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Both Ford and GM plan to stop making three cars for the U.S. market, as they continue to shift their focus toward popular and high-margin SUVs and trucks, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing sources.
General Motors will stop making the small Chevrolet Sonic car, possibly by the end of the year, the Journal reported. Ford plans to stop selling the comparable subcompact Fiesta in the U.S. and discontinue the larger Taurus sedan, once the best-selling car in the U.S.
Chevrolet declined to comment.
"As we have said, by 2020 trucks and utilities — including their electrified versions — are going to be almost 90 percent of our volume," a Ford spokesperson told CNBC. "Passenger cars,
including Fiesta and Taurus, remain an important part of our lineup. "
The move comes as automakers increasingly revise their offerings to suit the changing tastes of American buyers, who have over the last several years increasingly favored trucks, sport utility vehicles and crossovers instead of passenger cars.
Cases in point: the Jeep Wrangler, an SUV designed for off-road driving, just set an all-time monthly sales record, and the Lincoln Navigator, a luxury SUV costing up to $100,000, has been selling so fast Ford has had to ramp up production.
Lower gas prices and more fuel-efficient engines, including a growing array of electrified SUVs, have removed much of the need for small subcompact cars in the minds of buyers. Customers also often prefer the flexible storage space, higher ride height and the all-wheel-drive options more commonly available in SUVs.
And crossovers allow automakers to charge more money for a car that does not cost that much more to make. Several automakers have come out with compact or subcompact crossovers, such as the Buick Encore, the Honda HRV and the Ford EcoSport.
Meanwhile, even luxury car brands are having a hard time getting their sedans off the lot. Incentives on cars are extraordinarily high, and in some cases have been 30 to 50 percent of average transaction prices.