13 Ford and sedansCars are dying but personal mobility has never looked better.

Ford in the USA, the company that put the world on wheels, has just announced that it’s going to phase out car building. By cars it means sedans – cars with four doors and a boot like the Falcons and Holdens in which we were all brought up. And the reason is that people simply aren’t buying them anymore. They’re buying SUVs and utes.

And it’s the same here. Nissan, which outsold Holden in March relegating it to seventh of the top ten brands, no longer sells sedans in Australia. Ford no longer offers a Falcon and the new, imported Holden Commodore seems to be dying in its tracks. But utes are a different matter; three of the nation’s four top sellers in March were utes – Toyota’s HiLux, Ford’s Ranger and the Mitsubishi Triton. There were only three sedans in the top ten – Toyota’s Corolla, Hyundai’s i30 and the Mazda 3. The remaining four rounding out the top ten were all SUVs – Nissan’s X-Trail, Mitsubishi’s ASX, Mazda’s CX5 and the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Ford’s dealers in America are concerned about the decision to stop making sedans, saying they are a good entry point for first-time buyers coming into dealerships. They say not everyone wants an SUV. And yet the market is moving in that direction both there and here. SUVs are higher off the ground, have more interior space and are almost as economical to run.

The reasoning behind Ford’s decision is that sedans are only tying up precious space on production lines, preventing more profitable models from achieving higher production volumes. In addition, SUVs and utes have become more refined and as effortless as sedans to drive, and customers now place a greater value on space and utility.

“We’re not going to invest where it doesn’t make sense,” Ford’s chief financial officer in America, Bob Shanks, told the industry newsletter Automotive News.

Published April 2018.

 

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