Report: Ford Kuga to Replace Escape, But Badge May Carry Over

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Report: Ford Kuga to Replace Escape, But Badge May Carry Over

Ford’s popular Escape crossover is set to be replaced in 2012 with the European Kuga. Recent reports suggest, however, that this new model may keep the Escape badge. According to Ward’s Auto, several Ford dealers have commented that it would be a waste to do away with the Escape badge as it has excellent recognition in the market and as the Escape is one of Ford’s top sellers and has even given the Toyota RAV-4 a run for its money.

“I believe the Escape is a great vehicle with a great reputation and that it would be a big mistake to kill the Escape name,” Owen Mossy, general manager of San Diego-based Mossy Ford, told Ward’s.

Ford is likely to listen to its dealers, as a previous decision to drop the Taurus name in favor of the 500 proved disastrous for sales, which bounced back when the name was resurrected. The decision to bring back the Taurus name was that of CEO Alan Mulally, who took the helm at ford in 2006 and said that not using the Taurus name was wasting precious brand equity. We’d also argue that the old Tuarus/500 model had a lot more wrong with it than the name.

“I would doubt seriously that the company would repeat the lesson learned from the Taurus brand-equity position on any vehicle currently in our lineup, ” said Kevin Collins, president-Bill Collins Ford in Louisville.

The Kuga (or new Escape if you prefer) is set to be built in North America at the company’s Louisville, KY plant starting in 2011. The current European Kuga is based on the same architecture as the European Focus and C-Max MPV.

When the 2012 Escape does debut, expect front-drive and AWD versions, along with an EcoBoost 4-cylinder rather than a V6 option.

[Source: Ward’s]

  • Boyce Mabry

    Just curious. Will Mazda get Kuga to be the next Tribute?

  • Vicki

    As an Escape owner (times two 2004 and 2010), I will be looking at a different vehicle altogether should this vehicle replace the current body style. Ford: what are you thinking?

  • Colum Wood

    It’s definitely a risk Ford is taking. Lots of people love the looks of the Escape and one has to think the popularity of the GMC Terrain is based on it’s muscular SUV styling.

  • JRKR

    Risk?! Hah! This is the first Ford I’d actually strongly consider buying. Kudos to them to not rely on the “my gran daddy and my daddy owned Fords” line of thinking and avtually design something competitive to Japanese/Euro vehicles.

    If they manage to bring that here with AWD, the 6 speed manual and either they uprated diesel or 2.5L turbo in one package I’ve already all but bought one.

  • Fordman1

    Another excellent idea from Ford. This new styled Escape will continue to over run the competition and will allow Ford to reap in more profits at the expense of the Asians. When Ford has a better idea, they put it on wheels.

  • nancy young

    No way would I trade up to a 2012 escape it looks like all the rest of the Japanese models , yuck ****************** I always drive Fords and love my 2008 escape but NO NO NO to the 2012 version

  • RHONDA

    I OWNED A 2004 AND TRADED UP IN 2008. I DO MISS THE GEARING SHIFT ON THE SIDE. IT ALLOWED MUCH MORE ROOM IN THE FRONT. I KNOW THEY ARE NOT MAKING THIS AN OPTION SO I ADJUSTED. I DO KNOW THE ESCAPE IS A TERRIFIC SUV.
    THE NEW BODY STYLE IS NOT BAD. THOUGH THE AWD OVER 4WD IS A MISTAKE. DOES NOT HANDLE IN THE SNOW AS WELL . AND THE SUV IS A TRUCK LIKE VECHICLE.
    IF YOU WANT A CAR THEN BUY ONE. 4 CYLINDER OVER 6 IS ANOTHER MISTAKE. IT SHOULD BE MADE WITH BOTH OPTIONS. FORD HAS BEEN A VEHICLE THAT STANDS ALONE. WHY CAUSE IT TO BLEND IN . WHY CHANGE WHAT IS SELLING WELL.

  • Trish

    It’s a great car if you want to target strictly women (and with that name-particularly the older ones!). I thought the Escape was a good vehicle for both men and some women–just not me. I definitely see my husband trading his Escape in for something slightly more masculine if that’s the next generation.
    Btw- Isn’t there a Honda or something that looks exactly like this already, which personally I like, but hey–it’s been done.

  • Stacy

    I bought a 2001 escape new and LOVE it. Incredibly reliable, comfortable and versitle. I started thinking about upgrading last fall but wanted to wait a couple of years. After seeing this, I think I’ll buy this fall so that I can get the 2011 hybrid before they totally ruin it. Im not a fan of the crossover, I don’t want a car, I don’t want a station wagon, I don’t want any combination of them. I want a small SUV, that’s what the ESCAPE was/is. Besides if this vehicle is that great it shouldn’t have to pony on the Escape name. Leave the Escape and sell this car under its own name. Its Definitely NOT an SUV.

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