Ford has unveiled the all-new Ford Edge, which the company is hoping will help it to target the fast growing SUV segment, which has doubled in the past five years.
The company says that the production version of the large SUV, which will go on sale in 2015, will extend a line-up of SUVs in Europe that already includes the new Ford Kuga medium SUV and the all-new EcoSport small SUV.
According to Ford data, the SUV segment of the total European passenger car market more than doubled to 21 per cent from ten per cent between 2008 and 2013 and – in the first four months of 2014 – the SUV share has further increased to 22.5 per cent, with Ford expecting the segment in Europe to show further significant growth.
Barb Samardzich, chief operating officer for Ford of Europe, commented: "Ford’s global SUVs – small, medium and large – are driving the company’s growth in key markets around the world. We believe it is the right time to introduce a larger, more upscale SUV at the top of the Ford portfolio here in Europe."
Sales of the new Kuga in Europe increased by 38 per cent year-over-year for the first five months of 2014 to 39,700 units, with the 500,000th European Kuga rolling off the production line at Ford’s manufacturing facility in Valencia, Spain, in June.
According to Ford, nearly all new Kugas sold during the first five months of 2014 were equipped with Ford SYNC, with SYNC 2 now being introduced with voice control and AppLink – technology that enables drivers to voice-activate apps including leading music-streaming service Spotify.
Ford’s latest sales data revealed a high take-up of many of the Kuga’s advanced driver technologies, with 60 per cent featuring Active Park Assist technology that helps drivers to parallel park, and 55 per cent equipped with Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, noted Roelant de Waard, vice-president of marketing, sales and service at Ford of Europe
"Customers have embraced the wide array of technology that is already offered by our new Kuga Smart Utility Vehicle," he added.
"More than 80 per cent of new Kuga customers are purchasing high specification Titanium models, which indicates significant growth opportunities for an even more upscale SUV."
Built on Ford’s global CD-sized platform, the all-new Edge was developed to meet the worldwide increase in demand for SUVs, with Edge claiming it has helped to "reshape the industry’s definition of a traditional SUV" in the US.
Over the next five years, Ford plans plan to outpace the industry growth and more than triple SUV sales in Europe, Mr De Waard stated.
He concluded: "More customers than ever before are buying Kuga, we have very high expectations for EcoSport, and when Edge joins them in our showrooms we’ll have a full family of utilities, all leaders in design, remarkable technology, smart features and real capability."
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