Ford has revealed a new Chinese car that revives a name from the past – the Escort. Described by the firm as stylish and unpretentious, the new model has been designed specifically with Chinese buyers in mind.
As such, and despite the One Ford policy, it is unlikely the new Ford Escort will make it to Europe. But the tantalising possibility does theoretically remain…
The compact saloon Ford Escort (surely Orion?) has been designed to be cheaper to build than models such as the Focus – which is actually Ford’s best-selling car in China. It also has a more traditional three-box style with a focus on creating maximum passenger space.
Ford has included plenty of safety features and also a new Device Dock feature – this lets uses store, mount and charge smartphones, MP3 players and sat nav devices. It also allows integration into the in-car entertainment system.
The Escort is based on Ford’s Global C platform, as used beneath the Ford Focus (which itself is sold in China), although some costs-saving has presumably been made over the global model in order to meet its budget positioning.
Why has Ford launched the new Escort?
Ford has launched the Escort because although the Focus is for lots of Chinese buyers – total Ford sales in China rose 49% last year to nearly a million vehicles, with the Focus leading the charge – it is not for everyone. “Many consumers in China are looking for something else in a compact car,” said Changan Ford Automobile exec president Luo Minggang.
“The Ford Escort is the answer to the question of what these consumers really want and value in a car for themselves and their families.”
The Escort is expected to sell for a lower list price than the Focus; this, along with the focus on simplicity and space rather than the driving dynamics of Europe’s Focus, should further broaden Ford’s offer in a market it’s rapidly been playing catch-up in over the past few years.
“We are committed to delivering on Henry Ford’s promise to open the highways to all mankind,” said Alan Mulally, president and CEO, Ford Motor Company.
“As we are demonstrating here today, that promise means delivering a full family of quality, fuel efficient, safe and smart vehicles to our customers in China.”
There’s plenty more where the Escort came from, added Ford: it aims to bring 15 new cars to China by 2015…