While most of us believe that small, fuel efficient cars are the key to global expansion for US automakers, Jim Farley, Ford's vice president of Global Marketing, thinks otherwise. Last week, we attended an exclusive sneak preview of the Ford Edge Concept in advance of the Los Angeles Auto Show, and Farley told us that it's actually utility vehicles that will help the Blue Oval gain market share overseas. "There is no other segment in our industry that is growing like utilities," he said. "We expect over the next five years this full family of [utility] vehicles to really drive our growth as a company."

And Farley has the numbers to back it up, too. Ford projects overall automotive sales to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2017, but the company's utility vehicles are expected to boom by an impressive 41 percent during that same period. Much of that growth will be in China, where Ford estimates its utility sales will explode. "The biggest opportunity for us globally for utilities is in China," Farley said. "China utility growth is expected to more than double from where it is today to 2017, which isn't that far away." Most astounding is that Ford projects its own utility sales in China will eventually increase by more than 2,000 percent when smaller crossovers, such as the EcoSport and Kuga (sold as the Escape in North America), and the Edge and Explorer, are factored in.

Ford's VP also expects utilities to lead the way in the struggling European market. "With all the difficulties of the European market, there is one segment that has actually expanded in volume over the last several years even though the market is way down, and that's utilities," Farley told us. Ford estimates that their utility sales will grow 65 percent in Europe from 2012-2017. "The utility segment is projected to grow we think about thirty percent between now and 2017 in Europe, and we think we are going to grow twice that rate as a brand," Farley continued.

To achieve these goals, Ford will be globalizing their utility lineup just like they have been with their passenger cars. The EcoSport, which was previously only available in South America, has been launched in China along with the Escape. The EcoSport and Edge will also be making their way to Europe to join the second generation Kuga.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      john96xlt
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder if the EcoSport could work in the US and/or Canada. A Buick Encore for the mainstream.
        DK
        • 1 Year Ago
        @john96xlt
        Why wouldn't it work? I don't understand why no one else seems to be going for that market, unless they are worried about lower sales of their current compact CUVs.
      Inespugnabile
      • 1 Year Ago
      And I say "utility" and "Ford" is an oxymoron. Cuz ford is one of the most useless brand ever.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Inespugnabile
        That must be why they sell so many vehicles, right? But then again, often times when millions disagree with you there is a distinct chance that you are an idiot. On another subject, My italian is rusty. Does your user name mean that you have been impregnated?
      That Guy
      • 1 Year Ago
      Jesus Ford they're called SUVs. Enough with the semantics. Just like with renaming the police versions of the Taurus and Explorer....it's all semantics. And the world already has a Santa Fe. We certainly don't need another one that's less reliable and gets poor gas mileage.
      al4gg10
      • 1 Year Ago
      Poor Mike Roe has another Dirty Job selling these Unreliable Fords & the Edge is One of THE WORST !!! The Explorer is certainly the Best contender for Least Reliable Vehicle Right NOW. Eco boost turning customers into Dissatisfied Owners. Do you have a question for Fionna asking her about what you can do with you Ford ? The service department is trained to say the vehicle has to learn how you drive ... then everything will magically be Fixed ! Henry is rolling in his grave right now ! All they can think about is SALES ? Bad move Ford !
        Karl Henry
        • 1 Year Ago
        @al4gg10
        Are you a paid mouthpiece for GM?
          al4gg10
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Karl Henry
          Which Ford did you get Karl ? Are you not sick of all the problems from these Fords ? Just wait until these vehicles age ! Actually the new Impala looks very nice & my question would be will it be reliable ? The initial reviews are outstanding. Those Fords also had Good initial reviews but once Buyers put them on the roads in numbers the problems surfaced. How come Ford Did Not Do Any Reliability Testing ? The CEO seems to have put Sales above customer satisfaction ..... Very BAD Idea !!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        johnb
        • 1 Year Ago
        we can only wish right? I've been wanting one ever since we saw that concept so many years ago now.
        Inespugnabile
        • 1 Year Ago
        yeah it may be nice, we need to laugh a bit in europe :-)
      BTCC
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does it still weight as much as a fullsizer, but only offer compact interior room?
        flychinook
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BTCC
        Not sure why you got down-voted, I always pick on my wife's Edge, and the fact that it has less cargo space than my Rondo, while weighing a full ton more.
      Default
      • 1 Year Ago
      Utility Vehicles are great for the US... i have to say, In all the countries i've been to, other than a Truck, a SUV is the rarest thing i've seen on the roads. They're just too big for those old roads. People think it's just a personal choice, but if you've ever been to Italy there is no way any SUV could fit down those narrow roads without killing someone. I think Fords Global Marketing needs some help...
        john96xlt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Default
        Go watch YouTube Russian dash cam videos. You see all types of utilities, all the time, usually late models. It's a huge market in that country alone, I could very well see it in other areas.
        cpmanx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Default
        Kuga (Escape) is outselling the Mondeo (Fusion) in Europe--not so rare after all.
      Wm
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wagons once dominated, but then to sell minivans the manufactures badmouth wagons until almost no one couldn't sell one. Next the pushed SUV. Now they are herding the sheeple to graze on CUVs, which is just the new name for a wagon.
        Susan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Wm
        Crossovers ARE the current equivalent of the 1970s "Leave it to Beaver" generation's station wagon. There is nothing wrong with a wagon, but millions of suburbanites are in a mindset they would not be seen dead in a wagon. So they all cluster to crossovers to demonstrate how they are more imaginative and creative then their grandmothers or mothers were. Society is always like that; most people follow the herd.
      Dean Hammond
      • 1 Year Ago
      this will start a war.....HOW ABOUT THE GLOBAL RANGER......
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        [blocked]
        mikeybyte1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        Yes! And keep it small like the original. Maybe a bit bigger for safety regulations, etc. But make it small, light, and efficient. They will sell a ton of them.
      johnb
      • 1 Year Ago
      Utility vehicles really are a sweet spot for most families. The practicality almost makes them a must have for many people.
        flychinook
        • 1 Year Ago
        @johnb
        The driving dynamics of a minivan, with the hauling capacity of a wagon. If that's a "sweet spot", I'll pass.
      Andrew Edens
      • 1 Year Ago
      Also global warming!
      Ford 4 Life
      • 10 Months Ago
      Ford appears to be refreshing their entire line and I have to say they all look incredible. They are the vehicles people want. I had a first hand look at a few and I absolutely love the new 2015 Mustang and the 2015 F-150. Ford really needs to build a flagship Lincoln and also a Lincoln super car. I have to say the new Navigator looks awesome and the MKZ is also very nice, but they still need a flagship luxury car. Way to go Ford, your vehicles for the 2015 year are not only technically advanced, but also beautiful.
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