The next generation Ford Escape is turning into a Ford Kuga. It will come to the US in the 3rd or 4th quarter of 2011 as a 2012 model. The Kuga is built on Ford’s new generation global C1 platform that underpins the new Focus as well as the upcoming Grand C-Max (think Mazda5) small minivan.
Ford is still mulling over the name for the Kuga/Escape. There is a good deal of brand equity in the Escape name, but given the radical change from a truck-look to a crossover look, Ford may want a fresh start with the Kuga name. Then again, Ford likes to keep the names uniform – at least in the US.
For a long time now, SUVs and crossovers have to have names starting with an “E” while passenger cars are supposed to have a name starting with an “F.”
SUVs and CUVs:
- Mustang (hey, they are never going to change this one)
- Flex (it could be considered a crossover or SUV, but with an “F” name, Ford must consider it a car)
- Taurus (again, a name with much brand equity. When Ford ditched the Taurus nameplate in favor of the “Five Hundred” nameplate, the car dropped like a rock.)
The outgoing Escape is riding on a small car platform – I think it’s the same one used for the current Focus. Ford really is bringing world-class cars to the US market. Finally.