Ford to end production of all cars save Mustang, Focus

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As part of its first-quarter earnings report posted today (April 25) Ford announced that in the near future, it will be condensing its line of United States auto models to just the Mustang and the forthcoming Focus Active, a small crossover vehicle.

In a rather troubling press release, Ford announced that it will retire the Fusion, the C-MAX, the Taurus and the Fiesta on the North-American market by the 2020 model year.

The company's stock was up 2.6 percent at $11.40 in after-hours trading.

President Donald Trump's announcement to impose a tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum comes at a tough time for USA automakers, which have faced flattening sales in recent months.

This news comes as part of Ford's "fitness" plan, outlined by CEO Jim Hackett past year, in which he said the Blue Oval would cut its operating costs by $14 billion by 2022.

The only passenger vehicle models Ford plans to keep on the market in North America will be the Mustang and the upcoming Ford Focus Active, a crossover-like hatchback that's slated to debut in 2019.

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Ford CFO Bob Shanks announced the improved guidance as the company reported a nine per cent increase in first-quarter net income. The company will still produce a range of SUVs and trucks, including the Escape, Explorer, Bronco, and F-150-the best-selling truck model in the US.

The move is bad news for sedans, but good news for trucks and crossovers. We will have to make choices around how we disposition those businesses going forward.

Shanks suggested that Ford could reduce investment in certain geographic regions or exit them completely if it did not see adequate returns on the horizon. The company didn't say exactly what that mean, but it sounds a lot like its current crossover vehicle models, like the Escape or the Focus Active.

The No. 2 US automaker said it now plans to cut $25.5 billion in costs by 2022, up from $14 billion in cuts it announced last fall. The slashing across the entire company will include cuts in engineering, sales and marketing, according to Ford. The company previously predicted $14 billion in cuts by 2022. Revenue rose 7 percent to $41.96 billion.

Shanks said the Lincoln brand still is losing money in China, where it launched in 2015, but now plans to begin local production there in 2020.

Despite the higher profit, Ford's adjusted pretax profit margin fell to 5.2 percent from 6.4 percent in the same quarter in 2017.

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