By 2020, almost 90% of the Ford product portfolio in North America will be trucks, utilities, and commercial vehicles — including their electrified versions.
Ford’s North America car portfolio will shift to just Mustang, although the company will continue to sell the Fiesta and Taurus through 2019 while Fusion, the most popular car nameplate with Ford fleet customers, will be available for the next few years.
“We are reinventing the car to match customer preferences. To respond to the needs of our customers and grow our business, we are significantly expanding our North America utility portfolio while also exploring new ‘white space’ vehicle silhouettes that combine the best attributes of cars and utilities, such as higher ride height, space and versatility,” said Michele Bartlett general manager, commercial vehicle sales & marketing, Ford Motor Company.
The impact of this change on fleet and commercial customers will be minimal.
“Cars made up less than 15% of all commercial and government fleet sales last year according to registration data, and that number has been declining annually. Ford will continue to offer the industry’s broadest range of the pickups, vans, SUVs, and work trucks that our fleet customers rely on to get their jobs done every day,” Bartlett added.
A Renewed, 'Laser' Focus
Ford has been and remains dedicated to the commercial vehicle market. It is the only full-line manufacturer to offer commercial vehicles in Class 1 through Class 7.
“Ford will be laser-focused more than ever to design, develop, engineer, test, and deliver products that will be in line with customer demand shifts. You’ll see some of those executions in the truck and van space soon. And, as always, we’ll be looking for process improvements to reduce order-to-delivery (OTD) and other elements of the customer experience,” Bartlett added.
And, while Ford is phasing out some nameplates, it is replacing more than 75% of its current portfolio in North America by 2020 and adding four new trucks and SUVs: Ranger, Bronco, a yet-to-be-named rugged small SUV, and a fully electric utility.
“We’re investing $11 billion in electrification by 2022 and expanding our global electrified vehicle lineup to 40 vehicles, including 16 full battery-electric vehicles by 2022,” Bartlett said.
Why the Change?
According to Bartlett, traditional sedans are facing declining customer demand, not just in the retail segment, but also among fleet buyers.
In 2014, cars made up 18.4% of commercial and government fleet new-vehicle registrations. By the end of 2017, that number dropped to 14.5% and dropped to 13.6% in May of 2018. Meanwhile, SUV registrations in the segment grew from 16.5% in 2014 to 20.2% through May 2018. Full-size pickup trucks continue to be the dominant fleet vehicle, with almost 30% of the market.
“Focusing on vehicles and markets where we know we can win by delivering the products our customers want — along with leveraging partnerships and alliances — will help us further improve our overall business,” she said. “Just like the readers of Work Truck magazine, we make decisions about our business after considering many factors, both internal and external, such as industry trends, product demand, and economic forecasting.”
The automaker will concentrate its efforts on vehicles customers prefer.
“Customer buying habits are shifting from small cars to small SUVs, in North America and around the world. Sales of large cars in the U.S. have declined by 34% in the past five years. We expect SUV growth to continue into the next decade, with the segment to hit 50% of the non-premium retail market by 2020. And, of course, America’s best-selling vehicle for the last 36 years has been a truck: Ford F-Series,” she said.
Ford is driven by a vision for the future of mobility.
“As Bill Ford said earlier this year, we want to create a better tomorrow for all of us,” Bartlett concluded.