Vertrek Concept set to unify Ford’s C-segment SUVs Kuga and Escape

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 25, 2011

Ford’s chief Alan Mulally confirmed the fact that the Vertrek Concept, unveiled at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, will definitely give the company a great opportunity to unify its two C-segment SUVs, the Kuga and Escape, according to Autocar.

Set to make its debut in mid to late 2012 the new Kuga/Escape will carry the design seen on the Vertrek Concept, but don’t be too disappointed when you will not see the glass roof and when you will see that the car will feature a centre pillar and a simpler design for the front grille and sills.

In the concept form, the car is powered by a highly efficient new 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine from the global Ford EcoBoost family, which means the Vertrek has the power of a larger-displacement powerplant but delivers significantly better fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The engine is mated to a new fuel-saving Ford Auto Start-Stop technology.

The Ford Vertrek concept features a sleek appearance refined further aerodynamically in order to achieve class-leading fuel economy as well as low carbon dioxide emissions while complementing the high-tech powertrain solutions that the US carmaker envisions.

According to Ford’s preliminary data, a production vehicle derived from the Vertrek concept would at least offer 5 percent better aerodynamic efficiency than current comparable models sold in North America and Europe. Moreover, thanks to Ford's global C-segment platform, the carmaker could come up with vehicles that suit consumer preferences around the world.

Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service, quipped that customers around the world are increasingly demanding a compact SUV that is not only stylish and fun to drive, but also features the required package, technology, capability and fuel efficiency.

He remarked that the Ford Vertrek concept should allow the carmaker to directly hear from customers the compromises they are willing to take as Ford strives to come up with a future production model that has all the attributes they wanted. Ford is planning to have the new global C-segment platform – replacing current regional ones -- underpin at least 10 models.

Ford expects this new platform to account for over 2 million units of sales, thereby paving the way for unparalleled economies of scale as well as an opportunity to offer new technologies and features typically found in premium vehicles.

The compact SUV segment is considered as one of the largest and the fastest growing segments in the United States and is one of most cross-shopped segments in the country. Moreover, Ford is one of the pioneers in the compact SUV segment with its Escape model.

In Europe, crossovers have been gaining popularity, with sales soaring over 200 percent since 2000. Interestingly, the Ford Kuga has been one of the best-selling offerings in its segment since it was launched in 2008. Around 70 percent of Kuga customers select the high series version.

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