giulia, much to the delight of Wall Street and the automaker’s investors.

Hackett also announced that Ford Motor will implement $11.5-billion in cost reductions by 2020, on top of $14-billion in cost reductions announced earlier. Beside thinning the North American car lineup, part of these cost reductions will come from a new series of modular platforms.

Ford Motor Company reported net income of $1.7 billion up 9 percent over Q1 ’17 for the first quarter of ’18 on gross revenues of $42 billion, up 7 percent.

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