Friday, December 09, 2005

Crossovers to outdo SUVs, and Ford has the product to do well in my opinion

Ford, who has played a major role in feeding America's addiction to SUV's is ready to adjust with the shift to Crossovers, with several great models out now and on the way soon. Ford's Explorer has been the top selling SUV for years and they haven't forgotten SUV fans, with a nicely freshened Explorer for 2006.
But last year when Ford introduced the Freestyle, they showed a real ability to cover all their bases. The Freestyle, is not selling as well as Ford would like, but with safety ratings that are class leading and value that is very tangible, the Freestyle may still make a comeback. And if not, don't expect this vehicle to disapear, it will just slide into Mercury dealers as the Meta One.
When the Escape came out, it sold well, and now it's among only a handfull of Hybrid vehicles available. But Ford wants to raise them from 25 to 250 thousand units a year. Ford, Mercury and Mazda versions are all getting Hybrid versions of this great little crossover.
But Ford's not finished there, this South of the border Ford EcoSport will be their entry level Crossover. Based on European Ford Fiesta mechanicals, expect a version of this around 2008.
Anticipating the need for a larger Crossover, this Fairlane concept has been kicking around and based on the same chassis as the Freestyle (itself based on Volvo XC90) look for someting along these lines by 2009.

And with Ford's new ambitious Hybrid program, expect to see Hybrid versions of several of them soon after introduction.

Sure Ford brought the obscene Excursion super SUV, and has been feeding us a steady diet of Explorer and Expeditions, but they are ready for the shift and with current and future products can maintain their position in this segment.

See, it's not all bad news.


NLPRacing said...

I am pretty excited about Ford's upcoming products. I can't wait to see the SVT Sport Trac and I may need to talk my wife on trading in the Expedition for one of these crossovers, especially with that new 3.5 V6 or maybe even that rumored 4.4 V8.

Big Ford Fan said...

NLP, always glad to see you comment here.

I think these crossovers could do a lot to help Ford with any transition from SUV to Crossover, keep some of those customers and maybe draw some from other makes.

The 3.5 will be a very important motor for Ford, and the 4.4 is really just the last SHO motor updated, but will give some much needed power to the 500/Freestyle.