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Why Did They Stop Making the Ford Freestyle?

Why did Ford stop making the Freestyle? Up until 2005, the automotive giant had been making the Ford Taurus for years. At one point, the model was so popular that they even made a station wagon version to go alongside the even more popular sedan. Despite the fact that the Taurus had been one of Ford’s mainstays for years, they decided to replace it with the Freestyle in 2005. This was the car that was meant to take the torch from the Taurus station wagon. Despite that fact, they stopped making the Freestyle just four short years later. The question is, why?

There Could Be More Than One Reason

As it turns out, there might be a number of reasons that Ford eventually made the decision to stop making the freestyle. All of these reasons will be explained in greater detail in the following paragraphs. Keep in mind, it almost always comes down to a question of money. If an automobile manufacturer is making a lot of money with a particular model, there is very little reason for them to make any significant changes. As such, these models tend to stick around for years and years. That may not be the case when a particular model doesn't perform as an automobile manufacturer expected it to perform. If they feel like they’re not making as much money as they wanted, they may eventually make the decision to stop making that particular model, even if they were making a profit. Could that potentially have been what happened here? Keep reading to find out.

The Base Model Didn’t Sell Well

You might think that it's all based on sales of the Freestyle, but there is a lot more that goes into most automotive sales than that. In this particular case, it comes down to the fact that the chassis that was used for the Ford Freestyle, that of the Ford Figo, did not sell as well as the company had expected it to. As a direct result, Ford made the decision to stop making the Figo. When they did, both the Freestyle and the Aspire were left without a chassis to be built upon, quite literally. This effectively meant that Ford would have to make major revisions to the Freestyle in order to continue making it. Those revisions would have to start with finding a new chassis that could be used for it and other models. Since the Taurus had been discontinued when the Freestyle went into production, there weren't really any viable options. That ultimately meant that Ford would have to design a chassis just for the Freestyle, which they eventually found to be a rather pricey option. This was especially true considering the fact that the sales of the Freestyle weren't exactly what Ford had hoped for. More about that point will be discussed in the following paragraph.

Sales Dropped Sharply

One of the major problems with the Ford Freestyle was that sales dropped sharply each year that the car was in production. The first models that rolled off the assembly line, the 2005 models, sold relatively well. In fact, the car maker sold just over 8,500 models that year and then followed that up with more than 76,000 sales the next year. However, they sold fewer than 60,000 models the following year. The next model here, 2007, they sold less than half that amount. This forced them to introduce a new trim package for the Freestyle, called the Taurus X. Ford had hoped that resurrecting the Taurus name would help increase sales. It did little to boost the waning sales of the Freestyle. The 2008 model year saw only 23,000 models sold. 2009 was the final model year for the car. It was one of the most disappointing sales for the automotive manufacturer, as they sold just over 6,000 models.

Early Problems

As it turns out, Ford was unhappy with its sales of the Freestyle in 2007, to the point that they were ready to discontinue it even then. In a way, they did exactly that. They kept the chassis but introduced a new trim package that they called the Taurus X, as previously discussed. That is the only year that the Ford Freestyle and the Taurus X were both produced. Ford was so disappointed in the lack of sales for the Freestyle that they produced only the Taurus X the following two years. However, most people still consider the Ford Freestyle to have been produced all the way through 2009, as Ford used the same chassis and engine combinations for the Taurus X that they had used for the earlier Freestyle. As previously mentioned, the only real difference between them was the trim package.

The End of the Station Wagon?

Perhaps part of the reason that Ford had such a hard time selling this car was the fact that as a whole, people weren't as interested in purchasing station wagons as they had been in the past. Station wagons were wildly popular during the 1970s and even during the 1980s. However, they had largely lost their appeal as far as the majority of the public was concerned, especially by the time the early 2000s had arrived. It's possible that Ford was trying to continue producing a style of automobile that people simply weren't interested in buying any longer. It's highly unlikely that just one of these reasons marked the end of a Ford Freestyle. However, declining sales coupled with the fact that station wagons were vastly unpopular at the time made it difficult for Ford to reach the level of sales that they wanted with this particular model. When Ford eventually made the decision to stop producing the Figo chassis, it was almost a foregone conclusion that they would stop making the Freestyle in short order.

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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