Ford Planning Product Blitz for Q1 2012
Eight new models and four new derivations in one quarter
June 13, 2011
By: Austin Rutherford
Anyone who follows the Ford Motor Company remembers years in the past when there were little in terms of new products. That has changed under Alan Mulally’s leadership, but the best has yet to come. Through exhaustive research, FIN can report that Ford is planning a product blitz for the first quarter 2012. No less than eight all-new or refreshed models will start production and/or sales in this time frame along with four new derivations of existing models.
Clearly the biggest roll out in this quarter will be the all-new midsize sedan. The Ford Fusion/Mondeo is currently scheduled to start production in January on their new platform, CD4. Along with the news that FIN brought you a few months ago, we can also report that Ford expects a 50-percent sales improvement for the Fusion in North America, which could potentially push it over the 30,000 units per-month sales mark.
Development of the next-generation Fusion Hybrid is also exceeding its projected fuel economy targets. FIN as learned through a source familiar with the program that the new Fusion Hybrid should achieve around 47 or 48 miles per-gallon in the city. The 2013 Lincoln MkZ has been delayed to the second half of 2012, likely due to styling delays.
Displayed as a concept at NAIAS earlier this year, the Ford Vertrek Concept (seen above) gives a very good idea for what the next Escape/Kuga will look like. Production of the Escape will take place at Ford’s renewed plant in Louisville, Kentucky. Like all other new vehicles, it will gain MyFord Touch, but FIN expects the new model to loose its hybrid model. This will be given to the C-Max Hybrid, which will start sales later in the year. Those looking for a fuel-efficient model will not be disappointed, however, for the new Escape will have Ford’s new 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine.
At the New York Auto Show, Ford pulled the cover off the face-lifted 2013 Taurus, which will launch during the first quarter of 2012. It will not be the only D3/D4 platform mate to receive updates. The Ford Flex, Lincoln MkS and MkT will also gain face-lifts during in the Q1 time-frame. Like the 2013 Taurus, all will receive new exterior looks and Touch systems. The Lincoln MkS should receive a new interior following the new design direction that has debuted since its own debut back in 2008.
North America will not be the only market gaining new vehicles. Europe, in addition to the Mondeo, will gain the all-new B-Max and South America will receive an all-new EcoSport.
The B-Max will be the first vehicle to have Ford’s new I-3 Ecoboost engine. Dubbed “Fox,” this engine will be a fuel-saving upgrade from the 1.6-liter I-4. The B-Max will replace the ancient European Fusion as Ford’s offering in the sub-compact MPV segment with a new dramatic look and new technology, like the pillar-less sliding doors. Both the new “Fox” engine and the B-Max will be produced in Ford’s new plant in Craiova, Romania.
The long-standing best selling crossover in Brazil and Argentina, the Ford EcoSport, will also be all-new in the first quarter. Set for its media and public unveiling later this summer, this EcoSport will be more grown up, have better quality and offer more features than the outgoing model. It will also be Ford do Brazil’s first vehicle in terms of lead engineering and design, to be sold outside of South America. The timetable for these markets is not known at this time.
As mentioned, four new derivations of existing models will start production and/or sales in the first quarter of 2012 as well.
The new Ford Focus ST (seen above) will be offered in both North America and Europe initially, followed by other markets later on. Power will come from the 2.0-liter Ecoboost engine as seen in the Ford Mondeo and Edge. This will be the first vehicle co-engineered by Team RS of Europe and SVT of North America.
With the impending death of the Panther platform and its vehicles, Ford will start offering the platform’s replacements in this quarter. The Ford Taurus PI and Explorer PI will take over for the Ford Crown Victoria while the Lincoln MkT Town Car will take the place of the Lincoln Town Car in the livery market. All of these new vehicles are solely meant for the fleet market.
When all is said and done, by the time the 2012 calendar year is done, the oldest vehicles in Ford Motor Company’s retail lineup, at least for North America, will be the Ford Edge and Lincoln MkX. The times have changed and Ford is here to play ball.