Remember Ford’s one world, one car mantra? They call it One Ford. The new Ford Vertrek concept car, unveiled today at the 2011 North American International Auto Show, is a signal that they now want to roll out the same thinking to the SUV market.
Currently, Ford sells the Kuga crossover in Europe and the Escape in America. That multilateral argument is doomed; the new Vertrek shows there is a common ground between the two – and it’s coming as early as 2012.
Ford Vertrek: the background
The Vertrek is a classic Ford concept. That means it’s highly credible, and once you shear away the concept car trimmings – those carbonfibre step plates, 21in alloy wheels, lederhosen suede seats – this is in essence very close to the new 2013 Ford Kuga.
We hear the new global Ford SUV will be launched in both the US and Europe around 2012.
Ford sells around 200,000 Escapes in the US each year, making it big business. The European market is titchy by comparison; around 60,000 Kugas are sold annually.
And the new Vertrek is more Kuga like than Escape?
You bet. It was designed by Martin Smith’s European styling team. It’s a bit like a Ford C-Max on stilts, and Ford designers talk of a ‘less fussy’ approach. Kinetic Design is calming down.
Well, we say calm down, but look at that raised power dome stretching all the way to the windscreen – repeated into the roofline and that long, full-length ‘mohican’ sunroof.
One of many Ford Focus family members…
The Vertrek concept car presages one of many new Ford Focus family members. The crossover Focus will be a full five-seater (the concept is four seats only) and there will be no seven-seat version.
Expect the production version to have more boot space than the cramped current Kuga. Engines will span the usual Focus family range, so expect everything from a 1.0 through 1.6 and 2.0 petrols, plus a planned hybrid and a 1.6 and 2.0 TDCI diesel option.
Manual and twin-clutch Powershift transmissions will be offered, and prices are tipped to start around £21,000 when UK sales kick off in late 2012.