A Ford insider told Automotive News Europe that Ford of Europe plans to introduce a concept of a small minivan that will replace the Fusion at the Geneva auto show in March 2011.
This vehicle will challenge Europe's top-selling small minivan, the Opel Meriva. The Meriva has been Europe's best-selling small minivan since Automotive News Europe began tracking the segment in 2003.
The source says the vehicle will be produced by the end of 2011 at Ford's factory in Craiova, Romania. The source adds that European sales of the minivan will begin in early 2012.
A Ford of Europe spokesman says the new vehicle is a B-segment vehicle and will go into production early in 2012.
Ford, which uses B segment to describe subcompact-sized cars, may call the new vehicle B-Max, as it will be the smallest offering in Ford's European range of minivans that includes the medium C-Max and large S-Max and the large Galaxy.
The source says that based on Ford's global B-architecture, which debuted in 2008 with the Fiesta subcompact model, the B-Max will be a five-seat minivan with rear sliding doors.
According to JATO Dynamics data, sales of Ford Fusion peaked at 82,696 units in 2007, when it was No. 2 to the Meriva at 132,715 units. [via autonews - sub. required]