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Ford Grand C-Max - Click above for high-res image gallery

When Ford announced last year that it would build new global C-Segment cars in North America, it mentioned that a compact MPV would join our more traditional Focus models. With the introduction of the new seven-seat Grand C-Max at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the Dearborn automaker has confirmed that this larger model will be the first addition to the North American lineup. Ford didn't rule out eventually adding the smaller five-seater, but wouldn't commit to that right now.

The Grand C-Max marks something of a return to the minivan space for Ford after the spectacular commercial failure of the Freestar a few years back. This time around, the Grand C-Max is just slightly larger than the current Mazda 5, which should make it about the same as the original short-wheelbase Chrysler minivans of the Eighties.

The Grand C-Max gets a novel middle row seat with a center section can fold down and collapse into a bundle that slides under the right hand section. This allows it to be transformed from a seven- to a six-seater, giving easy access to the third row. Of course, that third row will only be suitable for small kids and most owners are more likely to simply fold them flat and take advantage of the extra cargo space.

We expect the Grand C-Max to arrive on U.S. shores in late 2011, possibly carrying the "Focus Grand C-Max" title – a moniker which the Blue Oval used in Europe before truncating the name to "C-Max" after the vehicle gained consumer awareness. Check out the high-res image gallery above as well as a couple of videos and the official press release after the jump.

Check out the latest edition of the Autoblog Podcast as Ford's Mark Schirmer and Mark Kaufman join us to discuss the new C-Max, EcoBoost and the rest of the C-Segment vehicles.

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[Source: Ford]





  • Ford will launch the all-new, 7-seat C-MAX in North America in late 2011 as a "whitespace" vehicle
  • Revealed today at Frankfurt Motor Show, the new C-MAX brings "kinetic design" language to the compact segment, combining bold styling and versatile, spacious 7-seat layout
  • C-MAX is the first of a new generation of Ford global C-cars scheduled for introduction during the next several years; lineup also will include next-generation Ford Focus
  • New C-car architecture will underpin more than 2 million vehicles per year worldwide, providing economy-of-scale and value benefits for consumers

DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 15, 2009 – Ford Motor Company has confirmed that the new 7-seat C-MAX introduced today at the Frankfurt Motor Show will arrive in North America beginning late 2011.

In North America, the "whitespace" vehicle will be one of up to 10 unique models the company will create from an all-new global C-car platform developed under its One Ford strategy.

The all-new, next-generation Ford Focus sedan and five-door hatchback models are scheduled to launch late in calendar year 2010 in the United States.

With the market introduction of the 7-seat C-MAX in late 2011, Ford will offer customers in North America three distinct models in the important compact segment, which is expected to show continued growth in the coming years.

According to Ford analysts, small cars in the B- and C-segments accounted for less than 15 percent of the U.S. market in 2004. In year-to-date sales through August 2009 however, the small car segment has reached nearly 22 percent of total industry sales – and further gains are expected.

"Consumers are seeking uncompromised vehicles offering value for the money, and C-MAX squarely hits those targets," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Ford Global Product Development. "The Focus C-MAX will be great to look at, great to sit in and great to drive, bringing Ford DNA to a new market segment in the form of an aspirational, fuel-efficient people carrier."

Exterior design elevates segment

The new Ford Focus C-MAX demonstrates that compact, 7-seat vehicles can be stylish and desirable while still delivering outstanding space and functionality.

"The C-MAX brings more emotive, dynamic design to the segment, along with a great driving experience," said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas. "People will gravitate toward C-MAX for the way it looks and drives, and not just because it's practical and versatile – and that's going to help us reach a whole new group of customers."

Bold exterior and interior designs have been created using the latest evolution of Ford's "kinetic design" form language, building on the themes established in recent product introductions like the hugely successful European-developed Fiesta, Kuga and Mondeo ranges.

Kinetic design elements applied to the new C-MAX include the dynamic, rising beltline, full sculpted surfaces, bold wheel lips, strong athletic shoulders supported by a prominent undercut line and the distinctive kick-up of the window graphic at the C-pillar.

The front end design also features Ford's signature trapezoidal lower grille – with a special "piano black" finish on the Frankfurt Show vehicle.

Offering seating for up to seven, the C-MAX destined for North America features a high roofline and thin pillars to emphasize the generous room and visibility in the cabin. Twin sliding doors are neatly integrated, with the rail concealed by the undercut line on the shoulder of the vehicle.

Stylish, modern interior

The new C-MAX interior mirrors the dynamic and modern character of the exterior, complete with muscular, expressive shapes and bold graphics.

Key design features include the taut, wing-like form of the upper instrument panel (IP), which reaches out to the sides of the interior. A dramatic sweeping form connects the IP with the center console.

The cockpit provides a commanding, raised driving position with high-mounted shifter and center console inspired by the acclaimed layout in the new Fiesta. Carefully designed storage areas are located throughout the cabin, including generous door pockets, a large glove box and additional compartments and cup holders in the center console.

Ingenious 7-seat layout

To maximize the versatility of the 7-seat layout, Ford engineers developed a new seat-folding mechanism for the three second-row seats. This mechanism allows the center seat to fold quickly and easily under one of the two outboard seats, creating a handy walk-through space between them.

