Ford Motor Company made waves in the industry last week by announcing production of the Ford Focus will move to China. However, that wasn’t the entire story. The company has now confirmed to Automotive News a year-long gap in Focus production for the North American market as it migrates production to China.
According to the report Ford will cease Focus production at its Michigan Assembly Plant sometime in mid-2018. The end has to happen so that the company can begin retooling the assembly plant to build the upcoming Bronco and Ranger. Meanwhile, the next-generation Focus isn’t slated to begin production in China until mid to late 2019.
The year-long gap is less than ideal, according to Ford. Nonetheless, the company plans to combat it by stockpiling the 2018 Focus in inventory. Additionally, the company is betting on its upcoming EcoSport crossover to fill some of the void left by the lack of a compact sedan in the showroom.
Ford doesn’t seem too worried about the void, and understandably so. Focus sales are down 20 percent for the year, tanking like most traditional sedans on the North American market as buyers migrate to crossovers and SUVs. The migration itself is ultimately what led Ford to change its mind regarding building an all-new assembly plant in Mexico for Focus production in favor of importing the car from China.
The company says the move to China will save it approximately $1 billion. Paired with slowing car demand, it comes as little surprise Ford is willing to eat a year-long gap in Focus production.