Ford is no stranger at discontinuing models (or even brands) that don't perform as well on the sales charts. That was a big part of the strategy that enabled Ford to avoid the problems were experienced by the other two members of America's Big Three just over 10 years ago.
So it comes as no surprise when we realized that Ford Philippines had dropped three models in the local line up: the little EcoSport, the much larger Expedition, as well as the huge Transit van. Ford did respond to our query on the matter:
Ford Philippines has discontinued selling the current models of the Ford EcoSport, Ford Expedition, and Ford Transit. Ford dealers nationwide will continue to provide after-sales support to customers and honor the warranties of these vehicles.
Of course any official answer from Ford will require some reading between the lines to get the real explanation, but the gist is those three models haven't been bringing in the numbers to justify their presence at local stockyards and dealerships. In the same way that Ford discontinued Focus TDCi, then the Focus line in general, and Fiesta because of low demand brought about by changing customer preferences towards SUVs and the issues of PowerShift, Ford had to do the same to the three.
The EcoSport was once a very strong seller for Ford, but now it is very much an aging model amongst a sea of much newer subcompact crossovers. The EcoSport nameplate weathered the storm the problems from the PowerShift transmission with the earlier variants, but Ford didn't seem to want to develop a new generation model for the future. That's why one by one the assembly lines for the EcoSport worldwide are being shut down and the model being discontinued in a lot of markets.
The Transit van is perhaps an example of bad timing (and bad luck) by Ford for the local market. While the Philippines is generally very receptive to vans or even a tall minibus like the Turkish-made Transit, it arrived just in time for the start of the pandemic. Roadtrips and big groups traveling together became a distant memory. Even for corporate clients, the abrupt transition (no pun intended) to WFH meant there really was no need for a shuttle like the Transit.
The Expedition, however, is the surprise. While arguably Ford's biggest SUV was never a big seller, it has been consistently in the line up and has proven to be a popular model in the Philippine market. While Ford hasn't stated specifically what the reasons are for the discontinuation of the Expedition, we can probably chalk it up to production issues (e.g. chip shortage), changing priorities (e.g. electrification), and the fact that rival automakers are also coming out with newer SUVs like the Nissan Patrol Royale and Toyota Land Cruiser 300.
Ford, however, is looking towards a more streamlined future. The Territory is still proving to be a strong seller for the brand, and they have finally been releasing the Explorer to customer albeit in limited numbers due to the chip shortage. There are some good news, but we'll save that for another article.