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02 May 2013

Ford revives Escort nameplate as a concept for China

Words by Jose Carlo R. Sapera | Photos courtesy of the Ford Motor Company
 
escortconcept mainLong before the Laser, Lynx, and Focus, there was the Ford Escort. Its life started in the late 60's as a great family car and proved to be a equally-great rally car as well. But after 32 years in production and six generations, Ford decided to pull the plug and replaced it with the Focus that we have today.
 
However, a lot has changed since Ford last built an Escort. More specifically, China's boom has transformed it into an economic giant. It's so big that they're now the world's largest producer of motor vehicles and account for almost 1/3 of the annual global car sales. With this, it's a no-brainer for automobile manufacturers to take advantage of their fast-growing car market by tailoring specific models just for them. And Ford's solution is to revive the Escort as a concept that's intended solely for China.
 
This marks the return of one of Ford's most successful nameplates after more a decade in hibernation.
 
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The Focus is currently Ford's best-selling nameplate in China. So why create a new model that will compete with it in the same compact car segment? Well, that's because the segment accounts for over 25% of the country's total vehicle industry. Plus, Ford designed the Escort Concept to be a “new kind of compact car” for a “very different customer.” (Seriously, that's what they said in the official press release.)
 
While both are supposed to deliver high quality, safety, and fuel economy, the Focus offers a fun driving experience with high levels of technology. The Escort Concept, on the other hand, is said to provide “exceptional roominess, uncompromised functionality, and sophisticated design.” Simply put, it's a big people carrier that looks good.
 
Looks-wise, the Escort Concept is reminiscent of the current Focus sedan, mainly because it wears the same global One Ford DNA. But apart from the large chrome hexagonal grill and futuristic LED headlight clusters, there's nothing else that strikes us. It's shaped like any other four-door sedan and somewhat lacks that little somethin' somethin' to turn people's heads. But if there's one thing its good at, it's functionality.
 
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Although Ford didn't reveal its dimensions, they promised that the Escort Concept will have a “roomy interior.” There were also no photos of the interior so we'll just have to see in due time what it'll look like inside.
 
As the way it stands, its now a question of 'when' and not 'if' the Escort Concept will enter production. But because it's targeted at consumers in China, there's a big chance that we won't see it in other markets.