Ford previews updates to the company’s lineup, outlining significant changes by 2020
There are big changes coming to the Blue Oval in the next two years. Today, Ford has announced some of those changes to the general public, and the company flew me out to Michigan to learn what’s coming by the year 2020. This article will outline new or revamped SUVs in the company’s lineup, posts will outline the company’s other products and overall ambitions.
Freshened product lineup
By the year 2020, Ford plans to significantly revamp its entire product lineup. How much? Within the next two years, the company is planning to refresh 75% of its entire portfolio. In recounting Ford’s 115-year history, CEO Jim Hackett explained the company’s ability to persist and thrive through decades. Hackett – head of Ford Motor Company since May 2017 – stated: “Being frozen in the past is a death sentence.” To that end, Ford’s taking a more aggressive approach to reaching its customers with new products.
So what all does the company’s refreshed lineup entail? Ford is hedging its bets for the future on the backs of its SUVs, trucks, and commercial vehicles. Its also moving in step with manufacturers throughout the industry by offering hybrid vehicles across its product lineup. Here’s what things look like on the SUV front:
New Ford Escape
In pursuit of speeding up Ford’s product release cycle, one of the first models undergoing a redesign is the Escape. The current generation has been around since 2012, and its a bit long in the tooth. After all, nearly every one if its competitors has been or will be redesigned within the next year. Competitors like the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox, and Mazda CX-5 have gotten significant updates. Others, like the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 are hitting the New York Auto Show in their refreshed form.
Back during the recession, Ford staked its fortunes on its three best-selling nameplates moving forward. In addition to the F-Series and the Explorer, it moved to redesign the Escape. The incentive worked, as the Escape is Ford’s second best-selling model after the F-Series. But now it’s time for a change. A new Escape is coming soon, and will join the all-new EcoSport, Expedition, and a new Explorer to round out the company’s freshened lineup. As Ford hybridizes its SUV lineup, so too will the Escape Hybrid return for 2019.
Two new Explorers
The Explorer is another model that’s getting on a bit by now. It’s still a popular model for Ford – selling 238,000 units in 2017. While it did receive a facelift in 2016, the current generation has been around since the 2011 model year. As with the Escape, it’s time for a redesign, so that’s where the new Explorers come in. Note I said “Explorers”, as it’s not just the common variety model that will fill the stable, either.
In the spirit of the Edge ST, Ford is also planning an Explorer ST model for its SUV lineup. In a similar vein to its smaller cousin, the Explorer is aimed at crossover shoppers who are looking for a bit more oomph in their family haulers. Demand for SUVs and crossovers have exploded in recent years, so adding a hotter Explorer to the lineup over the current Explorer Sport is a reasonable move. Information on powertrains and the new Explorer’s appearance isn’t available, at time of writing.
New compact off-road SUV
Part of the big changes Ford is planning in the next two years involves expanding its off-road lineup. They’re gunning for folks with an off-road adventure lifestyle, and are designing vehicles to match that ambition. Step in this new small SUV. According to Jim Farley, Ford’s President of Global Markets, this SUV is “purpose-built for going off the highway and delivers performance to match its looks.” However, at this point in time, there’s no word on available on what that will entail.
From its looks, it cribs styling cues from other Ford vehicles, and will match the spirit set forth by the company’s Raptor models, with a grille emblazoned in letters spelling out “FORD”. Just so you don’t mistake what it is.
The new Bronco is (almost) here
We’ve reported on the Ford Bronco before, but Ford has been mum on providing any significant details, other than to confirm it is coming.
Unfortunately, we don’t have any more details to share with you now about the car itself. Per Jim Farley, Ford’s President of Global Products, “You can bet it will live up to its off-road legacy.” As with their smaller off-road SUV, Ford is aiming the Bronco at someone who wants to get outdoors with family and friends. Interestingly, the company seeks to distance itself from the “Jeep” mindset when it comes to off-roading.
Rather than going rock crawling in Moab, said Farley, “our premise is completely different. We want to give people true off-road vehicles that are comfortable at higher speeds, on two-track trails, and do well in deep sand on the beach.” How well this Bronco will square off against the new Jeep Wrangler JL is anyone’s guess at this point, as those outside the development team don’t know anything about its technical specs just yet.
Stay tuned for more “Ford Uncovered” updates beyond Ford’s expanded SUV lineup. Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for the latest video content! While we’re waiting for new information to emerge on new SUVs, check out what we know now about the new Edge ST: