Detroit - The Fusion was recently dropped from Ford's local line-up but its future on the international front also seems to be in jeopardy, with reports from the US stating that a redesign that had been planned for 2020 is no longer going ahead.
According to The Detroit News, Ford recently sent a letter to relevant suppliers informing them that the 2020 redesign of the Fusion and its Mondeo-badged European counterpart, had been cancelled.
Although this does not necessarily mean that Ford will give up on the nameplate or the segment altogether - for all we know a more radical project could be on the cards for a later date - the signs are certainly not good.
The medium to large sedan market - though still relatively big in the US - is giving way to the booming (and more profitable) SUV and pick-up segments. Fusion sales in the US were reportedly down around 20 percent last year, and 11 percent the previous year.
Another bad omen is that last October Ford’s new CEO Jim Hackett announced a cost-cutting and future-proofing plan that would see some cars dropped from its line-up. Ford didn’t name any specific models, but did state that the company would reallocate $7 billion (R87bn) in development money from cars to SUVs and trucks.
Furthermore, a third of Ford’s engine development kitty will be redeployed to electric powertrains, including hybrids.
Will the Fusion eventually be replaced by an electric vehicle or crossover of sorts?
It’s all up to speculation at this point, but the current model is expected to soldier for now, with a company insider having told the The Detroit Press that the current Fusion for remain part of the line-up for at least another three or four years.
Ford’s Fusion was dropped from the South African market in 2017 due to poor sales, but that no doubt had more to do with the local market’s aversion to large sedans without premium badges than with any shortcoming on the Fusion’s part - in our opinion it was rather brilliant.