Earlier today, Ford announced plans to bring four new SUV nameplates to the US over the next four years. More specifically, the company plans to offer new SUVs “in segments in which company does not currently compete” (their words). While details on which SUVs, specifically, Ford is talking about, there are good reasons to believe we’ve already seen the bones of Ford’s new SUV plans. Now, we just need to “flesh them out”.
The first two guesses are easy, since we already know that Ford is bringing a new Ranger to market soon. The most likely scenario has Ford bringing the same Ranger it already sells in Europe and Australia back home, along with the Ford Everest SUV that shares a lot of components with it.
Ford Everest Truck-based SUV
The Everest may come to the US wearing a Bronco badge- another already-confirmed nameplate. Assuming it follows Ford’s established naming tradition, then, the Everest may end up being called the Bronco II, leaving room for an all-new, aluminum-bodied, F-150 based Ford Bronco.
Ford F-150 Bronco Full-size SUV
The next guess is also a no-brainer. Subcompact SUVs like the Chevy Trax, Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, and Fiat 500x are one of the hottest segments in the market in these days, and Ford’s own Escape is just a little bit big to play in that field. Ford does have a product in its global portfolio that fits that bill, however- the Fiesta-based Ford Ecosport shown, below.
Ford Ecosport Compact SUV
So, those three are easy guesses. No points awarded to anyone for already knowing these were coming- especially in light of lower fuel costs and increased emphasis on trucks and SUVs from Dodge and Honda. The last one, though? That one is a bit of a reach, but I’ll make a bold prediction and eat crow later, if I’m wrong: Ford is bringing the Troller to the US.
Ford Troller SUV Will Compete With Jeep Wrangler
The key to this guess comes in Ford’s own language, when it says it wants to compete “in segments in which company does not currently compete,” and there is no segment quite like the Jeep Wrangler segment.
Sure, the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen occupy a weirdly similar niche, but they’ve grown far too expensive to attract serious Jeep guys- and, besides, the Jeep brand carries just as much equity as LR and MB, these days. Maybe more, in fact, when talking about SUVs, specifically. Jeep Wranglers have a fanatical and evangelical following- exactly the type of following Ford wants and needs if it’s going to win over the millennial dollars it so desperately craves … and the Troller? The Brazilian market, Ford-built SUV is rugged, cute, cheap, and ready to launch its own devoted car cult.
You heard it here, first.
So, those are my predictions- what are yours? Check out Ford’s official SUV launch announcement from the Chicago Auto Show floor, below, then let us know what you think is coming from the blue oval boys in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
FORD TO ADD FOUR NEW SUV NAMEPLATES AS MILLENNIALS, BOOMERS, GLOBAL DEMAND DRIVE CONTINUED SUV GROWTH
Together, millennials and baby boomers give Ford 160 million good reasons to expect the surge in SUV sales will continue into the next decade.
In a breakfast address to the Midwest Automotive Media Association today, Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company vice president of Marketing, Sales and Service, explained why growth in SUV sales is expected to continue – not only in the United States, but around the world – and why Ford is adding four new SUVs in the next four years – all four in SUV segments in which the company does not currently compete.
“As members of the 80-million-strong millennial age group enter their prime child-rearing years, a leading indicator of more SUV sales, nearly 80 million aging baby boomers continue to prefer their SUVs,” said LaNeve. “It’s a demographic double whammy and it all points to one thing – more SUVs for the foreseeable future.”
LaNeve cited recent Ford research that shows once millennials even begin thinking about starting a family, their interest in shopping for SUVs goes up significantly. And as many have delayed starting families, these yet-to-form family households represent additional SUV growth opportunities for the company.
Yet millennials alone aren’t expected to drive SUV growth – aging baby boomers tend to stay with or return to SUVs, in part because it’s easier to get in and out of a vehicle that sits higher off the ground than a passenger car. LaNeve also noted that many boomers feel younger and more active driving an SUV.
While low gas prices have contributed to the growth in SUVs in recent years, much improved fuel efficiency in the latest generation of utility vehicles leads Ford to believe a potential rise in gas prices wouldn’t push consumers back to passenger cars.
“Some SUVs now rival the fuel efficiency of V6-powered midsize sedans from only a few years ago,” said LaNeve, “and as baby boomers grew up with much less capable, much less efficient vehicles, they tend to appreciate the efficiency of Ford’s newest SUVs.” Even if gas prices go up, he added, refueling costs for owners of modern SUVs will be much less than they were during the last SUV boom.
Source | Images: Ford.