Ford may retain the Fusion name as an answer to the Subaru Outback.
Ford shocked the automotive world last April when they announced the death of their entire car lineup (other than the iconic Mustang, of course). All those Fiestas, Focuses, and Fusions were all going the way of the dodo bird in North America so the company could focus their resources on more profitable trucks and SUVs.
At the time, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said, "We're simply reinventing the American car." Now it seems rather than reinventing the American car Ford will take a page out of Subaru’s playbook and simply offer wagons and crossovers.
We already know that Ford will retain a version of the Focus in North America called the Focus Active. This car will follow the same formula as the Subaru Crosstrek: take a compact car (in the Crosstrek’s case, the Impreza) and expand the body into a crossover.
Now it seems like the Ford Fusion might get the same treatment. According to sources speaking to Bloomberg, Ford dealers were so incensed at the death of their beloved Fusion that they demanded that Ford at least keep the name, which has been built into a successful brand over years of solid Fusion sales.
But rather than be attached to a sedan, Ford will turn it into something that more closely resembles Subaru’s Outback. Bloomberg’s sources state the Fusion will become a "high-roofed hatchback built on the same mechanical underpinnings.”
Creating a new crossover using the bones of the dead Fusion would save millions in development costs while offering a product that the North American market seems to favor over sedans. As sales of the current Ford Fusion fall, sales of Subaru’s Outback SUV continue to climb. The Outback is expected to surpass the Fusion in terms of sales next year--just before the Fusion waves its final goodbye.
Ford spokesman Mike Levine confirmed “we’ll likely continue to use the name because of its awareness, positive imagery, and value with consumers,” but declined to offer any technical details of what Ford has in store.
As for when we might see a Fusion crossover, it’ll have to wait until at least 2020 when the old Fusion is expected to die off.