A few weeks ago, it came out that the Ford Fusion won’t be redesigned in 2020 as the automaker had planned. In a letter to its suppliers, Ford reportedly said it would be canceling the previously planned redesigned program for the Fusion, with no apparent word on whether there would still be another redesign at a later date.
To me, this is huge news.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean the Fusion is gone — and, in fact, it seems Ford took specific measures to mention this doesn’t mean they’re canceling the Fusion altogether. But when an automaker delays or cancels a redesign, it certainly doesn’t mean good things. Redesigning a car keeps it fresh in the face of competition, and this segment is one that’s full of competition, especially with a brand-new Honda Accord and Toyota Camry to compete against. Letting a car languish may not be completely canceling it, but it’s effectively the same thing.
This is huge news, because it’s not like the Ford Fusion is a slow seller. In fact, the Fusion hit 300,000 sales in 2014 and again in 2015, dropping just slightly in 2016 to 266,000 units. This is Ford’s most popular sedan, and it seems crazy to cancel it. In fact, it seems crazy not to redesign it, considering just how many sales this vehicle still gets. People want the Fusion, like the Fusion and seem to be buying the Fusion.
And yet … maybe Ford is smarter than we are.
The decision seems to come as SUVs continue to grow in popularity, with car shoppers desiring crossovers and SUVs far more than cars. Ford may simply feel that two years down the road, when the Fusion was going to be redesigned next, this will be an even larger fact that they can’t escape — so they’d rather put money into keeping the SUVs and crossovers fresh and popular. This is especially true, since some automakers believe we’ve hit "peak car," reaching a point where car sales will now start to slowly decline as more people focus on ride sharing and other transportation methods.
The implications for the midsize sedan segment are huge. Chrysler already pulled out, canceling the excellent new 200 only a few years after it launched — but the Fusion is a much larger player leaving the table. If the 300,000-sales-a-year Ford Fusion is walking away from the midsize sedan segment, then I honestly wonder just how much time the midsize sedan segment has left in this world. Five years, definitely. Ten years, probably. Maybe not much after that.
It may seem like a small thing — Ford canceling a car’s redesign — but to me, it’s big news. We’ll see how things develop from here. Find a Ford Fusion for sale
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.
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