Ford is about to bow out of the minivan game. The Mercury Monterey came out of production this week, and the Ford Freestar is only scheduled to stick around for the 2007 model year. It may not even make it that long, though, because the transmissions used in the Freestar will only be made until November.
That points at a possible spring finale for the Freestar. With this move Ford becomes the first major automaker to drop their minivan, which seems impossible given how popular the segment used to be.
Maybe the problem is that Ford made crappy, ugly vans. Ford sold 250,000 vans in 2000, but dropped to 86,000 last year, and are down from that level this year. Sales in July were half of what they were in 2005.
To replace the minivans, Ford will be producing a “people mover” based on the Ford Fairlane concept that they introduced at car shows last year.