Consumers in China have been given a chance to peek into the future as Ford officially unveiled during the Auto China 2014 the Everest Concept. This concept is a seven-seat medium off-road SUV. Though the brand already has unmatched offerings when it comes to SUVs in China, this concept is but a preview to what is clearly the brand's plan for a compelling addition.
In 2013, the brand's worldwide utility sales were 1.2 million units, an increase of 37%. This was better than the segment overall which experienced a 13% growth. Making this possible is the offer of a strong SUV lineup. For the Chinese market, the brand's share of the utility market was initially 0.3% in 2012 before going up to 4.5% by 2013.
Ford also experienced record sales with at least 150,000 vehicles sold. With the Everest Concept, the brand hopes to show a vehicle that it expects will be able to reach a wider range of customers and allow Ford to extend further its SUV leadership. Not that surprising if it happens, given that the Everest Concept has cutting-edge technologies, premium refinement, unmatched off-road capability, and the fun-to-drive DNA the brand is known for. This concept car was developed by the brand's very own Asia Pacific design team based in Australia.
As such, the Everest Concept has many of the brand's key design features. There is for example the more pronounced inverted trapezoid grille. With the headlamps being able to wrap around the vehicle's grille, it gives this concept model a robust and technical appearance. It brings to mind the look of interlocking gear cogs. Further the connected headlamps are able to express functionality while also putting focus on the grille. This gives the front section a powerful and strong presence, one that truly makes it a Ford. Ford Asia Pacific Exterior Design Manager David Dewitt said that they took inspiration from the brand's very own design heritage.
When the Everest Concept was designed, the team looked into how the feel of refinement and sleekness could be communicated, he added. This was achieved and can be seen in the silhouette, he continued. Dewitt said further that the sophistication and sleekness have been punctuated in the details, all of which are highly technical.
Starting from the front section, there is the upright grille with the headlamps being swept back in order to give it a more aerodynamic and contemporary appearance. By making sure that the profile is sculpted, it allowed the Everest Concept to stand apart from the rest. Moving to the rear section, it is clear the design team made sure to put those chiseled and pronounced chiseled tail lamps above the negative scallop.
This allowed for a robust and sculptural rear end which helps contrast it with the flat, square liftgates generally seen on standard SUVs. Counting in the high ground clearance, it provides a clue as to the off-road potential of this model. Further, the unique design is made apparent as it is purposeful and bold while being nimble and modern. In order to reflect and amplify the exceptional capabilities and tough physique of this new model, the brand utilized "Sunset Flare" to paint the Everest Concept. This is a show-stopping red that bring with it a flash of orange.
The color is powerful and bold and has warmth that is able to showcase the premium qualities of this concept car. According to Dewitt, while the team wanted this model to be capable and tough, they also wanted to be sophisticated and modern. He added that though the Everest Concept does have a robust appearance, chunky, and tough, it is tailored, sleek, and even more sculptural than the usual SUV boy design.
Meanwhile, Ford China CEO and Chairman John Lawler revealed that the brand has continued to develop and launch SUVs of all sizes around the world as a way of meeting the dynamic and growing demand of the brand's customers. He added that customers have always played a significant part in driving the growth of the brand globally and in particular China.
Lawler continued by saying that this concept vehicle is both versatile and rugged and comes with a stunning design that is combined with excellent off-road capability. He said that the Everest Concept is how the brand intends to cement its leadership in the SUV segment. The brand, he added, knows that there is a strong market for models like the Everest Concept in China and hopes that this same model would allow the brand to complement and expand the current world-class range of SUVs.
Lawler said further that last year, China's SUV market increased by 49%. He revealed that over the next five years, the brand sees a great opportunity. Through a model like the Everest Concept, he said further, Ford hopes to extend its commitment in being able to serve its many customers in China. Ford disclosed that the production version of the Everest Concept aimed at the Chinese market will be manufactured by Ford's JMC joint venture. Distribution will be done using JMC's very own Ford-brand network of dealers.