• 41
Ford Kuga - Click above for high-res image gallery

How's this for an odd twist – Ford essentially kicked off the SUV craze with its Explorer, an embiggened four-door Ranger. And man, did we go crazy. Before the cheap-gas bubble burst, slightly more than half of all passenger vehicles sold here in America were SUVs. Just below the Explorer was and is Ford's little truck (which is no longer little) the Escape. And almost ten years later, the Escape pretty much looks like a body-on-frame SUV, even though people stopped associating SUVs with mud during George W Bush's first term.

So what if the next Escape looked more like the CUV that it actually is, and less like the SUV it isn't? And what if Lincoln got a version? Mercury too, though they already have the Mariner, a rebadged Escape. Also, what if the next escape was built here, but then badged as a Kuga and sold in Europe? According to CEO Alan Mulally and some other, more chatty Ford folks, it's all more than possible.

The latter is really interesting, and shows you just how far the dollar has fallen against the Euro. And it also shows you Ford's One Ford strategy at work – wherein starting very soon, most Ford cars are going to be global in nature. Aside from essential legal parts (like standard stability control in U.S. vehicles) the cars can be sold wherever. Built wherever, too. For instance, the Ford Fiesta, which will be coming to our shores next year, is Ford's best selling car in Europe and will soon be built only in Mexico and shipped both across the border and across the Atlantic.

Back to the Kuga, the plan is to begin building the Kuga in Louisville, Kentucky in late 2011 for export to Europe. Sometime after that, the Kuga will replace the Escape and the Lincoln/Mercury editions. Moreover, this could be the start of a trend – Fords being built in the U.S. for export across the pond.

[Source: Automotive News sub-req]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its a really handsome CUV. Better than the Escape by far.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Did everything on planet Earth shrink or something?

      "Just below the Explorer was and is Ford's little truck (which is no longer little) the Escape."

      How is the Escape no longer little when it is exactly the same size it has been since day one of it's existence. What you think the current Escape is anything more then a previous escape with some modest changes to the sheet metal and a new dash? The escape did not grow an inch in 2008, it just got a freshened face and new tail lights.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Ford is shocking these days.

      We said we wanted the Fiesta, and we're getting it. We said we wanted the Euro Focus and we're getting it. Eventually. Some of us said "Bring us the Kuga!!!" and Ford is apparently going to do that.

      About the only thing they haven't done is bring us the Mondeo, but the Fusion is not a bad car and heck, the updated Taurus at least LOOKS like the Mondeo. Kinda. And clearly the kinetic design language is going to be the way forward. Ford gets it.

      My coworker has already decided her next new car will be the US version of the Kuga.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The next gen fusion (2013) will be on the mondeo platform, same as the new/current mazda 6. Since the fusion & edge are on the old mazda 6 platform, that would mean the fusion and, i'm guessing, the edge will grow slightly. My thought is that it will make room for a smaller CUV, which the kuga seems like from the pictures, to compete with the likes of the nissan rogue.
      • 5 Years Ago
      build it with the Volvo 5cyl turbo, Haldex AWD and 6 spd manual and I'd consider it. you know, the drive-train that should be in the Focus RS.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You planning on paying $30k for this thing? Because the features you list sound like you'd only see 'em on a vehicle costing about $30k. And the 6-speed manual? Maybe in Europe. But in NA? Keep dreaming. Especially if you want AWD.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yuck. I think the Escape looks better than this.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree as well that the Kuga should be rebadged as a Mercury in the US. It is unfortunate that Ford has let Mercury wither with a very limited product lineup. As an owner of one, Mercury has some of the nicest looking cars on the market, and their reliability has been exceptional. It was my hope that Ford would bring over several other European Fords, and rebadge as Mercury's to differentiate between the Ford and Mercury product lines. A small crossover (based upon the Kuga) a small hatch and wagon based upon the Focus would be a start. On top of that, I'd like to see the Euro diesel come over, but I doubt Ford will make the investment. It is too bad, as I've read these are great engines, and get phenomenal mileage ratings. In any case, I think Ford is moving in the right direction with product mix, technology and quality. If only the word gets out to those that have it engrained that buying a foreign make = reliability/value.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I like the Kuga more than the Escape, and when i see for the first time the Kuga, i hoped Ford bring it here.

      Its really interesting to see a Lincoln and Mercury versions (preferably Mercury).
        • 5 Years Ago
        +1 for the Mercury
        This as a Lincoln does not make sense to me.
        • 5 Years Ago
        North America (USA, Canada, Mexico).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Where is here?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mercury version please! I have always enjoyed the styling of Mercury more. Yeah I know they are just really really nice Fords but with Ford shedding Volvo and exclusively focusing on the core American nameplates I know that Mercury will be getting an image and product makeover.

      • 5 Years Ago
      FINALLY....Now, when is the Mondeo coming????
      • 5 Years Ago
      Nice looking vehicle, but since it gonna be built in the US, is it gonna be built at a unionized facility. If so, scratch that off my list. I would rather get a mexican made Fiesta than a UAW made vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Seeing how most if not all Lincoln dealers have Mercury as well to have a Kuga version for both brands I think they would have to differ in more then just looks and price. I think make the Kuga sold in Europe and strait up make that the Mercury with its sportier ride and looks and with a more upscale interior.

      Then make the Ford version look different and more like other vehicle in the Ford lineup, however far more advanced in the tech (Hybrid, Electric ect.). Then the Lincoln would be the uber luxury version. A vehicle to compete with the SRX, X3 and Q5. Give it a beautiful interior and exterior and throw the SHO's ecoboost engine in it with AWD and you'de have a winner!

      It's an Idea atleast...
    • Load More Comments