Ford Europe Is Counting On Steady SUV Segment Growth

Yesterday, Ford Europe opened up about its plans in the overseas region, revealing that the automaker is poised to meet the projected rise in demand for SUVs abroad with no fewer than five all-new or significantly-revamped products in the European SUV segment over the next three years.

Ford Europe’s SUV efforts will kick-off with a new Euro-Spec Edge, slated to publicly debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Also showing: enhanced versions of the Ford Kuga (née “Escape”), with SYNC 2 connectivity and new color options, and of the Ford EcoSport, which now offers a spare tire delete, a more refined interior, and more “car-like” driving dynamics.

Spurring Ford Europe’s decision to get more serious with SUVs in the region over the next few years is a manufacturer-sponsored survey which showed that the utility vehicles are becoming more widely desired, especially among millennials. As that group approaches their prime new car-buying age, Ford Europe is targeting sales of 200,000 SUVs on the continent by next year – an increase of 200 percent compared to 2013. Globally, Ford SUV sales increased from 17 percent of the automaker’s sales in 2013, to 23 percent just a year later.

Ford Europe Chairman and CEO Jim Farley remarked that “globally, Ford has been at the forefront of SUVs for decades, and is now delivering a European line-up that offers the stylish design, car like dynamics, and fuel efficiency that are key to why SUVs have become so popular in Europe. As demand for SUVs continues to grow, so will the range that Ford offers – from rugged models with true go-anywhere ability to sporty models designed to suit urban lifestyles.”

Also coming in the near-future: a wider implementation of four-wheel drive and all-wheel drive systems. By early next year, Ford will offer either AWD or 4WD on eight different models, or about 50 percent of its lineup. As recently as 2012, Ford offered all-wheel drivetrains on just three models.

Aaron Birch is an automotive enthusiast and writer/filmmaker from Detroit, MI. As a rule, he only buys cars older than himself.

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