Ford's commitment to Chinese automotive customers took a giant leap forward today at Auto Shanghai 2013 with the unveiling of the Ford Escort Concept - the latest example of how the company's global DNA continues to evolve and cater to a growing and diverse mix of customers.
The Ford Escort Concept showcases Ford's vision for how the company could serve additional customers in China's compact car segment - a segment that accounts for over 25 percent of the country's total vehicle industry and includes the Ford Focus, the best-selling nameplate in China in 2012 as well as the best-selling nameplate worldwide.
Building on the success of the Focus, the Ford Escort Concept is a new kind of compact car, designed for a very different customer. Both Focus and Escort Concept deliver high quality, safety and fuel economy. While Focus successfully meets the needs of those seeking a fun driving experience and high level of technology, the Escort Concept is for those customers who value exceptional roominess, uncompromised functionality and sophisticated design.
"By listening to our customers in China, we have developed the Ford Escort Concept to serve a new class of compact car customers," said Jim Farley, executive vice president, Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln, Ford Motor Company. "These are customers whose needs are not being completely met by existing compact cars. They are discerning, modern families, who want uncompromised functionality, quality and safety for themselves and the ones they care about."
Simple, elegant, harmonious design
Ford's success and experience in the compact car segment with Focus - along with customer feedback - provided valuable guidelines for the overall design of the Ford Escort Concept.
In Ford's market research, customers in China described seeking a vehicle that is stylish - but not one that is arrogant or pretentious - while also allowing for a balanced life that almost always includes family and friends.
"We found a large segment of compact car buyers in China appreciate sophisticated design and want a more spacious family-size vehicle," said Martin Smith, executive design director, Europe and Asia Pacific. "The Ford Escort Concept reflects those desires.
"Its roomy interior, attention to detail, and precise and refined surface language really give the concept car its harmonious aesthetics, where desirable is actually attainable."
Ford designers started by adding length and then sculpting the vehicle with elegant lines to give it a natural flow. The longer profile creates more room for a comfortable and spacious interior while maintaining harmonious proportions.
While being designed for the specific needs of this subsegment, the Ford Escort Concept is true to the new global face of Ford, which was introduced on the all-new Mondeo - currently on display at Auto Shanghai 2013 - and made its first appearance on the Ford Evos Concept in 2011. On the Escort Concept, the slightly more upright grille and elongated, jeweled headlamps - carefully designed to resemble the lucky figure eight - provide a distinctive front end.
"The Ford Escort Concept represents the idea that you can get a compact vehicle with a premium aesthetic without sacrificing key features like space for families or having to pay a premium price tag," said Smith.