Ford to launch 4 — count ’em — 4 new SUVs – USA TODAY
CHICAGO — Ford said Thursday that it will launch four all-new sport-utility vehicles over the next four years in recognition of the growing global popularity of SUVs and crossovers.
“That’s all new entries,” Mark LaNeve, Ford’s vice president of sales and marketing, said at the Chicago Auto Show. “These are in segments of the SUV market where we currently do not compete.”
So far, Ford is not saying when or where the new nameplates will be added, but it is emphasizing that the products are part of its global plan. As such, the new models could be added either to the automaker’s mainstream Ford brand or to Lincoln.
The SUVs could be launched in North America, Europe, Asia or South America or in all of those regions.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker also says there are no plans to eliminate any models as part of the plans.
In the U.S., consumers have been increasingly choosing to buy small and midsize crossovers, and the percentage of passenger cars is shrinking.
Last year, LaNeve said Ford sold 740,000 Ford Escape, Explorer, Edge and Lincoln SUVs in the U.S., the most since the early 2000s.
“We can’t keep them on dealer lots,” LaNeve said.
Both Baby Boomers and Millennials increasingly prefer SUVs and crossovers because they offer more space than a car with the same footprint while also offering improved fuel economy over the SUVs of the past.
“Some SUVs now rival the fuel efficiency of V-6-powered midsize sedans from only a few years ago,” LaNeve said.
Ford says its research shows that once Millennials begin thinking about starting a family, their interest in shopping for SUVs goes up significantly.
While Millennials get driver’s licenses later than prior generations, get married later and graduate from college later, “they get there,” LaNeve said.
And when they do buy cars, they prefer SUVs.
Follow Detroit Free Press reporter Brent Snavely on Twitter @BrentSnavely.