Cars out at Ford, small crossovers and SUVs left to take up efficiency banner


2018 Ford Ecosport

2018 Ford Ecosport

Passenger cars at Ford have short lives.

The automaker announced Wednesday that it would pare its lineup to just two cars: The Mustang and a new Focus Active crossover, which is based on the next-generation Focus unveiled this month. The Ford Fiesta, Fusion, Taurus, and Focus hatchback and sedan will not be renewed for future generations in the U.S. and will eventually be phased out of Ford’s lineup.

That leaves the automaker heavily reliant on trucks and SUVs, with crossovers to pick up most of the small-car detail for most shoppers. While future fuel-economy regulation policies are very unclear, Ford’s big bet on trucks and crossovers comes with a similarly big bet on electrification and widespread cost-cutting measures to make those cars affordable and popular.

MUST READ: Ford's future hybrid, electric-car lineup: 5 things to know

In other words, small-car fuel consumption will largely be left to small crossovers—with or without electrification—and those crossovers have a way to go today.

2018 Ford Focus Electric

2018 Ford Focus Electric

Currently, Ford’s only battery-electric car sold in the world is the Focus Electric, which is headed for extinction and sold in very small numbers in limited locations. A spokesman for Ford confirmed that the Focus BEV will not return for another generation.

The hybrid and plug-in hybrid Ford Fusion have finite futures too, although the automaker didn’t specify when Fusion production would end. The fuel-sipping Fiesta will end production in May 2019 and the Taurus will finish shortly before, in March 2019. Ford already pulled the Taurus’s most fuel-efficient version in 2018, which was the turbo-4, front-wheel-drive model. The most frugal Fiesta, featuring a turbo-3, was discontinued in 2017 too.

This year, Ford moved production of its Focus from Michigan to make way for the new Ranger pickup and to make room for a coming Bronco SUV. Although Ford has said that the Bronco would feature an electrified powertrain along with the Escape, Explorer, and F-150, no details have yet been released.

2020 Ford Focus Active

2020 Ford Focus Active

According to Ford spokesman Michael Levine, the only Focus small car available in the U.S. will be the Focus Active crossover, although its powertrain lineup isn’t yet finalized.

That leaves the newly released EcoSport and coming Focus Active to vie as Ford’s most fuel-efficient models sold without a plug. The 2019 Ford EcoSport was rated by the EPA at 27 mpg city, 29 highway, 28 combined in its most efficient powertrain configuration: front-wheel drive and a 1.0-liter turbo-3.

The company’s first battery-electric vehicle after the Focus BEV will be available in 2020 as a performance utility vehicle, and it’s unlikely that will be priced below $35,000. Ford has said it will offer 16 BEVs worldwide by 2022, with six available in the U.S., although it hasn’t yet said what those models will be.

DON'T MISS: How CAFE works: 5 things you should know about gas-mileage standards

If left in place, the current corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards would require Ford’s SUVs, crossovers, trucks, and Mustang to average roughly 35 to 37 mpg, after exceptions.

So far, Ford has only said that hybrid versions of the Bronco, Mustang, F-150, Explorer, and Escape will be sold in the U.S.

 
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