Report: Concept Version of Next-Generation Ford Escape May Appear at Detroit

Want to sneak a peek at the next-generation Ford Escape? The automaker isn't expected to launch the replacement until late 2012, but new reports suggest the automaker may show a concept of the new crossover/ small SUV at the 2011 Detroit auto show in January.

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.

Automotive News Europe suggests 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.

We'll have some indication of what's in store once we lay eyes on the new show car in Detroit. Automotive News' source didn't comment on design direction, but it's widely believed that the concept will bear a close resemblance to the finished product, as was the case with the Verve concepts and the production Fiesta.

What would you like the new Escape to be? Stylish, with plenty of European flair, or something that imparts a little more of the traditional rugged SUV feel? Send your thoughts our way by means of the comments section below.

Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription required)

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