Kuga, Edge and Explorer we know about. It’s the EcoSport that we hope makes the most inroads if at all.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- April 20, 2012
1.0L EcoBoost equipped Ford EcoSport. Not a B-Max, not a C-Max but more like a lifted Fiesta.
Ford is rapidly expanding its SUV range in China with four new global SUVs that deliver class-leading safety and cutting edge technologies. While fuel economy is mentioned, without ford’s 1.6L turbo diesel, all but the 1.0L EcoBoost sit in the not so fuel efficient camp.
On display at 2012 Auto China, the all-new Ford EcoSport, the all-new Ford Kuga, the Ford Edge, and the Ford Explorer will be Ford’s Bread and Butter for the Asian consumer.
The new SUV lineup is only the beginning as Ford brings 15 global vehicles to China by mid-decade. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported that 1.59 million SUVs were sold in the country last year, a jump of more than 20 percent from the previous year, far outstripping industry growth.
I guess fuel prices mean little in China either?
Ford aims to capture the segment by offering four members of its extended family of SUVs.
More fuel efficient
The 1.0L EcoBoost I3 in the all-new EcoSport delivers 118 HP and 125 lb-ft. of torque while the 1.6L EcoBoost in the all-new Kuga provides 177 HP and 177 lb-ft. of torque.
Ford did not mention the Chinese fuel economy figures but we can assume the 1.0L in the tallish Eco Sport should come in between 35 and 37 mpgUS combined on our own EPA as a guess?
The Eco Sport’s 1.0L will be mated to a 5-speed MT as standard equipment with a bevy of 6-speed’s being available across the 4 models.
Safety for the Chinese Market
The EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer incorporate large percentages of high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel and a full array of airbags – driver and front passenger airbags, side front airbags and side curtain airbags for front- and rear-seat occupants. The Kuga has an additional driver’s knee airbag.
Before the passive systems perform their duty, the active side of the equation sees a great advance for the Chinese consumer.
The entire SUV lineup is equipped with state-of-the-art active safety technologies including an Electronic Stability system, Hill Launch Assist, Emergency Brake Assist and Anti-Lock Brake System.
Additional available safety features include Ford’s excellent Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) that displays an alert in the driver’s side mirror when a vehicle is detected entering your blind spot and an Adaptive Cruise Control that maintains a safe distance from other vehicles by decelerating or accelerating accordingly. Another smart technologies is Ford’s Lane Keep Assist. What is most noteworthy is that Ford is pulling no punches here. Chinese vehicle offerings were usually strippers with the bare minimum of safety features. That is about to change and Ford is apparently taking the lead in this regard.
I know the Chinese are going to love this
The EcoSport, Kuga, Edge and Explorer all include SYNC allowing drivers to make calls or play their favorite music via voice commands while keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Kuga, Edge and Explorer customers are being offered MyFord Touch combining SYNC with a full-color 8-inch touch screen in the centre stack and two 4.2-inch LCD screens. The driver can access vehicle functions, settings and information through voice, the steering wheel controls or with a simple tap of the centre stack touch screen.
Auto sales in China
Why the push into China? How about 4 times the population of the US and an automobile market that already is larger than any in the world. Yes that means the US and Europe are already in second and third place respectively. Product follows $’s and the Chinese are quickly earning their keep.
The all-new Ford EcoSport will be the second of 15 new vehicles that Ford plans to introduce in the country by 2015. This is part of a bigger plan to bring more than 50 new vehicles and powertrains
to the Asia Pacific and Africa region by mid-decade, underscoring the unprecedented expansion in the region.
Ford’s aggressive expansion plan in China is being supported by several new investments to increase production capacity.
It was announced earlier this month that Ford and its joint venture Changan Ford Mazda Automobile (CFMA) will invest approximately USD 600 million to expand capacity in Chongqing by 350,000 passenger vehicles, raising total capacity in China to 950,000 units by 2014. The new investment will increase Ford’s total investment in China to approximately USD 4.1 billion.
CFMA already operates two assembly plants and an engine plant in Chongqing. Additional facilities – a USD 500 million engine plant and a USD 350 million transmission plant – are currently under construction.
All told, the Chinese consumer will soon receive the same vehicles we receive and more thanks to the more fuel efficient Kuga and EcoSport. It is also good timing for Ford as they make their push for profits in a country that was not entirely open for business in prior decades.