You knew this was coming. Ever since Ford confirmed that the full-size Fairlane crossover (pictured) was going into production, the writing has been on the wall for Ford's big box minivans, and Friday the other shoe finally dropped, with The Detroit News reporting that Ford's minivans are dead.

It turns out this week marked the end of production for the Mercury Monterey, and the last Ford Freestar is rumored to roll off the line next spring. As a result, Ford will go down in history as the first U.S. automaker to stop selling traditional three-row minivans. Whether or not this marks the beginning of the end for the minivan, or just signals Ford's inability to compete with the big dogs in the segment (DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and Honda), only time will tell.

Meanwhile, Ford is hoping that it will be more successful competing on a fresh playing field with its new crossover, which debuts in 2008.

[Source: The Detroit News]