Ford will unveil a production version of the Escort sedan at the Beijing auto show. The car will be aimed exclusively at the Chinese market.
The Escort was previewed in near-production concept form last year at the Shanghai auto show, and will target competitors positioned just above the Ford Focus compact sedan such as the Volkswagen Sagitar and Chevrolet Cruze in the Chinese market.
Even though the Ford Escort has been absent from the automaker's global lineup since 2000, Ford of China is reviving the nameplate for this sub-Fusion/Mondeo model.
The new Escort will offer an exterior design that's distinctive from the Fusion and the Focus (though the corporate grille will remain quite similar) while offering more interior space than the Focus.
That's the main point of distinction from the Focus, and Ford appears to be betting that the increase in rear seat space will ensure the new model's competitiveness in a market where interior space is highly valued.
The Escort will be approximately the same size as the Focus, and is expected to use the engine and gearbox from the Focus models currently available in Southeast Asian markets. The Escort will be built in China and will initially be available only in that market, though Ford isn't ruling out other markets. However, the model is unlikely to ever appear in North America.