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The Flexibility of One Ford

Written by Staff. Posted in Ford News

Published on May 03, 2016 with No Comments

This is the Ford dealership of the near future: If you find a big-city showroom in which every car is smaller than a Mustang and every truck or crossover is smaller than an Edge, you might think you’ve stepped into a European store. The automaker’s C-platform takes centre, uh, center stage, as Ford believes compacts like the Focus eventually will replace midsize sedans like the Fusion as the volume passenger car. (Even if that doesn’t happen, the 2013 Fusion converges with the European Mondeo’s design.)

Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, near Dearborn, has been converted from truck production to build the new 2012 Focus sedan and hatchback. It’s also the factory for the electric Focus and both hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Focus-based C-Max multipurpose vehicle. Ford hasn’t identified the assembly plant for North American production of the conventional C-Max.

Are we ready for smaller sedans, compact hatchbacks, and micro-minivans?

Thanks to the flexibility of the Michigan Assembly Plant, it may not matter. Flexibility means the factory can add production of a particularly popular model while cutting production of models that aren’t selling that well, notes Ford product chief Derrick Kuzak. He says the Fiesta’s early 60/40 hatchback/sedan split is more hatchback than Ford expected. So how does Ford’s compact lineup shake out? Here are the variants to begin production in Wayne over the next couple of years:

Focus sedan and hatchback: Includes the ST hatchback. Just launched, we wouldn’t count on the same 60-percent-hatchback take-rate as for the Fiesta. Look for 50/50 at best in the first year, with sedan sales dominating through the rest of the product cycle. Ford counts the Audi A3 among the new Focus’ competitors.

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