Beyond 2020, the prospects of the Ford Fusion look nearly opaque as, according to a report by Detroit News, the Blue Oval has recently cancelled plans to launch an all-new model expected to arrive at the start of the 21st century’s third decade.
The next-generation Fusion, which was known to be a product of an extensive redesign program, internally known as CD542N, will presumably continue to be sold for longer than its generational competitors, approximately 6 years after having been introduced in 2014. It’s sister car, the Mondeo as it’s known outside North America, will likely also face such a fate since.
Will the Fusion, and Mondeo for that matter, be able to put up much of a fight against the leaders of the segment, especially if all Ford can do up to and beyond 2020 is treat it to minor year-on-year updates? While in 2017 the Mondeo can trade blows with the best of its class, cars like the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Kia Optima, Hyundai Sonata, and Volkswagen Passat already make strong cases for their consideration over the Mondeo.
The move likely stems from a streaming effort under new CEO Jim Hackett, targeting projects and resources that are being utilised for purposes that do not yield - or project to yield - above a certain threshold of profit. For now, the mid-size saloon market has been steadily on the decline. Conversely, SUV sales have progressively increasing at its expense due to their similar pricing and added versatility.
A sources with knowledge of Ford’s plans says that the Fusion and Mondeo will not be the victim of a retired nameplate, and that they will indeed return to it. Further, Ford will maintain both cars in their respective North American and international portfolios for at least “three to four years”.
However, the worry is that, once company is satisfied with their other priorities and do revisit the Mondeo, will the state of affairs be such that it would discourage the automaker from pursuing this original program? After all, cars like the Volkswagen Passat have moved the bar higher in terms of the kind luxury and technology buyers can expect at this price tier.
Even more worrying, the two heavyweights in the space, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, both are on the cusp of a global rollout of an all-new generation model in what’s arguably the most drastic departure either have undergone. While a clear winner has yet to be named, each has been received very well, especially in North America, setting them up for sales domination over most markets easily past the 2020 mark.
But for those who fear that a delay to the planned rejuvenation of the Fusion/Mondeo will be a death knell for both nameplates, there are model such as the third-generation Mazda6 that has been enjoying steady numbers since its debut in 2012 thanks to a number of frequent updates to the car.
Most recently, at the Los Motor Show, the Japanese automaker announced the latest round of improvements for the 6 going into 2018, including 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine from the CX-9 as well as a revised interior and exterior package, improving the sedan’s refinement, handling, and levels of luxury.