A Ford Motor Co. source told Automotive News Europe that at the Detroit Auto Show, the company will launch a near-production concept of a medium SUV to replace the Kuga in Europe and Escape in the United States.
The source said the new-generation SUV will go into production in the second half of 2012 and will be sold as a 2013 model in the United States.
Ford has not decided whether the Escape or Kuga will keep their names or they will share a common badge when the SUVs arrive. Under the carmaker's One Ford strategy, a single name will be used for vehicles sold in different regions, like the Focus and the Fiesta.
It's possible that Ford of Europe's Saarlouis, Germany, plant will lose production of the Kuga to a Ford U.S. plant. The top contender for the job is Ford's Louisville, Kentucky factory, which produces the Ford Explorer large SUV.
The Saarlouis plant will be the only source for new Focus production in Western Europe, producing all three body styles -- five-door, station wagon and four-door.
Bernhard Mattes, who runs Ford's German factories, told Bloomberg that output of the Focus, which recently went into production, could reach the daily maximum of 1,850 cars by the end of January 2011.
Mattes adds that Focus will be sold as early as March 2011 in Germany and will be available in other major European markets by the second quarter. Ford makes the Escape, including a hybrid variant, in Kansas City, Missouri. [via autonews - sub. required]