Ford Escape Concept

Ford Kuga

A preview concept of the next-generation Escape SUV with Auto Stop-Start technology is a distinct possibility for the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.

In keeping with Ford’s worldwide One Ford mantra, the new Escape is bound to be sold on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Here, it will replace the aging Escape but a similar — if not identical — model built from Ford’s global C-segment platform will also be sold in Europe, where it will replace the popular Kuga crossover, pictured above.

It has been suggested that the next Escape could be built within the company’s Louisville, Kentucky — a sensible possibility, as the company previously announced it was retooling the Louisville plant to build vehicles derived from its global C platform. Although Ford once toyed with building European-spec Kugas within the U.S. and exporting them abroad, that idea seems to have passed. European models will likely still be built within Europe, but perhaps not at the Kuga’s current home in Saarlouis, Germany — that plant will be the sole production facility for the 2012 Focus in Western Europe, which will consume most of the plant’s capacity.

We’re interested in seeing how Ford plans on melding the two model lines into one, seeing as the current Escape — a small, SUV-like vehicle — and today’s Kuga — a small, stylish crossover — are markedly different vehicles. Ford needs to ensure it caters to the desires of both Escape and Kuga shoppers without alienating either customer base.

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