This walk-through space allows passengers to access the third row without having to disturb the two outer seats, which is particularly helpful when those positions are occupied by child safety seats. Owners have the option of using the convenient 2+2+2 seating layout or switching to a full 7-seater when required.

The second- and third-row seats also have been cleverly engineered so they can be folded to create a flat load floor, regardless of how many seats remain in use. All of the folding mechanisms are designed so they operate with just one hand.

New generation of global Ford C-segment cars

The C-MAX is the first of a new generation of global C-segment cars scheduled for introduction by Ford over the next several years. This series of new models will include the launch globally of the next-generation Ford Focus beginning late 2010.

The new C-car family is the result of an unprecedented global development program and is loaded with an array of advanced vehicle technologies that will enhance safety, convenience, comfort and driver satisfaction. Up to 10 models and more than 2 million vehicles per year based on this platform will be sold by Ford around the world when the entire launch is complete.

"By concentrating resources and making big commitments to the small car segments in North America, Ford is proving it's doing business differently," Fields said. "Following the launch of the Fiesta and the next-generation Focus in 2010, and the launch of the BEV Focus and a 7-seat model in 2011, Ford will offer customers at least six small cars, and they're going to be truly exciting designs packed with the latest vehicle technologies."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ford is definitely on a roll - their line-up seems to be getting better and better. When I was in Europe last summer I drove one, and was very impressed. This new one looks even better
      • 5 Years Ago
      Looks great. It can't get here soon enough.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sharp car, Ford. Thank you for finally listening to the customer. ; )
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes thanks for listening to the customer, all five of them who think this looks good.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your numbers are off; there are seven of us, and we all fit! We'll take our super fantastic fun team on the road, and you'll have to find someone else's happy water to pee in.
        • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well they haven't been listening to me. I want the C-max not he grand C-max. I haven't read the article about the C-max yet. Larger than a Mazda5, that's big. Although the mazda5 is the only minivan I'd consider, I still couldn't drive it everyday. A focus wagon or a larger ZX5(C-max) is what I'm waiting for.
        • 5 Years Ago
        As someone who actually owns a Mazda5, let me say that the C-Max only looks to be slightly larger, and that isn't so bad. The Mazda5 really has about zero room behind the rear seats when they are up, the motor is underwhelming when you have a few people in it and are trying to merge onto the Interstate, and the electronics package leaves quite a bit to be desired. Other than that, I love it. Drives crisply, if a bit noisily.

        The C-Max seems to address every single issue I have with our 5. I look forward to its arrival. I'm more interested in what Lincoln has coming off this platform, however.
      • 5 Years Ago
      See... A little patience and small pockets of mobs will eventually make an american automotive company finally listen and change their business strategies, even if it's just a little.

      I have to honestly say that it's a good feeling to see that at least Ford NA is now taking a small page from Hyundai/Kia and actually listening to the consumers, unlike Chrysler and GM which they still just don't get it and probably never will.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's a good thing they bring this car over here but the "Focus Grand C-Max" name could remain in Europe.
      It's not like somebody thought it would have been a good idea to name the Mazda5 the "Big mazda3 super stretch"
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good job Ford. You're making some very good decisions lately.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is there much demand for small mini-vans in the US? The Rondo and Mazda 5 are the only ones I know of and I don’t think they sell in large quantities. It’s pretty much Odyssey, Sienna, and Caravan/T&C for the mini-van market with the Quest in deep fourth.

      Once you decide you need a serious people hauler you go for the big one unless perhaps you are a very young family of three and can’t afford it. Still at that point just get a 2 year old normal mini-van or better a nice wagon.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Finally. An actual mini, minivan. With the exception of the mazda 5, I thought we would never see one again. With this being a bit larger, it will do well. A family mameber has a 5. It works pretty well, but a little larger would be perfect.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The dodge Journey
      • 5 Years Ago
      Was the original Dodge Caravan as small as a Mazda 5 (or this)? I don't remember it that way.

      I'm interested to see what happens with this vehicle here. I don't actually see success in its future. It's just too much of a compromise on size. Unless gas gets a lot cheaper, I don't see it succeeding. But I'm glad Ford is trying it out.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The original Caravan is a little bigger, my aunt has one, and my friend's mom has a Mazda5. They are a little spacious, especially the Grand. Success will probably be along the lines of the Flex. Worthy of praise and continuing, but not as the projected sales would desire.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While an interesting concept, it doesn't look very practical as a 7-seater. The people in the rear two seats seem to have no leg room and there is no way you're fitting 7 peoples-worth of stuff behind those seats.

      It seems like this is more of a 5-seater with occasional 7-seater duty.
      • 5 Years Ago
      To those of you who think the Mazda5's 3rd row is too small except for children, I am 5'10 and I fit in the very back, and my brother (5'8) was sitting in the seat in front of me. We were both comfortable.

      Now, I wouldn't want to be back there for long trips, but its fine for an everyday car. This Grand C-max looks a bit larger and should be even more comfortable.
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