Scene Changing at Ford Dealerships as Cars are Phased Out

GREAT BEND TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- There will soon be fewer cars and more SUVs at Ford dealerships across the country.

The president of the Ford Motor Company calls it a big a shift from cars to utility vehicles and that shift will make car dealership lots like Simmons Rockwell near Hallstead look a lot different.

Ford is shifting its emphasis from traditional cars, shifting $7 billion of research from cars and putting it into SUVs and trucks.

Those looking for new rides at Simmons Rockwell near Hallstead tell Newswatch 16 says the Ford Escape SUV is more dependable.

"It snows so much here. The weather is terrible and the front-wheel drive is very important," said Mike Caviness.

"We got stuck in the snow in a car. SUVs are more reliable than cars in New York because you need a bigger vehicle," Barbara Pearson said.

Ford plans to no longer sell the Fiesta, Taurus, Fusion and the regular Focus in the U.S. and Canada.

The American automaker says the only passenger model it plans to keep is the popular Mustang.

Ford will be unveiling a crossover hatchback called the Focus Active in the next year.

"We have seen the trend go where Ford and even preowned sales are gearing towards the truck and SUV more so than the sedan. Because of our demographic, having all-wheel drive seems to be more of what the customer wants," said Mike Sardella, finance manager at Simmons Rockwell Ford.

Ford is shifting the focus from sedans to SUVs. With the rough terrain, folks at Simmons Rockwell say they are selling more vehicles like the Ford Escape.

"When you have a winter that lasts in our area for seven, eight months, we see a lot of people for the same payment getting into something with four-wheel drive with a lot more room," said Sardella.

At A&E's Tire and Auto, Johnnie Florence has seen all sorts of vehicles come and go from his garage during his 40 years of business.

Although he wasn't surprised, he did say this is the beginning of the end for passenger cars.

"They started coming out with more midsized SUVs, then they started making everything all-wheel drive, then they went more crossover. The smaller vehicles are getting to be more SUV type," Florence said.

Passenger cars will likely remain at Ford dealerships through next year but by 2020 the company will sell mostly trucks, SUVs, and crossovers.