While we were checking out the website of Ford Philippines this morning—we wanted to compare the exterior design of the local Focus with that of the Focus Wagon available overseas for a possible article—we realized that the compact car was no longer available in our market. But we also discovered that the subcompact Fiesta had already been removed from the company’s list of product offerings in our territory.
We searched our mailbox and also Googled the Internet for official announcements we might have missed, but found none. We also asked an officer within Ford’s dealership network, and were told that there had been no written communication from the distributor about the stoppage of Fiesta sales in the country. Our source, however, did recall discussions about the small car being excluded from the “ordering system.”
We’re just a little confused because, as recently as April this year, the Fiesta was still part of Ford Philippines’ P3-million sales promotion at the 2019 Manila International Auto Show. We guess they were simply selling whatever was left of the Fiesta inventory at the time.
Now, we’re not trying to make a big deal out of this. Automakers routinely stop selling vehicle models quite discreetly, but our private exchange with Ford Philippines’ top communications executive felt a little weird. When we asked EJ Francisco when exactly his company had discontinued the distribution of the Fiesta and the Focus, his reply was: “Let me quickly align with Marketing on the month. Get back to you in a bit.” Of course he didn’t. More than five hours after we were promised the answer, we’re still waiting—for something as simple as a pair of dates.
Then again, maybe things are not as simple as we think. Maybe Ford would just really rather the Fiesta and the Focus faded away silently, especially considering the two cars had been the main subjects of a recent corporate scandal in the United States. From the Detroit Free Press:
More than 1.9 million unhappy customers who purchased or leased a Ford Focus or Fiesta say the company lied to unload cars with faulty transmissions on unsuspecting buyers and then blamed the drivers for problems they experienced.
According to a couple of Ford dealers we visited today, they had ceased Fiesta sales as early as last year, and Focus sales much earlier than that. If this is true, we now find it a lot stranger that the Philippine distributor still included the model in their MIAS 2019 sales promo. Here’s a screenshot of the press release:
Whatever. We just wanted to let you know that Ford is now exclusively a commercial-vehicle brand in our market—its lineup now consisting of just the Ranger, the Ranger Raptor, the Everest, the EcoSport, the Explorer and the Expedition—with the notable exception of the Mustang, which is not really a volume seller.
Not much of a surprise there. In April last year, Ford announced that it was killing off sedan models in North America, even pointing out that 90% of the brand’s product portfolio would be made up of trucks and light commercial vehicles by the year 2020. We knew it was only a matter of time before the same strategy got rolled out in other markets.
Want a Blue Oval ride? Go get yourself an SUV or a pickup.
UPDATE: Ford Philippines has issued a statement through company spokesperson EJ Francisco, and we’d like to share it with you. “In line with the company’s global strategy, we decided not to launch the new Fiesta or Focus in the Philippines and instead play to our global strengths with SUVs and pickup trucks to meet growing consumer demand in these segments. We will continue to honor the full terms and conditions of all standard and extended warranties for Fiesta and Focus customers. Fiesta and Focus customers can also rest assured that Ford dealers will be able to service their vehicles for the entirety of their ownership, and genuine Ford parts will be available in the Philippines through our Ford dealer network across the country.”