Ford are planning to move production of the Kuga from Saarlouis toLouisville in the USA in 2011. The Kuga may replace the Ford Escape as Ford’s small SUV in the US.
The Land of the Free and the gas-guzzling SUV/Pickup is changing. No longer do US buyers seem to consider the acerage of the sheet metal and the number of cylinders to be the defining reasons for buying a car. They’re waking up to the joy of power and performance – not to mention economy – on a European scale.
So the reports we’re hearing that Ford are about to up sticks with Kuga production from Saarlouis to Louisville make sense on a number of levels. The Kuga could make a very viable replacement for the Ford Escape (which in its last iteration was sold in Europe as the Maverick). The Maverick is similar in size to the Kuga, but it is nowhere near as nice to drive, or as economical, or as stylish. Frankly, the Kuga is a much better car.
Add to the potential saleability of the Kuga in the US the current changing economic landscape in the US car industry, and there are more strong reasons to shift the Kuga to the US. Labour rates are cheaper than Germany thanks in part to more sensible attitudes by unions and a more cost-focused attitude by the manufacturers, not to mention the weakness of the Dollar. Ford are in the process of negotiating deals with the UAW Union on costs going forward and one of the promises by Ford is a new car with strong export potential. Step up the Kuga.
It may be true that most of the people I know in the US have European car tastes. But you can bet your boots that any US family looking for a small SUV will find the Kuga a much more appealing prospect than the Escape. And the introduction of the Kuga would fit in with Ford’s stated strategy of introducing C-Platform cars (think Focus) in to the US.
So from sometime in late 2011 you could be driving an SUV from the good ol’ US of A. And not look like you’re a refugee from a rap video.Source: Bloomberg