Ford is relaunching the Escort name 45 years after the first Mark One appeared – but we won’t be seeing it on the roads in the UK or US.
The car was launched in China at the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show as a concept model for the market there but the Escort name has been associated with Ford of Britain since it first took to the road in 1968.
The name was discontinued in 2000, a year after it’s replacement, the equally popular Focus was launched. Ford in the UK was equally surprised by the use of the name but a spokesman said the company is quite happy to “tolerate” it on the Chinese concept.
He added: “It’s a name that still resonates because the Escort was extremely popular. We will not be seeing the Chinese-Escort, which is made by Ford and its joint venture partner in the country, in the UK or Europe, it is an Asia Pacific only project.”
The Escort covers the affordable “middle ground” in the Chinese car market, above the locally-made Ford budget models and below the Focus which is perceived there as more upmarket.
The styling of the concept is familiar from Ford’s recent design language, with its large Aston Martin-style grille.
“This compact concept highlights the strength of our global One Ford approach to vehicle design, and represents how we can make use of our global design language to bring refined designs to attainable vehicles,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s sales and marketing chief.
There is no word on what powers the concept, which is little more than a styling exercise right now, but Ford has also just unveiled a 1.5-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine that it says is specifically tailored for the Chinese market.
The Escort Concept will be part of Ford’s ambitious expansion plans for China, which includes bringing 15 new vehicles to the country by 2015. China’s size and unprecedented growth of the vehicle market demands such drastic measures.