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Ford’s new Kuga targets growing niche

The Ford Kuga (shown) borrows many technologies from the Focus.
Ford of Europe accelerated the development of its Kuga medium SUV to win sales in the fragmenting lower-medium segment.

Car buyers are switching from traditional lower-medium hatchbacks to SUVs, crossovers, minivans and entry-premium cars such as BMW’s 1 series.

Gunnar Herrmann, Ford of Europe’s director of C-car (lower-medium) vehicles, said medium SUV sales are growing fast.

“This is an attractive niche, maybe in two or three years it will be more than a niche,” Herrmann told Automotive News Europe.

Herrmann said use of technology from other Ford models such as the Focus lower-medium car and C-Max medium minivan reduced the development time and costs for the Kuga.

“There was no ground-up engineering required. Every part of the engineering and manufacturing for the Kuga benefited from previous experience.”

Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Germany are expected to be the main markets for the Kuga, Herrmann said. About 45,000 Kugas will be built this year in Saarlouis, Germany. Output will rise to 65,000 in 2009.

The basics
Car: Ford Kuga
Launch date: June
Platform: Ford C-car architecture
Segment: Medium SUV
Main competitors: Toyota RAV4, VW Tiguan, Honda CR-V
Starting price: €26,500 (Germany)
Where built: Saarlouis, Germany
Annual production: 65,000
CO2 emissions: 169g/km (all-wheel-drive); 165g/km (front-wheel-drive)

What is the target group?

Ford has invented a fictional character called James as the likely buyer of the Kuga. James is married, has a good income and wants an alternative to his family’s car that reflects his personality.

How will the Kuga be marketed?

Ford’s marketing campaign will feature surfboards and skis and will emphasize an active lifestyle.

What new technologies does the car have?

The Kuga has hands-free convenience technologies such as keyless locks, push-button start and USB and iPod connectivity.

Tags: Ford Europe Kuga

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