• Michael Martinez

Despite car cuts, Ford brand's portfolio to grow by 3 nameplates by 2023

Re-posted from Automotive News

DETROIT — The Ford brand's U.S. lineup will grow to 23 nameplates — three more than today — in the next five years, despite plans to stop selling sedans in the region, a top company executive said Thursday.

Ford Motor Co. product chief Hau Thai Tang said the brand would add nine nameplates — seven of which will be pickups and utilities — through 2023. They will fill holes left by eliminating the Fiesta, Taurus, Fusion, C-Max, Flex and all but a wagon version of the Focus, and expand the brand into several new segments, resulting in a net gain of three nameplates for the brand.

The product overhaul comes as Ford works to decrease its average showroom age from 5.7 years today to 3.3 by 2020. It hopes to have the freshest showroom in the industry by that time.

"It's like selling fish and vegetables," Thai-Tang said at a media event tied to this weekend's 2018 Woodward Dream Cruise in suburban Detroit. "The fresher it is, the better they do."

Ford executives have vowed to replace the sedans they're phasing out of North America with vehicles employing different body styles. The brand also is adding two off-road utilities in the coming years: the Bronco and a smaller off-road crossover that has yet to be named.

Other new nameplates include the Ranger midsize pickup, a long-range battery-electric crossover inspired by the Mustang, and a commercial autonomous vehicle. Ford also is reportedly considering bringing a compact pickup to market by 2022.

As it redesigns many of its vehicles, Ford will place them on one of five modular platforms: rear-wheel-drive/all-wheel-drive body-on-frame; front-wheel-drive/awd unibody; commercial van unibody; rwd/awd unibody; and a unibody platform for battery-electric vehicles. All five will be able to accommodate hybrid vehicles.

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