2011 Ford C-Max – Click above for high-res image gallery
Following the second press day at the Paris Motor Show at a drive event in Southern France, Ford's global vice president of marketing, Jim Farley, let slip to Autoblog that Dearborn decisionmakers are mulling over whether to import the C-Max to the U.S. As you'll recall, Ford has already committed to bringing over the C-Max's larger line mate, the seven-seat Grand C-Max, a vehicle that Farley tells us won't hit American soil until early in calendar 2012 (likely as a 2013 model).
Unlike its bigger brother, the C-Max has conventional front-hinged rear doors (the Grand has a pair of sliders) along with a more aggressive roofline and rear graphic to complement its shorter wheelbase. Think of it as more of a pent-roof Focus wagon and less of a smallish minivan in the mold of the Mazda5 and you've got it.
Interestingly, Farley maintains that Ford won't necessarily wait until the Grand C-Max goes on sale in the U.S. to determine whether or not to bring the model to America, and it will actively solicit feedback from both journalists and consumers to see if there's a business case to be made. While such language is common among PR folks looking to assuage media members always clamoring for the importation of forbidden automotive fruit, Farley sounded quite optimistic. Further, he reminded us that there was "absolutely no plan" initially to market the next-gen five-door Focus in the States, but that all changed after the 2007 Verve concept was met with an enthusiastic response from media members and show goers. A few years ago, we probably would have discounted such talk, but with CEO Alan Mulally and product chief Derrick Kuzak pushing the One Ford agenda globally, who knows? It might just make it Stateside after all.
If Ford does decide to bring the C-Max to America, it may have a minor naming conundrum to deal with. At the moment, the Grand C-Max moniker is expected to be shortened to just 'C-Max' when it goes on sale in the U.S., or the MPV might take on the name 'Focus C-Max,' though a final decision has not yet been made. As the Blue Oval won't sell both models with the same name, the five-door model would ostensibly need a different name.
Do you think the short-wheelbase C-Max would sell? Check out our high-resolution galleries of both models and then be sure to vote in our poll below. We'll have firsthand drive impressions of the European-spec C-Max range to share with you next week, so stay tuned.