Ford Escort returns, just not for USSat, 19 Apr 2014 12:02:00 EST
Ford is set to give the burgeoning Chinese market its very own C-segment model, while also reviving one of the brand's more notable nameplates. The new Escort, which will make its world debut at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show will be built in the People's Republic at the Changan Ford joint venture facility.
The Escort's exterior is best thought of as a mix of the finer points from the US market Focus and Fusion, with the Aston Martin-ish grille and narrow, wraparound taillights presenting a clean look at either end of the car. It's all fairly true to the concept car from last year's Shanghai Motor Show. That said, this exterior job is almost too clean. There doesn't seem to be a lot of character or substance beyond the typical Ford looks.
There's a similar issue in the cabin - it all looks pretty nice, but the design is rather plain, particularly when viewed alongside the display-filled cabin of a US-spec car. Still, there looks to be a fair amount of space in both the front and back seats, and the trunk isn't exactly tiny, either.
Riding on the Blue Oval's global C-segment platform, which underpins the US and European-market Ford Focus, the Escort is powered by a 1.5-liter four-cylinder which Ford promises will deliver "outstanding" fuel economy.
Take a look above and below for the official images and press information from Ford.
All-New Ford Escort Makes Global Debut at Auto China 2014; Offers Elegant Design, Exceptional Roominess and Outstanding Safety in a Compact Car
• Ford unveils the all-new Ford Escort at Auto China 2014, confirming production of the company's latest new vehicle for China, built for Chinese consumers using Ford's global capabilities
• Built on Ford's global C-car platform, the all-new Ford Escort is designed specifically for Chinese customers who value interior roominess, superior safety and sophisticated design in an attainable compact car
• Featuring a fuel-efficient 1.5L Ti-VCT engine, the all-new Ford Escort will offer outstanding fuel economy and smooth power delivery
• The all-new Ford Escort will be built in China through Changan Ford (CAF), Ford's passenger car joint venture, and distributed through CAF dealers
BEIJING, China, April 20, 2014 – Building on its deep understanding of consumer needs in the world's largest automotive market and leveraging its global product development capabilities, Ford unveiled the all-new Ford Escort today at Auto China 2014, Asia's largest motor show.
At the unveiling, Ford announced that the all-new compact car will be manufactured by Ford's Changan Ford joint venture, proving Ford's continued commitment to introducing 15 new vehicles to China by 2015.
The unveiling and production announcement follows the reveal of the Ford Escort Concept in Shanghai last year. Built on Ford's global C-car platform, the Ford Escort has been designed specifically to meet the needs of consumers in China, and extends Ford's offerings in China's fast-growing compact car segment, which accounts for more than 25 percent of the country's total vehicle industry.
"The Ford Escort is a perfect example of how Ford's global approach can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of individual markets by listening to customer feedback," said Marin Burela, president, Changan Ford Automobile. "Taking Ford's hugely successful C-car platform as a foundation, the all-new Ford Escort puts us in a perfect position to serve Chinese customers looking for an alternative and attainable compact car."
Ford's market research found that many Chinese customers in the compact car segment want a sedan that places a premium on exceptional interior space, outstanding storage and great practicality.
The Escort is the result of a vehicle development program aimed at addressing these needs, which brought together a team of Ford designers and engineers from across Asia Pacific and around the globe. Ford's Australia-based Asia Pacific design team, working closely with the Ford Research and Engineering Center in Nanjing, focused on combining the best of One Ford design and engineering capabilities to deliver a world-class vehicle created solely to meet the needs of Chinese consumers.
Together, they created a vehicle with a stylish and unpretentious exterior housing a refined and roomy interior, outstanding safety features and innovative technologies.
The Ford Escort will join the company's best-selling Ford Focus to provide more choices for consumers in China's compact car segment, which is expected to grow to 7.2 million vehicles by 2017 – bigger than the total auto market in Germany, the U.K. and France combined.
"Even as the Ford Focus remains the best-selling nameplate in China, we recognize that many consumers in China are looking for something else in a compact car," said Luo Minggang, executive president, Changan Ford Automobile. "The Ford Escort is the answer to the question of what these consumers really want and value in a car for themselves and their families."
Harmonious, elegant design
To help it stand apart in the competitive compact segment, Ford designers gave the Ford Escort a clean, harmonious and sophisticated design built on the One Ford global design language.
At the front, elongated, jeweled headlamps set apart from the distinctive inverted trapezoidal grille give a greater sense of width. Moving around the side, designers extended the wheelbase and pushed back the A-pillar to create more athletic, premium proportions. At the rear, tail lamps that echo the headlamp design are embraced by an elegant line that creates a sculpted shoulder. Throughout the design, crisp edges and harmonious details add to a refined and elegant appearance.
The design of the Ford Escort's interior extends the elegance of its exterior. Inviting, roomy, and refined, the interior features premium materials, exceptional second-row legroom and design elements more typically seen in luxury vehicles.
Outstanding safety and fuel efficiency
Ford has equipped the all-new Ford Escort with a comprehensive range of safety features and technologies to protect all occupants, while also fulfilling a key requirement for consumers in the compact car segment.
Passive safety features on the all-new Ford Escort include an advanced airbag restraint system, with six airbags delivering outstanding crash protection for occupants. Offering excellent safety characteristics while improving efficiency, the body of the Ford Escort features high-strength steel, which helps to reduce the vehicle's overall weight and improve fuel economy.
Fuel economy is also optimized thanks to an advanced 1.5-liter four-cylinder Ti-VCT engine that offers smooth power delivery and high efficiency.
Ti-VCT, or Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing, allows precise, variable control of "valve overlap," the window of time in which both intake and exhaust valves in an engine are open at the same time. By continuously adjusting this overlap, the engine can maximize fuel economy and power output depending on conditions. For the driver, this means improved low-speed torque, increased fuel economy and greater power, all while delivering lower emissions.
To extend the benefits of this fuel-efficient engine, Ford has implemented a number of features on the Ford Escort to drive fuel consumption even lower, including Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) and advanced battery technologies to reduce engine load.
Innovative and convenient technologies
Inside the elegantly designed cabin, the Ford Escort comes with a host of useful features to keep drivers and passengers entertained without compromising safety.
With the Device Dock, an innovative central dock located above the vehicle's center console, the Ford Escort introduces a new way to store, mount and charge devices such as mobile phones, MP3 players and satellite navigation systems, seamlessly integrating them into the in-car entertainment system. Drivers will appreciate the convenience of the Device Dock as it perfectly houses an array of portable devices and keeps them within easy reach.
The Ford Escort also features Connect Radio, a smart system that allows the driver to connect a smart phone to the vehicle's radio using Bluetooth.
"With its smart, safe and green features, the all-new Ford Escort is a compelling and attainable addition to China's compact car segment, and a sign of how Ford continues to go further to serve customers old and new in markets around the world," said Burela.
By Brandon Turkus
See also: Ford confirms Everest SUV production for China, Ford E-Series chassis cabs and cutaways to survive mass Transit onslaught, Ford Transit Skyliner Concept does discreet luxury in NYC.