Ford brought cars to the masses in 1908 with the Model T. It cost about $20,000 in today's dollars ($1,000 back then).
GM perfected the market segmentation with their tree or pyrimid of brands.
Customers would start their car ownership years with a Chevy. Or they could start with an Opel or Saturn back when they were available. Then they could move up to a flagship Chevy (Tahoe, Camaro, or Corvette for example). Or, if they preferred, they could move to an Oldsmobile (Grand touring brand), Pontiac (Muscle car brand) or Buick (quasi luxury for Geezers, now Opels for for the Chinese). They could also switch to a GMC (luxury truck brand). And if they reach the top of the GM pyramid, Cadillac awaited them.
That paradigm seems to be under threat, at least temporarily until every automaker has an entry-level electric car.
Ford has announced that it is going to stop selling four cars in the US and Canada: The Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and Taurus. They are doubling down on crossovers and trucks, where the higher profit margins are. Ford had only recently given the Fusion a makeover, with a new 8-speed transmission, which is coming to the next Focus and Escape.
This means that later this year, the least expensive Ford in the US will be the front wheel drive EcoSport, at $20,000. Currently, the least expensive Ford is the base, manual transmission Fiesta at $15,000.
Gasoline prices will surely rise again. And when they do, Ford will lose market share to GM, Toyota, and Hyundai/Kia. But they have laid out their strategy of profit margins over market share. The Mustang, F-150, Bronco, baby Bronco. EcoSport, Escape, Edge, Explorer and Expedition will drive Ford sales in the US and Canada for the next few years. Plus their commercial vehicles like the Transit can and F-250 truck will continue to sell very well. By the time the Bronco and baby Bronco are released, we'll know if this was a smart strategy.