Ford to add new SUV models in China to cope with the demand

Article by Christian A., on April 26, 2012

Over the next year, Ford Motor Co. will add new SUV models to its China lineup to cope with the rising demand for units in this segment. Ford will quadruple its offerings, which will soon include the Kuga, the Chinese variant of the Escape, and EcoSport small SUVs, and the bigger Explorer. Ford Asia chief Joe Hinrichs said that presently, just the Edge is available in China, which leaves it under-represented in a segment that typically provides bigger profit margins.

He also said that the next stage of the growth of its product portfolio is launch of its three SUV models, which are crucial because of the apparent SUV segmentation. So far, the on-sale date of these SUVs has yet to be announced.

Ford, which produces the Fiesta, Focus, Mondeo and other vehicles in China in a three-way alliance with Chongqing Changan Automobile Co. Ltd. and Japan's Mazda Motor Corp., is expanding its SUV offering. Other automakers are beefing up their SUV lineups too. These SUVs from Ford are included in its plan to present 15 new vehicles into China by 2015. J.D. Power and LMC Automotive said that last year, Chinese consumers bought 2.1 million SUVs, a 25% increase.

This stands for nearly 12% of total light vehicle sales. This total makes up around 50% of the 4.1 million SUVs sold in the U.S., where they account for nearly a third of the market.

Customers and industry officials said that the wish of drivers to maneuver through China's packed traffic in a pricey off-road vehicle is perceived to be a very appealing prospect in the status-conscious group of people, particularly for younger consumers. J.D. Power and LMC said that furthermore, the number of female SUV drivers (a majority of which are young professionals) have been gradually rising in China, from 14% in 2007 to 19% in 2011.

Ford recently revealed that it will be coming out with a production version of its new EcoSport. The brand announced as well that in addition to facilities located in South America, Thailand, and India, this urban compact SUV will now be manufactured as well at a factory in China. Sporting a more modern design that enhances aerodynamics to improve fuel economy, this model is equipped with various smart technologies.

There are also other features, as well as excellent craftsmanship, that can be seen and not generally expected for a car from this class. While the EcoSport does offer a host of powertrain solutions, it is fitted with the most advanced engine to come from the brand, the EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine. With this, the EcoSport is able to set new standards when it comes to fuel economy.

Examples of these features include Ford SYNC driver connect system that comes with voice control. The advanced features and the high levels of craftsmanship combined with the comfortable interior that offers large space results in vehicle that has excellent refinement and quietness. Considering that the EcoSport will be making its official debut during the 2012 Auto China in Beijing, it means that customers in this part of the world will be able to choose an SUV as a potential option versus a small car.

This model boasts a high driving position, a confident stance, maneuverability, robust character, agility, of course, fuel efficiency. The EcoSport is indeed the best option for a city car, be it for play or for work.

Topics: ford, china, suv

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