‘The most exciting thing I’ve ever done’: What’s next for Ford?
A big, ambitious car show is coming to Ford, but one of the biggest challenges for the automaker is to find a new name for the car line.
The automaker unveiled a few new models this week including the Ford Focus RS and the Ford Fiesta ST.
But the company’s big unveiling came as the U.S. automaker faced another crisis: the Ford-sponsored recall of more than 7 million vehicles in November for defective air bags and airbag inflators.
The recall, which came just days after the company announced that it would stop selling the Ford Escape hatchback, was the biggest public-relations blow yet for the company.
Ford’s problems were not new.
The company was rocked by a series of safety recalls and other missteps in recent years that forced it to lay off thousands of workers, including hundreds of employees at its Lansing, Mich., factory.
Ford has been trying to build a new brand and create a more attractive model for its customers.
And that means figuring out a name for its car line, something that’s hard for the brand to do.
But Ford’s chief executive, Bob Lutz, said on a conference call with analysts last week that the automaking firm was not planning to name the car brand.
“We’re not planning on doing that, to be honest with you,” he said.
“It’s very important that we keep our focus on the brand.”
In the meantime, Ford is working on a brand new vehicle, the Focus, that will be a crossover, a midsize SUV and a compact SUV.
Lutz said on the call that the Focus will be unveiled this month.
But he declined to provide any details on when the brand will be revealed.
Ford’s competitors have also been trying a brand-new name for their vehicles.
Ford will unveil a new compact SUV, the X-Trail, next week.
That vehicle is intended to compete with Toyota’s Camry, which has a similar name.
Ford is expected to unveil a more upscale car, the Lincoln MKZ, later this year.
It’s aimed at people with lower incomes who might want to purchase a more expensive car.
Ford and the UAW agreed in February to a new collective bargaining agreement that included a pledge to work together on the new car brand, which the UFW said will include “a new name that will resonate with consumers.”
Ford is also working on bringing the brand’s existing vehicles to the US. market.
The Focus RS will be built at the new Michigan Assembly Plant in Kalamazoo.
It will go on sale in 2021, with the first models to arrive in 2021.
The Fiesta ST will go into production in 2021 in Mexico, and the Focus RS in 2022 in the U, Japan and Europe.
Ford is also developing a compact crossover, the Fusion, that’s scheduled to arrive later this decade.
Ford said on Tuesday that it had signed a contract to supply the Fusion with a brand name, the “Ford” brand, starting in 2021 and ending in 2022.
The deal is for up to 1.6 million Fusion sedans, and up to 4.4 million Fusion hatchbacks, which will be produced by Ford-built assembly plants in Michigan and Mexico.