Ford Planning New Crossovers, Including Rugged Focus and Fiesta
Likely to hit the market by 2018by Ciprian Florea, on
Ford has recently announced plans to invest up to €200 million to manufacture the EcoSport crossover at its Craiova Assembly Plant in Romania starting in the autumn of 2017. Also, Ford made a commitment to launch five new SUVs and crossovers in Europe by 2019, the first of which will be the new Edge, which is set to debut in the second quarter of 2016. Now, the Blue Oval is looking to benefit from the boom of the crossover market by adding rugged version of its mainstream cars.
That’s the word from Barb Samardzich, Ford of Europe CEO, who told Automotive News that the strategy is similar to Audi’s Allroad range.
“We see a big growth area in vehicles that are a bit rugged. They are not SUVs but they still have a more active look to them," she said, adding that the look could be applied to several models, including smaller vehicles such as the Fiesta. "Put some black cladding in the right places, a roof-rack and you could get it looking a lot more active," she concluded.
Samardzich declined to confirm if these rugged-looking cars are part of the five new crossover/SUV bundle set to be launched over the next three years, but they are expected to hit the market in the near future alongside the redesigned Edge and facelifted Kuga. The most likely candidates for the rugged exterior package are the Focus Estate and the Fiesta, but the wagon version of the midsize Mondeo could also be in the books.
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Why it matters
A new family of Allroad-like vehicles could help Ford increase its crossover sales on the European market. Expected to surpass 200,000 units for the first time in 2016, Ford will most likely benefit from a range of crossover-like models, which will attract drivers that wouldn’t normally buy a big SUV. A cladded, raised version of the Focus Estate would give Ford a competitor for the popular Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, while a similar version of the Fiesta would appeal to customers in need of a compact car suited for the active life style. Current options include the Volkswagen CrossPolo and the recently introduced Hyundai i20 Active, but there’s definitely more room in this niche. Finally, a more rugged version of the Mondeo Estate would make a more affordable proposition to the Audi A6 Allroad and likely a more popular option to the Seat Leon xPerience.
For what it’s worth, Ford has already experimented with this concept. In 2009, it launched the Focus X Road, a model based on the Focus Estate that was equipped with body cladding and raised suspension. However, the X Road was just a regular Focus under the shell, with no off-roading skills whatsoever. What’s more, the model was made in only 300 units and sold exclusively in the Netherlands.
Source: Automotive News