LONDON -- Ford of Europe expects its Edge large SUV to help boost its below-average SUV market share in the region.
Ford will unveil the European spec version of the Edge at this month’s Frankfurt auto show, the automaker said in a statement.
The Edge adds a diesel engine for European customers, a 2.0-liter unit making 180hp and 210hp. Transmission options will be a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The Edge will go on sale in Europe next year, joining the Kuga compact and EcoSport subcompact SUVs.
Last year SUVs accounted for 10 percent of Ford’s European sales, below the overall SUV market share of 20 percent. Ford sold 99,273 units of the Kuga and EcoSport in Europe, according to market researcher JATO Dynamics. The automaker predicts it will double its European SUV sales to 200,000 next year.
IHS Automotive forecasts SUV sales account for 27 percent of the European car market by 2020.
Ford is behind the SUV sales curve in Europe largely because of the poor reception given to its India-built EcoSport subcompact. The company recently revamped the model for European markets by improving interior quality and giving customers the option to remove the spare wheel from the tailgate, a feature demanded by customers in Brazil, where the car was designed but unpopular in Europe.
Ford expects the boom in SUV sales to continue as so-called millennials – 17 to 34 year olds – reach prime new car buying age.
The company pointed to a survey it commissioned from the Benenson Strategy Group that shows one in four millennials in Europe who intend to purchase a vehicle in the next year say they are considering an SUV.
Millennials account for 24 per cent of Europe’s adult population.
“As demand for SUVs continues to grow, so will the range that Ford offers,” Ford of Europe CEO Jim Farley said in a statement.
The five-seat Edge sits on the same C/D platform as the Mondeo midsize sedan and Galaxy minivan and is built for Europe in Oakville, Canada. The U.S version of the car went on in spring.