Back in 2016 when we drove the Ford Kuga in Philippines, Ford had positively denied any plans to bring the SUV to India. Now, just over a year and a few months later, we have our sources telling us that Ford is developing a brand new SUV based on the Kuga which is also known as the Escape in a few markets.
Internationally, the Ford Kuga/Escape is a Hyundai Tucson rival, a premium five-seater SUV. It sits below the Ford Endeavour-equivalent and is a powerful and comfortable urban SUV. Ford has realised that bringing the Escape to India as it is, would not be ideal because of the quantum of the segment. Despite being a margin product, the lack of volumes does not make a business case and especially with the struggling volume products in Ford’s India line-up, the American giant wouldn’t want another slow-mover on its shelf.
What makes us believe in this is that the new Escape-based SUV will then certainly sit a step lower than the Tuscon, competing against the likes of the Creta and the Jeep Compass across its range. The Hyundai Creta averages about 8,000 units a month while the Jeep Compass rings more than 2,000 every month which makes it a 10,000 unit segment. If Ford manages to breach this segment, especially with no likely rival from Maruti anytime soon, it certainly gets to have a bite of the mighty margin pie.
This new SUV might be called the Ford Escape as it fits like a glove with the Ecosport and the Endeavour nomenclature. It should ideally measure between 4300mm to 4400mm in length and will be a five-seater. Ford should certainly go for brawn in terms of styling because that is what sells. In terms of features, the new Ecosport has shown what Ford is capable of and we are certainly impressed.
If we get the Ford Escape (or whatever Ford decides to call it) later this year, we always have a chance of getting the Kuga later to complete Ford’s SUV portfolio in India from a sub-four metre SUV to the seven-seater big boys.