Ford recently axed its Fiesta, and hasn’t confirmed a replacement for the Focus that’s bowing out in 2025… but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s exiting the small car space.

    When asked by Autocar whether there’s space in the Blue Oval’s lineup for lower, non-SUV models in the future, Martin Sander – general manager of Ford’s Model e electric vehicle division in Europe – replied: “Definitely”.

    “I think so,” he replied when asked whether Ford would continue to offer passenger cars, with Autocar reporting new-generation small cars could potentially appear from 2026 and offer electric power.

    “There are values which have made us successful over the last couple of years, like solid quality and value for money. We’re not walking away from this,” Mr Sander added.

    “These are basic fundamental values Ford has had globally for many years.”

    It’s unclear whether Ford would expand its partnership with Volkswagen to include passenger cars.

    The two companies have been collaborating closely, partnering on commercial vehicles such as the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok duo, and the Ford Transit Custom and the next-generation Volkswagen Transporter.

    Volkswagen has also given Ford access to its MEB dedicated electric vehicle (EV) architecture. Ford has already revealed the MEB-based Explorer for Europe, and is following this up with another crossover.

    While Ford has confirmed it has assembled a ‘skunkworks’ team to work on an affordable EV to fend off the threat of Chinese brands, Mr Sander suggested a future Ford small car in Europe won’t necessarily be a high-volume model.

    “We are looking into the opportunities of bringing future global Ford products to Europe, but the key principle of our future line-up for Europe will be iconic, emotional products,” he said.

    “We are not going back into a volume race just to hit a certain number at the plant or be in a segment where others are.”

    Ford CEO Jim Farley confirmed earlier this year the skunkworks team has been working outside of the brand’s traditional framework for the past two years and has developed a “flexible platform” to be used by “several types of vehicles”.

    A subsequent report from Bloomberg, however, said the trio of vehicles – the first of which will debut in 2026 – will consist of a small ute, a compact SUV, and, potentially, a vehicle to be used for ride-hailing.

    That casts doubt on whether the skunkworks project will spawn a more traditional hatchback for markets like Europe where these remain popular, even as SUV sales continue to rise.

    In the meantime, Ford will continue to have compact vehicles in its lineup… they’ll just be SUVs.

    These include the Puma and its upcoming Gen-E electric counterpart; as well as the upcoming Explorer, which straddles the small and medium SUV segments in terms of dimensions.

    Ford offers just one passenger car in markets like Australia and North America: the Mustang.

    Unusually, the Blue Oval has a much smaller SUV lineup here than in other markets, with the Escape having been axed and the Puma set to follow it out the door – though the electric Gen-E will come here.

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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