Lincoln C Concept
Despite the fact that Ford has made a concerted effort at significantly rebooting their Lincoln line of vehicles, to many, the archaic Town Car is still the first thing that jumps to mind when the luxury brand is mentioned. So while the idea of a future Lincoln that looks anything like the C Concept is perhaps a bit of a stretch at the moment, there are 7 new vehicles being released in the next few years that indicate Ford’s global goals will be presented in smaller packaging.
Driving these decisions are Ford’s money saving efforts in using fewer overall platforms among a variety of vehicles. However, before you get too excited about getting the next sporty subcompact, keep in mind that individual countries may see slight variations to the vehicles depending on market requirements. Here are some of the highlights.
The newly redesigned Ka has actually been around for a number of years in Europe and South America, but only recently has been considered for North America. Why the change of heart from Ford? Well, it’s small. Really small. With the Ford Fiesta definitely coming, it was originally thought to be too tiny to be viable, but that was before other automakers, including Fiat, Toyota and especially GM, began plans to introduce their own diminutive cars in America. Don’t be surprised in the next couple of years if Ford at least tests the waters of this segment.
Although Ford has already largely cleaned house with a new production philosophy, the Fiesta is Ford’s first substantial salvo fired with regards to building on global platforms. The redesigned Fiesta will arrive and be sold 2010 as a 2011 model. The Mexican-made (of course) Fiesta is a subcompact that is larger than the Ka but still smaller than the Focus. In America ,the Fiesta will come in both a sedan and five-door hatchback version with a U.S.-specific grille. Ford predicts at least 30,000 to be sold annually, and possibly double that number if it does well.
The biggest of Ford’s global small cars, (sort of like being the tallest midget in the room) continues when the redesigned Focus goes into production late in 2010 with the first arriving at dealerships early in 2011 as a 2012 model. Redesigned. We can’t say that enough for those that have lusted after the European Focus. Beyond its more attractive styling, perhaps an even better marketing tool for Ford is that the new Focus will be made in economically-depressed Michigan, and if it does well, in Kentucky as well. Also on tap for the sedan and three-door hatchback is an small run of electric versions slated for 2011.
A second crossover-type vehicle based on the Fiesta platform is expected to be made available in the form of something similar to the C-Max. It is already being sold as a smaller minivan-alternative in Europe and may be here in the U.S. as soon as 2012. To increase its appeal to those looking to downsize from SUVs but with a need for increased seating, Ford is considering multiple seating configurations including a three-row version that parallels the one sold in Europe.
The Escape has been a moderately successful, though now aging, model for Ford and will live on in some form when it is up for replacement, possible as soon as 2012. But the automotive shrinking continues for the small SUV with a slightly trimmed down version to appear in the U.S. based on the Kuga crossover already sold in Europe. Like the Fiesta’s donation of parts to the C-Max, the Escape will adopt the Focus platform and also come with a plug-in hybrid version.
Ford Ranger Max Concept
The Ranger has been on life support for a long time now. Mazda has moved on from it, and indications were that so had Ford. But it has been given a little bit longer to linger on the lots. (Though we don’t know why) So it will be 2011 before Ford finally pulls the plug on the aging truck. Although Ford hasn’t solidified definitive plans for what they have in store for the Ranger or its replacement, they are adamant about it not being extended beyond that time frame. If their global trend continues, one possibility is an imported version of the Australian-engineered T6 compact pickup platform that is sold outside of North America. Whatever they replace it with, if Ford is smart they will not make the same initial mistake of dumping the Ranger name like they did with the Taurus.
Ford F-150 Raptor
Plans to build a smaller, lightweight version of the F-150 called the F-100 don’t appear to be moving forward. Instead, Ford engineers are devoting their energies towards weight-saving measures and improvement of overall fuel efficiency. What is surely a part of the F-150’s future is the addition next year of a 3.5-liter V-6 engine with EcoBoost turbocharging and direct injection. There are rumblings, as incredulous as it may sound, that a turbocharged 4-cylinder may also be possible. Before lovers of the iconic truck grab their shot guns though, they should be soothed somewhat to know that there will also be an improved new 5.0-liter V-8 on the horizon. As solid as sales of the F-150 continue to be, it has lost ground to other manufacturers as of late, including Chevy, so don’t expect Ford to just sit back and not try to regain dominance of this segment.