Ford Motor Co. will unveil a near-production-ready concept of a medium SUV to replace the Kuga in Europe and Escape in the United States next month at the Detroit auto show, a Ford source told Automotive News Europe.
The vehicle will go into production in the second half of 2012 and be sold as a 2013 model in the United States, the source said.
Ford has not decided whether the Kuga and Escape will keep their names or share a common badge when the new-generation SUVs arrive. The U.S. automaker's One Ford strategy calls for a single name for vehicles sold in different regions, such as the Fiesta and Focus.
It's likely that Ford of Europe's Saarlouis, Germany, plant will lose production of the Kuga to one of the company's U.S. plants. The front-runner for the job is Ford's factory in Louisville, Ky., where it makes the Ford Explorer large SUV. Ford makes the Escape, including a hybrid variant, in Kansas City, Mo.
The Saarlouis plant will be the single source for new Focus production in western Europe, producing all three body styles -- a four-door, five-door and station wagon.
Output of the Focus, which went into production on Monday, will probably reach the daily maximum of 1,850 cars by the end of January, Bernhard Mattes, who runs Ford's German factories, told Bloomberg this week.
The car will go on sale as early as March in Germany and be available in other major European markets by the second quarter, Mattes said.