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

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

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]

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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  • Trish Trish on Mar 03, 2011

    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 Stacy on Apr 29, 2011

    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.