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Ford planning more SUV traction with the all-new Everest

2014-12-01 11:10 China Daily Web Editor: Qin Dexing
Ford unveiled the all-new Everest in early November in Beijing. [Provided to China Daily]

Ford unveiled the all-new Everest in early November in Beijing. [Provided to China Daily]

Ford unveiled a seven-seat SUV in early November in Beijing in response to the growing consumer enthusiasm for large sporty vehicles.

Chairman and CEO of Ford China John Lawler said target customers of the powerful offroad SUV are those "who love life, have dreams and boast an adventurous spirit" in emerging economies like China and India.

Lawler said the model was designed at Ford's design center in Australia with "the Asia-Pacific region in mind" following extensive research into markets and consumer preferences-the most research ever conducted for a vehicle developed by Ford in the region.

"Customers told us they wanted an SUV that balances off-road toughness with a refined, comfortable interior, and we listened," said David Dewitt, exterior design manager, Ford Asia Pacific. "This vehicle reflects what the consumer wants, inside and out."

Highlights of the new Everest include best-in-class 225 mm of ground clearance and its ability to forge through water as deep as 800 mm, deeper than any competitor.

It also has several powerful and efficient engine options: the latest generation of Ford's tried-and-tested four-cylinder 2.2-liter and five-cylinder 3.2-liter Duratorq TDCi diesel engines, and a new 2.0-liter EcoBoost petrol engine.

The new Ford Everest also offers a number of segment-first features including a curve control technology to help drivers maintain control when approaching turns too quickly.

The latest generation of Ford's in-car connectivity solution, SYNC 2, lets drivers use natural voice commands to control the car's entertainment system, climate controls and connected mobile devices more easily than before.

In China, the SUV will be produced at Ford's partner Jiangling Motors Co and is expected to hit the road in 2015.

"Things are going as scheduled at our Xiaolan plant," said JMC Chairman Wang Xigao at a press conference after Everest's launch ceremony.

The Xiaolan plant has a production capacity of 300,000 units. In addition to Everest, it is producing the Ford Transit light commercial van.

JMC President York Chen said the production of the Everest marks the beginning of JMC-Ford cooperation in the passenger vehicle segment, adding other models will come in the future, but the agreement does not include cars.

Chen added that JMC will expand the number of its dealerships by 40 percent to ensure it will make the SUV accessible across the nation.

Lawler said he is optimistic about the performance of the model but said he has not set a sales goal for it.

Ford sold 813,412 vehicles in the Chinese market in the first three quarters of the year, a 26 percent surge from the same period in 2013. Its share of the SUV market grew from 0.3 percent in 2012 to 4.5 percent in 2013.

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